Homemaking Before Social Media and How It Is Not an Aesthetic

If you feel too much pressure for homemaking to look a certain way, it’s time to step back and remember God’s Word and the freedom it brings.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Colossians 3:23-24

Homemaking Before Social Media

When I became a mom, there were no iPhones, no social media, no Pinterest. I held onto my Blackberry for as long as possible and didn’t join Facebook until 2010. This gave me several blissful years with nothing and nobody to which I could really compare my homemaking experience beyond what I personally encountered with other wives and mothers.

I was free to go about the care and keeping of my home and family without feeling it needed to look a certain way. Yes, there were debates about if and how you should sleep train your babies because this is a topic that is argued over almost as ferociously as eschatology. But it was so easy to avoid because I didn’t have it scrolling by me every time I looked at a screen. 

Back then, homemaking wasn’t an art form. Oh, sure, in a poetic sense, one could say that there has always been an artistry about how a woman meets the needs of her husband, children, and home. But there was a great deal of variation as to what the day-in and day-out role of a homemaker was. If someone was making sourdough bread, I had no awareness of it.

I can’t recall any other homemaker having a very specific color palette for the clothing they and their children wore that also perfectly tied into their home décor. I had never seen luxury chicken coops, and if these things had happened, I would’ve had no real way of knowing. Our lives were mostly lived out privately in our homes and not on display for the world to see. 

At this stage in my life, my hands-on mothering days are nearing an end. My role has changed dramatically with a young adult and an older teen, and it won’t be long before my nest is empty. What has also changed dramatically is how homemaking is currently being represented.

While I am thrilled to see so many younger women embracing their role as the ‘maker’ of their home, I’m concerned that it’s being reduced to something that is very different than how it is portrayed in the Bible. I’m not the first person to say this and I won’t be the last. But it’s critical that we understand that homemaking is not merely an aesthetic. 

What God’s Word Says About Homemaking

Before I expand on that, let’s look to God’s Word to define the role of homemaker. While we are all familiar with Proverbs 31, if you go back a bit in that book you’ll find Proverbs 14:1 which says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” All throughout Scripture, we are provided with the qualities we should develop as homemakers. We are to be wise, prudent, gentle, productive, resourceful and so much more.

While these things can often lead to our homes having a certain aesthetic that arises from our faithfulness to our role as wives and mothers, it would only be a byproduct, not a must-have. That byproduct can be achieved without biblical fidelity. There can be an overlap between biblical homemaking and the homemaking or ‘trad wife’ movement we see on social media, but that doesn’t make them the same. You can have all the sourdough, linen aprons, vegetable gardens and chicken coops imaginable but it’s only when we are rooted in God’s definition of a homemaker that we are able to experience the true joy found in that role. 

The world’s definition of homemaker binds us to earthly things while God’s definition frees us from them. 

How Social Media Adds Pressure to Homemakers

If I was just now stepping into the role of homemaker, I can only imagine the kind of pressure I might feel to make sure that I checked off all the boxes that are represented online. The temptation to measure myself against that standard would be very hard to resist. There’s a reason people are called ‘influencers’. Please hear me when I say that there is nothing wrong with finding inspiration and ideas from online sources and making certain lifestyle choices for you and your family.

However, the woman who buys her vegetables at the store instead of growing them in a garden is no less intentional about caring for her family. She has decided to have different priorities and, as long as they fall under what is outlined for her in God’s Word, she has the freedom to make those decisions. You’ll never see the word ‘homemaker’ in the Bible, but what you will see are instructions for how we are to live our lives as women.

We’ve been given a wonderful opportunity as women who love the Lord to show the world that there is so much more depth to our role as keepers of our homes. And while there are so many ways in which it we can make it aesthetically pleasing to meet the physical needs of our families, unless we are pointing them to Jesus we are failing at meeting their greatest need. 

So, keep baking that sourdough bread OR buy it at the local bakery. Keep planting those gardens OR get your vegetables from the store. Wear clothing that is reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie OR buy another pair of black sweatpants. Because what truly matters is not the aesthetic but the heart that is aligned with God’s design.

Consider This…

How have you allowed the aesthetics of homemaking to take precedence over the instructions for homemaking in the Bible? Work your way through Proverbs 31 and note the adjectives used to describe that woman. Ask the Lord to help you focus more on those attributes.

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