Recently my hubby and I watched Peter Walsh, Life Organization expert “strip down” a family of four who were highly stressed, eating poorly, living in clutter, and only communicating via electronics. Wes’s question at the end was, “What was the stay at home mom doing all day?” Exactly.
The things we take for granted on our farms that we do to create a sanctuary are actually worthy to be on Oprah! I think it is time we stop to appreciate the art of homemaking and those folks, male and female, who work hard to have family meals around the table on a regular basis, play games, ride horses, go to the outdoor rink and stay connected.
Today’s ag. families are texting, listening to professional development podcasts, and checking emails but I also think they know the value of connecting with face to face interaction, healthy meals (much of which they produced) and an orderly environment.
Reflect for a moment on the Homemaker’s Creed, written in l947 by Mrs. F. F. Brudevold:
“I believe my home is sacred; a place where love, faith, hope and devotion have their beginning; where each has his rights respected by others; where joys and blessings, sorrows and disappointments are shared in common; where God is revered and honoured, fellowmen respected and love is law.
I believe it is my duty to live up to the best that is in me to attain this, to fear things unworthy, to conquer difficulties by daring to attempt them, to be a companion as well as counselor to my family, and to teach and live, love of home, country, fellowmen and God.” Remember that creed was penned in 1947 and today we would use more inclusive language, but the intent of the creed has great merit in our wired world today.
I am seeing young farm women who have a career outside the home, a calling at home to raise young children, and a farm mortgage to pay, along with fields to help combine. These young women and their hubbies could use some verbal encouragement and donated pies for their freezers. My neighbour brought a meat pie, buns, and cake last week when her family came for a mid-week supper visit. I felt blessed. Who has time to bake pies? Or, who makes time to bake pies?
Time spent on creating the sacred sanctuary of a happy family home is everyone’s choice. Money can buy some speed to buy house-cleaning services, but money can’t buy time to play games, wrestle on the floor, or share tea with your mate on the couch to discuss the state of your union.
The art of homemaking is being monetized by two women in the United States who last year made over $100,000 doing podcasts to encourage young moms. Check out www.podcast.mommycast.com These women are using their homemaking and mommy skills to encourage a nation of frazzled frantic families.
So, how are you showing up to create a home that folks love to be in? You can spend time surfing the internet to be inspired about de-cluttering, but ultimately you actually have to do the work of recycling Grainews, and shipping off stuff to the thrift store. In Peter Walsh’s TV clip, it only took the family 2 hours to clean out the garage, because they focused on the task, worked as a team, and had been without the distraction of TV and computers for 7 days!
I could live without television, but I am glad I can visit ag families every week on AgVision TV. So am I a hypocrite? No. I just see TV as a huge time stealer for other things that might have a better impact on family life. Last night I did watch the Bee Movie with 6 darling little kids, but I also know they play in the snow fort and spend lots of time drawing and painting. I would love to do more painting, so why it is not happening?
Homemaking as an art takes intentional decision making. I choose to clean my own house, but I don’t put a high priority on perfectionism when it comes to dusting! I have seasons of work that consume large chunks of time, because I love to write, speak and coach. I also choose to cook supper from scratch and invite folks to share it with us. We all make choices, some decisions are less conscious than others.
Families have seasons. Young families with children underfoot all day could really use your support and encouragement. Single parent families are hungry for love and attention from folks who are not family but who would adopt them into the circle of love. Single farm guys are tired of the jokes about “when are you going to find someone to cook for you?” (They are great cooks!) These young producers would enjoy sharing the sanctuary of your home on a cold winter’s night.
Resiliency to cope with the bumps of agriculture is strengthened when we have a strong emotional support group and connections. I challenge you to think about how well you are currently connected emotionally to your spouse, your children, and your parents. I am seeing farming partners pining for friendship with family, and why can’t that start with a great meal at the kitchen table, followed by a game or chuckles sprinkled with committed conversation? (Avoid the farm business talk for awhile).
The glossy ag. magazines add to the clutter in my home, just like they do in yours. I am not seeing a lot of press about the profitability of a happy, healthy, well-adjusted home life, but I know that my role as a homemaker is important to our farm. “But Elaine, you are never home“ are fighting words to me, because from a distance people can make all kinds of assumptions about how you allocate your time. Cell phones can quickly confirm your availability to connect.
So stop beating yourself up for the things that have become frantic in your life, and make some course corrections. Strip down to your essentials that make a happy home life. Find some margin time on the calendar. Shut off the computer and TV from 6 to 9 in the evening. Park the cell phone, on vibrate at the back door. Break bread together, and laugh and connect. You don’t have to bake the bread yourself unless you want to be like Martha Stewart… you just have to pay attention to nurturing your homemaking abilities that will draw the family back to a deeper sense of belonging, caring, and healthy place to grow.
At one time when I was voting and had to state my current occupation as “homemaker” it didn’t feel right, but now in our whacky wired world, I sense that many farm women and men would see their home life as the key foundation to their happiness and ultimately their definition of success. What does it profit a couple if they gain all the land, and yet have no family who care about them?
Hug your family. Embrace your single friends. Have fun.
Remember, it is your farm, your family, and your choice.