Christian Homemaking As Part of a Career

The dining room table is a great place for working and keeping track of everything else that’s going on.

There’s something to be said for working at home full-time after having been full-time “at work” for years.

First off, all those boring, repetitive tasks that I’ve heard homemakers complain about? They’re just like the boring repetitive tasks at work. Except at home they’re dishes instead of data entry. And sometimes they still are data entry, because there’s so much work involved in keeping up with documents, schedules, income, and spending.

The people who do stuff that drives you crazy? At least at home they are people who also care about you. They may never stop doing “those things,” whatever they are, but somehow, it “lives” easier when they also bring chocolate-covered caramels from time to time.

Putting First Things First

The more rewarding tasks? If you’ve spent years scheduling yourself at work, you’re more likely to prioritize getting rewarding things done instead of putting them last as punishment for not having mopped. So I tailor our trousers to fit the shapes we’ve both earned by exercising and eating better. It saves us money, makes us look sharp, and makes us happy. The floors will be happy enough if they’re mopped another day.

Measuring My Contribution

And the sense that you provide a valuable contribution? I suppose this is different because I am still a free-lance. Even “at home,” I’ve got jobs. I track the value of my time by the hour. I also know the dollar value we save when I do jobs like tailoring, that we no longer send out. And just as important, I know how much more smoothly our life functions when someone has “eyes on” what’s going on and can figure out what systems work best for a household where paper “to do” notebooks keep getting lost. (Hint: for us, it’s shared Google Docs and a shopping/menu whiteboard on the refrigerator.)

Of course, what I’m not dealing with is children who expect every minute belongs to them. We’re in that “empty nest” phase where life tends to go more smoothly anyway. We’ve got relatives to look after, but not kids to worry about. So I know that my experience is much easier than lots of Christian women at home, especially the ones who are much younger.

A Generously Grateful Husband

I also have the advantage of a husband who is relatively observant and generous with his thanks. When he likes a meal, he lets me know. When he is pleased with how his trousers fit, he tells me. This is different from the experience of many wives, I know. They want a workplace job just to get some positive feedback.

Still, I was surprised at first that being at home wasn’t driving me nuts. Now I can understand why three of my four sibs — both male and female — are entrepreneurs, running their businesses from home. You plan your work, you work your plan, you earn your rewards. And, oh yeah, you check that the bread has finished rising and pop it into the oven.

Dinner is served. And we’ve earned it.


About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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