In the three-plus decades of my life, I have worried about a lot of things; a pandemic was never one of them. But I don’t want to focus on anxiety and fear, on the bad things that are happening or the people whose worst sides are starting to come out. Instead, in this post I am going to reflect on how homemaking plays a very significant role in the new way of life that we are all trying to adjust to (at least for the time being), and how we can help each other right now.
I have noticed in the news and on social media that many people who are stuck at home are starting to use activities that are simply par-for-the-course in a homemaker’s life as a form of self-care. Learning to bake bread, for example, is one way that a lot of people are handling their stress, for one thing because it can be relaxing and distracting, and for another because it is practical, and possibly something that will start to become a household necessity in the days to come.
People are finally taking up yoga or other exercise as a way to de-stress, when it was something that they couldn’t or felt they didn’t have time to do when working outside of the home. Cleaning is another big one. Many of the things that I do every day are turning into a new focus in a lot of lives. People are trying to keep themselves busy, or tending to things that they have put off for a long time.
As a homemaker, there are many things I do at home. But the things I do outside of the home are just as important—to me, my husband, my friends and family, and my community. Until a few weeks ago, I regularly went out shopping for the things we needed, and volunteered at the local food pantry. I also made many social visits. One benefit of my career of a homemaker is that I have the time and freedom to do such things; I am well aware that I am very lucky to be able to spend my time in this way, during this season of my life.
While it is wonderful to see familiar faces on Skype or Zoom or FaceTime, or whatever video chat service you might be using, it is never the same as seeing someone in person. During this crisis, I can easily “work from home,” relying on online ordering and delivery services to provide my family with the things we need. I can’t, however, interact with anyone face-to-face besides my husband.
Unfortunately, until we have a vaccine and some kind of “herd immunity,” we will continue to lose many more of the freedoms and privileges that we are so used to—not to mention countless lives. But no matter how inconvenient or even painful it feels, we must go all-in to fight this virus, and temporarily let go of our usual routines.
If you are struggling right now (aren’t we all), please don’t beat yourself up for watching more Netflix than you think you should, and eating a pint (or half-gallon) of ice cream, or even crying all day long. It is okay to feel your feelings, as long as you eventually get back to living your life—though it may be much different from how it was before, or how you thought it would be.
As soon as you are able to pick yourself up off the floor (or couch), it will make a huge difference if you look for ways to help the people who are hurting even more than you are, because of poverty, sickness, job loss, and so many other things. If you can, if you are young and healthy, buy groceries for your older neighbors or family members. Donate blood to combat the blood shortage we are facing. Give money or extra supplies to a local food bank/ pantry/ shelter/ school/ hospital.
Homemaking is about taking care of your home and your family, yes, but, at least in my opinion, it is also about giving back in as many ways as you can. In a sense, we are all called upon to be homemakers right now, whether you have another job or not.
Bake a loaf of bread (and an extra for your elderly neighbor), take a walk, binge some Netflix, clean your kitchen, and then think about how you can bless the lives of others with your actions. THIS is the true essence of homemaking. You keep your home clean, comfortable, safe, warm, and loving for your own family. So I encourage you, especially during these difficult times, to MAKE THE WORLD YOUR HOME.
Of course, there are many people who are not able to just stay home. Thank you to the doctors and nurses, and the grocery store cashiers, among others. If you look at it my way, they are all “homemaking” too.