What is a Homemaker?
Well, first of all, it’s the opposite of a “homewrecker”. Does that clarify? (Just kidding. Really).
All kidding aside, I realize that this word is no longer as common in modern dialect as it used to be, and thereby my antiquated blog title may require a little context.
With the advent of modern feminism, the term “homemaker” tends to come with some negative connotations. Today’s perception of the vintage housewife has one of two approaches: disparaging of the vapid, self-obsessed “Stepford Wife” character; or, alternatively, idolizing of the prim, proper and prepared Mrs. Cleaver of the 1950s era.
But both approaches are looking back to a time and an ideal (however right or wrong) that no longer exists. And for that reason alone (if not many more), I think the term deserves a little refresher. I have no desire to revert to a 50s style housewife–although I’m sure there were some “nifty” things about living during that time… and some not so nifty. Rather, I recognize that my role as a wife and mother encompasses the responsibilities of managing a home in such a way that all those living or visiting there (including myself) feel comfort, joy and peace under its roof. Role is the key word here. Some folks like to take that term the wrong way — as though identifying a strength of the female sex and assigning women on the whole a particular duty is offensive. Last time I checked, that’s called delegating. It is a responsibility, but it is also a great privilege. Reference also: Motherhood. Last time I checked, this is not something a man can not biologically manage. I haven’t heard any men complaining about that…
So, not to get all Rosie the Riveter on you (oy, another “ideal” that’s been overplayed), the point I want to make is this: women have been given special skills/talents/abilities by God that I believe are intended to be used in a certain way to help influence the lives of those around us. One of those ways (and there are myriad… this just happens to be one of them) is in the art of “making a home”.
Edith Schaeffer’s book The Hidden Art of Homemaking is as relevant today as when it was first published in 1972, filled to the brim with encouragement, instruction, and wisdom regarding the tasks of homemaking.
“It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for us (p. 32).”
Being a homemaker is not just about baking cookies and arranging flowers. It is about exhibiting the image of our Creator, exercising dominion over His creation, and exerting effort toward the establishment of His kingdom here on earth. There is a special artistry to this task — one that is particularly suited to the emotional sensitivities of women. Not to say that a man cannot be equally creative and skilled in making a home (in fact, men have their own special domain and talents in the home); but there was a reason that Adam was not quite complete without Eve. She was a suitable partner for him in tending the Garden of Eden! Not subservient, but partnered — a help-meet in the duties of living. And so, homemaking itself may be considered a particular calling to those who find themselves in the situation of spending most of their time in the home, with children or without, married or unmarried.
Audrey Hepburn said it well:
“It’s sad if people think that’s (homemaking) a dull existance, [but] you can’t just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It’s the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don’t want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn’t it?”
Truly, a home is a haven in this trouble world. And a Christian home in particular is an opportunity to build create a window into the Kingdom of heaven, a mirror reflecting the peace and joy that await us there. Thus, a homemaker is harbinger of heaven. It is an honorable role — a privilege and a responsibility. And one that I am joyfully pursuing, with this blog as a catalog of the successes and trials therein. Thanks for following along!