Respect for Homemaking

Rahima Baldwin Dancy mentioned in her lovely book, “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher,” that she was laughed out of a feminist bookstore for looking for books on midwifery (I hope I remember that correctly). They didn’t have any, and I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t have had much on home birth, natural parenting, or homemaking either–albeit (in my opinion) surprisingly.

Why is the–freely and willfully chosen–domestic feminine role looked at so disrespectfully these days?  I know this isn’t the case everywhere, but it seems to be here, in the northeast. When I tell certain people that I stay home to raise my daughter I just know they often picture lazy days with lots of free-time (I’m, perhaps, exaggerating, but I think this does happen). Where does this absurd (!) notion come from?

My days as a homemaker are utterly lunatic. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. (Not even during my final semester of college, when I had to hide in the attic of my fashion building at closing in order to work overnight and meet deadlines.) But my job at home is so rewarding. I spend each day raising my child. Not distracting her so that I can do my own thing–not that that would work even if I tried.

We do have some lazy moments.

We do have some lazy moments.

I guess we just don’t have much of a culture here to support women who choose to raise their children themselves. Have we just forgotten? Have we become so obsessed with our careers that we no longer witness homemaking, that we disregard the awesomeness of this sacred duty to rear a human being well, and now just think of it as another task, or what’s worse, as the easy way out, and something that can’t possibly work without lots of money? And are we making women feel that they have to get a career if they want to be respected?

I truly hope not. And I don’t mean to sound so glum. I’d just like to feel respected for my choice, and not have it be assumed that I don’t work hard, or that I must be uneducated or unintelligent (I graduated with a 4.0 for heaven’s sake), or that my husband and I must simply have the means to support such a decision (on the contrary, we’ve sacrificed practically every luxury, and even a few–what some may call–necessities).

Now, I have absolutely nothing against moms with careers. I want to be crystal-clear on that. And I do have little artistic things that I do on the side, from home, but they’re nothing compared to my real work of raising my daughter. I just want respect for moms without careers as well–or more appropriately–for moms that make homemaking their career (although, not technically a “career,” seeing as how homemaking takes up one’s whole life, not just a “portion” of it–this according to google’s definition of “career”).

Homemaking should be respected, especially considering the way that so many of us are doing it: consciously, making every meal from scratch, living as naturally and holistically as we can, and continually researching ways to improve our family’s life, health, and overall well-being. Feminism doesn’t have to be career-oriented. After all, isn’t it truly about supporting women’s choices?

Fia and Fae

Fae is dancing around with Daddy to some 60’s/70’s music. We’re just about to leave for an Easter party, so we’re all dressed-up pretty, and Fae’s wearing her new linen bonnet that I just finished sewing for her.

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4 responses to “Respect for Homemaking

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I’ve been long aware of this particular stereotype. My mom chose to be a homemaker and raise my brother and I. For some reason, as a teen I judged her and assumed she’d given up her hopes and dreams. Now, here I am not quite a SAHM (I work three super early shifts a week and my husband stays home with Jehryn.) but eventually I want to be. I fully embrace the role of homemaker and consider meeting my son’s needs and managing the living space a full time job. Preparing meals from scratch is something I rarely did before I had Jehryn. Health is so much more important to me now. It consumes a lot of time, but I love feeling connected.

    You are an inspiration to me and I love to hear your opinions and convictions. I hope our culture will begin to shift as more of us value homemaking, motherhood, and the right to choose one’s own path.

    • Thank you so much Hayley. You’re always so kind and your comments make me smile.

      I didn’t cook from scratch much before either. I thought that I ate really healthy, but it wasn’t until Fae was born that I really began researching health–but in the route of alternative health–and found that I could be doing much better. It’s amazing how much time goes into homemaking, but yes, I love feeling so connected too.

  2. Thanks for writing this. I love to hear other mama’s hearts about this subject. It is so important to me and rare these days. I imagine you are an amazing stay at home mother!

Any thoughts? I love hearing from you.

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