Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dear Husband, This Is Why I Spent $100 at Target Yesterday

Maybe I've mentioned this before, but I'm a stay at home mom, which means I spend roughly 90% of my existence chasing small people around the same few rooms all the livelong day. And while I'm keeping my eyes on said small people, making sure they don't go swimming in the toilet or eat tubes of lipstick, I find myself constantly taking stock of the little world we live in. And by that I mean, I imagine all the many projects I could possibly start around the house and subsequently drag Matt into after I get in over my head.

Here's an abbreviated version of my current to-do list (which is an ever-changing rolodex of semi-creative "genius"):

~ The little table behind the couch, which I'm dreaming about painting yellow.
~ The dining room chairs which need re-upholstering due to excessive crayon and Play-Doh abuse.
~ The ten-year-old desk from Target in the guest room that's begging to be painted a distressed white.
~ The blank wall above the desk which would be perfect for the floating shelves I've got tucked away in the closet. (I just need someone tall and handy with tools to hang them for me...)

Essentially, I have a running to-do list that would make Matt's hair stand on end if he could actually get his hands on a typed-out version.

And then there are those innocent little trips to Tar-jay and T.J. Maxx where I find myself wandering through the home decor section as I mentally redecorate my house with all the things on the sale end-cap. I've learned the hard way that I am physically incapable of leaving Target without $100 disappearing from our checking account. Every. Single. Time. (I'm starting to suspect dark marketing subterfuge in the board rooms of Target's headquarters and I'm pretty sure Dateline needs to get on that expose' pronto.) This situation is also why my family should always live at least twenty-five minutes away from a Target, minimum. Then there's T.J. Maxx, which is another dysfunctional love story that deserves its own, very lengthy, somewhat emotional blog post. 

But, somehow, in the midst of all the semi-impulse buying (which I'm exaggerating slightly) and project-starting, there is something important happening.

I, dear reader, am home-making.

I'll give you a minute to roll your eyes (if you're my husband) and possibly even smirk over how I'm about to draw a connection between impulse Target-buying and the beautiful and crucial art of creating a home for my family.

Making a case for chalk paint, crafting felt and Target end-caps sales being significant parts of home-making might be a bit of a stretch, but the value of making a home beautiful and the indispensable role of the person who makes that happen is inestimable (says the homemaker humbly).

Do you know who's responsible for turning our house into a living, breathing home? Moi. Matt's a little preoccupied with excessive amounts of yard work and taking the trash out and other household chores that I'd rather not do. And in his free time, he's more interested in rough-housing with our little people and maybe getting in a little Sports Illustrated reading than re-arranging furniture and distressing picture frames. And, that's good with me. I'm happy to assume the role of picture-hanger, knick knack arranger, organizer of shelf decor, painter of old furniture, and basically the CEO of all the pretty stuff and the places it should go.

I realize we could make do without my puttering around looking for just the right place for an old eggplant-colored pitcher that was a wedding present to my grandparents sixty-five years ago. But, that pitcher will play a small part in the bigger picture that is the home I'm creating, which is only made more beautiful by pieces with stories to tell.

Friends, I promise I'm not advocating that you blow your household budget at Home Goods or that you obsess over your house to the point where no one feels comfortable sitting down on your perfectly fluffed couch pillows. But, what I am saying is that the art of making a home is worthwhile. You might not think it matters to your husband and those little people you made together, and they might not even realize it matters to them, but the effort you put in to giving them a home that feels beautifully and intentionally created will offer them that proverbial, and somewhat indefinable, sense of feeling at home.

I do a lot of other things to keep my household working (i.e., cleaning bathrooms, cooking dinner, LAUNDRY, keeping the grocery list on budget most of the time, etc.), but the small moments when I work to make our home a lovely respite, a place for rest and comfort and sanctuary from the outside world, that time is just as valuable as the practical tasks that are always and forever on my to-do list.

At this moment, there are blue chalk handprints on the pantry door, someone's (shout out to Mae) pumpkin muffin crumbs are scattered on the den rug, and nobody's bed is made right now, so we're not living in a perfect house by any stretch of the imagination. Also, I'm not the craftiest or the most skilled at decorating and my budget for anything extra for the house is rather small (Matt would say non-existent).

But, here's the thing, there is redemption even in the simple act of home-making, of making your family's house into a home that is lovely and welcoming. Restoring, creating, making things new: these are ways that I can reflect a redeeming, creative, restoring God. There is real beauty in that which gives this imperfect, Target-loving, home-making mama some hope on an allergy-full, kid-crazed, it's-almost-summer-and-I'm-freaking-out-a-little kind of Thursday. 

Here are a few places I go sometimes for a homey idea or two:

Why my bed hasn't been made yet.



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