In my life I have so many identities and roles. I'm a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. Each of these have a wonderful and welcome place in my life. Yet above all of these I am also the heartbeat of my home. I set the atmosphere within the walls of our family sanctuary. I decide if this is a place of welcome or a place to be avoided. I am responsible for the pace of life day by day.
Realtors/Estate Agents know that to sell a home to a family they have to market to the wife/mother. They will tell you that the single most important room for this is the kitchen. The woman has to see herself comfortable in the kitchen. Once that is done the house will sell itself. Why is this? It is because deep down as women we know that we are the heartbeat of our homes and we like to beat in the heart of the home, the kitchen.
I know for me, in all the different homes I've lived in over the years, I have always gravitated towards the kitchen. I love being in the kitchen and being busy. I love to bake and cook. I love to organize and plan from the kitchen. It is where I am usually to be found if the children are sleeping. I love the rest of my home too. But I always come back to the warmth and vitality of the kitchen.
At present we have a small table in our kitchen that I use as an extra work surface. It has become my baking station. I have a baker's rack against the wall near this table that holds most of my baking supplies, so it is a natural place to mix together something wonderful. It is also the only real heat proof surface in the kitchen, so it is also the place where hot tins fresh from the oven are placed before the contents are removed. Already this morning I have completed 3 loaves of bread and a batch of cookies. A loaf of banana bread is currently in the oven. This afternoon I plan on making some apple turnovers to use up the last of our organic apples before they get too old. I can't think of a nicer smell than fresh baked food.
My love of the kitchen extends to my collecting instincts. I love to collect small kitchen gadgets. I love to find those wonderful little curiosities that make the life of a cook or baker so much easier. From the measuring spoons that go down to a pinch and a dash, to the scone cutter and flower petal maker. For Christmas my wonderful husband even surprised me with a few new ones in my stocking, including a chocolate mold and a new cookie cutter.
I remember with great fondness the wonderful aromas of my childhood home. We did not have shop bought cookies/biscuits in our home very often. Instead we always had fresh baked cake available. In the winter there was usually a very large pot of home made soup on the stove. My brother and I were the most popular children in our respective classes at school when we turned up with cake. Mum would give us two slices of cake instead of candy or chips/crisps for the morning break time. We would half one slice and swap it for a candy bar or a bag of chips/crisps. Mum thought she was helping us to healthier having home baked treats. We on the other hand had a captive market amongst children who never had home baked in their homes. The other children craved the cake we had, not just because it tasted good (and it tasted so wonderful we always kept a slice for ourselves) but because of the love that went into making it.
Knowing that I am the heartbeat of my home I want my children to have the kinds of lasting memories I had growing up. While they may not have the daily or even weekly visits with extended family, they can have the wonderful treats that feed their souls as well as their bellies. I can fill our home with the sweet smell of food prepared in love, or I can fill it with the foul aroma of convenience that says there are more important things than them. I can be the agent of peace and love that makes our home a welcoming place to all who enter, or I can busy around keeping it so perfect that nobody feel comfortable to spend time here. I can embrace my role as the heartbeat of my home, or I can let my home fall into ruin.
I love that I get to choose my response to my role in our family. I only have myself to blame if I get it wrong. I am glad to choose to stay at home every day, and make our home a wonderful to stay in. The memories my children take with them from here can be wonderful, filled with the sweet aroma of foods prepared by loving hands, only if my hands are filled with love while they work.
A wise woman once told me that no matter what happens in life my reaction is my choice. Now that I get to stay home every day this is still true. I could choose to be discontent and want to be out somewhere, anywhere on any given day. I could disregard the needs of my children and be busy out and about doing things outside the home with them. I could even choose to find employment and put them in daycare so we could have more things or travel to more places. Instead I choose to stay home. I choose to plan around nap times, diaper/nappy changes, snack and meal needs, nursing, cleaning, cooking, baking, and occasionally writing. This is being a heartbeat, a steady constant rhythm that keeps our lives moving along, slowly, carefully and at peace.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.