I feel like I’m not making a home, just doing a bunch of tasks. No joy like I envision I should have. I was so unskilled and undisciplined coming into marriage. I learned to be more disciplined over all these years, but I dislike the tasks as much as I ever did.”
There are very few circles in which a woman can share the joys, and challenges, of full-time homemaking without getting a reaction of rolled-eyes or condescending remarks.
Before the Industrial Revolution though, both husband and wife worked together in and around the home. A wife’s contribution was not only appreciated, it was necessary for the survival of her family.
Today though, full-time homemaking is viewed as an option for only the well-off families. With cleaning services, child care centers and meal options galore, the role of “homemaker” is thought of as an obsolete luxury.
These facts are foundational and are why women often fee like they’re not making a home, have no joy, and dislike homemaking tasks.
Where a woman once knew the vitality and strength of her family depended on her physical works inside the home, (while it may have been very hard work), she inherently knew her role had purpose. She may have never been verbally thanked for baking bread or hand making the blankets that literally kept her family alive. But she didn’t need verbal gratitude either. She knew without a doubt her work was significant, was critical and was valued.
And having that confidence gave her joy.
Baking bread today is a hobby. It’s not something a wife needs to do to ensure the survival of her family. Making a blanket from the wool you sheared from your own sheep… it’s almost a laughable waste of time. “Who does that?” It’s certainly not necessary in today’s Western society.
What were once basic fundamentals are now just amusing pastimes. And when you take your “old-fashioned notions” and expect gratitude, praise or even acceptance from the world around you, you meet instead with ridicule and contempt. It takes it’s toll on you and robs you of joy.
The Irreplaceable Biblical Homemaker
Put a diligent wife who loves the LORD in the heart her home though and homemaking finds a place in humanity again. A woman professing Godliness who daily builds her home (Proverbs 14:1) is no less important to the vitality of that household than she would have been 100 generations ago.
She may buy her bread at the store 8 aisles away from where she buys warm blankets of all shapes and sizes, and, her daily life may look different than it would have way back when, but a Biblical homemaker knows her worth, is confident in her skills and she is irreplaceable.
This confidence motivates her to go about her tasks and avoid discouragement. In turn, getting things peacefully accomplished at home brings her joy.
But sometimes life throws curve balls and things change at home. Previously joyful and diligent homemaking starts to feel like a prison sentence. Familiar routines, nutritious, appealing meals served each night, and efficient cleaning schedules suddenly feel suffocating. Even though the transition was subtle.
And… you’re right back to the beginning of this post saying:
I feel like I’m not making a home, just doing a bunch of tasks. No joy… I learned to be more disciplined… but I dislike the tasks as much as I ever did.”
There has to be a way to fix this. Take heart, there is. And the solution comes in a few different packages:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Have you ever read the story of Corrie Ten Boom? In her book, The Hiding Place, she describes the infestation of fleas in the barracks. “‘Fleas!’ I cried. ‘Betsie, the place is swarming with them!’” Betsie prayed for a solution, she opened her Bible to the passage she’d read that morning and the solution?
Oh yes:…’Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.’ That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. ‘Give thanks in all circumstances!’ That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!”
They thanked God for the fleas. Turns out it was something to be thankful for after all:
That afternoon, [another prisoner] said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it. But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why? …Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, ‘That place is crawling with fleas!'”
Be thankful in your home, for your husband, for your children, for the messes they make, the work they create… be thankful.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Serving others will bring joy, if our attitude is right. We are to put others first. See Philippians 2:4. And please don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting you drive yourself into the ground, do everything for your children or stay up until 4am to get the laundry and dishes completely cleaned and put away. Kids need chores and humans need sleep.
What I am suggesting is that we look away from the worldly notion of “self care” and focus more on those around us. When we start to look to the interests of others, and love others, especially our own families, we gain joy.
Growing as a Homemaker:
Do you know the good you are to do? What I’m really asking is, do you know how to efficiently and properly:
- Load the dishwasher
- Care for clothing
- Organize your home
- Clean your home
- Manage your time
- Prepare healthy meals
- ...be a homemaker?
Let me share a quote one of my most recent students left when she finished the Elements of Christian Homemaking course:
I was doing a lot before BUT I knew I could do more and as silly as it sounds instead of just doing more I let it discourage me. “
This is a woman who knew she could be doing more to bless her family, and when she didn’t do the good she new to do, it brought discouragement. But, she made subtle changes at home and it’s had a HUGE impact.
My question to you is, do you know you could and should be doing more? If yes, do it. Find that joy and don’t let idleness become a discouragement to you.
My other question to you is, are there areas you need to grow in? I’m 46, and there are still areas where I need to grow as a homemaker. What about you? A hesitant woman in the heart of her home is a woman who has ceased production. And an unproductive homemaker is thoroughly void of joy.
Let’s wrap this up. If you have no joy and dislike homemaking, it’s time to climb out of that rut. It’s not a fun place to be.
Read God’s Word, pray and enjoy the life He has blessed you with. Read this post again and remember, homemaking is not admired today. Your children may rise and call you blessed one day, but the world likely won’t. And that’s fine, we aren’t seeking their approval anyway.
Know Whose you are, be confidently called as a homemaker, do the good you know to do, be busy in your home and don’t let laziness, idleness, procrastination or a lack of motivation steal your joy.
You can be joyful, you can love homemaking again. Often, you just have to choose to do so…