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Yellow Farmhouse; White Rocking Chair

By Kayleigh Rahn
After attending six family Christmases in four days, William and I took a vacation day together on Dec. 26 to simply be at home, stay in our pajamas, and figure out where to tuck away all of Nora’s new toys.

That morning after breakfast, William and Nora settled in for a movie, while I made my way upstairs to organize Nora’s closet. I was beginning to couple new outfits gifted in the days before when that all-too-familiar sinking gut feeling hit me. Typically this happens in the middle of the night, in the shower, in the car, or while out to dinner with friends. It means I’ve forgotten something major, usually having to do with work.

I took a mental inventory of my to do list before our next press day, and I realized I hadn’t forgotten a thing and tried to shake that empty feeling. It was the holidays. I was exactly where I should be. Every item related to work had been taken care of or could wait until the following business day. There was not a single work-related item that needed my attention.

It wasn’t that I’d forgotten anything, I was simply feeling guilty for being disconnected for a few days, and I became angry with myself for it. That’s when I realized I had fully neglected my 2018 New Year resolution; however, I’m not sure why it took me 360 days to realize I’d failed.

At the office we learn a lot about how people live their lives. It’s part of our job through feature stories, meetings, community outreach, and, of course, through the publication of obituaries to learn how our community members spend their days. I’ve always been intrigued when the title of homemaker pops up; however, at the close of 2017 it hit me that I was not a homemaker in any definition that came to mind. And, if no one with the title of homemaker resides within our house, who makes it a home?

I guess that falls to me. And William, of course. However, we have parallel roles in our places of work and spend about 50 hours, give or take, at the office each week. Even while we are home, we regularly answer phone calls and emails related to work, and with work always on the burner, who has time to dust the baseboards and make lavender-scented homemade play dough with the kid?

Every single mom on social media, that’s who.

So, like any other good, self-deprecating, millennial mom, I made myself of dream board and set out to make 2018 the Year of the Homemaker. On my board I pinned a “good home cleaning schedule,” a list titled “103 words of affirmation to encourage your husband,” and, yes, a homemade play dough recipe.

The mommy bloggers of the world live for this and so would I in 2018. Practice makes perfect, so if I worked a little each week by 2019 I’d planned to have it all by being a working-outside-the-home homemaker. Sure, I’m busy, but everyone is busy. I was motivated and determined. Then life happened. And I did none of it. At any and all aspects of this mission I’d failed.

As I came to this realization, I lied down on Nora’s bedroom floor to recover from the shattering noises inside my head as I realized her ceiling fan needed dusted about two months ago and the area rug in her bedroom had all of the dog’s hair on it. Wait, is the dog bald? No. She’s not? Good. More hair can cover the house before she sheds again this summer.

How do other moms do it?

I admitted defeat and headed downstairs to my husband and daughter who both greeted me with a smile.

Nora hopped off her dad’s lap and met me on the couch for snuggles. She wiggled her body under my arm, yawned and began to twirl a curl of hair at the back of her head. She was calm, relaxed, and there wasn’t even lavender scented homemade play dough involved.

This is her home, and William and I make it her home, not with the brilliant blog posts, but with love, snuggles, and laughter.

The best homemaker I ever met was my grandma, Nora Quick, for whom my daughter is named. She was a beautician by trade turned farmwife.

Every single day of my Grandpa Quick’s farming career she made three square meals, she ironed the bed sheets, and she dusted the floorboards.

However, when I think of visiting their house, I don’t remember any of that.

What I do remember is playing with her handheld mirror in her dressing room and how it felt for her to brush my hair after a long day of play before a sleepover at her house. I remember the way my grandfather smelled of Lava soap and Cornhuskers lotion, and that we watched Antique Roadshow together after he’d spent the day in the field.

On the contrary, my mom and dad have worked full-time everyday of my life. And the ranch house in Parkview where she and my dad live will forever be my home. We never had endless summer days of DIY, and when my mom had vacation time it was usually spent “catching up around the house” (much like our day-after-Christmas hideaway was spent). However, growing up my brother and I had a happy home filled with love every single day.

Home isn’t a what but a who.

So maybe it’s not that I failed in 2018, but my homemaking looks a bit different than my grandmother’s or the blogger moms’ of the digital age.

It’s no better or worse. Simply different. And as long as Nora and William are OK by that, I’ll call our house a home.

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