A Traditional Homemaker, Today?
You’d think with the way some people react, that we homemakers were an endangered species. Well, it’s actually not true. There are quite a bit of us out there and it seems that homemaking is making a come back among younger women. Among these women, there is a sense of nostalgia for the time when things were simpler and the importance of a homemaker was not only understood but celebrated. But most of us traditional homemakers today are finding a whole different kind of response to our chosen occupation, and it’s not exactly kind. So how do we deal with being a traditional homemaker in today’s culture, and what exactly does that mean anyway?
What is a Traditional Homemaker?
To many women, it means many things. The list below gives a general idea of some of the major aspects of what it means to be a traditional homemaker. Some of these do not apply to all, but that is ok. I myself no longer have children at home, which honestly has caused some to question why I still choose to be a homemaker (more on that later). Where ever you are in the homemaker realm; with children, just starting your family, or your children are grown, you still fit the majority of these points.
Qualities of a Homemaker
- A married woman with or without children who does not have a full-time job outside of the home
- She works hard to provide a clean and welcoming home environment for her family and guests
- A mother who works to instill traditional moral values in her children. And sets an example as such.
- A wife who shows respect and love to her husband
- She strives to be a lady at all times. Seeking to rid herself of worldly behaviors and attitudes.
- She is a complementary partner to her husband. Their weaknesses and strengths complement each other.
- Her tasks are many. Cleaning, cooking, managing schedules, meal planning, raising her children, providing an inviting home environment, and much more.
- She is strong yet feminine
When I Tell Other Women What I Do, I Get That Face, You Know the One
I remember it very clearly, the first time I told someone I was a homemaker when I was asked what I do for a living. The face, you know the one, that complete look of confusion and then a concern that you must be in an abusive relationship and it’s ok you can confide in her to get help. I know you’ve seen it, it’s the face people make when someone silently passes gas. Yup, I got that a lot when I was younger. But honestly, it’s worse now that my daughter no longer lives with us. There’s all the statements and questions like, “Now that your daughter’s grown you could get a job”. Or, “Don’t you feel like you’re wasting your talents, sitting at home all day”? That was one I consistently got, “I hate to see your potential wasted”. It can be so infuriating!
What I really dislike about all this judgment heaped on homemakers is that it almost always comes from self-proclaimed feminists. The problem with that is, don’t feminists pride themselves on being for equal rights and for the rights of women to be able to choose to do whatever they want in life. So why the heck do you not support my decision to be a homemaker?!?
You’re Setting Womanhood Back 50 Years!
Many times when people bash this way of living and use the bible to give an example of why it’s antiquated and sexist. The most common quote is “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18). Many feel this is horrible. Well, there are two problems with this… 1. They fail to add the next line from that scripture, “ Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (Colossians 3:19), and 2. Submission is not what most women outside of the church understand, nor do they actually read the scripture in context.
Submission most certainly does not mean; let your husband abuse you, act like he is better than you, or allow yourself to be a doormat. What it does mean is that women and men are very different, science and cultural studies have proven this time and time again. We are complementary, not equals, our roles are very different but both equally as valuable. Women are designed to nurture and care. Men are designed to protect and provide. When I say we are not equal, I never mean in worth, I mean we are different (not the same). We are all created equal in the eyes of the Lord.
So How Do I Deal With the Negativity
I firmly believe one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs in the world is to be a mother and traditional homemaker. There was one time when I was asked what I did for a living and when I gave my response, I got a very surprising reaction. The woman said, “So you work full-time then”? I could have hugged her. Not everyone is going to treat you like your living the “Handmaids Tale” in real life. But how can you deal with those that do? I certainly don’t condone being catty or returning rude remarks with rude. But there are some ways to make your point and possibly turn the rudeness back on its originator and maybe even make the person think about what they’ve said.
Try some of these suggestions the next time you are faced with such a cringe-worthy situation.
- When trading your statements of occupation, respond exactly the same way they responded to you. ie: “Oh you’re a homemaker? Don’t you feel like you’re wasting your potential”? Your response to them, “Oh you’re a ___? Don’t you feel like you’re wasting your potential”? I know this may seem catty, but what you’re really doing is pointing out the absurdity of their statement. Maybe it will get them thinking.
- When someone gives you a negative response about being a homemaker, in a confident voice tell them about all the wonderful benefits you experience from your life. ie: Kill them with kindness.
- Realize that most of the time people put others down to make themselves feel better. It’s a coping mechanism to deal with the shortfalls in their own life. You could take this into consideration, and just be kind to them and move on with your day. Ultimately, it’s not up to you to convince others that your lifestyle is worthy. If you are happy then who gives a poo what others think. (I know this is something I am working on myself).
Bring Back the Traditional Homemaker
There are so many reasons to support our fellow homemakers. They are there for their children, giving them the attention they need to thrive and grow, to become productive and responsible adults. They create welcome home environments for fellowship and the gathering of family and friends. My childhood was wonderful and I can honestly say it was because the majority of my life, my mother was a homemaker. In my previous post Family Meals Around the Table, Not Just a Holiday Tradition, I talk about how my mother made our house a home through this simple tradition.
It has been documented recently in studies that the happiness of women overall has been on a dramatic decline since the age of women’s liberation. Could this be a reaction to the high demands of modern life on women that choose to try to have it all? I firmly believe that you should have the right to choose whatever life you want. Our Constitution guarantees that. What I disagree with is, if you are going to have children and you don’t need to work full-time, focus on your children. If you want to have a career, have a career. And remember homemakers, you’re not alone. We are the silent majority.
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