Home March 9, 2013

Home has always been a struggle for me.  When I was young it was plain old unsafe.  As soon as I realized I could spend a great deal of time at my friends’ homes (which was about 7th grade), I did.   I noticed whose homes were safe, whose parents treated me sideways, whose home was warm, stocked & safe and whose was sterile, hostile and unforgiving.

I never thought much about what my own home would be like until I started to watch my best friends get married & I unhelpfully assumed I’d find the same marital bliss and my home would be a warm, welcoming hub of activity and well behaved children.  I have been known for my naivite’, you’ll have to forgive me.

Here I am now, married nearly 13 years, two boys in tow, living in a home where seems thing to have gotten out of hand.  Both my unsupported expectations and my clutter in equal measure.  Yes, I do believe my children feel safe and loved and that should feel good enough for me but it doesn’t.  I never wanted to be Susie HomeMaker but I also never thought I’d be Clara Clutter or Missy Mess. Also, Unorganized Una.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s latest offering, Happier at Home where she kicks her original Happiness Project up a notch by focusing a great deal of energy creating resolutions which she believes will bring greater happiness to her home life, marriage & children.  I want to beg, borrow & steal every idea she has for making my home a happier place too.  Certainly clearing clutter, making a clean office space or a weekly date with your children aren’t her original ideas but I can’t help but wonder if I’d work harder or be more successful at home-making if I’d had a model of it growing up…and then it would be easier to carry out the types of things Gretchen carried out in her home happiness project.

If, if if is a nasty game to play.

When it comes to what I did and didn’t have growing up I can get caught in all the shame traps pretty easily especially when I start thinking of the lack of routines and discipline I don‘t enforce.  I wonder sometimes, when I’m talking about (or merely pontificating) about clearing the clutter in our home, moving (because our home has become far too small for us), cooking regularly or any other good thing, if folks believe I feel I must do this to fulfill some grand home-making identity.  As far as I can tell, it’s not that.

As far as I can tell, I want to teach myself to make traditions and home a stable environment for my husband and children. And for me too, precisely because I didn’t have it growing up. In addition to not having a safe, loving, trusting environment I want something different for myself and my kiddos and that has to be okay.

I try to believe in my motives, and pray the Lord keeps me pure as I seek the stability which I desperately desire for our home.  Even if my motives become somewhat shady, what will it have hurt for me to put in the effort to make our home a better place?

Everyday that goes by, I continue to feel a sense of heaviness surrounding this issue.  I suppose it has a little something to do with being actually cluttered, with knowing no one is coming round to fix all our problems, knowing we likely won’t be able to afford to move for 2 more years at least and that I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing in home keeping.  So.  I’d say I’m suffering through a healthy dose of paralzying fear in an area I can’t seem to gain control over.

Like most things in life, I need willingness to work hard, read widely, fill up on resources, gain support, push through the challenges and DO. At least then, one day, I can tell myself and my kiddos that I did my absolute best in making our house a home even if I wind up falling short.

Do you struggle or excel in homemaking tasks? What helped you to get to where you want to be or what’s keeping you from it?

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