Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Housewives, Homemakers and Stay-at-Home-Moms

Whatever happened to the housewives? Somewhere along the way “the wife in the house” became a far too undignified description of the woman who stays home to care for her family. We tried “Domestic Engineer,” but, regrettably, no one could say that with a straight face. This naturally evolved into “Homemaker,” and today, to reflect our increasing obsession with catering to our kids’ every whim, we say, “Stay-At-Home-Mom.”

My personal favorite is “Homemaker.“ It‘s a nice, politically correct and inclusive term. Even if you live alone, you create a sacred and safe space to call home. One is not less of a feminist if she makes sure her family has clean socks to wear. Whether she insures this by hiring a maid, delegating chores within the family, or just doing it herself is a matter of ability and personal choice, but making a home for oneself and one’s family is a noble endeavor and is at least as important as anything else we do. Even women with full time jobs are Homemakers. Paying the mortgage or rent is one of the duties of making a home, and a most valuable one at that.

At the very least, all mothers are working as homemakers. Some do it Martha Stewart style, others do it Marge Simpson style, but all are doing it. Some mothers go to the Pottery Barn on Saturday to make sure their home is beautifully decorated and aesthetically pleasing. For others, “aesthetically pleasing” means no visible dirt on the pillow cases. For some mothers “food in the fridge” means a 3 course dinner prepared from scratch every night, and for others it means a respectable supply of frozen pizza and microwave popcorn. Whether we’re good enough for Good Housekeeping or can barely compete in The Complete Idiots Guide to Homemaking, we’re all doing our best to create a welcoming home for our families. There’s nothing undignified in that, and it‘s certainly more interesting than the one dimensional job description of “mom.”

2 comments:

Mom101 said...

I think about this a lot - about how even working moms still bear the brunt of the responsibility at home and how the titles just aren't accurate.

Now imagine what happens when, like my sigOth, you're a stay at home dad. Imagine how awesome it feels for a guy to check off "homemaker" on a survey under occupation.

Can't we just call it "home with the kids" or something?

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