The Maker of the Home

The Maker of the Home

Once again, I sat, pen poised in mid-air, muscles slightly tensed, and mind perplexed.  I tried to stifle the deep sigh that I knew was right at the surface.  Every time it was the same.  The setting might change slightly.  It could be a doctor’s office, the orthodontist, or maybe even a dance studio or music school.  I faced the space on the form the same way every time- the blank titled- Occupation.  For many years, I could write in STUDENT.  Eventually, I earned the right to fill in with the word TEACHER.  But for the last 19 years, I have been neither, or both, but none officially.

For 19 years, I have been at home working at this thing called mothering.  I have kept 6 people fed, clothed, clean, and loved.  I have lit candles, played music, decorated, and created.  I have learned to cook and bake.  Sewing, not so much! I have wiped tears, noses, and behinds.  I have tied a million shoe laces.  I have cleaned rooms, cars, and vomit! I have been the official finder of lost things. I have brushed and detangled miles of hair.  I have read classics in picture books and chapter books.  I have taken gazillions of pictures and I have been in very few. I have nursed the babies and the sick.  I have attempted to create a haven for my family from the world.

I have mentored and discipled four humans.  I have taught them every subject in every grade in a standard curriculum along with some not so standard options.  I have encouraged, prodded, chastened, listened, hugged, and equipped.  I have launched some into the world and led them to work, learning, and ministries suited to their unique selves. I have been driven to my knees many times seeking strength, resilience, and patience.  So. Much. Patience.

But that won’t all fit in the space allotted for OCCUPATION.  What’s a mom like me to do?  What do you do?  For a while, I stretched the truth a bit and wrote in SELF-EMPLOYED.  Not a lie, really.  But I was only writing that out of some deep- seated need to be accepted by whomever would read the form.  Sounds pathetic, right?  I mean does anyone in the office actually look at the Occupation line?

I guess the problem is that there isn’t really one word that describes my chosen field of work.  Stay at home mom sounds so limited.  It sounds as if I am locked in the house; a prisoner guarded by my own offspring! Homemaker is a fine title, of course.   But in today’s world, who can relate to what that really means?  I do not vacuum every day in heels and pearls.  I do not stand at the door every morning handing each family member a homemade packed lunch and waving good-bye as they go off to adventures and I go back into my clean and quiet house.  Wait a minute!  That actually sounds pretty good!  Homemaker should suffice, but something felt off.  The title still wasn’t quite clear enough.  I needed something that spoke to what I truly did.

So, last month when I once again faced the dreaded form, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I can write whatever I want.  No one is going to deny me services if I write author, cook, maid, educator, or caregiver.  I was tempted to write in CIRCUS PERFORMER just to see if anyone actually reads the whole form.  Maybe one day I will get up the nerve.  I’ll let you know if I get a response.

Instead, I wrote MAKER OF THE HOME.  Because that is what I do.  I make a home for the people I love.  I don’t make it perfect, by any means, but I make it.  I make it for them every day.  Over and over. And it’s quite a job.  A lot of responsibility.  I think on my feet, survive on little sleep, and multitask like a boss. I’ve had 19+ years of on the job training and experience.  I am deemed an essential employee. I get a lot of overtime!  The salary may not be six figures.  Heck, it’s not even one figure! But, my earnings are beyond measure.  I am wealthy in a way no paid job could ever produce.  I make a great living. I make a living by making a home.  And that is something to be proud of.

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