Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

Moving Out

Last night, my dear husband helped me move many boxes of books out of my school office.  As we walked into my building, he started singing Billy Joel’s “I’m moving out!”  🙂

I thought it would be more difficult to decide which books to keep and which ones to donate.  It wasn’t so bad.  I still cling to the books I have spent hours studying over the last 16 years, but the others, the ones I’ve acquired over the last four years at no cost, have been easier to let go.  Someone else can use them more than I can right now.  And, if I donate them to the library, I can still have access to them without having to store them myself!  🙂  (I wonder if I should take all my textbooks there then?)

Today, I plan to try to tackle my paper files with a strong resolve and sense of reality.   I think I’m going to need a very large trash/recycle bin…  I hope our newest custodian isn’t too upset with me!

We made a good start last night with taking out the books, my certificates and diplomas, my purple lights, and several other miscellaneous things.  The walls are nearly bare.  The shelves are nearly bare.  I feel good seeing the progress, but also somewhat reluctant to give up my spot on campus, my 24/7 access.  I will turn in my keys on Friday.  (Sigh)

But, as I turn in those keys, I’m also giving up the responsibility of students having access to me 24/7 (well, at least by e-mail) and will be free to give my attention to a very special little toddler, my loving husband, and our unborn child.

That sounds infinitely more powerful and rewarding to me than having a campus office does.


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A New Beginning

Let me be clear.  I do not have a Ph.D. in Homemaking.  Or Family Studies.  Or Nutrition.  Or Food Science. Or Early Childhood Education. Or any other field that I think most homemakers would find very interesting, at least by name.

My Ph.D. is in Industrial Engineering.

I have earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, worked as a development engineer for over five years, led projects as a Six Sigma Black Belt, finished my master’s while working full time, worked as a full-time Ph.D. student and TA/RA, and taught university classes as a full-time instructor for four years.

And in a few months, I am leaving the workforce to stay home with my precious children, a daughter (15 months) and a sweet babe due to join us in March.

I am not a natural housekeeper.  My grandma, who was a paid professional in the housekeeping arts, could tell you that.  I still cringe a little with regret of her honest assessment, “I think you’re more of a businesswoman.”  As a single gal, keeping my apartment well was not a priority, and I’ve had trouble changing that as God has called me to be a wife and a mother.

This is a scary transition for me.  I fear failure.  I fear isolation.  I fear losing my skills with lack of application and practice.  I fear the financial changes.

But I am also excited!  I’m excited to take a big leap of faith that I haven’t done since 2005 (great story, one I’ll write about).  I’m excited to have the time with my family.  I’m excited for the new challenges ahead (for example, can I conquer my dislike of washing dishes?) and the opportunity to try new things (recipes!).  I’m excited to do something outside the norm (I think.).  And most of all, I’m excited to be taking this step in obedience to my Jesus.

As for my fears?  God gives us power through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).  If we’re following His will, failure will not be a problem.  (Note the significant “if” there.)  Jesus is always with us (Matt. 28:20), so really, isolation shouldn’t be something for me to fear.  I can apply my analytical skills at home (and that will be one purpose of this blog – to share them with you!).

And, I’ve been reminded in the last couple of weeks that God’s economy is much different than ours.

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.  But you are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.  For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?  Is it not the one who is at the table?  But I am among you as one who serves” Luke 22: 24-27.

Regardless of the role God has given you in this season, think of how you can serve today.  For me, I’m going to be doing my best to cheerfully wash those dreaded dishes.