Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Unconventional Homemakers



Today, I'd like to talk about a few people who I see as "makers of righteous homes" in places and situations that we might not think of first when we hear the word "homemaker."

In no particular order:

The first person I think of when I think of someone who saw herself as a maker of a righteous home is my kindergarten teacher.  If I'm being really honest, I'll admit that, as a kindergartner, I resented her, because I resented all the rules of school in general--especially the rules about staying in my seat, being quiet while the teacher spoke, and having to raise my hand to speak myself.  It was a lot to adjust to...but with the love and steady hand of a patient teacher, and time to mature, I'd say I made it out of Grade-K all right.  

Only looking back could I recognize what this woman did to make our classroom a safe, beautiful daytime "home" to "grow-up" in.  My teacher, never married, but not by choice.  Years later, when I had kids of my own, I started a correspondence with her, because I was curious about her as a person and about myself at the age of 5.  I came to realize that she never meant to be a teacher all her life...her ultimate aspiration was to be a Mother...but never having that opportunity did not cause her to throw in the towel on making a righteous home for students she treated as her own children and for her own mother, now in her 90's for whom she cares all on her own.  I hope this woman knows what an amazing homemaker she has been all these years, even though her own home has been absent of little voices...I hope she knows.  I try to tell her all the time.

Another person I think of is the mother of one of my best childhood friends.  She was also a neighbor.  My parents let me play with this little friend all of the time.  We even had many a sleep-over at her house.  I learned a lot of things over at my friend's house.  We were doing things that kids these days will probably only ever dream of.  We had such freedom.  Even more so at my friend's house.  I noticed things while at her house.  I noticed that things were different in her family than in mine.  First of all, her parents smoked, so after every sleepover, I hated the smell of my hair and my pillow and sleeping bag.  I noticed that they ate fast-food a lot. (Lucky!  Ha ha.)  And they ate on disposable plates.  The list of differences in our families goes on and on...however probably the biggest difference was that, although I never felt in danger myself, I knew there was trouble in that household, in the form of the dad.  As a young person, I wasn't quite clear what the trouble was exactly, I just knew it was darker than anything I'd ever seen, and that he was often grouchy or passed out on the couch.  But I loved my friend dearly, and we made some of the best memories together of my young life.  I love her to this day.

Despite the store-bought meals and cigarettes (and swear words) there was one person in the home who was definitely holding the place together, and that was my friend's Mother.  No matter what was happening in the house, I always felt that the mother was trying her best to hold things together, working so hard on night shifts, trying to parent the best she could, etc. Trying to hold her kids to a higher standard.

Years passed.  I was back home for Thanksgiving.  I had gone for a walk and noticed someone slip in the back door of my friend's house.  I decided to go over there on Thanksgiving night and see if my friend was home.  In the time that had passed, the father had died.  That was all that I knew.  When I knocked on the door, I was welcomed warmly in to a very different house...a much brighter, livelier, happier home.  It was full of relatives eating and laughing, and loving one another.  I thought I had stepped into my own version of "It's a Wonderful Life."  At some point, probably when the father was out of the picture, Mom and the rest of the family started to finally thrive...kids went to college and higher ed.  Mom quit smoking and remodeled the house.  The family itself was alive and vibrant.  There was an amazing energy that actually energized me for days.  And this story makes me cry when I tell it, because the difference was night and day.  But in this house too, there is the story of a mother and children who deep-down inside were homemakers...and they finally prevailed.

Another person I'll tell you about is a relative of mine who I've never met.  Through a twist of fate, or destiny, he became the much-beloved husband of my great-grandmother.  When they married, my grandmother was already born through a previous marriage, however, my great-grandmother was able to bear a son with her new husband.  One day, my grandmother returned from school, so excited to share her good grades with her parents that she ran inside and neglected to securely close the door behind her.  As a result, her toddler-aged brother wandered from the house and drowned.  My grandmother was heart-broken at her mistake and the consequence it caused.  I can only guess that her parents were even more-so, however, my grandmother would always tell the story that her step-father never blamed her for the loss of his only son.  He never treated her differently or like a step-child.  He was only her daughter, whom he loved as his own.  Did this man make a home?  Did he see himself as a homemaker?  I hope so, because that is what he did when he accepted my grandmother and loved her despite enduring an irreversible loss.

No one in these stories was LDS...They're just good people, doing the best they can in their situations...living the light they know...moving toward the life they want...and doing what is necessary to be the makers of righteous homes...no matter how long it took or hard it was for those dreams to be realized. Making the hard choices.

Not all homes look exactly the same.  Not all families follow the same path.  Sometimes the homemaker has to be a young son who comes day after day to school without a lunch, so that  younger sibling can eat.  Or maybe the maker of a righteous home has to be a teenage girl who blows the whistle on parents who need treatment.  Sometimes, the maker of a righteous home is simply a child who chooses to keep a commandment or remind their family to hold family prayer, or a Mother who does her best to keep clean socks on her children's feet even if it means matching a million loads of unmatchable socks...or having the patience to help children learn to do the same.

In this world, there is a great need for people who are willing to see themselves as "makers of righteous homes," and to do so without apology.

As Bonnie D. Oscarson has taught, "All of us--women, men, youth, and children, single or married--can work at being homemakers...What a difference it would make in the world if all people would see themselves as makers of righteous homes."

I see people all the time on social media, specifically Dads that I know, filling the role of homemaker--those who are proud to spend time with and support their families.  I want them to know that they are being righteous homemakers too, and that I appreciate and respect the work they are doing.
  
How will I elevate the term "homemaker"?  I will elevate the term homemaker by actively and consistently calling attention to the positive things I see people do all around me to preserve their families and to be makers of righteous homes, even in less-than ideal situations. 

What will you do to elevate the term or role of homemaker in the world??

These bloggers are determined to elevate the term of homemaker! Read their posts in this blogger round-up.

Lara @ Overstuffed Life | Heidi @ One Creative Mommy | Jessica @ Jessica Poe
Mandy @ A Bliss Complete | Jocelyn @ We Talk of Christ | Jen @ Moss Moments

20 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Jocelyn! I loved reading about those unconventional homemakers. What wonderful people. I particularly liked reading about the woman who held her home together in such a sad environment.

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    1. Sadly my friend's mother died in recent years but that moment will live in my heart for a long time. And my friend is a mom and herself and she is doing well.

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    2. Sadly my friend's mother died in recent years but that moment will live in my heart for a long time. And my friend is a mom and herself and she is doing well.

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  2. I love these stories. They are perfect examples of what a homemaker is, and how it isn't always easy, but so essential to the happiness and spirit in a home.

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    1. I just love that they are raising our sights...to see homemaking as something all can and should do....in a variety of ways. Love it. Thank you for your input, Mandy!

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    2. I just love that they are raising our sights...to see homemaking as something all can and should do....in a variety of ways. Love it. Thank you for your input, Mandy!

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  3. Thank you! This was very touching...even within the church many live in less than ideal circumstances. I absolutely love this quote from Sister Esplin in General Conference: "Strong eternal families and Spirit-filled homes do not just happen. They take great effort, they take time, and they take each member of the family doing his or her part. Every home is different, but every home where even one individual seeks for truth can make a difference.

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    1. I absolutely loved that quote when I heard it...and was excited too. She's right..it doesn't just happen. It takes hard work...using Moms know that well! Thanks for your comment, Jennifer!

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  4. loving tribute, also to be mentioned are those women who struggle on after upsetting divorces to make a home for their children and survive as a single parent with broken dreams....

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    1. The biggest blessing is when a person is able to find new dreams...like my grandma did...and my great-grandmother. Those later dreams were the sweetest.

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    2. The biggest blessing is when a person is able to find new dreams...like my grandma did...and my great-grandmother. Those later dreams were the sweetest.

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  5. This was such a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing these truly tender stories. I love that you recognized the people in these unique situation as great homemakers. I do think there are any righteous men out there that are truly awesome homemakers.
    Blessings and hugs for this one!

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  6. I have always loved the title of homemaker. I can't wait to share this topic in our FHE! Thanks as always for spreading goodness!

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    1. Thanks, Angie...what better thing could we spend our time making...but a peaceful, happy home??! :)

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    2. Thanks, Angie...what better thing could we spend our time making...but a peaceful, happy home??! :)

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  7. I haven't been here for a long time. But I LOVE the Proclamation, and the station of HOMEMAKER so much, that the recent titles got me back over. I was not disappointed with the content; thank you! :D You wrote this so beautifully, and really caused me to REVEL again, in this holy calling! :)

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    1. Thank you, Corine! (Sorry, I didn't see this comment at first, but I really appreciate it!) Welcome back! ;)

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