I have a confession to make. I want to be a homemaker.
I’ve wanted to be for some time. I can remember, even as early as middle school, or earlier, imagining how it would be. I was never sure of any male element, but it was always me, and a bunch of friends, and the kids I would foster, and horses. There were always horses. We lived on a farm, in a house at the end of a long lane, and every day I would take the horses to the end of the lane to pick the girls up from the bus, and we’d all ride back to the house. There was a huge kitchen, and I was always cooking. People would come to visit, and I’d answer the door with a towel in hand, having just been cooking something or washing a dish. I had some vague idea that I’d be sewing for a living, though later, after actually working on a farm, this translated to farming for a living.
But I never would admit it. For a long time, it was the thing I wouldn’t tell anyone, the one secret no one knew. All I wanted, really wanted, was to stay at home. I wanted to cook. I wanted to sew. I wanted to take care of a family. But I certainly couldn’t admit that. Tell anyone, anyone at all, that I wanted to forego a college education and career? To cook and clean and grow a garden and sew and mend? It was anti-feminist. It was anti-intellectual. If going to a top-tier, career-orientated art school was “wasting my brain,” as my teachers told me in high school, can you imagine what they would have said if I told them I wanted nothing more than to stay at home and take care of the people who mattered to me?
The idea cemented itself sometime during college. The idea of having a home, a farm, was just a dream, and I gave it up. I needed a career, after all, something I could make money at. And in college, pursuing a fashion degree, I thought I could at least find a career doing one of the things I loved, sewing. But it was all business, it was all trying to figure out how to sell things to people. Nothing but marketing. And I felt empty, constantly. But I finished college anyway. Because I thought I had to.
And slowly, without me even realizing it, it happened. I discovered that I loved to feed people. It made me happy. I loved making people I loved clothes: shirts, pants, pajamas. Especially pajamas. People loved the pajamas. They were warm, and comfy. And my food made people happy- my family, my friends. I thought for a while of opening a restaurant, of starting a bakery, of just having a sewing business and sewing full time- but it wasn’t the same, when you added the business element. Nothing made me so happy as taking care of the people I cared about.
And so I struck upon this farm idea. I had always imagined living on a farm. I had never really thought about farming. But then I worked on a farm- and was happier than I had ever been, doing any of those other things, for strangers. Small farming wasn’t about growing food just to make money- it was about community, about feeding people, about them eating well and being healthy and me having a part in it. And slowly it dawned on me. If I was farming, I could be growing food. I would have food for myself, and for my family. I could make big dinners, I could have a place where the people I cared about could live, could work, could do work that didn’t feel empty, and meaningless, where I could sew, and be outside, and spend evenings sitting around talking, and where I could eventually have a horse, and ride down to the end of the lane. I could, under this guise, finally get what I always wanted.
But I’m going to come clean. I’m reading a book that talks about homemaking, not in terms of shame, of some dirty secret we’ve all got to keep hidden, but as an answer to so many of the problems that plague our modern society. I was talking about it with my mother just this morning, as she remembered fondly how much healthier she had been when I lived at home and did all the cooking. And that is a worthwhile pursuit. No longer will I be ashamed that I spend so much time canning, and preserving, and baking my own bread and insisting on making my own clothes, not buying them. No more will I be afraid to admit that all I really want to do is cook dinner for lots of people, and see the smiles on their faces as they all sit down to eat, talking and laughing over their food.
I want to be a homemaker. I want to stay at home. I don’t want to do things for money. I want to have a home. I want to have the people I love there with me. I want to garden, make home remedies, sew clothing, make dinner. I want to clean. I want to feed chickens. I want to raise children, read them stories. I want that to be possible. I want it to be acceptable for anyone else who wants it, who wants that dream to be real.
And I will do whatever it takes to make it happen.