29 June 2012

Work in Progress - REVISITED

Carrying on from yesterday's post I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the feelings connected with being at home and knowing that you make your own home what it becomes - be that good or not so good.

I've written before that housekeeping and homemaking were very low on my list of priorities when I first came home for good. I say 'came home' because up until that point, my home wasn't what it is now - it was just a place to sleep and invite people around to if we didn't go out. Pathetic. I'm wiser now, my home has taught me many things, including that if I didn't take the time to be at home, if I didn't fluff my nest and make it the warm and secure place I wanted it to be, no one else would and I would continue to search shopping malls for junk to make me feel better.

That split second when you suddenly realise that home is not the enemy and that looking after it is an act of love for all your family and a gift to yourself, is a powerful moment of absolute clarity and insight. You're aware that you make your home what it will be, no one else will do that but you, and whatever work you put into your home will be a reflection of you. It is an opportunity and a challenge. It will show what is important in your life, it will highlight those things you treasure, and, in turn, will reflect your tastes and interests to all who visit you.

When you realise that your home is your work in progress you are given the opportunity to make it the comfortable and protected place that all families need to relax, renew their energy, and grow closer to each other. The real challenge here is when you don't have a lot of money to spend but want a cosy, interesting and welcoming home. Most young couples fall into this area and the trick is not to fall for all the advertising hype and rush to charge up your credit card with the latest fashionable furniture. Smart couples search op shops, thrift stores and road side throw outs for bits and pieces that will suit their purpose. They build their homes on older furniture that is either free or very inexpensive and then modify it to suit themselves. The end result is a home unlike a million others who fell for the advertising. They have the satisfaction of working together to find what they need, and no credit card debt. My own son and his new wife are doing this right now. They have our old lounge suite and picked up a dining suite from a road side throw out. Their home is a delight to visit, it's comfortable, inviting and interesting. We are going there for lunch on Thursday and I'm looking forward to it very much. Working together through hard times is one of those things that draws couples together, it bonds them like nothing else.

But the furniture and bits and pieces you put in a home are not the full story. This story is completed by the work done by the homemaker and the feeling of contentment that comes from it. And whether you're a homemaker who does most of the work in the family home or if you're the delegator of chores and director of operations, the result is the same. A functional and secure home will nurture all who live there.

When I worked for a living and shopping was part of my recreation I used to be bored if I stayed at home. I wondered what on earth homemakers did all day. Now I know. I was lucky enough to wake up to myself, ditch the shopping and return to my home wholeheartedly. And anyone can do that - those who work outside the home and those who work in it. Accepting the power you have to make your home what is can be, to provide nutritious food, to shop according to your budget, to keep a clean home, to teach young children that everyone contributes to the welfare of the family by doing chores and helping, to look after what you own, to mend, recycle and reuse what you can, to live in an environmentally sound way and to express the love you feel for your family within the confines of a safe and peaceful home is the true gift of a homemaker.

You make your home what it becomes - it is your work in progress.
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