Monday, September 20, 2010

Making Home

I have been mulling over the phrase "homemaker" lately. I was talking with an older, wiser friend last week about my role as a stay-at-home mama, and I realized how I really resonate with the old-fashioned label of "homemaker." I have often thought about how the mama sets the tone of the home, an emotional thermostat, if you will.

In that conversation, I also realized that I put far too much pressure on myself. The friend had asked me what being a stay-at-home mom meant to me, and I told her how I feel it is my role to hold things together in the home, to be the peace, to keep things organized. And as soon as I verbalized something I'm not sure I had spoken aloud before, I said, "Wow. That's a pretty high standard, isn't it?"

She said, "And if you don't reach this standard you've set for yourself? What then? Have you failed?"

I was really for the first time having to string together thoughts that had only been scattered about in my subconscious before this conversation. Hesitating, trying to choose my words carefully, I said, " I've never (ever) thought of myself as a failure or that I would be a failure if all of those things didn't come together. But I do, probably, mentally look back at the end of the day, and if those things didn't happen....if the home wasn't peaceful, if it looked a mess, if I yelled that day.....I would probably think somehow that the home was not any better off that day for me being there." I don't mean that in a woe-is-me-nobody-needs-me way, but in a a-monkey-probably-could-have-done-this-job-today way.

We talked about the difference between organizing the home and parenting, that Abigail and Sadie could probably give two flips whether the load of laundry on my bed is folded or not. That parenting them is what will remain in their memories. Because here is what can come from a may sound idealistic, but hey, it's my memory....

One of my very favorite memories as a child was coming home from school one day. The weather was just warming up enough to open up the windows. The breeze was swaying the curtains in the living room, and my mom was ironing. The smell of fresh air and freshly-cleaned laundry filled the room. And there were chocolate chip cookies waiting on the table. And it felt perfect.

This really happened. I promise. And in some crazy way, I have made that perfect, peaceful moment the standard for my entire role as a homemaker...wife...mother.

My friend listened to this memory and pointed out is a good memory. A great memory. But it is only a memory....not a standard. She also pointed out that it is MY memory, from my elementary-minded perspective. It is quite possible that if my mom could have a memory of that day, from her perspective, it could be that she had burned the first batch of cookies, was frustrated with the checkbook, and hated the fact that she was inside ironing when it was so beautiful outside. Perspective matters.

And somehow, mentally, it is all changing now. I am working on realizing that a beautiful childhood memory does not set a standard for me to live up to. I have also realized that I should not take on the responsibility of something that is solely that of Jesus to do....such as be the Peace in our home. Because that is a standard I can surely not live up to. But being a wife and mama who prays at the beginning of the day for Jesus to be my Peace, our Peace...that is something I can do. Working on seeing the laundry and the toys a little bit less, and my daughters a little bit more....that is something I can do. Seeing my husband as my teammate, my coach, my encourager, my best friend, my life partner, and not just my "roommate"....that is something I can do. Telling myself that Jesus is working in me to make me a better Amy, not looking back on my day thinking anybody could have done my job that day....that is something I can do. Or at least, these are all things I can work on.

And that, to me.....for this season of making Home.

1 comment:

nickmal said...

Genesis 2:15 states, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”

The first thing God did the moment He created Adam was to put Him to work! Could it be true that the first focus of intimacy with God is bound up in the work God assigns us?
"it's about being godly in the role God has given me as a wife and mother."...