I unlock the front door and my children and I fall into the house. We had a busy morning and it is already 12:30. The baby is cranky because he should have eaten at 11:30 and gone down for a nap at 12. The others are squabbling over who gets to sit on the left part of the bottom stair while they take their shoes off. I get the baby into the high chair and start nuking some baby food. I open a can of Princess Pasta (now made with real princesses!) and dump it into a pot.
And then She sneers in my ear:
“If you’d planned better, you would have packed a lunch. Also, that Princess Pasta is basically dog food for children.”
No, I don’t have some jerk living in my house that stands around waiting for me when I get home. What I do have, is an idol.
Meet the Homemaker Demon Mother Goddess (or, for the sake of brevity, the HDMG).
She takes no pity on me, and offers no help in time of need. She exists in a state of eternal displeasure. She is not impressed with my home-keeping, and thinks I need to dust more often. She tells me my children would comply if I’d done a better job with them as infants, and practiced more of what I was supposed to learn from those Christian parenting videos.
The HDMG thinks counselling is for weaklings and epidurals are for wusses. She demands my supplication and obedience, so I read parenting and home-keeping books, articles, blogs to try to do better. But she accuses me from there as well; I don’t move the furniture when I vacuum. I use formula and jarred baby food. I feed our family white flour. I can’t train my kids to pick up after themselves in “3 easy steps!”
I don’t homeschool.
I’m happy with “only” three kids.
I don’t want to adopt.
The Homemaker Demon Mother Goddess scorns my failings and condemns me for them.
Praise be to God that the Homemaker Demon Mother Goddess is nothing but a stone idol. When I forget this, my spirit shrinks and I feel so wretchedly inadequate. But when I cower before her cold marble stare, I am facing away from my precious Savior. Jesus neither condemns me, nor gives me a list of cultural (or countercultural) mandates to follow. Jesus has, by His blood shed for my dead and idolatrous soul, freed me to live for Him, and only Him.
So what does this mean? It means I can keep my house as clean, or as messy as I want to, so long as I bring glory to Him. I can raise my kids using whatever parenting methods I want, so long as I raise them in a way that glorifies Him. And I am free to never, EVER vacuum under the sofa, because it’s who sits ON the sofa when we practice hospitality that matters.
Seven years ago, I prayed desperately for God to tell me what His plan for me was, and I heard a name: Harriet. I had no idea what this meant so I looked up the meaning of the name. Turns out it means “Home ruler.”
That is who I am. And when I get caught up in false guilt, thinking of how I “should” be, I am living out of fear of the Homemaker Demon Mother Goddess, not in the freedom that God has given me to run this house for His glory.
The baby is asleep upstairs, and the older kids are (gasp!) watching TV. The tornado of lunchtime has blown over, and nobody died or got scurvy from Princess Pasta. We all have days when we feel like everything we do is wrong, and I’m sure I have many more ahead of me.
But Jesus knows I am trying to raise my kids and run my home for His glory. I will not do it perfectly, and I will hear the insidious voice of the Homemaker Demon Mother Goddess from time to time.
But Christ is for me, and I can trust that He is pleased.