An Instagram page I follow posed this question. What is a homemaker?
For a long time, the first image that I conjured when I head the word “homemaker” was that of a woman in the classic billowy 1950s skirt, her hair perfectly coiffed and an apron slung around her teeny tiny waist as she serves her equally polished husband and ever smiling children meatloaf. The image usually is accompanied by some kind of slogan like, “A woman’s place is at home,” and the implication that a woman’s only value is found in the cleanliness of her home and the deliciousness of her cooking.
Needless to say, with this mental picture, I pretty much decided that I would never be a homemaker, swearing that I—an independent, strong woman—would never be a Stepford Wife.
And now I am an extremely happy stay-at-home mom and very proud homemaker, all while decidedly not fitting the model of Stepford Wife. It took me a while to realise what a homemaker really is, but I now relish in the job title.
A homemaker isn’t defined by how clean her house is. While I love organisation and think our home works best at a certain level of clean, there are days my house is a big fat mess. A homemaker does, however, endeavour to keep her house in a way that is most functional for her family. For me, this means that there’s as minimal clutter as possible, but that everything we need is easily accessible. My house has order not because I’m particularly a neat freak, but because it’s what’s best for my family.
And I’m not the only one doing the cleaning. As CEO of the household, I delegate jobs to my minions. I mean, children. Their playroom, for example, is 100% their responsibility. And they’ve discovered that if they keep it clean and tidy, they can find their toys and things don’t break as easily. As the homemaker, it’s my job to teach them these household skills, both by example and lesson, so they they can someday have functional houses of their own.
A homemaker isn’t defined by how well she cooks or bakes. I love to cook and consider myself a fairly good cook. My brisket? To die for. But I’ve never been able to bake. Even cookies turn out badly for me. I think it’s because with cooking, you can feel your way into how much garlic to add to a dish. With baking, it must be exact or the whole thing blows up. This has always made me feel like less of a woman somehow. Real homemakers bake bread! Real homemakers make cookies to bring to neighbours! Real homemakers make birthday cakes for their children! I’m a fake woman, a fake homemaker, and a menace with a whisk!
But a homemaker is someone who feeds her family well. My family never starves or malnourished. They eat whole, healthy foods—and generally delicious ones at that. And since my children tend to have adverse reactions to sugar, it turns out I don’t need to bake! A homemaker doesn’t just cook foods that taste good, she makes things that fuel her family.
A homemaker is someone who makes a safe space for her family. While I do believe there are many places where Biblical womanhood plays out, I think the home is an exceptionally valuable place for a woman to find herself. I am charged with making this house a haven to come home to, both for my husband and my children. I am a homemaker not because I make the best food or have dozens of Instagram ready rooms, but because I spearhead this home. It is home, not just a house, because it is safe, secure, organised with everything we need, full of love and gratitude. I am a homemaker, which means I’m a teacher, a boo-boo fixer, a “Mom, where did I put my…. oh it’s in the normal spot. Thanks, Mommy” organiser, a cook, a decorator, and a mommy.
A homemaker is so much more than a housekeeper. There can be no home without someone to make it such. “She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27
I love my job.