It is midday – I watch my grandma putting Abaasa to bed. Abaasa is my second-born child. 

As I watch her lay him down, I can’t help but be thankful for this moment. Whenever I visit grandma, it feels like I’ve left the chaotic world behind, and returned to solace – home. 

What a blessing it is to have a maiden home to return to, especially in these post-birth days where your body aches day in, day out! As I reflect on this privilege, I imagine what it would be without my grandmother’s expert hands to soothe my baby and place a pillow under my post-natal back. 

Yet, I’ve not always felt this way towards my maiden home or my grandmother. Growing up, I wondered what it would be like to finally rid myself of the mundane shackles that are house chores. Like the German fairytale Rapunzel screened in Disney’s Tangled, I’ve often sung, “When will my life truly begin?” There surely must be more to life than this mere dish piling routine, right? 

Yet here I was, years later, wonderfully glad (even relieved) that grandma was eager to offer the care I once thought annoyingly dull. Now like an ointment, it soothed both mother and child. Did I mask the glory of homemaking? Have we as a society or even the church masked the glory of homemaking?

But Why do we Mask the Glory of Homemaking?

To answer this question, we must unearth an even deeper problem: our vision for the home today is simplistic at best and non-existent at worst.

Thanks to modern life’s priorities, we live in a time where homemakers are ridiculed for being lazy, husband gold diggers, especially if they are educated enough to ‘make their own money’. As Tim Challies says, “it is now a vocation viewed with some shame.” 

The world’s assumption is that homemakers are glued to a couch, making rounds on choice Telenovelas. Or, to put it differently, the world assumes homemakers are brainless doormats who weigh down our husbands and that our work is unnecessary and worthless.

Homemaking is now a vocation viewed with some shame – Tim Challies

This is why it was interesting to hear a female Kenyan judge commended a salary for housewives. Yet, even though this may give housework some elevation (and it is a big may), the precedent communicates a hidden lie that work is only as valuable as the level of income it makes. The premise is that work that doesn’t bring in any revenue is insignificant.

In addition in many conversations, choosing to be a housewife appears to boil down to sheer preference. Yet I doubt if it is that basic. I would like to argue that if there is a space with uttermost preciousness, it is the home. We must look underneath the worldview masking the glory of homemaking and distorting our perceptions around it. They are most certainly not biblical.

How Did We Get Here?

Before the Industrial Revolution, the home was the center of commerce. Households worked together toward the diverse trades in society, with each member contributing to the family’s livelihood. This lasted till the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. 

The home was also a place of instruction for children as they prepared for their respective societal roles. Even though that training was rudimentary, it still carried the entire society along. However, with modernization and massive economic advances in every aspect of life, mass education followed suit to meet the rising need. Thus, the centers of productivity and training shifted from the home to the factory and public school respectively. 

The 1960’s feminist revolution also demanded more women take strides forward by getting work outside the home and “remove the shackles of their unrewarding toil in the home.” With that, the insurgency of daycare institutions became commonplace in the West and East and now are common in my city, Kampala.

For example, in South Korea today, putting ones child in daycare at 100 days is considered acceptable. Thus, we are heading towards a world where more parents spend far less time at home with their children. This is a historically unprecedented trend. 

The assumption is that the work that matters today is that which attracts a pay-check. Not housework. The home that was meant to be an abode for our busy, weary selves is now dusty – only relegated to a recreation center. 

We are far too busy to nurture and enjoy our homes except on those slow boring weekends when we treat them as retreat centers. More likely because ‘there’s no other exciting plot.’

God and this Mundane yet Flourishing ‘Home’

We have masked the glory of homemaking, where God glorifies the home. The Bible starts with God placing Adam in the garden of Eden. God surprises Adam with a companion for his mission. Then, in a union ordained by Him, God put the husband to work in that garden and bear children with his wife (Genesis 1:26-31, Genesis 2:8,15). 

God’s order is impeccable. Notice how God provided a habitat first, then created humans, before unifying and commissioning them. The home is where the most profound relationships are borne and nurtured. Adam and Eve didn’t stumble into a cave – God made them a home. He designed the home for humans to flourish, fellowship and belong (Psalm 68:6).

A place that foreshadows the welcome believers will receive in heaven, a place that calls and beckons them, home – Mary Kassian

While Adam and Eve lost their God-given home through rebellion and turned their descendants into nomads, Jesus prepared for us a heavenly home through his death and resurrection. He restores us to an eternal relationship with God the Father (John 14:1-3). Christ is the chief head of the church and God builds up the church (Ephesians 5:23, 1 Timothy 3:15).

The joys and absurdities that shape our lives often come from the home. Mum’s Christmas delicacies or Dad’s absence often seer lifelong memories and/or trauma into our psyche. Home has a profound impact on who we are.

Mary Kassian, the co-author of True Woman 101, beautifully sums it up. “Home is a cover where family and friends can retreat and be sheltered from the cold, cruel world outside, a place where they’ll feel cocooned and cradled in a comfy cloud of love. A place where they can rest and recharge from the daily grind and flourish. A place that foreshadows the welcome believers will receive in heaven, a place that calls and beckons them, home”. Home making can’t therefore be an afterthought.