Image by Paul-W, used with Creative Commons License, edited by Mydnyht Rantings
During the last weekend of May, my older sister hosted a graduation party for my father who just received his Associate’s degree. My father invited a friend and classmate to the party, and before we headed off to my sister’s home, we gathered at a local coffee shop to chat and listen to my fiancée perform on her guitar. Normally I shy away from explaining what I do all day – cleaning the house, caring for our pets, and cooking tend to be pretty mundane and repetitive tasks that nobody really wants to hear about. But this time, when I had a chance to discuss what I do and why it’s important, I jumped at the opportunity. My father’s friend, who runs a ministry, was familiar with the Proverbs 31 (aka, the Virtuous Woman) when I mentioned her. And from there, the floodgates opened. I was able to talk about how homemaking is a noble and important ministry. I was able to talk about how, in an age where the Internet reigns supreme, women are using blogs and Pinterest to reach out and facilitate Titus 2 mentoring. I talked about how, in the modern, eco-friendly period we live in, Christians are starting to view the earth and its resources less as a commodity given to us by G-d to do with as we please and more as a finite and important source that we need to be mindful of and care for. Because of this, they look at tips for frugal living not just for their cost-cutting measures but also for their ease of impact on the environment. I talked about how this segue ways into the modern homesteading movement and feminist reclaiming of the domestic arts; how Millennials are realizing that the two-income workaholic family model of the 90’s may not only be unsustainable in this recession but also maybe not worth the stress and spiritual strain and drain it imparts on them. They are starting to think that maybe the loss of one income can be made up with becoming more self-sufficient and sustainable on the home front. And I didn’t just talk about the homemaking movement on a larger scale – I talked about how I make bread every week (sometimes twice a week) and cook dinner from scratch almost every night. How my fiancée is so grateful that when she comes home from work, she can relax because the most taxing of the chores are already done. How she has someone to do her laundry for her and a neatly made bed to turn into at the end of the day. How she comes home knowing that she doesn’t have to worry about accidents from the pets because she ran a little late, and that the dogs have been walked and are relaxing on their beds, tails wagging to meet her instead of cooped up in a crate. (These are things that my single friends tell me they long for.)
My father’s friend was very receptive to our conversation. My father even brought it up in a later conversation – “Well, I figured since you’re so knowledgeable about homemaking, you might know about other things and could do my homework for me.” (Sorry, dad, no dice.) I was proud that he noticed and acknowledged what I do. I finally felt as though I had overcome something I have struggled with for a few years now – that my embarrassment over not working outside the home was nothing to be ashamed of. That I make a difference as a homemaker. That I, and what I do, matters. And that’s a good feeling.