Let’s sit down with Brooke and find out more about This Thing Called Home. Curious about her messiest and most dreaded chore? Curious about her next book?
I wouldn’t say a long time.
I started teaching in January 2016. My Mimi, Devi Titus, asked me if I would teach at her Home Experience Intensives which were starting back up in June after a few years off due to her busy travel schedule. I was given the topic of Home Order and charged with the challenge of forming new material, not present in her Home Experience book.
I happen to love this topic but I didn’t feel ready to teach it for pay. I posted on Facebook and asked friends to help me by coming to listen as I practiced, in anticipation of teaching in June. These practice classes were key. I have amazing friends and friends of friends that came and participated.
As I developed the content, I sat around my dinner table with 12 ladies. They were enthusiastic in every way about my thoughts and ideas about home. I suggested that I may write a book and they were so excited for me. I walked away from that feeling like I had to do it. Not because I had anything to prove, but because I accidentally was helping more women than I thought possible. And, helping was attractive to me.
It reminds me of an interview Aaron Hanbury conducted with Seth Godin for Relevant Magazine.
“Find 10 people—not a hundred, not a thousand, but 10 people—to lead. Ten people you can make a difference for, 10 people you can share your idea with. If they spread it for you, then you’re on to something. If they don’t, then you need a better idea.” Seth Godin says.
These ladies proved Seth’s theory of the “First 10”, and convinced me that I might be on to something. It wasn’t long after that dinner that I started writing.
It was a constant mixed bag of emotions. It was exciting and thrilling. I gushed about it to anyone who would listen. I was so proud. Then, it was terrifying and confusing. Will anybody read it? Do I actually have time to be doing this? Where am I going with this? What does this mean? Do I have to be a real author now?
I am a thinker. As in, “Hold on, let me (over) think about this.” Seriously. I go back and forth on thoughts and related emotions and process internally.
Writing a book took faith. That’s all I can say. It was full of big, brand new feelings. I had no idea what I was doing so I had to ask a lot of questions and push past so many fears and insecurities.
“(I’m failing at) This Thing Called Home” was just honest. I told myself that so many times over the last 12 years, it just felt real. I’ve changed the narrative (in my mind) not just once but a trillion times. In some seasons of life, daily.
Recently, a local church women’s pastor told me that that is a phrase they hear from women almost all the time. When she said that, I was thinking YES. Since I had already chosen the titled, I hated that those ladies felt like a failure but I hoped sincerely to find them and help them move beyond it.
With zero hesitation, it’s cleaning out the car. My mini-van gets totally trashed. Goldfish cracker crumbs smashed in the carpet, tiny toys lost in the crevices, the “black hole” up front near the console, and so much more!
I’d like to think someday I’ll keep up with it, but it’s complete dread. That’s why I just clean it out once a week. That means that 6 days and 23 hours out of the week, it’s varying degrees of mess. I dread it because it gets so bad. Las year, Scott was going to buy me a new car and I emphatically argued, “Does that mean I have to keep it clean everyday?”
Umm, let’s just say, I opted for the older mini-van rather than a new fancy shmancy something. I just got the van detailed this past week and the thought came to mind, “I’m going to ask for this for Christmas.” Maybe now I’ll keep it clean or ban eating from the van?
Nope. Pressure I think comes from this weird insecurity that I have to prove something. You don’t owe anyone anything, first, but secondly, my family is really loving. More than once, Mimi popped over and my dining room was mounds of laundry. She either helped me fold it or ignored it while we made lunch.
My mom has never applied expectations or pressure, also too because she is super cheery and fun and likes people more than tasks.
When I’m having an OH-NO, I’m losing myself moment during the day, I tell the kids “I’m going to get the mail!” I walk out the front door and instantly, the fresh air and sun hit me and I’m getting a little break. It’s a little coping thing I figured out sometime last year. I take a long walk to the mailbox. Then, I open and read the mail. I discard junk mail instantly and before I come back in, I take a second to breathe, say a prayer and gear up for getting back to it. That’s self-care while “in the grind”.
Then, for something regular, my husband and I take date nights. 4 a month. I schedule them in advance and we look forward to it. I do try to slip out as much as possible on the fly when Scott’s around and I’m known to call a babysitter when I’m feeling like I need some time out.
In the summertime for several years, I scheduled a babysitter for one full day out of the week. Wednesdays were 100% for me- lunch date with a friend, read a book, journal, run errands with Starbucks and fewer distractions. During those three months I was intentional about this investment.
I don’t know that I can speak for many women, but for me, that made all the difference. Recognizing many moments throughout the day I was completely defeated.
How do I say this? I’m kind of a wimp. Seriously, it’s true. I cry when I stub my toe. I have to have 10 hours of sleep a night, or else. I’ve just never seen myself as “strong” or “courageous”. And, so maybe that was the problem.
I had to change the way I was thinking about home life, in every way. I’m still figuring that out, but, that’s the solution. How you think determines what you do.
I definitely do. In regards to home, Marie Kondo’s “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” did that. It changed me. I just read that in December of 2015 and it made a big impact.
Then, “The Life-giving Home” by Sally and Sarah Clarkson was a great read. I was like YES to everything she said.
“For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker was a big deal for me. I don’t see anything she said being in contrast to what I do or say at all. In my head, her thoughts compliment mine really well. Also, she makes me laugh and we all need a good laugh sometimes.
Have them call me! I love talking to husbands on how to support wife and home if they’re curious.
I think men relate really well to seeing home as having business-like qualities. Many men have careers that have transferrable skills they can use at home and it can be language that makes sense to them.
As far as “getting them on board”, I really don’t know fully. I’m not a marriage expert, but in my situation my husband was looking for ways to “get me on board”. He did a lot of the homemaking stuff before I came around. He’s just a “get it done” person and I wasn’t. Plus, he had lived on his own several years before I came into the picture.
Start by making goals that require nobody else’s input. Set a time to communicate clearly but don’t set expectations of others, self-manage instead. Ideally, others get interested and you can forge a better way forward, but if not than you can accept that you wouldn’t be fully in control.
Right now, we are in the process of moving. Honestly, it is layers and layers of chaos. It’s been many years since we moved and that was before four kids. We had fun with it in the beginning…coloring on boxes, making boxes into fun shapes. But, before long, we were just in over our heads.
My biggest challenge will be forthcoming: unpacking and making all of our systems and habits new. My plan is simple. One box at a time.
I’m 99% sure I’ll be starting it as soon as this book launches. It’s already on my mind!
My husband and I just took a 12 week sabbatical and we’re in the middle of this transition. He sold his business. We sold our house. Then, we packed everything, loaded two storage units, and moved cross country for the big adventure.
I’ll be writing about our experiences and adventures. It’ll just be one busy mom’s thoughts on living with less and re-making home wherever we go.