Wednesday, July 13, 2011

13 July 1957 “A Continuation of our Homemaker Discussion”

I received so many wonderful comments yesterday and some continuing today, that I thought it merited continuing the discussion.

I would first like to say I am sorry to Mrs. Ames, as I simply misunderstood her comment. As I tried to explain, though obviously not very well, yesterday was that it was my OWN response to her comment that made me think. I did not think she meant anything untoward or ‘snarky’ in her comment to me. Therefore first and foremost, I am sorry some people viewed my response to it that way. We are happy to have comments and advice from a seasoned homemaker and please do chime in again.

Therefore, without further adieu, let’s continue on with this discussion. I think the great talking points are:

1. stress and tasks of a Homemaker with new children

2. The changing attitudes towards the homemaker as her children grow and need less aid (late teens) or empty nesters. Is the homemaker then expected, by society, to then get a job as she hasn’t “anything to do”.

3. The perceived value of Homemaking for a Childless Homemaker vs. a Homemaker with children.

4. The perceived value of a Homemaker with 1 or 2 children compared with a Homemaker with 5-7?

So, either continue to comment on yesterday’s post, or simply move over here and share any more. Even, if you feel the need, to simply vent about how frustrating it is to care for your children and home and yet still get the comment, “Oh, you don’t work?”. Let’s hear it ladies. I love a good discussion.


  1. I did not comment yesterday, but have recently become a childless homemaker. (I do still, however, perform for money -burlesque, vaudeville- a few times a month. I don't consider this an actual job though. But that is a whole different topic.)

    I still feel quite guilty when asked, "What do you do?" or "How's work going?" and I have to replied that I am unemployed. I often get the, "What do you do all day?" as though I sit around eating bon bons and watching tv, a la Peg Bundy.

    I am often questioned about whether I am actively looking for work, or what. Most consider it inconceivable that I am not, not that I did not enjoy working.

    I find there is always something to do around the house, and I have now taken on chores that my husband would more commonly do. We also over doubled our yearly garden which takes a lot more time and effort.

    I'm still getting in the swing of things, but I find that being a homemaker is indeed a job in and of itself. Though I do not have children, I can see how much more of a job it can be if one did.


  2. I have a good friend who's husband repeatedly makes comments to my husband along the lines of "So, don't you wonder what she really does all day?" This same person couldn't understand why his wife, who was working full time for her company from home, made the decision to put their daughter in day care after the first three months. His mind could not contemplate that she could not both care for the child and give her company a full 8 hour workday.
    This is kind of personal, but for a long time I struggled with the "you don't work, then" type comments. It made me feel bad, like maybe I wasn't really working hard. Had to spend a lot of time working through that and learning to value myself again. That said I only have 2, and I cannot imagine life with a half dozen kids! That would be so hard!
    I don't honestly know what I'll do when my kids are older. I don't have a yen to go back into the traditional work force. I do see that I will need to keep growing and changing---for example, I don't really see my old work friends a lot, now I see other moms. Already a lot of the moms I know are going back to work now that are kids are in school. I'm hoping to use the opportunity to really find something meaningful to do, either a new career or spend more time volunteering.

  3. LPM---
    Peg Bundy is a DIVA!!! :-)

  4. Hey 50`s gal.....

    Many people have said to me oh are you going to pick up more hours at the grocery store when your youngest goes into Gr. 1 (full day school), my answer is equivocably no. My children still need me to pick them up for lunch (I want them to come home as the school only allows 20 minutes to eat, and I prefer my boys to have non rushed time to eat)

    School is done at 3 pm here, so my boys need care after school as well, to pay for such care would mean I`m working for nothing, and to expect my parents to watch my children for extra hours would be selfish of me.

    I like the freedom and flexibility of staying home provides me with.

    I find it frustrating that being a housewife is no longer valued in our society, the irony is I used to be an early chilhood educator (day care teacher), let`s say this from that experience I wish my boys to be raised at home to basically provide them with the same upbringing that I received.

    I don`t think it normal to institutionalize babies in day care settings where the number of children is high compared to the caregiver ratio.

    Basically, I wanted to be there for my boys I still do work part-time and when need be have to pick up more hours if work is low with hubby.

    Mom in Canada

  5. Homemaking is an important vocation! What was once esteemed and valued by society, homemaking is now belittled and ridiculed. Prior to having children I worked as an environmental consultant in Washington D.C. area. My husband and I met at work and when we married we knew we wanted children and that I would stay home and care for them and our home. I'll never forget what a coworker, whom I had also gone through grad school with, said to me: "But, you have a masters degree! Why would you give all that up just to stay home?" I was young and naive but I remember this anger welling up in me. Even if I hadn't had children, I still wanted the freedom to choose to care for my husband and our home without being viewed as some strange anachronism. I thought feminism was supposed to be about giving women choices, at least that was what I was taught. Now in my 40s I realize that feminism, while perhaps opening up some opportunities, robbed women of the esteemed status of homemaker. Why is that role so threatening to some? I don't go around criticizing women that work in the workforce. It's their choice and none of my business. I just can't understand anyone who must elevate their own choices by putting down the choices of others. Many men now don't see the importance of homemaking and assume that the wife must work to make ends meet. What a shame! Homemaking is important and society benefits from those who choose to care and manage their own homes! Children, families, marriages are all benefiting from those women who choose to pour their skills and creativity into making home a haven for their loved ones and a source of hospitality and encouragement for friends and strangers. I can't think of a more noble calling.
    Thanks for letting me vent and kudos to you, 50s gal, for being your own person and elevating the role of homemaker to what it should be: i.e., a highly valuable and essential vocation.


  6. come on gals, there isn't much point to a "childless homemaker", is there? Unless you are an empty nester, there isn't much reason why you shouldn't be making the most of yourself. What would happen if you caught him cheating or if the marriage failed? You would be slinging burgers at McDonalds trying to make ends meet. If you have 1 or more children, stay at home and give them the best possible life. If you don't yet have children, make the most of yourself and don't rely on a husband's paycheck. It doesn't take 8 hours a day to keep a house with 2 people in it clean :)
    Love to all the hard workin' vintage Momma's out there.

  7. Anonymous,

    Unfortunately, I lost my job recently. This is the first time in over 20 years that I have not worked. Let's put it this way, I'm taking the situation as a way to re-evaluate and see what other possibilities are out there for me. Until then, I'll enjoy being a homemaker - something I never had the experience of until now. =)

  8. I have found my journey an interesting journey due to comments that minimize the importance of the role of a housewife. A housewife is not a maid. A house wife has an incredible role that society has completely destroyed.

    When I began my journey in 1988, I was like most of the girls I grew up with. I was raised to not only bring home the bacon, but to fry it up in the pan(so to speak). When I stayed home before we had children, I was amazed at how snarky my friends as well as my own family was towards me. WHAT? Are you lazy? Don't you want more out of life?

    But you see, a woman is the design I was blessed with. I want to be me and my internal wiring has me(not all remember we all pretty much land on a bell curve but some are on either ends)---me desiring to be home, caring, organizing, providing a safe loving environment for my husband and I. I promise that everything promotes the opposite of my wishes. Television, media, books, family etc. boldly promote the value of a person in America by money. The path to this is via an education, followed up by a job that is climbed until you have reached the top.

    I desired nothing of the sort. A home runs efficiently because someone is there caring for it. Before the children were born I practiced cooking and cleaning, as I had never run my own home before. It has taken years to become proficient at these tasks. When the children were born I began the work of raising them. Now as they are slowly moving out, my home is emptying and guess what? I have time once again to focus on the simple tasks such as making quilts, canning our foods, gardening and as of late becoming the sharegiver of my father-in-law. My brother-in-law and my husband have taken turns to be the care giver of my father in law. He needs attention and who better than family? We tossed out a good deal when we tossed out the family structure. When we placed a value of a woman far higher outside the home than at the home we began changing society.

    We pay others to babysit(daycare) we pay for housekeepers, we pay for drycleaning, we pay forlandscapers, we pay for fast food or eating out in restaurants ...why? Because we are too busy to do these things ourselves! I am home to ensure that the needs are managed by me. I am home to ensure that the children are cared for by me. I am home to make sure that we are in clean clothing that is ironed or mended. I am home when the teen agers come home and I am home to make sure that food is available.

    I am home and in a neighborhood am alone in my residence. Everyone leaves 40-50-60 plus hours to work to pay for a home they are not in very much, and to pay for people to do all the tasks I complete in YES an eight hour day and all the while making sure breakfast is homemade, and dinner is on the table by six pm.

    I am not unemployed, unskilled or ignorant. I work, I read daily and challenge myself to stay informed, but I choose to be the keeper of my home and am saddened that so many have been told that staying home is not a real option.

    btw-while I am at home I can multitask FOR MY family. Dinner is in the crockpot, the laundry is on the line and I am canning chickpeas as I type. I would not and to be honest could not imagine missing out on the first 23 years of my marriage by working outside the home. Now I cannot imagine the rest of my marriage working anyplace but here.


  9. So many good comments and I want to come back and join in. But, I just need to respond to Anon who said a childless homemaker would need to flip burgers if hubby 'left you'. Or that one isn't "Making the most of oneself" being at home.
    First off, in my own position I have an education, I have owned a business and I have worked outside the home. If I CHOSE to work outside the home with hubby or because I was suddenly single, I could do so without flipping burgers. In addition to that, why is flipping burgers any more a waste of one's time that working in a retail store or an office. We all need service, do we not, and some people need to provide it. This forever common denominator snobbishness that anything that is not 'professional' is not 'making the most out of yourself' is such a modern concept. The bagger at the grocery or the local butcher was not looked down upon, he had a job to do and he did it with pride. He could afford to own a home a car and an education for his children.
    Today we seem to think that college is all important, yet many people graduate in great debt (Debt 1950's people would be shocked at) before they even get a career. I worked at a book store as one of my jobs and most of my fellow workers had at the very least a bachelors and there were also those with advanced degrees and one who had gone to law school. Education does not = wonderful job.
    Also, how is it that being at home is not a satisfying place. I wonder, if suddenly someone became very wealthy would they suddenly run out and get that 'great career' or would they do what they liked, work on hobbies, garden, travel etc. If I am allowed to care for my home and also enjoy those activities, how is that not fulfilling?
    And my education in Art History is not wasted because I am at home. I also don't understand when education became the idea that its sole purpose is career. Education and improving oneself is for and of itself. I enjoy knowledge and study and continue on though I am receiving no 'money' for it. Is its value really in money? No wonder our country scores so low in comparison to others as far as education. We have so much education debt, yet endless unhappy people with no real knowledge feeling unsatisfied because the measure and rule of their life is wealth.
    And I can attest that an 8 hour day in the home for my caring for this house with hubby is realistic. With cooking and cleaning, in addition to my blog and my own personal hobbies. There is also book keeping, bill paying and general finance. There is more than enough to do in a day. I am never standing in the house, all perfectly done, and thinking, "Gee, I haven't a thing to do". And I don't even have access to TV or other modern diversions, so I don't' know how I would have time to enjoy them any way.
    I do think, though, that we, the younger and middle generations, do need to almost fight against the general baby boomer concept of 'women's lib'. That doesn't mean take away freedom and choice, but it does mean allowing ALL choice INCLUDING homemaking rather one has children or not. And it also means EXPECTING our men to be polite, hold doors, take off hats indoors, and generally be kind and considerate to ladies. And to both sexes, to respect one another and those in service to us. The attitude of people to shop keepers and others who are in a moment of servitude to them makes me shudder at how they would, if that was still a part of our culture, would treat their household maid!

  10. And any homemaker with no formal education that has successfully run a home with or without children would slip very easily into any job such as managing restaurants, hotels, bookkeeping and generally running a business as manager. The skills of homemaking are many and varied, yet someone may be an office worker, look down at a stay at home and be proud that they 'cannot use the kitchen', Now, if our economy tanks and their jobs go overseas, where will THEY go? Certainly not taking care of themselves and only to another job with ONLY their skill set not the many and varied set of the Homemaker. We act as if all careers are somehow eternally safe, yet a Homemaker and wife is perpetually at the whims of her husband's potential to 'leave her high and dry' and then the "Poor dear will be so fuddled, not knowing how to do anything" even though she has been completely managing every aspect of she and her husbands life EXCEPT the actual outside job. I think this concept of the 'mindless uneducated homemaker' is not only ill informed but down right laughable.
    I am a Homemaker and Darn proud of it!

  11. I do think that the role of a homemaker without children has been very belittled in society. I think the expectation is that you're not pulling your weight if you're not working an outside-the-home job...but pulling your weight for what? So that you can afford to buy more stuff? And why wouldn't occupying yourself at home count towards pulling your weight when you're cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and a myriad of other projects like gardening, organizing, etc.

    I agree with 50's gal that women have a lot more education and opportunities than they did in the 1950's. And it's their CHOICE whether or not they want to be a homemaker or work in the corporate world...people love to say how women were "forced" to stay at home in the 50's, but honestly, I feel that now women are "forced" to work in order to be accepted. So are we right back where we started, just on the other end??

    I do feel that it's kind of swinging back around and becoming more acceptable to be a stay at home mother, but I think that the stay at home wife (with no kids) still has a hill to climb, unfortunately. I can tell you now that I work a lot harder here at home than I ever did at the office, even if you were to take the baby out of the equation. Sure, I got cooking and cleaning done while I was working, but it wasn't nearly as healthy or thorough as I can do now. And we were both miserable. Why on earth would we choose to spend our lives being miserable when this arrangement gives us a lot more full and happy life together, even if you were to take the kids out of the equation?

  12. I will also add that if women truly aren't staying at home because they can't trust and count on their husbands to support them and not cheat on them, then that's really sad. I am all for not being naive, and making sure I'm aware of our financial situation (heck, I handle all the finances, lol), and making sure that we have enough life insurance to take care of myself and the children if God forbid something happened to Hubby....but I'm not going to go out and earn my own paycheck just in case he decides to leave me. I think that's a major reflection on the current state of marriage in our society if women are choosing to work just to be able to support themselves if their husbands leave, or to prove their independence. Prove it to who??

    Maybe it's kind of a vicious circle- women are working so we don't have to depend on men. So men don't feel like they have to be dependable and responsible. No real trust, no real support, no real team work. Both are miserable, so they get divorced. Hence our 50% divorce rate. Or maybe I'm totally off base. Just a thought.

  13. Sarah, I agree with your comment about pulling one's weight to buy more stuff. It's the American way, right? We must buy or the country will fall apart! Lol

    Anonymous, I see your point. There are bad husbands out there. (Bad wives too.). Being financially dependent makes one vulnerable. But I read your comment to imply that the spouse of a housewife with children is less likely to stray or leave her. Or did you mean that the housewife can justify the risk if she is home caring for children? Either way the housewife is vulnerable, childless or not.

    Anon, I don't mean to sound nit picky. I just want to understand your thoughts.

    Sarah H.

  14. Wonderful discussion ladies and great blog entries 50sgal. I am a very hapy 'empty nester' housewife, having homeschooled our two children who are have been married for a few years now. If it's possible, I am enjoying my role even more! It's fabulous to have the time to really concentrate on spoiling my darling husband and I love the extra organisation that a smaller household affords. Our lives run very smoothly because I have time to manage our home. Even if a woman was disabled or for some reason unable to do much work around the home and employed others to do it for her, just her PRESENCE is enough to make a house into a loving, happy, comforting, secure, peaceful home. I'm thrilled with my choice to be free. Linda

  15. Hi,

    I am a working Mother from a suburb of Boston (Wayland) and find the opposite problem in my town. The majority of the Mothers here stay at home, and they really make things difficult for those few of us who work. We are often looked down upon and pitied because we "have to work." I have many colleagues in neighboring towns that are experiencing the same divide. We have been speculating that the daughters of the 1970s "working women" have chosen to stay at home rather than follow the patterns of their mother's, much like the working women of the 1970s followed different paths from their 1950s mothers. I recently attended both my HS reunion and my college reunion, and about 85% of the mothers in attendance were stay-at-home mothers. I really do not see stay-at-home mothers lacking respect here in MA. I do, however, see those mothers/wives who work being viewed as selfish and self-involved.

    Ms. Stricklin

  16. What a wonderful 2 day discussion this has been. But, please, PLEASE 50sgal, would you please post one of your delicious recipes, or some new photos of your darling vintage home - I really miss seeing your vintage dishes and your lovely decore ...

    I loved your posts last year of you staycation and riding your classic bike to the beach, and who could forget the first breakfast you made for your '50s husband ...

    Sandra D.

  17. Ms. Stricklin, you're absolutely right, about me at least. I chose to give up my full time job when I had children because I saw how my mother struggled trying to do everything. My father is typical of his generation and rarely did much around the house except as projects or hobbies. He did take my brother and I on fun outings though. I think in many households having two full time working parents works well because both spouses share childcare and household responsibilities. My cousin and her husband have both had demanding jobs but were able to create a wonderful family life.

    Those moms who pitty you are to be pitied themselves. Sounds like they lack confidence in their own choices if they take aim at yours. I hope they don't take it out on your children as well. Where I live most moms are SAHM but I don't see much negativity towards those who choose to work. Of course there are some SAHMs that are nasty about it but as I think is the case in your town, these woman are unhappy with themselves. (and they can be rude to everyone).

    I hope your colleagues continue to be a wonderful support system. Being a mother, working or not, is hard enough.


  18. It really isn't easy, is it, in today's feminist world to uphold the role of homemaker without children. And what a shame! News anchors, pop-culture experts, psychologists, etc. all bemoan the hectic pace we, as a people, keep today. Yet, there remains a suspicion among those same individuals (who are all, probably, well educated in their chosen field & have a degree to prove it) of anything ordinary. And that suspicion extends, most certainly, to the "lowly" vocation of housewife, who is able to offer stability to the home. This is double speak.

    I'm convinced, the older I get, that the Women's Movement has been nothing but a huge lie, even for all the educational opportunities it's purported to have given us. Families have fallen, & wives & mothers have become second-rate men instead of first-rate women, flooding the job market so that they can "find themselves" or "pull their weight".

    What will it take for homemaking, with or without children, to become the norm again? I don't know. My motto has always been "One Family at a Time", & patience is hardly useless when it comes to waging a battle. I often pray that I might live long enough to see the trend reverse.

    Thanks you for hosting an interesting & lively discussion-

  19. If you do decide to have children, Donna, you will find that having trained yourself to be content at home as a full-time homemaker will ease you into the transition of being a mother. I have found that many new mothers today find the biggest adjustment to motherhood to be staying home when they were used to going out to work. The adjustment to staying home was just as big as the adjustment to being a mother! A double-whammy. No wonder so many put their child in day care right away and get back to work! (Now, I know that many HAVE to go back to work, many would like to stay home with their babies and can't, and don't have a choice, and I'm not talking about those women or trying to condemn anybody.) I was glad that my years of staying home before having children helped with the transition to motherhood.

  20. I'm the Anon that wrote the comment starting with "come on gals, there isn't much point to a "childless homemaker", is there?"
    I do 100% believe a parent at home raising a child is the ideal situation. But when there is not yet a child in the equation? What if the woman were the bread-winner, and the man stayed at home all day (same scenario with no children)? This would certainly give neighbors something to talk about. I believe that until a child is in the picture, this is the time to work, make the most of yourself, save money for the future (and the child's future). Would you want your daughter to not work after college/high school and wait for a husband to come along? Of course not, you would push her to become something! Why would a spouse's paycheck change that goal? I mean no disrespect to any childless homemaker. If this is the dynamic that works for your relationship, then I wouldn't change a thing. I just have different ideas and expectations on what I would want my spouse to do before a child comes along. I guess I should mention that I am a man. :)

  21. Remember Phyllis Schlafly - Betty Freidan's "Feminist Mystique's strongest opponent? I HIGHLY recommend her new book:

    The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know -- and Men Can't Say [Hardcoverl
    (Author), Phyllis Schlafly (Author

    Product Description
    What if everything you've been told about women in America is wrong? What if what your college professors taught you - along with television, movies, books, magazine articles, and even news reports - have all been lies or distortions?

    Since the 1960s, American feminists have set themselves up as the arbiters of all things female. Their policies have dominated the social and political landscape. The "spin sisters" in the media (aptly named by Myrna Blyth in her book of the same name) and their cohorts in academia are committed feminists. Consequently, everything Americans know -- or think they know -- about marriage, kids, sex, education, politics, gender roles, and work/family balance, has been filtered through a left-wing lens.

    But what if conservative women are in the best position to empower American women?

    Forty years have passed since the so-called women's movement claimed to liberate women from preconceived notions of what it means to be female -- and the results are in. The latest statistics from the National Bureau of Economic Research show that as women have gained more freedom, more education, and more power, they have become less happy.

    Enough, say Suzanne Venker, an emerging young author, and veteran warrior Phyllis Schlafly. It's time to liberate America from feminism's dead-end road. Cast off the ideology that preaches faux empowerment and liberation from men and marriage. While modern women enjoy unprecedented freedom and opportunities, Venker and Schlafly argue that this progress is not the result of feminism.

    Women's progress has been a natural evolution - due in large part to men's contributions. American men are not a patriarchal bunch, as feminists claim. They have, in fact, aided women's progress. And like women, they have been just as harmed by the feminist movement.

    In The Flipside of Feminism, Venker and Schlafly provide readers with a new view of women in America -- one that runs counter to what Americans have been besieged with for decades. Their book demonstrates that conservative women are, in fact, the most liberated women in America and the folks to whom young people should be turning for advice. Their confident and rational approach to the battle of the sexes is precisely what America needs.

    The authors advocate a common-sense approach to the issue of marriage and motherhood. Rather than belabor the tired notion of balance, they provide a step-by-step guide for how women can embrace their maternal desire, maintain strong marriages and also carve out a life of their own. The answer lies in a concept known as sequencing.

    Mrs. Murray

  22. Well, anon, the truth comes out. I think, perhaps, we have a jealous closet Male Homemaker! I am being slightly facetious, but in all honesty, if I enjoyed a career and my husband (without children) wanted to stay at home, then I would be fine with it. I don't see that it should matter if the SAH be male or female. It is just true that in most cases it IS women who want or end up being the stay at home.
    For my relationship, we have both worked and now I stay home. My husband is fine with this and in no way begrudges me. IN fact there is never any discussion of His money. It is our money, he literally earns it and I literally manage it, to the point that I put the checks in the bank, deal with investments, pay bills and file and deal with the accountant and so forth. If anything, if I left him, he'd most likely stumble about a bit wondering how to cook anything, what bills need to be done and why on earth his clothes aren't clean and put away!
    Each person has his or her own idea for their future children, I suppose. For me, I would not mind at all if my daughter or my son chose to not work, if he were in a situation that allowed him to not have to. I rather like the at home time and could see a man or woman happily studying, reading, and also managing a home, gardening and a bit of puttering about. Perhaps I am just a bit of a Gran and rather like to be a homebody, so would never be surprised or upset if my child chose such a path.
    As far as being 'shocked' if my daughter 'waited about' for a husband to support her, I think that rather funny. I mean if my daughter wanted to BE a Homemaker then I would encourage her to both learn all I know for the home, but also attend university for things which she cares about, which might be literature, art, or even science. And, when she is dating, to make sure she is careful to be vocal about her desire to be a SAH. Why is it wrong if a woman should know she wants that role and to find a man who also likes that for her? I don't understand, is it meant to be calculating?
    I mean if she said nothing and then sprang it on her spouse, that is more likely to NOT work out than being open and honest and planning for her future.
    And as far as say I would 'push her to become something' is rather an odd statement considering my obvious involvement in endless days of pointing out how much I feel that I, as a Homemaker without children, AM Something. So, why should I begrudge that same being something to she and to even my son? Again, we get to the basic idea that somehow being a homemaker is nothing!
    I also hope that you are open to any future spouse about these ideas, as it seems you should NOT marry a woman who would like to be a SAHW unless she also wants children. Yet, when the children grow, would you have her go back out to the workforce so that she may, again, become "Something"?

  23. YES! "The Flip side of Feminism" illustrates exactly why the Woman's Lib. movement of the 1970s failed, and shattered the myths and untruths of the so-called feminists. Well written, researched, and documented.

  24. My husband and I met when I was an ER Doctor and he was an ambulance driver. After 2 years of marriage we were expecting a baby and I resigned from my position at the hospital to be a stay-at-hope Mother. You should have seen the looks on the faces of colleagues and friends when I gave up a $290,000/year job for the sake of my family. Over the years our family has increased; we now have 5 children. By managing our finances and living below our means we are a happy & healthy family of 7 living on $35,000/yr.

    The former: Juliet Wilson MD
    The current: Mrs. Marcus Spaulding

  25. Mrs. Marcus Spaulding-A perfect example of choices made for and about Quality which is not always about money. It seems we are very set upon value of one's life as being in their job and that job needing to be about as much money as possible. What a wonderful example. And your value in your medical career continues to aid you and still have value in and of itself even though you are 'just' a homemaker and mother. Brava to you!

  26. Amazing discussion, thankyou! I just finished watching a movie on one of your past blogs about learning home economics at school. I watched it with my 14 year old daughter, and she couldn't believe there was once a subject like that! All they did at her school was sew an apron and cook a few dishes. I am happy to have studied both hotel management and interior design, which seemed to be part of the home economic course at high school in the 50s. I didn't realise at the time what use they would be as a homemaker!
    Having 5 children, I think it is a brilliant idea to learn to be a home maker without children around - we should all do it! Learning how to be at home all day is one of the hardest things about having a baby - it was for me and I know friends who have gone back to work because they can't cope being home all day. Sad!
    I think it was Karla who said that feminism hasn't really made things easier for women - I agree. It seems that now we are expected to do it all, and when we don't want too some people can't cope with the idea.
    My mother also worked when I was young in the 70s, and I hated going home alone or to baby sitters. I work, but finish in time to pick the children up from school 3 days a week - the other 2 days its grandma. I would really love to stay home full time, but hubbie has his own practice and I am the secretary, for now.
    Well, better go fold up my 5th load of washing for the day (I had a 'day off' today!)xxxx

  27. The modern thinking is that to be a valuable part of society you must be a consumer. Someone who works is earning money which can then be spent on a cleaner, a gardener, sending out laundry, take away and pre-prepared foods, work clothes and whatever-else-the-big-box-store-sell because they are so stressed and busy "they deserve it".

    And families who support each other, listen and talk with one another and spend time together are less likely to consume products to fill the hole that comes with loneliness. They are less likely to buy 'x' that will make others like you (they already know they are loved), less likely to buy 'y' to make them popular (they have learnt self worth comes from within) etc etc.

    (of course this is an example and a generalisation and there are exceptions to every rule)

    So in a world ruled by big business, and it's constant need to grow at all costs, the family - and especially the home maker has been another casuality of economics.

  28. Fascinating posts here; an expansion of this would make a good book, wouldn't it?

    Some thoughts: We have a large family and as our youngest will be starting school soon; I'm asked often what I'll do when he's in school. I'm very, very busy every day and I'm not sure what the new schedule will bring (when ALL the kids are in school). Our family will figure that out when that time arrives.

    Some of my strongest supporters of me being a homemaker have been my working girlfriends who are happy in their personal lives. Often when I've had a negative zinger comment lobbed my way I realize it's not about me, it's more about a person's unhappiness in that person's own life than it is about them being critical of mine. That's often true for anyone who makes hurtful personal comments about another.

    I've been a homemaker for many years now and I really believe the attitude toward homemaking has improved. I began to stay home at the height of the "you can have it all" era. To leave a good full time job when I did to become a homemaker and/or raise a family was seen as a cop out, as a woman turning her back on all her sisters had fought for during the feminist era. I really feel that attitude has calmed down a bit.

    For our family, it's worked well that I focus on the home front while my husband focuses on his career. We're both interested and supportive of what the other does and we each take a lot of pride in what we do. This works for us. I can not tell you the number of times it's been a blessing for me to be home; for e.g on a day when he had a big presentation at work and the kids woke up sick. I was available to take care of the kids home sick from school and he was able to continue on to work. That's just one example of many. I know that other families would handle that situation differently if both parents are working outside the home - and that's OK if it works for them and their kids.

    I believe every family has their own situation and their own needs in terms of finances, careers, childcare, homemaking, etc. I've learned that everyone has their own story, their own situation, and often it's not what is first assumed. Most of the hurtful comments flung my way over the years have been based on assumptions.

    Perhaps the biggest misjudgment is that I'm able to stay home because it's easy financially. Ha!! It takes a lot of savvy and sacrifice to live on one income these days. It's interesting that so many people assume that there isn't any savvy and sacrifice that goes into it, that mom at home must mean there's a big bank account.

    Just some of my thoughts! :)

  29. Coming out of lurking to comment..what a thought provoking post! I find it interesting that people will find a way to be oppositional no matter what the situation. I have six kids in varying ages, the youngest starting kindergarten in Sept.Of course people want to know "when I will go back to work'(I'm an R.N.)Guess what? NOT! The family needs me, and we really DON'T need the money. So why stress?Sad how it used to be a point of pride for a husband to have his wife home, and not have to shame himself..HE was the provider, not his wife. Maybe she wanted 'pin' money, so she did some silly things. Now, husbands REQUIRE their wives to work, everything must be '50-50'! Phooey! The girls are going to learn the hard way that life just doesn't work that's never 50-50.And if a woman stays home because they don't need the extra money, she gets called a'spoiled rich brat'. You just can't win!

  30. 50sgal. Hi again (the guy here). well I am not a closeted homemaker, I enjoy the rewards of work outside the house. but I also enjoy and am able to cook for myself, do laundry, keep up with housework, etc. I find it interesting that people believe that if a wife were to leave the husband, he would be lost around the house! Like he couldn't feed himself, pay bills, etc. I guess I see things from a man's survival standpoint ... If i were a wife in a house pre-children, and I also did not have an out of house job / skill to fall back on... then what is plan B if something were to happen to the marriage or spouse's job (God forbid)? Where would my health insurance come from (if your in the USA)? Where would I live? Who would hire me at a job with no traceable work background? Would i have to rely on friends/family? Those are just things that would go through my mind... and divorce happens even if we think we are in the most blessed of relationships.
    I don't think it has much to do with big business, feminist movements, current ways of thinking, etc. It is purely about survival should something happen, and 50% of the time unfortunately something does happen. Perhaps the stories we hear of miserable 1950's housewives "stuck at home" is not because it wasn't rewarding work, but because the SAH spouse did not have options if they needed to leave a bad marriage. Stuck with no where to go.
    I hope no one takes my posts as offensive. I am double sided on this because I love vintage living, and I love outside work, and I love working inside my house. I love the reward of seeing a clean room, when I clean it. And I love the satisfaction of cooking a meal for myself and others... So I understand the satisfaction behind that. However, from an uptight man's perspective that is always concerned of the future... I would work outside the home to secure my future should something happen with my spouse.
    I completely understand that we are all wonderfully different people, and different home dynamics work for each of us, so no single one is perfect. Do what is best for your family, and be proud.
    * Disclaimer - when speaking of the SAH spouses in my comments, I am talking about the unselfish, loving people that do it because they want the best for their family. I am not talking about people that do it out of selfish, unmotivated reasons, and are looking for a free-ride from another person or the government.

  31. I'm jumping in really late here just to say to Anon: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!! Maybe you should stop caring what your neighbours think. My husband was out of work for over two years and I had no problem with him staying at home working on his own projects. It was the only way our place stayed clean (he's the tidy one.)

    Now that we're expecting a child and he is working part-time, we plan for me to return to work after maternity leave and he is looking forward to staying home with the baby. If our neighbours have a problem with any of that, well, they should find some better hobbies.

  32. Early life style is more successful and prosperous.

    Today the whole society is complicated. No real prosperity.

  33. Well I have waited to comment...I wanted to read All the posts in between doing the
    the Ironing, Baking (for daughters Bridal Shower), Shopping and the Wash. This has been a great post...You see I am older than most here.
    I remember being taught homemaking skills in Jr. High and High School.
    I remember when a woman was taught that you get a job only till you have kids....But that was fine with suited me just fine and I loved it!
    Home-Ec was my favorite subject!
    I grew up in the fifties...I know the fifties first hand..I remember Hulu Hoops, Mickey Mouse Club, Mom in Pearls and Heels I remember all of it...But I went on to get two college degrees and in today's day in age, I feel like I have to constantly defend my choice to be a homemaker to individuals who have this desire to marginalize my chosen profession. I have yet to figure out what is so threatening about
    my own personal choice. It seemed easier when I had my children, because "after all... I had kids"...But the working women in my neighborhood nick-named me Mother Teresa...because I was the domestic
    type...The quote was this "oh you know we can't all be Mother Teresa you know" I had never once demeaned or looked down upon women who choose
    to work.outside the home..and the comment came so out of the shocked me into
    the hard reality that others can be threatened by the homemaker status... It has become worse since my children are grown. I am an
    oddity in our neighborhood and a source of great
    puzzlement...(especially when I go out to get the mail with my vintage apron on!) The stares are comical...maybe I should shock them and bake
    them a pie! I am now 57 and my kids are grown and I have both been in the work place and at home....I have been a homemaker for over 30
    years...and I have seen it all...and probably heard it all...Hang in there ladies. Homemaking is and hopefully always will be a wonderful
    profession to aspire to...I find the most joy in my kitchen..or in my sewing room...I made my children's clothes and have put thousands of dinners on the table and I would do it all over again!
    Proud to be a Homemaker


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