If you’re like me, you’re feeling a little lost in this world right now. If you’re like me, you were raised in a household where being a homemaker was not a viable career option or you’d simply never thought the title would ever apply to you for other reasons. If you’re like me, you’re just beginning to see the beauty in being a homemaker and the strength and the courage required to follow such a calling. Hi! My name is Onica, and I’m a 20year-old, recently married, homemaker. I cannot explain to you how mind blown I am to see that spelled out in writing. I never intended on getting married before I was 25 (what I previously considered the ideal age to get married), and it was even further outside of the realm of possibility that I would ever be a homemaker. I grew up with divorced parents. They are both healthcare professionals with relentless work ethic, great respect from their peers, and over 20 years of experience in their respective jobs. My mom is an ICU (intensive care unit) nurse, and my dad is a general surgeon. The only thing they ever seemed to agree on in my childhood was that I needed a top-notch education and to be laser-focused on The Big Picture. What’s The Big Picture? It includes 12 years of spotless report cards, extracurriculars, and (somewhat optional) a handful of scholarships to the best universities. This would then translate into a flashy job with a healthy annual salary and a wall of certificates and degrees. Their intention was to sketch out a life for me in which I never had to rely on another living soul. I can see how this would have served me well. I can also see, now, how limited of a position that would put me in. They wanted to give me the world, and in the process nearly boxed me in. Ironic, no? You can see how the topic of being a homemaker never quite came up in conversation.
My Introduction to Homemaking
If my parents didn’t introduce me to the idea, how did I come across this amazing role? My mother-in-law! This leads me to another unexpected and surprising turning point in my life that brought me to homemaking. They say opposites attract, and I’ve never seen that to be truer than in the case of my husband, Jake, and me. To start, he was raised in a home with one younger brother and two loving parents who recently celebrated 25 years together. His mom, Julie, homeschooled both Jake and his younger brother, Justin. She worked at a job outside of her home the first three years of her marriage, and then she became a stay-at-home mom when Jake was born and loved every minute of it (sort of). Additionally, his parents never pressured either of their children to follow the traditional college track. If the boys worked hard, brought in a paycheck, and proved that they would manage their money wisely, their parents were accepting of whatever route the boys decided to take after graduating high school. This made it challenging for said well-meaning parents to accept me. Why? Well, I popped into the family three years go with minimal to no desire for children, no interest in anything having to do with homemaking or traditionalism, and every intention of following my parents’ dreams of my staying the course through an undergrad and graduate program, both. Only then would I consider marriage. Only after I had my career secured. Now I’m here, and I’m writing a blog post about how to ease the transition into homemaking as a young, 20-something who has little idea what she’s doing but a whole lotta determination to make it work. Wherever you’ve come from and however you’ve arrived here, welcome! I look forward to growing and learning alongside you all.
AN OVERVIEW OF WHAT I’VE LEARNED SO FAR
What have I learned so far? That’s what you’re here to learn, right? I’ve learned that marriage is not for the weak — homemaking even less so. I think John Coblentz put it eloquently when he said, “…homemaking is not a dull, servile work for lower intelligence women; it is a full-time, lifetime responsibility which demands creativity, intelligence, and management skills of the highest caliber…” I’ve found that to be accurate. It took me being at home fulltime to realize how much attention your home requires in upkeep and maintenance. It’s learning new skills all the time. It’s being open to and accepting failure and mistakes. It’s tedious and routine, and I struggle with that aspect as someone who finds excitement in what’s not routine or typical. There are endless (family and personal) calendar updates. There are the phone calls and confirmation texts both prior to and after the calendar updates. I wrestle with the knowledge that we should be eating three square meals a day, and someone (you) must plan for all three of those meals ahead of your grocery store shop to make sure it’s all there when it comes time to cook. Every. Single. Day. I’m still waiting for that to become more enjoyable overall even as I know what an undeniable blessing it is and what it means to have to opportunity to complain about something so many cannot. I struggle to be motivated and to pay attention to all the little things some days. I don’t want to do food preparation! I don’t want to mop the floors or fold the laundry! And I most certainly do not want to dust. There are plenty of days that I don’t want to do any one thing because as soon as I do, I know I’ll feel it’s necessary to complete a whole list of tasks or else feel like a failure of the day. I thought staying home would be underwhelming, boring, and unfulfilling. I’ve come to realize that it’s more time-consuming and brings me more comfort, joy, and a variety of other benefits than any other job I’ve worked. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry as a host, in retail in a variety of positions, and in the memory care unit of an assisted living facility as the equivalent of a certified nurse’s assistant. Now that I’m reflecting on that time of my life, I’ve come to understand that in each of those roles what I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to connect with and care for others. What better place to do that than in my own home? Who better to spend my energy on than my family?
TOOLS FOR THE TRADE
I would say that the first and most important tool in becoming a homemaker is a supportive husband. I never would have pursued this path without his encouragement and persistence. I never would have felt comfortable stepping away from outside employment without Jake telling me that he was confident in my ability to find success in it. I wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t of assured me that my stepping away from my job at the time wouldn’t be a burden to us financially. I wouldn’t have believed I could do it without him believing in me, first. The second aspect of homemaking that I’ve found most crucial is willingness. You must be willing to try, to fail, and to change. I have given in and spent days on the couch, scrolling TikTok and wasting time in general. There are plenty of skills that I haven’t acquired yet, either because I haven’t taken the time to try or because they’re tricky to learn. I’ve seen a shift in myself, and I believe close friends and family have, too. Homemaking requires a certain amount of confidence and an evaluation of who you are and what you’re willing to do for those in your family. It’s one thing to do a job for a certain amount of pay in return. It’s another to do a job because you love the people, you’re doing it without any preexisting expectations for financial compensation or thankfulness from those you’re sacrificing for. To that end, I believe it’s also important to have a community you can rely on and find inspiration in — people who will cheer you on and who will help you rally and brush the dust off when you inevitably trip up. There are a good many people, women especially, who aren’t going to understand what you’re doing or your motivation for doing it. Why would you stay home and do chores all day when you could be in a career outside the home bringing in extra income? Don’t you want to be successful in your own right? Aren’t you worried your husband’s successes are going to overshadow your very existence if you don’t stay in the fight to keep up with him and every other man and woman in your career field? It’s imperative that you find people who will walk alongside you as you’re learning and growing in this, even if they’re not interested in becoming homemakers themselves. You will doubt yourself. You will doubt that you’ve made the best, smartest choice for you and your family. You will doubt your capability. Make sure your support is in place before those doubts come trickling (or pouring) in or else risk missing out on what could be one of the very best experiences of your life.