House Proud

Many years ago, when I was a single, career-minded young woman, I read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine that changed my life. No, not a piece of the “how to satisfy your man” ilk. “How to Be House-Proud” by Rita Barnett struck such a deep chord in me, I cut out the article and re-read every couple of years.  The article became a guide in my quest to build a life I loved.

I am a homebody by nature, a nester, as one friend described me. What the article made me realize was that if I took care of my home, my home would take care of me when I needed it. When unexpected company dropped by. When I had a food craving. When I was sick. The mind set served me well for many years.

But life changes. Marriage, children, career advancement, career loss, new job, serious pursuit of my writing, and so on. Besides, when one lives with others, one has to accommodate their concepts of home, too, which might not always coincide with one’s own.

Some habits, however, are worth clinging to.

The habit I developed of keeping certain nonperishable foods on hand is one I’ve maintained. In upstate New York, winter weather can be uncertain. I feel secure (and even smug at times) knowing if my family and I get snowed in, we wouldn’t go hungry. To me, that’s what home is: hearty, (mostly) healthy meals.

Are there days when I wish I could come home from my day job to a clean house? You bet. But I’m not the only one who lives here. And serious pursuit of my writing career meant serious reappraisal and restructuring of my available time.

Being house proud, as the article states, is not about mopping and dusting. It’s about the making of a home.