Homemaker is not a word you hear often. If you are like me, the word homemaker feels outdated. Perhaps like me, you joined traditional facebook groups in a quest to embrace your role as a wife, mom and homemaker, only to find yourself discouraged and defeated. I’m happy to take my kids to the park, but quilting, jam making and flower arranging just isn’t my thing.
You might even have a lot of guilt attached to your lack of preparedness to manage your home. Why am I in my 30’s and am just now learning to cook?
That could be compounded by the guilt of simply not being interested. I know I’ve gotten frustrated by looking for support around keeping a clean and organized house only to get either overwhelmed or bored. (Why do I want to watch someone clean their house on youtube? Apparently a lot of people are interested based on views, but I just can’t get into it.)
However, women’s reluctance to embrace homemaking is also related to how it digs into marriage fears. As Christian women, we are commissioned to submit (Ephesians 5:22). The enemy loves to twist this verse to strike fear in us of being taken advantage of. An additional fear is that a lack of appreciation from our spouse will lead to resentment and bitterness in our hearts against them. Unfortunately that fear is pretty much guaranteed in the absence of diligent prayer, communication and perhaps practical strategy.
We all know that in the historical context, our situation doesn’t compare to slavery. However, the enemy will relentlessly strive to convince us that we did not choose this role and are forced into it. A lack of freedom is fundamentally makes a slave a slave, regardless of the cruelty or kindness of their master. If we forget why we are doing these things and what good this role can have from a spiritual standpoint, we might start believing we are trapped in some kind of oppression without purpose. If we believe that lie, we are rejecting the opportunity for good works that God set for us that will bless and spiritually inspire our families.
This post focuses on mindset shifts that will prevent you from feeling like a slave. These shifts will stop marital conflict in its tracks and improve your relationship with your children. I made an upcoming companion blog post, 8 Practical Tips to Enjoy and Excel in Homemaking, which will help you enjoy and excel in this but first learn to embrace the role.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find joy in your work, regardless of your husband and/or children’s attitude that day? As we tear down limiting beliefs and negative perceptions that steal our joy and fix our minds on God’s truth and wisdom, He will transform our hearts and minds around the role of homemaker.
WHAT IS A HOMEMAKING?
According to wikipedia, the meaning of homemaking is “...the management of a home, otherwise known as housework, housekeeping, or household management. It is the act of overseeing the organizational, day-to-day operations of a house or estate, and the managing of other domestic concerns.”
Therefore a homemaker is the person who manages the home. I dug into the task details of family management in my post “What Does a SAHM Do?” but in this post I am specifically focused on the household chores and organization, not the mothering, budget or husband supporting aspects.
For me, that is the greatest challenge and the reason I opted to name this blog Wholehearted Homemaker instead of something else that focuses on motherhood. I don’t find homemaking exciting, but God is leading me on a journey to embrace this servant role nevertheless.
8 Tips for Positive Mindset Shifts About Homemaking
1 - Identify the practical importance behind homemaking
On a practical level, the reality is that this stuff has got to be done. At a certain point there are actual health concerns if trash, plates and leftover food aren’t dealt with. If laundry isn’t done and your family is forced to wear dirty underwear, irritated skin and UTIs will be on their way. Your family and you literally need to eat to survive so somebody needs to buy some groceries. If these things aren’t being managed, the fast food bill and re-buying stuff you can’t find will likely strain the budget. Eventually the strain jeopardizes if your family can afford to keep the same roof over your head.
That’s a dramatic picture but I think we forget how urgent and vital basic maintenance of our home is. If both parents work, there is still laundry and dishes to do. When you add homemaking on top of a full time job, this creates stress and busyness in the family and potentially strain in the marriage. When your husband and you chose to make the sacrifices necessary for you to focus on parenting and the home, you were given the opportunity to add value to your husband and family by keeping the stress down.
2 - Acknowledge the negative impact of chaos in the home
I like to look at it like I’m fighting chaos and maintaining order. Humans are affected by their environment. One of the most obvious symptoms of a messy home is stress.
What you might not realize is that it impacts achievement as well. In the context of a stay-at-home mom homemaker, the orderliness of the home affects not just the mom, but the spouse and children’s achievement as well. In my personal experience, this is most applicable to your spouse and I believe the impact of disorderliness is greatly affected by personality , but it might impact your spouse, your kids or you, more than you imagine.
As Dr. Peterson discusses in “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos,” humans tend to feel as if they cannot go out into the world and achieve things until their immediate sphere is taken care of. The thought process is something like “there’s no way I can start a business/find a new job/take on something else when I can’t even keep my house in order.”
3 - Take seriously how homemaking impacts your marriage
In my situation, my husband was surprisingly affected by our environment. He is not an OCD kind of guy. Throughout dating and marriage never seemed to care about orderliness. However, he strongly identified with the changing your life by first cleaning your room part of the book. I wasn’t a big fan of this realization because I felt like “if you want things different than you clean up!” But God struck that down. That is not the servant like, humble attitude of Christ.
As I reluctantly shifted more of my time to putting away the toys in the living room, he opened up to the things I wanted him to do. He finally understood why I cared about side hustles and giving our family more financial breathing room. This also allowed me to release the burden of me making some side money, something he wanted me to do years ago. As I embraced my role as homemaker, it empowered him to embrace his role as provider. This helped me feel good about stepping out of the money making responsibility. (I still have a desire to create impact and income on-line, but truly it wasn’t until this shift that I could release the burden of it.) As you can imagine, this cleared away years of unresolved tension between us.
4 - Recognize how homemaking impacts your kids
Additionally, your kids behavior is affected by their environment. If your home is habitually chaotic, they will view it as normal. This creates momentum for chaos because they will not understand the purpose of picking up in those moments you might attempt to restore some order.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed in my own parenting, as we model orderliness in our own behavior and in the home, children come to expect it. When something spills, my four year old grabs a towel to pick it up. She clears the table before we start a game. She knows which toys stay in which room and what requires the kitchen table. Her age makes this possible, yes, but it is not something that happens automatically. The more I implement orderly boundaries, e.g. only 1 game out at a time, the more orderly she becomes. Contrastly, I can tell that she becomes less concerned with keeping things nice in times when I get lazy about maintaining those boundaries.
5 - Be inspired by why homemaking matters spiritually
I believe God cares about how we maintain our home because of the principles of orderliness, stewardship, service, humility, love and hospitality. As we are faithful in upholding those biblical virtues, we model them for our children and create a legacy. In the following paragraphs I’ll dig into each of these. For deeper reading from a Christian perspective on being a sahm and homemaker, I recommend “Professionalizing Motherhood” by Jill Savage.
God’s value of orderliness is displayed through His creation. Everything He made has cycles and systems. Day and night don’t randomly change. The seasons in general are predictable. We are able to mathematically calculate how to make bridges and airplanes because the laws of physics stay the same. God made the world in a way that we can use the orderly scientific method to discover ways to help humankind deal with the problems that came with the fall of man. Creation shows that God values order and that God is orderly. Therefore, a Christian, I want to conform to that same image.
Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
God gave governance over the earth in order that humans could flourish and grow in number. Most people aren’t directly involved with extracting resources from the earth but I believe we can take the general principle of managing resources and stewardship from this passage.
Additionally, Matthew 25:14-30 tells the Parable of Talents. We are given our spouse, our kids and our home. We are called to be faithful with these gifts through intentional living. Our Christian witness in our marriage and our legacy through our children matter the most, but taking care of our homes is another practical example of how to practice and model the godly action of stewardship.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Mark 10:44-45 ...and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
The bible overflows with scriptures about humility, (Ephesians 4:2, Philippians 2:3, Proverbs 11:2, Colossians 3:12, Proverbs 29:23, James 3:13 to name a few). However, sometimes I struggle to see the practical application besides not bragging or being snobby. Well, I mentioned in tip #3 that there was tension in my marriage because of my resistance to taking on the homemaker role. One of the biggest challenges was (and is!) embracing humility and accepting that I need to change my habits. Service is one of my lowest spiritual gifts. Nevertheless, I, like all Christians, am called to have a servant-like attitude, just as Christ modeled.
It’s not surprising that so many women struggle to stomach the non-glamorous never ending role of maintaining a home. The idea of embracing mundane tasks like the dishes and laundry runs contrary to the world’s encouragement for women to be “whatever they want to be.” High powered, money making roles are what culture says are important. Or sometimes there are careers that aren’t big money makers but society quickly jumps to salute it’s value e.g. teaching or nursing. But voluntarily shouldering 95% of the household chores? Boring. Old fashioned. Maybe even misogynist.
However, as Christians, since when is the world’s wisdom what we follow? Jesus flipped everything upside down. This is our opportunity to stand out in a “lowly” position that we know our God appreciates and honors.
Love and Hospitality:
Furthermore, keeping your home nice is a way to show love to others. This includes your spouse, children and anyone you invite over! The most common objection to hospitality is that the house is a mess.
1 Timothy 5:10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
This verse is in reference to the criteria of the early church for which widows would be supported by the local church. It’s easy to think of starting a ministry or logging volunteer hours as the best way to make a difference, but right there in the bible raising children and hospitality are at the top of the list.
6 - Remember A Perfect House Is Not the Goal of Homemaking
I encourage you to identify if you are someone who tends to put an overemphasis on keeping a perfect house or if you are struggling to fit homemaking into your daily habits.
If you are someone who struggles with perfectionism in regards to homemaking, my prayer is that God would help you be motivated to keep up your clean habits out of stewardship of God’s gifts and love for others, rather than from a place of fear. Sometimes we fear that we aren’t valuable if we don’t perform. This dynamic goes deep into people pleasing and perfectionism. Prayer will help keep your inspiration pure. The Holy Spirit can prompt you to maintain healthy boundaries that create a lifestyle that prioritizes relationships and leaves you feeling good about what you do, and don’t do, for your family.
I’ll be transparent in admitting I am someone who habitually procrastinates dusting and much of my blog is geared towards women like me. It helps me avoid the perfectionism trap when I think of the Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42. (I’m referring to Luke 10:38-42 when Martha opened her home to Jesus and the disciples. She complained to Jesus that her sister Mary was listening to him rather than helping her with the preparations but Jesus rebuked her stating that Mary chose what is best.) My thought process is I’d rather be a Mary than Martha since Jesus said she chose better and it’s more fun.
However, the downside is that this relationship oriented mindset can be taken too far. Yes, relationships should be prioritized over homemaking. But if you are like me and fall on the side of resisting cleaning, remember our children are with us for 18 years, not for a visit like Jesus in Martha’s home. I have to contend with managing my home and not only focus on building a relationship with my girls. That’s why I highlight the importance of a clean orderly home for those who, like me, find it easy to delay vacuuming and the like.
7 - Reframe homemaking as an opportunity for growth and development rather than a mundane burden
Back when I pursued Business & Mindset coaching, I loved how the challenge forced me to pursue personal development to a level I was never motivated to prior. But then when I felt God telling me to hit pause on pursuing a business, I hit pause on the positive habits of consistently reading and listening to uplifting podcasts that propelled me forward as an effective person. However, God is showing me that His transformative power is just as important in my role as homemaker as it was in business. It is natural to focus on the skills of homemaking, but more importantly, here are a few qualities in which we can seek improvement that hit the heart of homemaking. As you focus on these traits, your growth will help you expand instead of feeling trapped as homemaker.
What are the Qualities of a Homemaker?
8 Qualities of an Excellent Homemaker
1 - Loving: Take care of the home from a place of love and then you are investing in your home, not a house.
2- Joyful: Gratitude is the antidote for discontentment and the result is joy. Joyful homemakers are able to keep going, and enjoy the process. This creates a positive atmosphere and maximized relationships for the whole family.
3- Self-Controlled: Most people don’t love chores. Homemakers have to be self starters with the discipline to tackle their to-do list.
4- Intentional: The true value of homemaking does not come from perfection. Intentionality allows the homemaker to execute her role in a way that makes the greatest positive impact on her particular family.
5- Prudent: It’s hard work to maintain a home, particularly with young ones. It takes prudence in action but also mental prudence to fight off overwhelm and/or discouragement.
6- Flexible: Accept that sometimes things won’t go as planned. Especially with kids, you might not get as much done as you were hoping.
7- Creative: Find ways to create an orderly, joyful home that are more efficient, effective or less expensive.
8- Resourceful: Even if a solution is not immediately apparent or it appears the money isn’t there, use what you have to address needs.
God transforms our inward qualities (our being) through the Holy Spirit. This results in doing the actions we are called to. Developing the skills will come naturally as we consistently do the outward actions.
The key is for our actions to be inspired through internal change, molded by God himself, rather than the force of will power. When this is the fuel for your daily tasks the result is joy, not resentment towards family members and feeling like a slave.
8 - Pray about homemaking
God does the transforming but we do have a role in our growth. We can read God’s Word and we can pray. I decided to highlight prayer around this topic because prayer is something that is most easily incorporated throughout the day in your daily habits. We can use various chores to trigger different prayers, such as praying over the armor of God for our family members as we do laundry. But also I encourage you to actually talk to God about homemaking itself.
Address when you are struggling to have a good attitude about it. Request that God would nudge your loved ones to show appreciation or more readily do their part in taking care of the home. Pray for wisdom in how you should respond. Ask Him to lead you to friends or at least online influences who are an inspiration in how they conduct themselves as stay-at-home moms and homemakers.
Here’s a summary of the 8 Homemaking Tips to help you feel validated and hopefully invigorated in your role as a homemaker instead of slipping into feeling like an unappreciated slave.
1 - Identify the practical importance behind homemaking.
2- Acknowledge the negative impact of chaos in the home and take up the mission to combat it.
3- Take seriously how homemaking impacts your marriage and be motivated out of love.
4- Recognize how homemaking impacts your kids
5- Be inspired by why homemaking matters spiritually
6- Remember A Perfect House Is Not the Goal of Homemaking
7- Reframe homemaking as an opportunity for character growth, not just a mundane task
8- Pray about homemaking
Leave a comment with the tip that you found most helpful or with a tip of your own!
Another post that might be of interest to you: Embrace the Challenge, Growth and Achievement of Being a SAHM.
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