A homemaker is the manager of the home. She cooks, cleans, and tends to the children, but the heart of homemaking is about relationships.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was asked often, “What do you do?”
“I’m a homemaker,” I’d say.
I would reliably get a bemused expression. Sometimes they’d even look untrusting or wary, but after some probing questions from my acquaintance, they’d discover that I also write.
“Oh, so you’re a writer!” They would look so relieved to have figured this out. The world suddenly made sense again, and they were satisfied.
Yes, I am a writer, but homemaking is my number one job. I felt this way before I had children, but after I had my son, the ready explanation is that I’m a stay-at-home mom.
Yes, I am also a stay-at-home mom, but I still identify with homemaker as my primary occupation.
Being a Homemaker
One of the things I love about the title is that it encompasses a more holistic approach to being a housewife or stay-at-home mom. My child is, of course, a huge priority for me, but he isn’t my only priority.
For example, I often prioritize the needs of my marriage over the wants of my child because the marriage is the backbone of the family. Protecting my marriage from divorce is one of the best things I can do for my son.
As a homemaker, I do all the traditional things like managing the home, planning the meals, and doing all the household shopping, but what I love about the term homemaker is that it encompasses more than the job description.
Homemaking is about relationships, the metaphorical home you build your life on. On your deathbed, you aren’t going to wish you’d spent more time at the office, you’ll wish you had more time with the people you love.
You can still be a homemaker if you work outside the home (or inside the home). Men can be homemakers as well, though it’s obviously a much more common profession for women. Homemaking takes many forms.
First, let’s talk about the basic job description. The tasks and responsibilities of homemaking all serve the family.
The responsibility of cooking includes, but is not limited to, meal planning, grocery shopping, meal prepping, and serving healthy meals. This requires having a repertoire of recipes and the love of learning.
Eating well is a huge foundation of health and happiness. Providing meals for your family that are balanced and nourishing, while also sticking to a budget and living frugally, is hard work. It requires daily research and planning.
Meals are the center of a home. How many times has someone in your family started a fight because they were hangry? How many times have you had an energy crash because you overdid it on sugar and carbs?
Food is not only necessary for survival, but it changes the way people feel and think. In some ways, it’s a drug. Being in charge of feeding your family is a vital part of being a good homemaker.
Keeping a home clean includes tidying, deep cleaning, near-constant kitchen cleaning, decluttering, organizing, and much more. It takes organizational skills to maintain your home and discipline to stick to daily routines.
A clean home serves the family by making the house safe. Most accidents happen at home. You have to be especially careful with kiddos around; a toy left out is a huge tripping hazard.
Your family is going to be healthier if you keep your home clean. Obviously, you’re staying on top of germs to reduce illness, but doing your weekly deep cleans with dusting, vacuuming, and changing sheets can reduce allergies as well. Staying on top of the bathrooms will reduce mold, which can cause all sorts of health problems.
Clutter-free homes also help reduce stress for the entire family.
Prioritizing cleaning serves the family. It’s not about having the perfect house, it’s about keeping your family healthy, safe, and happy.
Childcare is another duty of homemaking. Daycare is ridiculously expensive. Often a second income barely pays for daycare, and the care your child receives at a daycare won’t be a tenth of the quality he will receive with you.
Many homemakers also care for aging parents or sick loved ones. In this day and age when there are fewer homemakers, the elderly are suffering deeply in understaffed and often unsanitary nursing homes.
Are Homemakers Paid?
Contrary to popular belief full-time homemakers are paid. Homemakers work hard for their families, and they are rewarded with the support of their husbands.
Homemakers don’t get paid hourly, but they are usually in control of the household’s spending.
You might say, “It’s demeaning to work for your husband like a slave!”
But who is working for whom? It could be the man is working for his wife. After all, it was the man who interviewed and applied for the job as a husband when he asked her to marry him. She was the one with the privilege to accept or decline, like a boss.
However, in reality, they work for each other. He works at a job, and she works in the home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. It is a mutually beneficial exchange.
When a man’s household is running smoothly, he is able to focus on his job with a clear head and actually make more money. Men with housewives who support them excel at their jobs.
Similarly, homemakers who are supported by trustworthy men thrive. The work homemakers do serves a larger purpose, the well-being of her family.
While some may fall into the job by accident, many of us have wanted this job our entire lives. When I was a little girl, my greatest dream was to be a wife and mother.
It was very hurtful when teachers and counselors undermined my deepest dreams by scoffing at it and telling me I was too smart to be “just a mom.”
I find homemaking to be deeply satisfying, and I feel more secure now than I ever did in conventional employment, in spite of being a dependent woman. Depending on my husband isn’t dangerous because he is a virtuous man. (We’ve also invested in life insurance.)
Homemaking, for me, is a calling. The drive I felt wasn’t for some big-time competitive career, I felt ambitious about having the best marriage and being the best mother I could be.
It’s a profession that is confusing for some and even offensive for others, but the truth is homemakers are just doing what they think is best for their families.
And perhaps the naysayers are just jealous.