What Makes a House a Home
by Hope Helmuth
Nowadays photos of lovely pristine houses seem to be peppered over social media. White kitchens with uncluttered kitchen counters with hardly an appliance or paper towel holder to be seen. Living rooms with strategically placed furniture and freshly fluffed couch pillows. Then there is the back porch with a lovely light-colored rug still white as the day it was made.
I push the off button on my iPhone to look up to see a kitchen counter full of dirty dishes. I see couch cushions and pillows strewn across the floor. The porch is covered in a thin film of green pine pollen, and the puppy has decided to use my lovely door mat for a restroom.
Discontentment starts to settle in my heart, and what I once viewed as normal life is now a big deal. Everything must be cleaned now or I can’t function! I most certainly need to work harder and longer to keep my house in order. My mood is quickly translated to the rest of my family; and let me be honest, it’s not a pleasant one.
Social media has blinded our eyes to a realistic standard on housekeeping. Anyone who takes staged home photos will tell you that there is a room full of items that weren’t attractive enough to be in the photo. Why do these photos continue to deceive us when we know it’s not a realistic goal to achieve, especially if you are blessed with children?
A clean floor with white cabinets does not make a house a home. What makes a house a home is the people who live in it and the community of sharing that surrounds it. A home is to be a place of rest and a safe haven. It’s a place where memories are made and shared. A mess can even make a house a home—it’s because people are actually living in it. I’m not promoting a cluttered home to the point it feels chaotic. I am just suggesting that your happiness should not hinge on how clean or tidy your home is.
I have also learned that a perfectly clean and tidy home sets me up for disappointment. That freshly mopped floor is now a shiny, clean slate for lots of disappointments—cracker crumbs, snippets from art projects, and now under the dinner table there is enough rice to feed a nice sized field mouse. Does that mean I should not clean at all? No, it doesn’t, but it does mean that I need to change my perspective and be thankful for the lives that live inside my home and help to make the mess, and also help to clean it up.
When I think of my homeplace, I don’t think about how it looked. (Although I must admit my mother kept a very clean house.) I think about the meals we shared around our kitchen table. I think about the summers we spent planting, picking, and preserving foods from our garden. I think about icing sugar cookies at Christmastime each year with my siblings. I don’t remember mom’s stylish kitchen or how well decorated her home was. I remember the things that made her house into a home.
I must admit that I do love a well-designed and decorated home. As keepers of our homes, we can attain great joy by making our home a restful and peaceful dwelling. This may look different for each of you; but being content with the house you have been given to turn into a home lays the foundation for the right environment in your home.
Remember, on those days when you are in the kitchen all day canning or preparing food, that the mess you are creating is giving life to your home. When your children or grandchildren are using your couch pillows to build a fort in the living room, or the puppy is using your doormat for a restroom, these things are still making your house into a home.
Hope Helmuth is a stay-at-home housewife and mom. Her debut cookbook is Hope’s Table. She has a passion for cooking, creating recipes, and entertaining guests. Every day, she strives to use the gifts God has given her to glorify Him. More information on Helmuth can be found at hopeful-things.com.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.