I have written and re-written on that old-fashioned word at least a dozen times for Literotica and various blogs. I thought about searching for one of those and re-posting, but decided instead that this one has become such a core part of my life…and this blog…that it deserved a fresh look.
What is a homemaker? And why THAT word specifically?
Homemaker harkens back to another time. My 50s era…traditional roles. And over the past sixty years it has been replaced with trendier words like…housewife, stay-at-home mom, and my personal fav…domestic engineer.
But for me…none of those come close to that word.
- I am not married to a house…so housewife is out.
- Anyone who is a Mom knows that with kids you rarely stay-at-home because there are parks, museums, gymnastics, soccer, play dates and whatever else those little darlins’ can get up to.
- As for domestic engineer…well, that is just comical. Someone’s vain attempts to fill in their resume/CV.
But that old-fashioned word for me says it all…HOMEMAKER. I turn a house into a home. And as an added 21st century bonus…it is completely gender neutral. Cause women are not the only one capable of making homes.
That word has become even more special to me these last few months though. Whether it was my dingy, tiny London flat or Cookie Monster’s lovely, historical mansion, I was in my element as I had not been in a very long time. I had someone to make a home for…to clean, cook and pamper. And importantly someone that appreciated my efforts.
That too is a crucial problem…lack of respect…no matter what you call us.
It is not just from our partners, who may fail to compliment our efforts or say ‘thank you.’ (Not a problem in this household.) But society itself…ESPECIALLY society…has devalued the role of the homemaker. Don’t believe me?
- Taxation systems in the USA and UK that penalize single income families.
- Comical and forlorn role models on television (Simpsons, Married with Children and too many more to name).
- Low pay even for those replacing the traditional roles of the homemakers such as childcare workers, maids and cooks.
If that is not enough, then for a laugh the next time that you meet someone and they inevitably ask the question “So what do you do?” Try responding…”I’m a homemaker.” Listen to them laugh. Scorn. Or see just how quickly they can change the subject.
But the absolute worst is attacks from other women such as Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At a 2012 Fortune Most Powerful Women conference, she criticized ‘yummy mummys’ for focusing solely upon raising their children, going so far as to imply that the children of working mothers were more independent…a fact not borne out in research.
That too is an issue…the feminist divide between career women and those who like me choose to focus upon their families…and yes, put my career as a lower priority or in some cases on hold. Note: I did not use the terms working or stay-at-home, because both are inaccurate and perpetuate myths.
The truth is…I am a homemaker AND a feminist.
Because the true heart of feminism was about CHOICE. So it is those women who would deny me my choice, respect or a place in the ‘feminist’ debate who are betraying the ideals of the movement.
Yet that is exactly what has happened over the past half a century. Women who do not have careers outside of the home have not had a voice in the feminist movement. Our value has been called into question along with our choices. A divide has arisen between women along those lines.
To be clear…I am blessed to be in this position. And Cookie Monster and I both recognize it as a CHOICE. Our choice. I do not demand that all women make those choices. I am not going to further that chasm by deriding those who choose career.
But I am going to give a voice to those of us who have actively made the decision to put our partners and children over our careers by making homes. That voice will take many forms:
- It will promote homemaking as a viable option by calling for our place at the feminist debate table, reforms to taxation and welfare systems that penalize homemakers and a recognition of our contributions not just to our families but society itself.
- It will also explore the role from a sociological and historical perspective…we are not as lazy, weak or helpless as we have been portrayed to be.
- And I will offer nitty, gritty, down and dirty practical advice on doing our jobs better and more efficiently.
I hope that other PROUD homemakers and feminists will find a kindred spirit and voice within these pages. So please comment, ask questions and share your stories with others.