When I got married, I knew next to nothing about homemaking. I had no idea how to make a house a home, not to mention my severe lack of cooking and cleaning skills.
Not only did I not know, I didn’t really care to know. Homemaking seemed like a lost art from generations past. And truthfully, I thought I was too good for it. Too smart. Too young. Too evolved.
I thought it went against the gender equality rights that women had fought for for decades. I had worked since I was 14 years old, and figured I always would.
But then my husband got a new job. A better job, in fact, and one we were very thankful to have during the Great Recession. He could work as much overtime as he wanted, but it required him to switch shifts, from days to afternoons to midnights, every 6 weeks.
With the changing shifts, we decided it was best for our family and relationship if I stopped working for a while.
I was completely lost at first. I didn’t know how to fill my time, and still didn’t feel inspired to take care of homemaking tasks.
Eventually I started to warm up to my new responsibilities. I created a repertoire of quick and easy meals, learned how to grocery shop effectively to lower our grocery budget, and began taking pride in keeping the house clean.
When I wasn’t feeling motivated, I thought about how nice it would be for my family to come home to a clean and organized atmosphere. And how peaceful our home could be if we weren’t all running in different directions, going through the drive thru every night because we were too tired to prepare a meal.
Disclaimer: If you have no desire to be a homemaker or stay at home mom, then by all means don’t do it. I fully believe that everyone should do what is right for her. This post is in no way meant to shame women who need to or want to work. Please know this is written in the spirit that all hardworking women should be cherished.
Even though I had learned to take pride in my new responsibilities, and work as hard as I could at ‘my job,’ it was humbling to no longer be as respected by working people.
I dreaded the “What do you do for a living?” question that people always ask when you meet them. Or upon knowing that I wasn’t working, I’d get asked “What you do all day?”
I truly felt like what I was doing was not acceptable in the modern era.
And I certainly never felt as glamorous as this lady.
Luckily, my husband was always supportive. He was (and is) very appreciative of my role in our family. He recognized how thankless it can feel.
The simple factor of feeling appreciated made such a difference. He reminded me often that we know what is right for our family, and I didn’t need to care so much what other people thought.
I found myself more accepting of others’ choices. It doesn’t matter as much what ‘you do,’ but if you work hard, and take pride in your responsibilities, you are a success in my book.
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The role of homemakers has certainly changed through the decades. You won’t hear many (or any) young girls today saying they want to grow up to be a homemaker. They may not personally know any stay at home moms, or don’t see the importance of homemaking.
But if you are currently a homemaker or stay at home mom, take heart.
Remember that taking good care of your children, spouse, and home never goes out of style. Keeping your house clean, preparing healthy meals, and being dependable are all values that are (I hope) here to stay.
Qualities of a good homemaker:
Homemakers possess a lot of great qualities.
Ideally, homemakers are thrifty, organized, reliable, flexible, and resourceful people.
The role of a homemaker includes food planner, shopper, and preparer, housekeeper, budgeter, errand runner, child caretaker, empathetic listener, and many more.
Homemakers use their time, strengths, gifts, and service to make their house a home.
C.S. Lewis said:
“I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, miners, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr. Johnson said, “To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour”. (1st to be happy to prepare for being happy in our own real home hereafter: 2nd in the meantime to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist…” (pg 447-Letter of CS Lewis 1988 ed.)
If you are a homemaker who is feeling underappreciated and insignificant, remember that ‘it is surely in reality the most important work in the world.’
Remind yourself that if you are raising children, you’re molding tomorrow’s leaders. When feeling irrelevant because you don’t earn an income, know that you can’t put a price on a mother’s time and attention.
Providing a stable, loving environment is the best thing you can do as a parent. And whatever role you play in that scenario is invaluable.
The role of homemakers:
Homemakers come in all different forms.
More and more fathers are staying home with their children. And I believe someone can work outside the home and still be considered a homemaker.
If you manage your home with care and pride, you are a homemaker.
If you try hard to make your home a special, peaceful, and comfortable space, you are a homemaker.
Sometimes we find ourselves in life situations we never expected. Just get up each day and make it work.
Related: Need help with meal planning? Check out these 5 easy strategies for beginners!
Related: Hate cleaning and in need of some motivation? Here are 12 tricks to inspire you to clean.
Maybe being a homemaker isn’t for you, and that’s totally fine. But please don’t look down on people who choose to spend their time and energy taking care of their home and family.
After all, I imagine that anyone would love to come home from a long day to a warm meal and a clean, calm home.
Do what’s right for you. What’s right for you isn’t right for everyone.
Homemakers and hardworking women everywhere, hang in there. No matter what season of life you find yourself in, just do your best.
You are more important than you realize!
Linking up with The Thrifty Couple for Thrifty Thursday