I just read an article in a magazine entitled Making Your Home a General Store. I smiled as I thought of my own experience with home as store—complete with grocery store shelving, enough Joy dish liquid and honey to last until I die and a year’s supply of rodents. My experience convinced me to leave the grocery business to Safeway and to take Moses’ advice on not gathering more Manna than one can consume at one time, lest it “breed worms and stink.” The article reminded me of the many other “Making your Home a (Fill in the Blank)” advice I have heard over the years.
In my job as full-time homemaker and mother, I have been instructed to make my Home a Place of Learning—I was told I needed to have homework and art centers, book-filled shelves and filters on the internet. (After the gusto of September faded and the new Magic Markers dried out, we were pretty much back to sitting on the couch, watching Idol and doing math homework during commercials.) I attended a seminar where I learned to cook all my meals for the month in one day: grating cheese and putting it in baggies, chopping all the veggies, making mixes etc. I could make my Home a Stouffers Frozen Food Factory—I never even attempted that. Home as Temple just never really caught on amid the skateboards, skis and frogs that came with raising four boys. We did attempt a few Home as Day Spa events with the girls—but pedicures in the bathtub just don’t quite compare with the ones given by my South Asian friends. Another speaker I heard referred to Home as a Launching Pad—for the day’s activities. She instructed us to have everything neatly organized in the mud room with lockers. Each child would simply grab their backpack, neatly typed notes to teachers, lunch money and be on their way. We have had a lot of aborted take-offs around here! I have read advice to make your home a missionary training center, a travel agency and a quilt shop! Hell (o), a recent episode of Doomsday Preppers showed how to turn your swimming pool into a fish hatchery and your basement into a nuclear bomb shelter! There is just so much insanity that should be taking place within the four walls we call “Home!”
(All of my children gathering to research a relevant topic–like Charlie Bit Me!)
Personally, I guess what has worked for me and my “less than entrepreneurial spirit” is home as refuge—Making home a refuge from the demands of life. Even without the McGruff Safety House sticker on the window, I see my home as a safe place. It is a place that you can run down the hall half-naked, because your pants are still in the dryer; a place you can curl up on the couch and throw up in a garbage can when you don’t feel well. It is a place to have a good cry when something terrible happens—the cry that makes your face all red and puffy. Home is where you know you will be loved and accepted no matter how badly you screwed up or how rotten your socks smell. It is a place where you can still lick the bowl and prepare a meal without a food handler’s permit. It is where the dog and the cat share the same dish in a spirit of mutual respect. Home is a place where you can stand in the shower until the water runs cold and then finish the last chapter of a great book while sitting on your bed wrapped in a towel. It is a place for a late night snack with a sibling and an early morning cup of joe with a spouse. Home is where good grades are very important—except when they are not. Home is where you can barbeque a hamburger, swim in the pool sans rainbow trout and leave the end of the world for another day. Home is hearth and family. Home is where all is safely gathered in—unless of course, you have to dash to the grocery because the family prepper forgot to stock up on Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.