Kids Are Not What Define a Homemaker
I saw some horrible comments on a marriage forum the other day that were directed at a woman who was married, had no kids, and was a homemaker. First, it made me mad, then it made me think. So what really defines a homemaker? And why so much stigma surrounding homemakers without children?
The simple definition of a homemaker from Merriam-Webster is, “a person, especially a housewife, who manages a home”. There is no mention of children in that definition. So why do so many people think that if you don’t have children you can’t or shouldn’t be a homemaker?
Before Kids, After Kids, and No Kids
There are many reasons a woman would find herself as a homemaker without children. Some are just starting out their married life and are waiting to have children until they are better established. Like me, some have raised their children and are now empty-nesters. Or some find that they either don’t want or can’t have children. None of these situations warrants judgment from others. But for reasons unknown to us homemakers we still get it.
I myself was asked after my daughter left home if I was going to return to work now that I had no reason to stay home. Wait. What? It actually made me doubt my chosen life. Which is sad because honestly it was nobody’s business but mine and Aaron’s.
Why Do People Shame Homemakers Without Kids?
The natural explanation that many jump to is jealousy. With the majority of women in the workforce now, this could be a justifiable reason for all the hate. But I really don’t think that’s the whole story. Yes, some women may look at a childless homemaker and think, “Wow, she gets to do what she wants all day and doesn’t have to work her butt off”. Which for one thing is usually not true and secondly is just plain ignorant.
The other reason which I think is much more likely is that our culture places a lot of value on employment. Which in many ways there is nothing wrong with that, but honestly we should be focusing more on the freedom to choose the life we want.
Many people see homemakers as lazy women or gold diggers. And yes, there are some women out there who are like that. But the majority of homemakers feel they are best suited to provide a lovely home and place of refuge from the world for their husbands and themselves. It’s not any different than if you thought you were really good at math, so you want to be an accountant. It truly is a blessing that we live in a country that allows us as women to choose whatever life we want. And a woman’s choice to be a homemaker is no different than another woman’s choice to have a career.
The Role of a Homemaker
There are many reasons a woman may choose to be a homemaker even if she has no children in the home. And there are many tasks and skills she is good at and enjoys as a homemaker. I have given some examples in my previous article, “How to Survive as a Traditional Homemaker in the Age of Third Wave Feminism“. But I feel I should define it in terms of homemakers without kids.
A Few of the Tasks a Homemaker Does
- Always nurtures her husband’s relationship with God
- Keeps the house clean and tidy for not only her husband and herself. But to create a place of hospitality for visiting friends and family
- Sometimes manages the finances (this usually comes down to who in the couple is better suited to do this.)
- Manages appointments and schedules
- Sometimes works from home to supplement her husband’s income
- She may do volunteer work for her church or the community
- Sets up a meal plan and grocery lists
- Handles the task of stocking the pantry with preserved foods
- Sometimes she is the one to tend a garden and take care of the couple’s animals
- Hosts holiday meals
- Makes sure that the home has all of the necessities for comfort and efficiency
- And yes, provides time and effort for her and her husband’s love life
Many would say that women who work outside of the home do all these things as well. But as someone who has worked outside of the home, I can attest to the fact that our home was rarely as clean or organized at the time. I always felt like I was performing a balancing act that left me less efficient in all areas of my life. And Aaron felt me being home was worth losing my paycheck for that comfort.
Ultimately it is not up to anyone else how we choose to live our life. The choice to be a homemaker is something that a couple discusses and decides if that is what they want for their marriage. It should be a decision decided upon by both. And that decision is between them and God. It doesn’t matter if they have children or not. You should never feel ashamed of being a homemaker. And those that shame you are not worth your time.
And to those that say a childless homemaker does not contribute to society. I would say she contributes just as much as anyone else. If she is living a biblical marriage, she lives by example. She cares for her husband and sends a happier spouse out into the world every day. She provides a place of hospitality to their friends and family. And isn’t that something the world needs more of? People thriving in their marriage, growing in their faith, and putting more positivity in the world?
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