When Homemaking Gets In The Way of Mothering

Photo By Witigonen

This post is brought to you by Passionate Homemaking’s Monthly Contributor, Vina Barham.

So at one point in my very short homemaking career, I got this idea in my head that I should learn to bake bread if I was going to be an awesome homemaker. And for a few months, I was baking bread like, a lot. I was also soaking grains and beans and making elaborate meal plans and all that old school coolness.

And then, I stopped. Just like that.

Because somehow, Home-making got in the way of Mothering. Or at least my idea of homemaking. I was slowly wilting in the kitchen and buried under piles of cookbooks for two hours every week trying to figure out our weekly menu, trying so hard to do all the things every good mother should do. I mean, every good mother should at least learn how to bake stuff and have a well-planned schedule of meals, right? Right?

Some of us just thrive and glow in the kitchen. The kinds of mom who are in their element when they are putting something together on the stove, with a planner and a calendar on one hand, a spatula and a rolling pin on the other. You moms rock in your own Julia Child way.

For some of us, it just ain’t so.

Not that we give up trying to learn, because oh how I would love to be THAT mom who makes all our bread from scratch, and have meals that flow seamlessly well. But that requires time, and a whole lot of learning curve. And there’s only so much time and energy that is Given us each day. And sometimes, we have to let go of the Good to make room for what is Good For Us, so that we can offer our Best and focus on the Essential.


  • Taking care of ourselves so we have more of us to give in generous loving heaps to our family.
  • Practicing the art of loosening up, embracing the mess and playing more with our children.
  • Maintaining Our Core Identity so we can offer Genuine parts of ourselves to the people we love.
  • Focusing on Growing as a Mother (and a Wife) instead of Perfecting the Art of Homemaking.
    Okay, more practical examples:

  • Settling for buying nourishing bread elsewhere for the time being so I can learn the essentials in the kitchen stress-free.
  • Forgoing the elaborate menu plans, sticking to the simple recipes I know and slowly, but surely building on them.

I still bake bread on occasion so I can continue to learn how to do it, but I have given myself permission to take that off my essential list, for now. And slowly, I’m learning what needs to make that list, and what needs to be “put on hold” for another time. And bit by bit, taking baby steps and starting small, I will bake the most delicious bread yet in my house. But for now, first things first.

About Vina

Vina spends much of her ordinary days getting to know her winsome daughter and seeing the world through her eyes. She loves learning about everyday simplicity and authenticity, which she shares in her blog, A Nourishing Home.

68 Responses to When Homemaking Gets In The Way of Mothering

  1. Leah June 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Thank-you for your honest post. It is nice to realize that I’m not the only one who can’t seem to find the perfect balance of mothering and perfect homemaking. Don’t you sometimes think that maybe a few of those “perfect” mom bloggers may possibly be exaggerating . . . at least just a little? (I remember reading one mom who was happy that she gave birth on a Friday night so she could be back to homeschooling three children full swing by Monday. Is that even possible?!?!?)

    I still sometimes criticize myself harshly for not being able to do it all. I have three children – an 18 month old, autistic 9 year old w/ celiac disease and an 11 year old. I wish I could properly homeschool, have the perfect garden, run my online business, keep a spotless home, bake everything from scratch, cloth diaper, practice attachment parenting, etc. etc. etc.

    Right now, I sometimes have difficulties accomplishing even the things that I find most important. Maybe the women who really are doing it “all” and still finding time to relax are getting quite a bit more help than they realize. I used to wish I could live up to my mother, but then realized that I just can’t. My grandparents used to help out with chores and groceries when I was young. I think a lot of families don’t receive help anymore. Because of our economy, many of us are forced to live miles away from family so we can find jobs. If we do have family near by, they’re working long hours and aren’t able to lend a helping hand.

  2. kl September 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    The only thing you can do is make your life feel like your life. I’d love to cook elaborate meals (it actually gives me enjoyment when not too frequent) but rarely do. Because when I really think what to do with that free time (then one left after immediate care and playing with the kiddo), I read up on the news, economics books, and blog on current events.

    One fun note though: my kid does not mind if I read when he plays by himself. He’s OK with playing in the kitchen while I cook. If I am cleaning, he likes to help. But let me even TRY to open the computer…he comes to me, starts crying and wants to sit on my lap. I guess he sees computers as too immersive. So I stay on comp when he sleeps, or plays with his father.

    Well, I never got that perfect mothering anyway. My hubby stayed home for half a year – almost as much as I did – and wants to repeat the experience with the newcomer. We share cleaning tasks (and have a cleaner come over once a month – our best decision ever!). We both cook. And we do not decorate, the home is set as it is and it need not do any fancier. The kid plays outside whenever possible (these days, he prefers the forest, though there he always wants to hold hands. Well, it’s mostly because of the rough terrain, he only learned to walk 6 months ago;)

    I’m satisfied with admiring other peoples fancy homes, and I feel at home in mine. Each should do what makes them happy.

  3. Yvonne September 4, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    That was really helpful for me today! I am always trying to make everything myself and handmade: bake, cook, make handmade presents. I know how to do it and get a lot of praise. But then I find myself in the middle of cutting veggies or working on a dough and not having time or even an ear for one of our three children. So what I started then was one day a week with a precooked meal I made time ago and just reheat it to have time and just sit with them and play or talk or read. They so often “come in my way” of perfect dinner making or making another cake or something that I new feel bad that I thought that way. Time passes so quickly and the children will remember a loving and caring mom and not a stressed out mom who always attempted to get the perfect organic and good looking meal on the table.
    And now I will not prepare all the healthy things for tomorrow and take a bath instead: me time to recharge my batteries to be nicer to the children in the morning! Thank you so much for the reminder today!

  4. Genuine Lustre September 1, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    It happens to all of us. La Leche League International published a book around 1980 that really helped me get my priorities straight. “The Heart Has It’s Own Reasons” by Mary Ann Cahill. I referred to it often in the early yrs of my mothering. You can’t get those days back again.

  5. Christie - Childhood 101 August 29, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    I wouldn’t usually post a link but I know that this poem which I came across some time ago will resonate with many of the mothers who have commented here – http://www.childhood101.com/2009/08/reminder-for-generation.html

    Thank you for another reminder of where our value truly lies.

  6. Stacey August 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    Thank You! Thank you! Thank You for your honesty! My soul really needed that. I am struggling everyday to give myself “permission” to not be a perfect wife, mother, homemaker, teacher, etc.

  7. Emily @ Random Recycling August 25, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this post. While the kitchen is the place I feel most at home, I too feel overwhelmed by the thought of making everything from scratch. Why shouldn’t I make my own yogurt and hummus when it would save money and reduce wasteful packaging? The number of amazing bloggers doing this makes it all seem doable, yet I still can’t find the time. I work outside the home and look forward to the days of staying home with my young children. I wonder though if I will feel even more compelled to create the perfect home cooked meal. Time will tell. Again, thanks for the thought provoking post.

  8. Leigh August 23, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    Really well-written and honest post!! I really enjoyed reading it. Personally, I’m not a mother (yet – fingers crossed) but I am still trying to balance feeding my family well along with all of the other things in the mix. One suggestion that I wanted to make for those people who do want to make bread from scratch – check out this book: “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I researched it a lot before I went out and bought it, but wow – it’s worth it. I don’t want to make this reply into just a book review, but the basic idea is that you can make a dough (out of flour, water, yeast, and salt) that will rise and then keeps in the refrigerator for up to 14 days. You can cut off what you want, let it rest, and then bake it when you get home from work or whatever, and then you can have fresh bread with dinner. It has made a wonderful addition to my cookbook shelf, and allows me to fulfill my dream of fresh, homemade bread with dinner without having to work over the loaf for more time than I have.

    Thanks again for the insightful post – I enjoyed it!

  9. Jill August 21, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    What a wonderful and honest post! And I have really enjoyed reading all the comments. It helps knowing I’m not alone. Sometimes I just don’t read blogs because these mothers seem so perfect. lol. Sometimes I stop and look back on when I was a young girl and remember all the things about a home that made me feel so warm and secure and cozy inside. They were: laughter, lots of voices, good hearty meals, a fire in the fireplace (if you have one), and lots of books around, and of course to top it off some steaming hot tea or coffee. =) I try to remind myself that the atmosphere of my home is the most important thing to maintain. I keep a pretty clean house and cook pretty good meals. But I frequently have to read Matthew 6:25-34. I am actually in the process of trying to memorize it for my daily benefit. I too, like all you other mothers out there, am constantly feeling like I need to do everything perfectly TODAY. But when I slow down and praise myself (yep, I said it. I don’t think it’s selfish. We all need to feel confident in ourselves) for the progress I’ve made as a mother and homemaker, and decide to learn ONE new thing at a time, life is so much more peaceful. Which as one lady in her comment said is actually better for your body than eating healthy. Stress can really damage your health big time. So for example, I am just now starting to use sourdough instead of yeast for my bread. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, but have been focusing on other things like making yogurt. I want to master one thing at a time. And I think it’s also important to remember that most of us were not raised like our great grandmothers. Not to discredit our mothers, but I think many of us are trying to restart the wonderful cycle of learning how to live in a more old fashioned way and most importantly to pass along our knowledge and wisdom to our children. Ok….I’m almost done. lol. I just have got to tell everyone two things that have MAJORLY helped me get a handle on my homemaking, enabling me to enjoy my children and husband more: 1 – getting rid of STUFF! I don’t have as much stuff to clean around when I don’t have so much stuff. 2 – a HOUSEHOLD PLANNNER. I believe Lindsay has a post about hers. This has been a lifesaver. I always thought I couldn’t be “one of those women” who uses a planner. But I decided one day that I was the only one stopping myself. My planner has so helped me organize my life and mostly my attitude. =) Try it out! If it doesn’t work for you, just toss it! =)

  10. Lauren August 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Great, great post. I’m passionate about being a help-meet, homemaker, momma, etc, every other hat I wear on any given day. :) But I’m also in a sort of hard season of life – my husband has begun a new job with 13-14 hour days, we have a 4 year-old, 2 y/o, and almost 4 month old; my 4 y/o and I are beginning “real” homeschool this year, and I help lead a weekly Bible study. Whew! It’s a whole lot of work, and I was just telling a good friend this morning that **good things are not always ‘best’ things.** It really depends on the season we’re in. Since I’m in a tough one, there have been things I’ve really had to let go and surrender my expectations. It’s tough, but God is graciously chipping away at my capital and bold A type A personality ;) with each child we have, because they are so much more important than freshly-scrubbed-each-week baseboards. ;) Thanks for your honesty and encouragement.

  11. Sarah Clifton August 19, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    There’s so much wisdom in this blog–not just in the posts but in the comments that follow! It’s great just reading through and realizing I’m not alone in my struggles. My difficulty is that I’m so selfish. I’ll realize it when I’m pouring myself into my tasks (doing what I want to do) instead of spending time with my daughter and son. It’s so hard to put to death the deeds of the flesh. I’m just praying the I can become more like Christ a little more each day. I won’t become the woman I need to be overnight. It truly is a fight; success will only come from walking in the Spirit–being steeped in the Word of God.
    I’ve been trying to ask myself, “Who am I that I should serve my needs and wants above all others?” Christ emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. Being remade in His image, I should able to as well, but it’s not necessarily going to be easy.

  12. Mel August 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    Thank you for this post. It is exactly what I needed! Since discovering all the benefits of “real” food and more natural living, I have been struggling to find a balance with mothering. Some days I am amazed at the end of the day when I realize I was home all day with my kids and didn’t manage to spend even a few minutes of quality time with them…too busy baking and cooking and cleaning and always rushing them off and trying to keep them busy while I ‘get things done’. I will continue working on the balance, and try to remember that my babies won’t be babies for long!!

  13. glenda August 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Thanks for this post, it was a reminder of what is really important, which I really needed to hear today.

  14. Shawn August 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    Fantastic post!

  15. Autumn August 19, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    Such an awesome post. I’ve been praying (and, let’s be honest, worrying and struggling) about how to strike that perfect balance between Good Mom and Good Homemaker. There are weeks that my house is wonderfully clean and we eat great meals 3 times a day/7 days a week, but my time with my two young boys suffers. Then there are weeks where the kids and I have a great time together, but the house is a mess and we eat out a lot (which is not ideal). I just wish I could figure out how to find the perfect balance in a given week!

    One way that I’ve figured out to ‘blend’ everything together is to involve the kids in what I’m doing. So if I choose to spend time making homemade bread, I’m purposeful to include them by having them help measure, mix, knead, etc. But including a 2.5 and 3.5 year old in my activities requires *a lot* of patience on my part, which is yet another thing I’m working on.

    Anyway, thanks for your humility and transparency. It’s refreshing to see. :)

  16. Erica August 19, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    I so appreciate this reminder. I found myself in a similar situation my first year as a missionary in Papua New Guinea. All of my ideas of what a good missionary wife and mom should do really overwhelmed me for a time. But, slowly I found my core, what I believe to be my personal job description. Once I found it, I had to stick to it. Sticking to it was so freeing. I found that I was good at my job, and it gave me purpose. My children and husband were happy, and so was I. Like you said, we shouldn’t stop growing or learning, but learning what our role is for each season is vital to the well-being of our family. Thank you so much for this reminder.

  17. Joy August 19, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    Great post- I’ve struggled with this myself and blogged about it- How neat it was to pop onto this blog and see a similar scenario. http://pricelessgifts.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/meal-times-with-small-children/

  18. Bobette August 19, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    Thank you so much for your humble and honest insight! Life can overwhelm! My theme this summer has been “relationships are soooo mcuh more inportant that housekeeping!” We have had some pretty chaotic moments in the home, but hey were always the moments we were enjoying ourselves and our guests the most!

  19. Krissy August 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    Thank you. So many blog moms out there seem to be able to do it all. I’m certainly not there and it’s sometimes difficult to feel like your failing for not being able to do all these things. You offer honesty. Just the addition of summer has made it more difficult to get as much done as I would like. I have been doing so many more summer activities and working in the garden that these things alone often make it more of a challenge to get healthy meals on the table.

  20. Dandelion Girl August 18, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Thank you SO much for this post! I need reminders to give myself permission to relax about things. I am someone that HIGHLY values good health and nutrition and yet somehow I hate to cook! I’m a recovering perfectionist and as such I tend to beat myself up about what I’m not doing. There are SO many things I want to do for my family for their well-being and health. I’ve had to realize though that when I’m not there for them or when I’m too stressed out to be kind to them I’m not acting in their best interests. I totally believe in a natural/organic/home-made diet but if I’m stressing out about it then it’s not worth it. Stress is actually harder on your body than all those toxins and processed foods. That was hard for me to believe at first. I’m not saying I still shouldn’t pursue the healthiest lifestyle I can for my family, but that it’s best to take baby steps. I can celebrate each step towards good health that I’m able to make with a heart at rest. If my heart can’t do it in peace I need to step back and re-evaluate or just give myself time. It’s more important for me to spend loving time with my family. When I’m at my best that’s what’s best for my family. With as important as healthy eating is, I must make sure it doesn’t become an idol either.

    Thank you again for such a great post. I had no idea so many other women felt the same pressure I do! May each of us live in peace and wholeness so that we are free to be who God made us to be! :)

  21. Amy Walker August 18, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    This is so good. So encouraging. I definitely have had an overload of things I’m learning and trying to do lately and I do find it getting in the way of what matters most. I actually enjoy baking bread, and don’t find that stressful, but have been wanting to make our yogurt from scratch too, I even have a yogurt maker, but I just can’t add that to everything right now. I am cooking meals from scratch, but I’m using a very simple cookbook and cooking simple things, so that has actually relieved stress rather than adding it because I used to have to figure out what to cook. Just sticking to that one cookbook is helping me learn, yet not feel overwhelmed.
    I need to learn to not be frustrated at the messy house…

  22. stephanie August 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    Wonderful post, thanks for your thoughtful writing. Over the past year as a new SAHM, I’ve found myself feeling guilty that I wasn’t cooking EVERYTHING from scratch, whipping up curtains and pillows during nap time, and hosting elaborate dinner parties for those in need every week.
    I mean, what could I possibly be doing with my time at home ALL day if I didn’t have anything to “show” for it and only had 1 baby to care for? I found I had to get to the root of my motivations for each expectation, and many times that ugly old root was pride. Sure it started off as a worthy, noble ambition: better nutrition, serving others, being thrifty, but in my heart I knew I needed to NOT do those things until I could approach them with a pure, servant heart if, and only if, I felt that was what the Lord was leading me to do with my time. And I realized He wasn’t imposing those expectations on me, I was.

    If doing so many other homemaking things detracted from how I poured my time into using my spiritual gifts that I AM responsible for using, and left me frustrated, frazzled and spent without enough of me to pour into my husband and child, then what was the point?
    So I buy my bread, find curtains on clearance and am seeking how to use my gifts to serve others in the way God intended them to glorify himself…… not me.

  23. YoungMom/Wife August 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post! Sometimes I do feel like I have to be super Mom and really get down on myself when I don’t get those homemade muffins baked like I had planned, or I buy something I know I could probably make for us and possibly save money on. Thank you for helping me realize that there is no reason to beat myself up for not having it all down because there are more important things to think about/care for. =)

  24. Kelly August 18, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Thank you.Thank you so much, I needed to read that as I have been putting off making my broth! I have been home for 2 months now attempting to learn how to be a Godly homemaker. I never had a passion for cooking until now as I was working full time.

    It has been challenging learning how to balance time with the boys (ages 1 and 5), cleaning, planning, husband time, learning how to cook “real food”, having daily devotional time and exersize. I have since surrendered to God, knowing that I will learn in time and need to slow down. We are eating better and I am learning and growing, that is what He wants. I am buying sprouted grains.. and doing what I can.

    We must not forget the great commission! We need to be a light to others and of course our children. When we are too busy keeping house for them, then something is off kilter.

    God bless you and your little one Vina!

  25. Rachel August 18, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    Love this post. I find our life goes through times when I can handle more, and times when it is in “survival mode”. We have 3 kids under 5, and since our littlest is now 1, I can do more. I love to make bread also, but hadn’t made it in a year since she was born. Now I’m making it again. But not all the time, only when circumstances allow. It’s hard to not feel guilty when you can’t though. But, I always try to remember “people before things”. Meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of our husband and children are of utmost importance. Then come the material things. I try to buy organic, but the budget doesn’t always allow it. So, I just do it when I can, and don’t feel guilty when I can’t. So many people in this world would just be happy for some food! Keep up the good work. I love this blog, and it speaks to my heart every time I read it. How do you know what I’m thinking? Or needing? May God bless you and yours!

  26. kim August 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    What a great post. Thank you for sharing, I get so bogged down sometimes, by all the demands and so longing to do everything just so, that I lose joy. The Lord has showed me many times to be more childlike and carefree.. to have joy, so thanks for the reminder. :)

  27. Kelly August 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    I definitely needed to read this today. My 8 month-old baby has been sick for 3 days now, and I have not been able to do anything around the house. All I have been able to do is nurse her, hold her, and let her sleep on or beside me. I have two other children as well to take care of, and it has been very hard. Motherhood has taught me to let go of what isn’t important, and I am known to have a perpetually messy house. But food is definitely something I work hard for, and it has been tough to let that go for a few days…

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

      Kelly! Hugs to you and your baby! You are a great mom for being so nurturing to your little one! Sometimes I suspect that what mothers really need is a village, a community of support who could pitch In for example, to help you with dinners and stuff so you can focus on taking care of your sick child….because in your situation, that’s what I would have wanted…some help!

  28. Just His Best August 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    What a great post! I happen to be one of those mothers that homeschools, gardens (somewhat), grinds wheat, bakes bread and enjoys it. Having had never taken pleasure in homemaking in my early days of married life (I was very career focused), I am discovering something new that I enjoy every day and I often get excited and love to share with friends what I am learning.

    Thank you for reminding me that while the Lord has placed in me a desire for certain things that I should always stay humble and never condemn those who choose differently. :)

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

      I love your comment. Thank you for your gracious humility.

  29. Brooke August 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    Awhile ago Lindsay posted about natural living being an idol, I think that was an EXCELLENT post. And this one is right up there with it!! I share very similar struggles and it seems the days I sit and play/love on my children are my most productive days else where in our home as well. Funny how God works that out. :)

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

      Brooke! I hear you! When I am not stressed, am in the present and embrace the moment for what it is, something magical happens! Yah, funny how God works that out. :)

    • Leslie August 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

      Brooke you are so right! I never thought about that before, but the days I don’t spend as much time with them, are the least productive. Thanks!!

  30. Melissa August 18, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Excellent post! Early in my mothering I came to the same realization. We have these ideas and ideals that compete with reality. But because each and every home and family is different, we have to find out what is needed. Also, I find that I get bored with the daily mundane tasks and look for a new challenge to spice things up. While this can be good, I always have to bring myself back to making sure First Things Are Indeed First.

    (I do enjoy making my own bread and even grinding my own wheat, but I cheat with a Zojirushi breadmaker! I can pop a loaf in at bedtime in less than 5 minutes and we have fresh bread in the morning. Otherwise I’m like a deer in the headlights in the kitchen. Working on that, but it’s not my favorite zone.)

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

      Melissa, I am totally with you about finding new challenging things to spice up my daily tasks! Maybe I need a bread maker too! Hmmm….

  31. Bekarene August 18, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Thank you for this post … I’ve come to realize that the great art of Compromise is necessary to my sanity as a wife and homemaker. I’ve had to tune out a lot of voices telling me that if I just try a little harder, I too can become the perfect woman. LOL. I think that balance is especially difficult for women (myself included) who were at one time focusing all of our time and energy on an aggressive career outside the home. When your career comes to a screeching halt and suddenly you’re home with a child all day, it’s tempting to replace the corporate drive for perfection that you’re used to working under for the more subtle, but no less insiduous, drive to become Super Mom, Super Wife, Super Homemaker …. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t be striving for what is best for our families, but that we need to take a deep breath and remember what our ultimate goals are. Taking a step back and re-evaluating your priorities provides the fresh energy and inspiration to focus on what is doable and what really matters in the long run.

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

      Hi Bekarene! I love your name by the way! I too have to tune out voices everyday. I agree with everything you say here! I find that I constantly have to step back to see the bigger picture once again.

  32. Danielle August 18, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    I’m in the camp that I want my daughters to grow up and be who they want to be. They can be anything they want. (doctor, lawyer, nurse, first woman president!) I don’t want to my daughters to only stay home and be a homemaker. My children (girls AND boys) will know how to cook, clean, do laundry, and some basic car repair stuff.

    I just don’t feel that EVERY christian girl needs to grow up and be a SAHM. Otherwise, it will become a world filled w/men, and non-christian women.

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi Danielle, I truly hear you about wanting your children to grow up and be who they want to be, pursue careers AND still learn how to keep a home! It is a mighty challenge and for me, My strategy is to do it slowly since I am short on the homemaking department!

    • Miriam August 20, 2010 at 6:15 am #

      I think you are very right! As a girl raised to be a homemaker, now married with children, I wish I could have seen the big picture of life as a teen. With my children, I hope to teach them the basic “homemaking” skills — those basic things that everyone with a household needs to know how to do (man or woman), like cooking a breakfast, cleaning the bathroom, changing sheets, etc.– but I want them to understand there are many more options, many more things they should learn than just homemaking skills. Don’t get me wrong, I love homemaking! But the kind of homemaking I learned as a girl (homemade bread, scheduled meals, old-fashioned lifestyle) is not applicable to my husband and home today. I’ve had to learn a new way of homemaking, and I feel that all those years I was “preparing for marriage” are nearly wasted, and could have been put to far better use for something else.

  33. Sarah R. August 18, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Thank you for your honesty in this post. I have struggled so much with what I think I “should” be doing within the realities of time, budget, my own gifts etc. The truth is that I do not enjoy cooking one single bit. I have learned to make simple, healthy meals for my family because I believe that God calls me to care for them in this way, but I am also (finally) o.k. with the thought that there are some things that I won’t do.
    I think that we as Christian women need to encourage each other to follow the Spirit’s leading in our lives. God made us all different, therefore all of our homes are going to run differently and we can all be glorifying God in our own families in our own unique ways.

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

      Iam wih you Sarah on not enjoying cooking, but forcing myself to learn how to cook simple nourishing meals because I do believe it is part of how I want to serve my family, especially since left to his own devices, my husband would never get any serving of veggies ever! Amen to your suggestion of us women encouraging each other whenever possible to follow the Spirit’s leading and to make space for each other when it looks very different.

  34. Heather August 18, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    I’ve struggled balancing a high needs infant (now young toddler) and all my homemaking desires. I have the skill to keep a perfect, clean home and make elaborate multi-course meals from scratch. As I grew old enough to reach stuff my mother taught me all the skills found in the home. As her only child she couldn’t teach me how to do all that and give my high needs little one the time he requires. I get frustrated at my homemaking at times. Our house is imperfect and our meals simple. There will be time later, when my children are more independent, for a spotless house and elaborate meals. When that time comes I will teach my children the way my mother taught me. Until then we do the best we can, focusing on this precious time in the children’s lives.

    We all need the reminder sometimes that perfection isn’t the only example we want to show our kids. They will learn a lot watching us decide our priorities, do our best and even fail on occassion.

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

      Heather, I agree with you that there is a season for everything. And that our kids will learn so much From our examples of deciding on our pririotioes and handling our failures with grace as much as they learn how to keep a home.

  35. Amanda August 18, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    Thank you for putting into words exactly what I have been feeling lately! It was such a blessing for me to read this today! I have the goals of a SAHM, but I work 50 hours a week and it just makes me feel worthless some days. At work I am thinking about homemaking and at home I am thinking about work. I need to sit down and re-evaluate what is really important to me and get the priorities straight! Mabe I will do it AFTER playing with the baby… ;-)

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

      Oh Amanda I hear you mama! I am the opposite, I have the goals of a career woman but I stay at home! It is not easy either way.

  36. Trudy Callan August 18, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    I admire women who make their own soap, bake their own bread, milk their own cows. gather their own eggs, grow their own food, etc., etc.,; but it’s not for me because I’d be giving up too much time with my children who grow up way too fast. Great post.


  37. Jody August 18, 2010 at 7:15 am #

    Wonderful post! I often feel guilty about all the things I think I “should” be doing. Reality is I just can’t do it all. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  38. Candace August 18, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    Thank you for this post. I am struggling in my heart with the VERY same issue. I went gung-ho about 2 year ago and got a grinder, Bosch…did the whole bread thing and now it is all sitting, collecting dust on my kitchen counter. :( But, I just cannot keep up with that and homeschooling and church and and and…ya know? I love this post and appreciate you sharing.

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

      Candace! I have been wanting a grinder too, but we couldn’t afford it, mine would be sitting on the kitchen counter too had I bought one!

  39. Laura August 18, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    I love this post! I have been learning much of the same stuff myself. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Tammy August 18, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    That is why we mothers need to teach our daughters to be good homemakers before they get married. I didn’t learn much ahead of time either. I have learned right along with my six daughters and four sons. They have baked the bread with me. That is mothering time. Most of my girls could bake bread from scratch successfully before they were ten years old. My two year olds hop up on a chair and help measure ingredients into the mixing bowl or pot. My oldest son, made oatmeal by himself for our family of six children (at the time) when he was about eight. They would not have been doing these things independently had I sent them to another room while I worked in the kitchen. Yes, it took longer to do it with them, but my girls learned and won’t need to learn homemaking skills after they get married. They already have them. My boys learn some of the same skills so that they can be a help if their wife is ever ill, but they don’t spend as much time on them as they are learning things like how to change brakes on cars with dad, etc……

    • Rebecca H. August 18, 2010 at 7:26 am #

      well said Tammy!!

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Tammy! Wow, you have ten children and how awesome that your girls could already bake bread from scratch at 10 years old! Sure puts my skills to shame!

      I totally agree with you that mothers (and fathers) need to teach their daughters (and sons) the basic skills of keeping a home. My daughter and I do stuff together in the kitchen everyday and we do practical life at home like cleaning and folding laundry, etc. My point, which might have been more subtle, is that mothers need to be honest about their own limits and where they are at personally and figure out a way how to do “homemaking” that is nourishing for them and to build on that. We are all in the same journey, but we’re at different places. Different situations, different temperaments, etc.

      Because probably many women these days do not have the same homemaking skills as say, our grandmothers had, and that a good portion of us do have jobs or work from home, it’s important to be honest what’s essential which I think varies for everyone. That is just my perspective, and I appreciate what you bring to the discussion!

  41. Dream Mom August 18, 2010 at 6:31 am #

    I think the point of your post was finding balance in your home and it appears the cooking was taking up a lot of time. That’s why mission statements are important in a home. I don’t think it has to be an either/or type of thing. A mission statement clarifies all of that.

    That being said, I think that the quality of food in a home and making things from scratch has to be a priority today. I am not sure that would be the thing that I would give up since it’s a “good for us” type of thing and has implications far beyond taking a lot of time. The quality of the food, everything from how animals are raised, to the toxins in the food in the form if excess sugars, excess salt to how the foods are packaged (in cans with BPA and the multitude of plastics), has a direct effect on the health of our children and our family. I read recently that with all of the toxins in food that the best thing we could for our children was to feed them organic foods. People have different opinions on all of this I am sure and that’s o.k. As for cooking, it does not come naturally to me however as I educated myself over the years, I became more discriminating on what foods/chemicals I would allow in my house. I am terrible at making bread from scratch but I just use a breadmaker. I can control the ingredients. I look for short cuts as well and there is no debate that making good food from scratch takes time.

    What I do find is that to balance everything, I have to be very organized.Homekeeping doesn’t have to take a lot of time at all but you do need to have routines in place. I do understand the point of your post though, I just respectfully disagree on the example of what to cut.

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Dream Mom!

      I welcome respect disagreements! Except that I wasn’t really saying that I think cooking is not essential. I do make our meals everyday from scratch and think very carefully about our food. But I am still at the very beginning of learning the essentials because I have only been a homemaker for two years now. So I focus on the everyday dinner and making it as nourishing as possible, but the baking bread part and soaking grains and nuts and making my own yogurt and kombucha and fermented veggies, I’m just not there yet. (Maybe I will get a breadmaker one of these days!)

      I am just saying that we need to be realistic of our skills and plan accordingly, and like you said, a mission statement helps do that. But even mission statements sometimes can be too “grand” of an ambition and I just wanted moms to leave room for reality in their planning and keep simple the list of essential things. :)

      • Danielle August 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

        Thank you Vina! yz Sometimes you read blogs and you feel bad that you don’t do xyz and you don’t feed your family xyz. Or in my case my hubby and I both work, so yeah I’m lucky if we get a good decent meal on the table everyday.

        My birthday is this Saturday.. and I really want to start making MORE meals that are nutritious.

        I do think the key is we shouldn’t allow ourselves to feel bad if we can’t do everything that a particular blogger can. Not all of us have the same resources, or stay at home.

        Baby steps is the key! Do what you can do… and your kids won’t die if they have McDonald’s every once and a while! Altho, I said my kids would never have fast food in their childhood… and so far they haven’t. But they have had pizza from down the street lol!

        Thanks again!!

      • Dream Mom August 19, 2010 at 6:45 am #

        I hear you:) Part of the process about being a homemaker is finding what works and doesn’t work for you and your family and I do understand. I provide total care for my 18 year old severely disabled son (wears diapers, is on tube feedings, meds every 6 hours and can’t roll over, move his arms/legs or walk) and know how challenging it can be to try to do everything. No one can do everything so you have to pick and choose. Good post.

  42. April August 18, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    Oh, Vina, this is so encouraging and affirming. As a momma of a 10 month old who just began sleeping through the night LAST WEEK and as a wife who works outside of the home part time and is working with a super-slim budget that doesn’t allow for mush experimentation, I have been going back and forth on this for months. I want to soak grains, keep the house spotless, make my own (insert anything here– bread, clothes, cleaning products, decor, and on and on), be faithful in the Word, research the best options for my family, etc., but there just isn’t enough time and energy in the world! I’m learning to be content with each day as it comes, but it’s a steep climb for a type A person like myself. Thank you for your refreshing words and for giving me permission as a fellow momma to take it one baby step at a time! May God bless your pursuits and your home.

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

      Oh April, I hear you totally on this one! The sleep part is huge (yay your babe is sleeping through the night now!) Expectations are hard aren’t they? I’m still working through mine too, and baby steps are definitely how I am able to navigate through this world that is motherhood! :)

  43. Amanda August 18, 2010 at 6:22 am #

    Thank you for this. There are so many “good” things out there to do and learn… but God wants us to focus on the “best” things. I got married young (20) and had a baby young (21), and have lots to learn in the homemaking department! It’s good to remember to take baby steps and keep my priorities in line.

  44. Brittney August 18, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    Thank you. :) It’s a good reminder about where our priorities should lie. Our children are only this age once and for such a short time. There will be plenty of time to learn new fun things when my kids are grown.

  45. Courtney Beard August 18, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    Beautiful post!

  46. Debbie Lyons-Blythe August 18, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    Women have always worried about who they “should” be and tried to measure up to someone’s idea of the perfect Mother, Wife & Woman. But as you say, it is more about being true to who you really are and enjoying the time with our families. I love baking bread–from time to time! I have five teenagers who love homemade bread. So when I make it, they rave and snarf it down in one sitting. That doesn’t encourage me to make it every day, though. It is a treat, and usually I buy whole grain, healthy bread at the local grocery store!

    Great post about the stresses we put on ourselves as Mothers. I’m sure you are an amazing Mom. :)

    • Vina August 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

      Debbie, thank you for the comment love! Really. I think you are right, that in general, we women have always struggled about our “shoulds” in regards to our identity. Why is that? Anyway, I love that your teenagers love homemade bread. I hope by the time my toddler is that age, I would have learned how to make the rave-snarf quality bread by then! :) ( too buy soaked/sprouted whole grain bread at the store. They have it at Trader Joes and Costco for a good deal!)

  47. Angel Funk August 18, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    Thank you for the post! I struggle with the same issues as well, and it’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one looking for balance. So many of the blogs I read that are written by mothers seem to be detached from reality, the photos are beautiful, the writing is wonderful, but the perfection starts to feel false to me after awhile.