The Difference Between Housekeeping and Homemaking

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Hi there!  I share a lot of articles on green living/ small space solutions/ practical housekeeping tips/ decorating ideas on my social networking pages (you can connect with me on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest if that strikes your fancy). I love a quick suggestion on how to live more naturally, and we all dig a great new recipe. I promote the posts because I appreciate practicality, and many Smallish readers are also on the journey to living well either on a small budget, with a small environmental footprint, or in a small space. But it struck me the other day that all the focus on housekeeping articles could actually cause someone to miss the point of what my true passion is: homemaking with excellence. Click through to join me in considering the difference between mere housekeeping and homemaking.

I am committed to creating a nurturing home for my husband and children. It’s one of the biggest reasons I chose to stop working and be a mommy full time. I want our home to be safe, peaceful, beautiful, fun, full of laughter, good food, great memories, strong friendships. A place where truth thrives, bonds grow, love reigns, joy abounds.

A home like that isn’t the product of focusing primarily on housekeeping or by trying out the latest fall Pinterest crafts or by staying away from cleaning chemicals or even by living together in a small space. It’s about attitude, and it’s hard work. It means, first of all, being responsible for my own mood because you know what they say: If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Sadly, that’s truth. As women and homemakers, our outlook sets the tone for the entire family. And I think that a home can be created anywhere, with any resources, with the right attitude. I believe homemaking starts with a contented heart grounded in the Word of God, able to plant and grow and nurture right where she is.

I believe homemaking starts with a contented heart grounded in the Word of God, able to plant and grow and nurture right where she is.

It begins with a heart happy to spend her days talking about diggers for hours on end and singing Thomas the Train’s theme song while changing diapers and slapping together pb&js. (Preferably not at the same time.) A heart present enough to patiently correct, to gently redirect behavior, to kneel at toddler eye-level and apologize when her own behavior is less-than exemplary. (Oh, I wish I didn’t have to do that as often as I do!)

Once the homemaker’s heart is rooted in Christ, she can better care for the home and the other hearts she stewards. Homemaking at the core is heartkeeping.

Homemaking at the core is heartkeeping.

Do the hearts of my children feel valued and cherished? Are their hearts surrounded by truth and love and gentle guidance? Does the heart of my husband feel respected and uplifted and honored by my actions and words? Am I taking good enough care of my own heart in order to faithfully nurture those of my little gifts?

Focusing on your own heart and then those of your family trickles down to momentary actions and thoughts that order your days and direct housekeeping activities. Keeping the house tidy becomes less about having a spotless pad and more about a peaceful atmosphere and accessing usable spaces. Cooking a healthy meal becomes not so much about channeling Martha Stewart but more about serving wholesome food over which your family can bond and grow. The day’s schedule might yield slightly to the importance of your child’s heart feeling cared for and not pushed around to activity after activity. Finding great new storage solutions might actually be used for blessing your husband with more tool space instead of reorganizing the gift wrap cabinet…again. See the difference?

Finding new space-savers is useful; discovering delish recipes is fun; talking about better ways to respect the budget is necessary, but really that’s all housekeeping. Let’s not miss the point. Homemaking is a heart chore, not a house chore. Focus on serving your family’s hearts first, and the rest of your activities will quickly reprioritize.

What do you think? What else would you add to the differences between housekeeping and homemaking? Start or join the discussion below. 🙂

Did this post bless you in some way? Yea! Make sure to share it with your friends, please. You never know who might need to hear a little encouragement too.

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22 Comments
  • Kim
    October 11, 2013

    I love this post and will read it again so that I am transformed by it. (I have used a cabinet for homeschool supplies, that my husband surely could use for tools.) Not all of your followers may be Christ-followers, but I want to share three verses that I have on my heart. Galatians 4:19 for parenting my teen. “My dear childrren, for I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Psalm 78:72 For homeschooling. “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” Isaiah 40:11 For being as gentle with my children as He is with me. “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Thanks again, Ev.

    • Evelyn
      October 11, 2013

      Hi Kim. Thanks so much for sharing your special verses with us! I can tell you keep the Word close to your own heart as you go about your day.

      • Kim
        October 12, 2013

        Thank you. It is a blessing.

  • Linda
    October 11, 2013

    What a great article! I love the idea of ‘heartkeeping’. That is key to how I want to live and what I desire for the relationships in my family. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us.

    • Evelyn
      October 11, 2013

      Thanks for commenting, Linda! I popped over to your blog & think it’s a lovely place, by the way. 🙂

  • Trisha
    October 11, 2013

    Evelyn, you said I would love today’s post and you were so right! You said it beautifully! Thank you for the great reminder!

    • Evelyn
      October 11, 2013

      So glad it blessed you. I love that we’re often on the same page with…well, most things! 🙂

  • Emily
    October 11, 2013

    Gutting and remodeling our home has taken a toll on us, but when my daughter said, “Mommy, will you make some time to play with me?” I knew I had to make some changes! This post puts what has been in my heart into words! I have been busy fixing our house in order to make it our home…meanwhile my little ones hearts didn’t have the feel of home at all. Now, when I know I have a project to do, I try to prepare them by saying, “I need to paint the guest room/build the kitchen seating/caulk the baseboards (the list is long!), so before I start, let’s spend some time together. Then, I’ll work on my project and we’ll play again when I’m done.” The Little Hearts are happier and so is Mommy!

    • Evelyn
      October 11, 2013

      Em, thanks so much for sharing! I love the way you are careful to put your own children’s hearts before working on the physical home. That is not often an easy thing to do! Miss you here, friend. 🙂

  • Lisha
    October 13, 2013

    Such an edifying post. This is such a balm for my heart right now. Thank you!

    I’m visiting from the Family Fun Friday link-up, and I’ll definitely be visiting again 🙂
    ~Lisha

    • Evelyn
      October 18, 2013

      Hey Lisha! So glad you stopped by & enjoyed the post. 🙂 Hope to see you around!

  • Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca
    October 18, 2013

    I love that, Evelyn! It really brings a sense of purpose to what can become monotonous tasks. 🙂

    • Evelyn
      October 18, 2013

      Hey Bethany,
      Yes… the monotony of mothering young children. 🙂 That’s a whole separate post for another time! Haha. Hope you’re well!

  • Andrea D.
    October 28, 2013

    Thank You for sharing this! I absolutely love this post. It was uplifting and reassuring at the same time. I know there are many times I forget my actions influence my family and I have to pray for encouragement daily. And you have gave me a breath of fresh air to start my week. 🙂 Blessed Day to you!

    • Evelyn
      October 28, 2013

      Hi Andrea,
      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to start a Monday off with a whiff of fresh air. 😉 Blessings to you too!

  • Kristin
    October 30, 2013

    Thank you for this post! I feel like we live in a culture that is all about having the “right” thing, making the “right” meal, or looking the “right” way. Those are ALL outward actions, where I believe that God cares (like you said) more about the heart. What are those these being born out of – a heart that is about material possessions and not about Him. I appreciate your thoughts and thank you for sharing!

    • Evelyn
      October 31, 2013

      Hey Kristin,
      So glad you stopped by. You pretty much just quoted Prov. 4:23: “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Right?! Thanks for sharing… you’ve got a cute blog. 🙂

      • Kristin
        November 1, 2013

        Thank you for that verse reminder – I never put two and two together :). Thanks for the encouragement and I am encouraged by YOUR blog, Evelyn! You do a wonderful job at sharing the truth, your heart, and your life.

        • Evelyn
          November 1, 2013

          Thanks. Let’s keep in touch!

          • Kristin
            November 1, 2013

            I’d love to 🙂

  • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
    August 6, 2015

    I just love the beautiful and inspiring words you shared here.

    “Homemaking at the core is heartkeeping.”

    I sighed when I read that, It totally made me think of my dear grandmother. She was an amazing woman who tended her home and the hearts in it.

    I loved this post – thank you for the edification. I’m pinning on my Deliberate FAITH board.

    Wishing you a lovely evening.

    • Evelyn
      August 8, 2015

      Thank you Jennifer! I truly appreciate your kind words. Your grandmother sounds amazing! 🙂

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