Stay-at-home parents get a bad rep, and unfairly so, in my opinion. With school, work, and extracurricular activities, I find myself overwhelmed by my own housework sometimes. When imagining having an extra child and romantic partner to care for, clean up after, and shop for, it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed. Keeping a home pristine is a full-time job, a job that deserves the same respect (if not more) as any other. After all, other jobs require you to clock out. But you can’t clock out of being essential to a home.
Homemakers don’t always need to have children. To be a homemaker merely means to “manage a home.” But Google’s definition notes that women have historically led in homemaking. Generally, one is called a homemaker because they don’t have an additional full-time job outside the home, but sometimes people can take on multiple roles in addition to being a homemaker. Nowadays, women do still homemakers, clearly. But men are also homemakers and have only increased in numbers since 1975.
I reached out to two people who are, by definition, homemakers. Here is how they answered my questions regarding making a home, and how they have come into their position. For their privacy, names have been changed
What would you say your job title is?
- Micah: C.O.O. Chief Operations Officer of The Fam.
- Skylar: I am a stay-at-home mom.
How do you feel about being called a homemaker?
- Micah: To be transparent, it takes a team of all family members living in the home to make it an actual home. Parents and kids make the home an actual home, a house is only four walls, a home is parents and kids that respect and love each other all contributing to keep the house running smoothly. To place the title of homemaker on one single person proves a myopic archaine, focus that places full responsibility on one single person never making parenting or marriage an actual partnership.
- Skylar: I don’t really like being called a homemaker because I’m a mom which entails more than just taking care of the home. I’m not offended to be called a homemaker though it’s just an old-fashioned term.
Do you have career goals for your future? Have you had career goals that you’ve had to give up because of homemaking?
- Micah: No. After my two younger kids both received separate autism diagnoses, I had to accept that my career goals would have to take an indefinite hiatus. It took a long time for me to accept this and do not utilize the talents and skills I had mastered in an over-decade-long career.
- Skylar: I didn’t give up my nursing career. I chose to change careers. Once I had children, I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than caring for and protecting them. I did my best to make sure they felt safe, secure and loved. Now that they are grown, I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. My father lives with me, so I am still in caregiver mode, making sure he’s taken care of.
Did you choose to go into homemaking? How did you come into homemaking?
- Micah: Yes, for the benefit of my children. However, I assumed I would go back to my career eventually.
- Skylar: I became a homemaker because when I was pregnant and looking at daycares, my heart just couldn’t handle the thought of my baby being with someone I didn’t know. No one could care for and love my child more than me. Fortunately, we were able to survive on one income by budgeting and being smart with our money.
What is one thing that you love about homemaking? What is one thing you don’t love about it?
- Micah: I love being 100% available for my kids. My oldest kid did not get this amount of my time until they were in third grade, and the amount of time I missed will always be a huge regret for me. I do not love feeling solely responsible for everything related to the care/feeding of my family, it is a tremendously stressful role to take on when the same responsibility is also mine in regards to my adult parents. Sometimes I would prefer to be the “breadwinner,” as that role carries a different level and type of stress in terms of providing for the family.
- Skylar: As a homemaker, I loved spending time with my children, taking them on trips, playing games, having tea parties, playing hooky, etc. Thankfully, my husband and I made a good team so I never felt stuck doing it all myself. What I didn’t like is people making a mess after I’d cleaned (not cleaning up after themselves) and repeatedly asking things to be done by the other members of the household.
What do you wish more people understood about homemaking?
- Micah: I wish more people understood the actual daily workload a homemaker carried. The role isn’t just doing laundry and dishes, it is exponentially more. For a former career person to be minimized to a title that is traditionally dismissed to the “housewife eating bon-bons” stereotype, it certainly is not a desirable role for people like myself.
- Skylar: I wish people would understand that just because someone doesn’t work outside the home doesn’t mean they are lazy/do nothing/have it easy. Everyone has their own version of life challenges and stress.
What is the most difficult thing about homemaking?
- Micah: For me, it was making friends with other parents. I was once a successful businesswoman, I managed my career, my child and my college career and never really had a hard time making friends with most parents. Once I became a full-time homemaker, everything flew out the window and I could not relate to the parent group I landed in.
- Skylar: The most difficult thing about homemaking is the kids grow up and move out. It’s bittersweet because they are amazing humans, but I feel lost and have to find myself again. That being said, I would do it all over again!
Homemakers themselves can agree that they wish to stray away from the 1950s nuclear family housewife imagery. There’s so much more to making a home than one person can do. Many who left careers find that vintage image to be more of a mockery than a compliment. However, homemaking is a noble career in itself and should be treated as such. So many homemakers have training in their chosen professional fields but have found themselves needing to be home to support their families. Even those who haven’t left their careers should be respected as the true cornerstone of the home.