Homemaker Hopeful: Learning the skills that make being at home a joy
By: Sophie Martinson
We all love the comfort of a well kept home, but actually maintaining a clean and happy home often seems out of reach. Homemaker Hopeful is an idea-sharing blog focused on learning the skills of homemaking so that readers can master those skills and unlock joy while doing them.
I am a wife and mom with a passion for reading, writing, and home arts. As a freelance culture writer for various publications, I focus on the arts, relationships, the family, and society.
Growing up, my sense of home was one of tranquility, order, and joy. That was no small thing, given that I was one of six kids, at one point ages five to 18, sharing bedrooms, bathrooms, toys, and time. However my parents did it, and whatever size my future family would be, I knew I wanted that same atmosphere of tranquility in my own home one day.
After getting married in November 2019, I was thrilled to begin a new life with my husband and establish our new home. And while there’s been plenty of joy, order and tranquility are not always a given. Unsurprisingly, I discovered that running a home isn’t as easy as my mom and magazines made it look! Although I had learned some important kitchen and cleaning skills before I got married, I found that even in a small New York City apartment, I still had a lot to learn about home care.
Meanwhile, freelance writing had become a great outlet for me as I navigated the world of married (and then new-mom) life. Amid the one-off pieces, I started thinking about taking on a consistent, long-term project – something that I could dive into with the same level of energy and professionalism that I had put into my experiences as a full-time student and journalist.
That desire led to a dilemma. I had chosen not to work full-time in order to dedicate myself to the care of our home – and most importantly, the people in it. What could I do that would engage me intellectually without detracting from my family life?
I knew I wasn’t the only one asking this kind of question. I’ve had several conversations with my fellow moms (working full-time, part-time, or freelancing like myself) about the reality of “mom guilt” – that tension between professional aspirations and family urges. I needed a solution.
For me, the answer was to blend my two passions, writing and homemaking, into one. Approaching my work at home as a profession, I spend time reading, researching, and interviewing others about household tasks and then write about my discoveries. The goal is to learn alongside my readers so that homemaking becomes less stressful and more joyful.
How does Homemaker Hopeful work?
Every home has multiple rooms (or designated spaces), and every space has a purpose. In each of my blog posts, I focus on one room — the kitchen, for instance — and a particular homemaking skill associated with it — such as menu planning or food storage.
Some entries may focus on what belongs in a room — for instance, the kinds of cleaning products to keep by the laundry, or book ideas to stock the family library. Others explore what happens in that room, such as a quick and effective bathroom cleaning strategy or the basic steps to hosting a great dinner party.
Using a variety of books, articles, and interviews as references, I distill what I find most practical and relevant. For those who wish to explore even more, I include links to further reading and resources in each post.
Challenges & Opportunities
Because everything in my life is new to me – a new house, a new neighborhood, a new baby, a new set of skills to learn – trying to juggle it all and write clearly about it can be a challenge. Along the way, I’ve renewed my appreciation for others and the importance of asking for help when I need it. In order to take care of my family and pursue my passion for writing, I often need a helping hand to get everything done without neglecting those I love. It’s humbling to show family and friends that I can’t do it all on my own, but I’ve found that asking for help has given me a much greater sense of calm when pursuing my work and has strengthened my relationships with those around me.
My blog has also led me to connect with many others who are interested in similar topics regarding home care. The rise of social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest, has unveiled a vast community sharing ideas about home improvement, decor, and lifestyle. This community became even more active during the lockdowns sparked by COVID-19, which occurred right around when I launched Homemaker Hopeful. My blog caters directly to that community and incorporates the concepts of professionalism and joy into each household task.
On a practical level, the number of physical and intellectual skills that go into running a household are almost endless. The financial strategy behind maintaining a budget, the hospitality management to entertaining guests, the chemical knowledge behind sanitizing laundry and bathrooms – not to mention the physical dexterity and endurance required to chase small children – are just a few examples. If anyone is interested in personal improvement and knowledge while running a household, my blog is a fitting resource.
My hope is to encourage others to see the work of the home as noble and empowering. Whatever our professional circumstances may be, those household tasks need to get done, so why not do them with a sense of professionalism and purpose?
What’s more, learning how to sharpen my homemaking skills can make those essential tasks more efficient, less stressful, and even enjoyable. And if I can find fulfillment, growth, and joy right here in the work I do at home, that’s an opportunity I don’t want to miss.
Advice to others about business
If you’re interested in starting a business but are unsure where to begin, starting a blog could be an excellent first step. You can customize it exactly to your personal interests and style, and you can play around with it whenever you like. Whether it’s a long thought piece or a quick commentary, it will always be there for you to record your questions and ideas.
Launching and running a blog is also a good way to test whether a topic is something you find worth investing time and energy in, regardless of the dollar value. Once you’ve found that passion, it will carry you through the next step of turning the personal blog into a business.