“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. ” -C. S. Lewis
Last summer, I finished spring semester and quit my job a few weeks before Arthur’s due date. It seemed perfectly reasonable to have a few weeks to get everything just right and relax before the baby came. But a few days into my “break,” I panicked a little about being home alone with no job and no school to consume my time. What was I supposed to do? I felt confined in my apartment. I was bored and antsy. I complained to Devon. And his answer wasn’t empathetic, instead it challenged me.
“Phoebe,” he said. “I think you need to take charge of our home. You need to make it yours. Take responsibility. Decorate! Make it your space, the place where you want to be.”
When he first told me that, it pricked the feminist inside me. But, more than that it stung my pride. His answer didn’t seem important enough to be able to salve my feelings of inadequacy. It seemed menial. But his observation was spot on. While I had been in school and working lots of hours, I didn’t have time to make my house a home. I didn’t spend time there. It was a place to cook my food and sleep. I wasn’t attached to it.
So, I tried it out. I started deep cleaning our cluttered closets. I bought frames for pictures to hang on the walls. I thought about what I wanted people to feel when they visited my home. Gradually, my little apartment became a place that I love and love to be in. Before, I thought that homemaking was an excruciatingly selfless endeavor, something straight out of stereotypical 1950s wife-oppression. I thought the goal of homemaking could be summarized by this quote from a 1950s Home Economics textbook: “Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.”
But, the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve realized the key to being a homemaker is all about realizing the worth of being a “stay-at-home mom.” Making a house into a home is a huge task, one that doesn’t really end, but it also is all about your personal strengths. It’s fun because you choose the tasks and objectives. You write the job description. I don’t mean to say that being a homemaker isn’t about serving and loving your family, because it very much is that too. But, making a home can also be incredibly fulfilling and liberating.
Not only that, but making a home and devoting time to teaching children is vastly important in the eternal scheme of things. A great prophet of my church, Harold B. Lee said, “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”
When we, are able devote time to making a home, and teaching and rearing children, we are able to God’s most important work. It’s such a blessing. It’s hard, and sometimes under-appreciated. But I know it’s worth it.