When The Idea of Homemaking Makes You Cringe A Little Bit

As someone who has spent most of my life in the Evangelical world, and who has spent the last few years in the Catholic world, ‘homemaking’ is something I’ve heard often in both places. There are books written about homemaking and podcasts about it. People talk about it—and we seem to all know what the idea of homemaking means.

When I think of the word homemaking, it conjures up images of throw pillows, and softly slung blankets across the arms of chairs. Fresh baked muffins and clean floors. Cute little artsy things on the walls and mantel that were probably purchased from Target or Hobby Lobby. A friend and I were talking recently about how even those more ‘surface’ level connotations are kind of difficult to swallow sometimes, especially if there are stains all over your pillows and couches from grubby little fingers, or if you don’t enjoy hanging cutesy things on the walls.

But there are some deeper connotations, too, and I wonder if other women feel the same way.

It’s not that I don’t want to make my house a home, it’s that I don’t want to feel like ‘home’ has to look a certain way for me to fit my identity as a Catholic Christian woman.

We stopped homeschooling in January, and that has been the best thing for our family. I haven’t always been a stay-at-home mom. I’m currently the owner of a mobile children’s bookshop and an author of middle-grade novels, but I’ve also been a teacher. Our home has looked different in all of those seasons, but I don’t think that at any point it has been any more or less a home.


Sometimes my husband does the laundry. Never do either of us iron any of our clothes unless we’re going to a wedding. I can’t sew anything more than a button. I am horrible with yeast. Do not ask me to make anything that requires ‘rising’ because it will not work. But these are all things that I’ve felt, at one time or another, has been presented as the proper way to make a home by women in faith communities, both Evangelical and Catholic.

I think it may be helpful for us to reframe our idea of what homemaking means. To broaden it, and give it room to breathe. To create space for the diversity of women of faith, our unique gifts and strengths, and the different phases of our lives.

What about leaving the floor for later and going outside to play with your kids? That’s homemaking too. Really, really good homemaking. What about letting the grubby little fingerprints on the fridge go so you can sit down with a coffee and read a book? That’s homemaking, because our peace of mind impacts everyone else. What about letting go of the expectation that we need to entertain our kids all the time to the point that we burn out, and accept that creating a stable home with a predictable routine is also making a home?

Click to tweet:
A pretty house can be an indicator of a true home, but it also can cover up struggle. #catholicmom


While I personally love a good throw pillow, having seasonal throw pillows does not make a home. I am a big fan of creative ways to display pumpkins in the fall, but having decorative pumpkins is not in any way the essence of homemaking either. I’ve seen too many situations that look amazing on the surface, but when you peel back a few layers, you see a lot of brokenness and hurt. A pretty house can be an indicator of a true home, but it also can cover up struggle. And when we equate these superficial, first world Christian Woman expectations with being a Good Catholic Mother, then I think that leaves room for us to hide the struggles, or puts pressure on us to do things that may not be our strengths.

In the end, true homemaking is about a safe, and joy-filled, and peaceful home where hearts are safe to grow into what God made them to be.

That’s it, that is homemaking. That is making a home.

I’d love to hear what you think about homemaking—if it’s a concept you’ve embraced (which is great, if that’s you!), if it’s a word that you also struggle with, or if you just have never carried the emotional burdens like I have (haha). I’d love to know your thoughts.

This article originally appeared on CatholicMom.

Donuts After Mass and Other Hopeful Things

Well, we’ve made it to Illinois! Though the move wasn’t too far, mileage speaking, it was far enough that we are having to reset many aspects of our life. In the next few weeks, we will be finding new doctors, dentists, playgrounds… pretty much everything. We keep checking things off the list, but new things get added as well. They all keep telling me it will settled down at some point. And I will choose to believe them. I look forward to the day when all the big stuff is done. But we are here. And that’s a good start.

So here’s a little update on the goings-on of This Catholic Family, now of Illinois.

Donuts After Mass

We think we’ve found a parish! St. Raphael the Archangel. It’s a gorgeous church built of multiple old churches, just a few minutes from our house. I have grown to love beautiful churches so much in the past few years, and this one just felt right for our family, almost as soon as we walked in. The beauty is there, and the history, and the hope of something new. They are still installing the stained glass windows, and have additional work to to in finishing the build of the church so we feel like we are a part of a beautiful beginning, but also something that has roots.

One of the things we were going to miss about moving was our family tradition of donuts after Mass. We would go to O+H Danish Bakery in Racine frequently after Mass for donuts. As we were preparing to move, I looked and couldn’t find a bakery in our area that would quite feel the same. St. Raphael’s, it turns out, offers donuts and fellowship time in the basement of the church each and every Sunday. And you can bet we’ve checked it out! I wish more parishes had something like this, and I am so thankful St. Raphael’s does. It’s helped us get to know a few people already. We are optimistic about joining our family life with the life of this new parish.

Emptiness = Potential

There’s a lot of empty in this house right now. Empty walls, waiting to be painted then filled up with art and pictures. Empty rooms waiting for furniture to arrive. And the emptiness that comes from living in a space you haven’t made many memories in yet, which feels a bit lonely at times. But that kind of emptiness is also filled with potential. The potential for all the memories that we are going to make. It’s been helping me during this transition to pay attention to when a new memory shows up in this new town, in this new home we are forming for ourselves.

A few examples:

When the kids came to the the house for the first time after we moved, they ran and squealed as they went to find their new rooms, and checked out the space. The kids have their own rooms now, but August went right to Felicity and said “My door is always open.” It was so sweet.

There’s one.

A huge rainstorm came through. We can see a lot of sky from our front yard, and when the rain passed, the dark purple rainclouds brushed away to more open skies with streaks of clouds containing every color of the rainbow. The burnt orange sun slipped down toward the horizon, and I stood outside in that salty, warm air, and saw a sunset I would have never been able to see from outside our old house. JP joined me outside and we just stared at it for a while together. I could have looked at that sunset forever.

There’s one.

This weekend we had a family movie night, and watched The Greatest Showman with the kids. At the end credits everyone was dancing and twirling around the family room until we were all pretty dizzy.

There’s one.

Slowly, but surely, this empty house will fill up. With furniture, with kids projects from school, with pictures on the wall. And with memories. This will be the house we think of first when we tell our family’s story. The emptiness of this space has so, so much potential.

And we found a way to still have donuts after Mass. 🙂


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