My #1 goal for December has nothing to do with writing. My top priority for next month is to deep clean and de-clutter my house. And I will be making plans for redecorating and revamping our landscaping in 2021.
One thing that 2020 has taught me is there’s no place like home.
I remember at the start of the pandemic Emma Chapman of the blog A Beautiful Mess shared in an email that a counselor told her that one of the best things she could do for herself and for those around her was to make her home a place she wanted to be. Here we are nine months later and this is advice we should all take to heart.
From Hustle to Homemaking
Before cancer and COVID, I prided myself on being a woman about town. I was hardly ever at home. I loved going to networking events and meeting friends for lunch and brunch or dinner and drinks. I loved date night with my husband. I liked going to coffee shops to write. I conducted interviews for stories in person whenever I could. I went to church every Sunday and small group meetings during the week. I went to the gym for spin classes and to hit the treadmill if it was raining outside.
This year all of that has changed. This year I work, play, write, worship and work out at home. Before I started daily radiation treatments I hadn’t driven my car for months.
I told my husband that in 2021 I’m going to focus on being a good homemaker. He rolled his eyes. And I laughed.
Let me explain. Neither I nor my husband look down on housewives or stay-at-home moms. We both have the utmost respect for them. But we both grew up in the South where women who prioritize their careers are often disparaged.
All my adult life I’ve been more concerned with being a hustler than a homemaker. And I’ve been pressured by both men and women to change my ways and focus on “woman’s work.” My husband’s eye roll was his way of telling me to ignore the naysayers.
One of the many reasons my husband and I work so well as a couple is that he loves my go-getter ways.
“How ‘bout you focus on building your business and writing your book instead?” my husband replied to my declaration.
His support of my goals and my dreams makes me fall in love with him again and again. Hustle is my love language.
Also, I hate cooking. Don’t get me wrong. I do cook because humans must eat to live and because eating takeout every day is a bad idea. And there are a few things that I cook very well. But I don’t like to cook. At all. I spend the whole time thinking about all the other things I could be doing instead.
Because of this I know I’m never going to be Martha Stewart or Carla Hall in the kitchen. But when I order the Christmas dinner bundle from Edgar’s Bakery next month I want the home in which I serve that holiday meal to be a place both my husband and I adore.
So I wasn’t joking about wanting to be a good homemaker.
The Art of Homemaking
In a recent episode of The Alex Wolf Podcast — a podcast of interesting conversations about innovation, economics, culture and history for independent thinkers — Alex declared that she believes being a homemaker is more important than being a go-getter.
Years ago, that statement would have made me throw up a bit in my mouth. But now I understand exactly what she means.
One of the points Alex made is that homemaking isn’t simply about cooking and cleaning. She says, housekeeping is about making sure a place is clean; homemaking is about making sure a place is special. That is my #1 goal for December and beyond.
Ironically, cleaning is the one domestic duty I actually enjoy. And I’ve realized I enjoy it because cleaning up a house can change its whole vibe. When my home is clean I feel better. And when I feel better I can be better — for myself, for my husband, and for my work.
Life Between the Goals
Is there a way— other than trying to be the next Joanna Gaines — that I can build a home and an empire?
I think so because I believe homemaking is a form of storytelling.
I have a decorative chalkboard in my kitchen on which I like to write quotes. For a long time the quote on the board stated, “Home is where our story begins.”
Recently I replaced that with a different statement, “Your home should tell the story of who you are.”
In order for my home to tell the story of who I am I need to figure out who I truly want to be. And I am certain that will make my book, my blog and even my business better.
I still am and always will be a goal digger. But now I want to prioritize what Alex calls life between the goals.
Being a good homemaker will not take away from my writing or my work. It will only enhance it.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Homemaking is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cares, government, etc., exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? The homemaker’s job is one for which all others exist.”