I am absolutely delighted to introduce you to Kenna Covington, who describes herself as, “a bringer of joy, seer of heart shaped rocks, and a beginner at being human.”
She lives in Wake Forest, NC with her sweet, sweet husband and son, two cats, four chickens, and a soon to be honey bee hive.
Kenna left healthcare administration on December 31, 2013 to become a full-time homemaker and hasn’t looked back.
Her interests include — but are not limited to — drinking as much coffee or wine as she likes, reading, learning, trying new things, gardening, art, poetry, science, and people. While Kenna grew up in a Christian household, her spiritual journey and search for effective parenting methods has brought her to the philosophy of Humanism.
Kenna, what do you think of when you think of the word homemaker?
I think a homemaker is someone who cares for their home as well as all the creatures living in and around it. A homemaker, regardless of gender, is essential to creating the path that makes the most sense to how they see their place in the world. Some homemakers have children and some do not, some homemakers share their responsibilities with a partner; either way, they are cultivating a life with purpose and hopefully enjoying the ride. I think that our home is bigger than our address and that it is our responsibility to be community and global homemakers.
What do you think other people picture when they hear the term, and how do those images compare to your vision of yourself as a homemaker?
I think most people picture an American 1950’s style housewife wearing pantyhose and an apron (along with some fantastically laundered knee length dress), preparing luscious meals for her over achieving family to enjoy before going back to whatever needle art she’s working on.
I have a beautiful apron but I don’t own pantyhose and some of the meals I make aren’t so luscious, like the “let’s try squid ink colored pasta” that ended up looking like worms. While it tasted great, it was a brain train wreck. I think that homemaker is a role that is defined differently by every person asked, that there is no universal model for a homemaker, which is a bit freeing, don’t you think?'There is no universal model for a homemaker, which is a bit freeing, don’t you think?' - Kenna Click To Tweet
Why do you think homemaking is important?
I think that homemaking is important because it reflects what is going on in your brain, what are you internally working on at the moment, what are you reading, how is your culture affecting you, what are your goals, type of thinking. As a homemaker my job is to remove obstacles from my family so we can all enjoy life. I have always been the homemaker in our sweet little family, even when I worked and before I was a mother. When I left my job to be a stay at home mother, for which I am most grateful to be able to do, I slipped wonderfully into the official role of homemaker. My job is to make what we have work to meet the life we want to live. This is the best job I have ever had.
What does “making a home” mean to you?
Making a home to me means that I am taking care of what needs to be taken care of. If there are clothes to be mended, I mend them. If there are meals to be prepared, I prepare them. If there are chickens that need to be soaked in a warm bath so their bottoms can get unclogged, I, well, you get it. Making a home and being a full time homemaker means that I am available to do what needs to be done. When I was working, I was so exhausted at the end of the day that there wasn’t much energy left for my family, and even less for myself after caring for them. Making a home means that someone is home to take care of people, creatures, and things that need to be cared for.
How do you find balance in your life?
I am very fortunate to be a full time homemaker. With that said, reading a book (or Facebook) is the only time I am in one place for long, and I love audio books for that reason, although I find that I don’t retain as much when I am listening and doing things – I like the mindfulness that reading brings. I volunteer a lot with my son’s school and I am a Girl Scout leader. I also suffer from “can’t-say-no disease”. I have spent a lot of time in the past giving and doing until I burn out. My candle is bright and burns twice as fast. I have been able to pace myself with volunteering and watch how my body, my heart, and my family react to me taking more on. I have learned in the last few years to say no, which is very hard, but so necessary for me to stay balanced. Meditation is a big part of how I stay healthy. I listen to my breath and try to count to five with a clear mind; most days my monkey brain can get to two.
What are your favorite parts of homemaking?
My favorite part of homemaking is the chance for mastery, autonomy, and purpose. If I want to learn how to make my own detergent, hollandaise sauce, grow a garden, raise chickens, start an apiary, I can do it. I learn, record, fail, try again, and hopefully succeed. I have learned more in the last year and a half of being a full time homemaker than I had in the last five years of working in an office. The skills I have learned are ones that a working mother has time to Pinterest on a wish board but no time to practice. Many of these skills take time and failure to get right. There is so much I know, more that I don’t know, and even more that I don’t know I don’t know. Did you know that chickens have photoreceptors in their heads!? Also, I love the personal freedom that being a homemaker gives me. I spent last year with turquoise and then pink hair. This year I raised funds for St. Baldrick’s and shaved my head. It’s a great life!
'If I want to learn how to make my own detergent, grow a garden, raise chickens, start an apiary, I can do it.' -… Click To Tweet
What’s your least favorite part of homemaking?
My least favorite part of homemaking is dealing with the financial side. We let the fear pass through us when we decided that I would stay home. Effectively we cut our income in half. Part of my homemaker journey has been to embrace being frugal and creative. We had already started a journey (we are on a lot of journeys) into minimalism. We felt like having less might open up more space for intentional living.
All the major religions teach giving it all away. While we don’t subscribe to any of them, we feel it’s a good idea and is working for us. I feel lighter and more grounded through this endeavor. I do miss consuming, walking into Target and shopping for sport, and while having less money keeps this from being a possibility, I feel that it is helping us inventory what is truly necessary and valuable in our lives.
We are nearly debt free – it’s all college loans, one car payment, one serious hospital visit, and the mortgage at this point. We have no credit cards. When there isn’t any more money, there just isn’t any. Oh, we do get down to the bottom of that barrel, but with careful and creative planning, my family doesn’t feel it at all, and those are some of my proudest moments. Shout out to the public library!
Are you crafty? A great cook? A decorator? A cleanliness nut?
I love to cook. One of the first gifts my husband gave me was a handmade paper journal and after a few months deciding how to use it I started my recipe journal called, “Tried and True 1996 – “ There are family recipes, the Martha Stewart Macaroni and Cheese recipe <3, and a few others. We name the really great meals, like Hamburger Helped Itself, Say My Name Apple Pie, Whisper My Name Peach Cobbler, and Mexican Lasagna. Our most recent addition is a very yummy dish with chicken, peas, and an alfredo sauce. After the first bite, my husband (who hates peas) exclaimed, “Mmmm, you can hardly taste the pea-ness”, which of course was picked up by my darling 8 year old and the dish became known as Chicken Peaness.
I love making things and there is always some project happening. Right now there are twenty small concrete planters curing on my back porch – we are planning on filling them with succulents to give as Christmas presents. I enjoy sewing and have sewn costumes for theatres and myself, although it seems as though my sewing machine is swear powered.
I love art. It keeps me going. I’m currently very interested in religious art and how people absorb external cues regarding faith through imagery. We call our chicken coop the CHOW – Chicken House of Worship. So far there is a Tibetan prayer bell and a Buddha head decorating it with plans for more symbols of faith from around the world.They call their chicken coop the CHOW – Chicken House of Worship. Find out why! Click To Tweet
What’s your best advice for a new homemaker?
Have a good life. Be happy. If something is broken, fix it the best you can. Forgive yourself, you are human and are having a human experience, enjoy it. Learn something from your failures and your successes. Always choose kindness, especially with yourself. Put down that BHG – I think that Nate Berkus and Houzz effect our brains the same way supermodel covers of Cosmo effect the self-esteem of young girls. Your home is yours, make it that way, and if you don’t like it, try something else! You are always judging someone else’s outsides to your insides; stop this mess.
I think the most useful lessons I’ve learned as a homemaker are how to roast a chicken and that we are all just winging it.'One of the most useful lessons I’ve learned as a homemaker is that we’re all just winging it.' – Kenna Click To Tweet
Kenna, thank you so much for this truly inspiring interview! You’ve helped me rethink some of my own ideas about homemaking.
How about you guys? What does making a home mean to you?