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Motherhood

This mom with a love of demolition is reinventing what it means to be a “homemaker”

This mom with a love of demolition is reinventing what it means to be a “homemaker”
via Kristi Hammatt

Turena Johnson Lane with her kids and dog

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When Turena Johnson Lane took a jackhammer to the kitchen floor in the summer of 2021, she had no idea that her house would soon become a metaphor for her life.

Johnson Lane, a stay-at-home mom of four elementary-aged children, is a keen do-it-yourselfer with a feisty spirit. A former elite marathoner (she was a two-time Olympic trials qualifier), she parlayed that talent into motherhood after her first child was born. After all, running takes endurance and grit; motherhood does, too.

That grit served her family very well. She managed the household solo for long stretches while her husband was traveling for work, juggling everyone’s needs as well as working on the house. She also wasn’t afraid to do things like rip out the old kitchen cabinets simply because she was sick of looking at them, and wasn’t afraid of doing the necessary upgrades. She was, in every way, a Home Maker—except that, if you type the word “homemaker” into a search engine, you know what you’ll see?

Images that look like this:

Free photo Wife Cooking Family Woman Housewife Retro Kitchen - Max ...www.maxpixel.net

Yikes. Most will agree that this concept is as outdated as orange shag carpeting and is due for a major facelift. Why should there be this one idea of what a "homemaker" looks like when we have unlimited ideas today to define what a home is and who it is for? These days, the role that moms play in their families has evolved almost beyond recognition, alongside the evolution of society. This Mother’s Day, Lowe’s is renovating the term “homemaker,” reflecting on all of the unique ways moms ‘make’ their house a home and what it means (and looks like) to be a Home Maker. Lowes is launching its #HomeMaker series for and about women just like Johnson Lane.

To pick up on Johnson Lane’s story, shortly after her house became a construction zone, her marriage did, too. Her husband of 24 years abruptly filed for divorce, throwing her into several entirely new roles, including that of breadwinner and general contractor. She scrambled to secure two jobs to make ends meet while juggling childcare and fielding calls and emails from the divorce attorney. The inside of her house was coated in drywall dust, the dog continually escaped from the backyard, things were breaking faster than she could fix them—including the dryer and two of the toilets — nevertheless, she persisted.

Turena Johnson Lane with her four children Via Turena Johnson Lane

“Adjusting to the unexpected, persisting through a tough patch, [and] staying focused on the bigger picture are all lessons that apply to both marathoning and motherhood. Neither one is for the faint of heart,” said Johnson Lane. “One minute you are cruising along holding your own and the next minute everything changes.”

As Johnson Lane struggled to find her own footing, she was patently aware that her kids needed her to help navigate their new normal. At night they all piled into her bed, needing reassurance and love that only a mom can give, and in the morning she worked hard to put one foot in front of the other, even though she was exhausted and terrified. Her days looked drastically different as a single parent, but she was determined to show up for herself and her kids. Keeping things moving helped her figure it all out.

“A sudden detour into single motherhood was a long way from the journey I thought I was on,” said Johnson Lane. “I have had to wear more hats than I did before, but I've learned that it is just an opportunity to learn new things and to be an example to my kids in a way I hadn't planned on. We may not have control over what life throws at us, but we always have control over how we handle it. I know they are proud of me.”

Johnson Lane’s situation is far from unique. In 2020, there were approximately 15.49 million families in the United States with a female head of the household and no spouse present. Although for moms like her, the day-to-day can be a slog, and the days turn into weeks and turn into months and years, reflecting back provides an opportunity to celebrate the incredible achievements and own them. This Mother’s Day, Lowe’s invites you to check out their new #HomeMaker series, which highlights all the incredible moms who bring a world of possibilities and joy to their homes every day, just like Johnson Lane. The amazing thing about these moms is that they just keep going and doing, assuring a safe environment and giving their love unconditionally, even when they feel like they have nothing more to give. It’s the truly magical gift of motherhood that we believe is worth championing and celebrating.

We invite you to join the conversation and post your own #HomeMaker photo to your social media and help redefine the definition of a “homemaker.”

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