Anyhow, she mentioned that she wants to reclaim the term homemaker.
The simple utterance of the word made me shudder.
Homemaker? Really, Michelle???
When she asked me to explain why I had such a visceral reaction to the word, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I take zero issue with stay-at-home moms and dads. That is a more-than-full-time job. And look, even running a home when you have no children is a ton of work. So, so, SO much work!
I’ve been replaying our conversation a lot, and I think my reaction comes down to this: my grandma was a homemaker, but I remember her always telling me she “wished she was an architect, but women didn’t do things like that back then.” She graduated high school in 1929, and while I’m sure becoming a female architect was technically possible, it wasn’t easily available– especially during the Great Depression.
So I guess to me, the word homemaker always felt a little like, “it was one of three job options available to me, so that’s what I did because I couldn’t be an architect.” Or whatever other job a women secretly wanted. And by the way, many women did want to be homemakers. And that is great!
However, the term seemed so antiquated to me, so I decided to look up the actual definition. Here’s what the Dictionary has to say:
home·mak·er noun hōmˌmākər/
: a person, especially a housewife, who manages a home.
Okay, people. Is it just me or is the “especially a housewife” an unnecessary addition to the definition? I hate that it’s there!
You made it weird, Dictionary!
But if we can just read the definition without the qualifier, it’s just this:
: a person who manages a home.
Dude, I literally spend hours every day managing my home. And so does my husband. Does that make us homemakers? It might!
We tend to associate the term homemaker with our grandparents generation, but I’d argue that in some ways, we’re just as into homemaking today than we were fifty years ago– maybe even more so! We’re obsessed with recipes, cooking, and outfitting homes with beautiful things. We want to learn how to preserve our excess produce, refinish the antique hutch we found at a garage sale, make our own non-toxic cleaning solution and deodorant.
There is an entire social media platform devoted largely to homemaking.
It’s called Pinterest. Heard of it? Obviously you have & you can follow me here! (#shamelessplug). Millions of women and men get sucked into Pinterest’s black hole daily, often in the hopes of managing their home more effectively. Or learning how to do a cool fishtail braid. But mostly for recipes, decor tips and DIY projects.
What’s more, our Instagram feeds flood with perfectly-curated vignettes– a homemade craft cocktail grasped in a manicured hand against an exposed brick wall; a perfectly crafted pavlova topped with homemade lemon curd and lavender; a cold beer on the porch, overlooking a freshly mown lawn; your stunning new front porch vignette.
Let’s face it: we love well-managed homes ’cause they just feel so good.
They’re fabulous to wake up in. Fun to entertain in. Comforting when you’re sad, calming when you’re pissed, and the perfect secret stage for dancing in your underwear when you just gotta dance in your underwear. A well-managed home means a clean(ish), safe, comfortable space filled with things that spark joy (#trending), good food, and the people/pets you love.
And if you live by yourself, awesome! I loved living alone, homemaking a cozy one-bedroom into a place where I could dance in my underwear (apparently, I do this a lot) or watch Six Feet Under in bed while eating popcorn and drinking crappy lite beer whenever the hell I wanted. I loved making that home.
So I ask you, are you ready to reclaim homemaker? While I don’t think I’m adding it to my LinkedIn any time soon, I definitely am one. And so is my husband. I grocery shop for the two of us, creating healthy and delicious meals regularly (or ordering pizza. Whatever.) Last week, Josh installed a new chandelier in our dining room and grew a bunch of grass in our weed-filled backyard. I walk the dog, he runs the dog. I vacuum, he mows the lawn. We tag-team the dishes and laundry.
I love our home and we homemake the shit out of it.
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How do you feel about the term “homemaker”? And if you do “manage your home” as your full-time gig, do you call yourself a homemaker?
PS Here are some ways we homemake around here: the bomb outdoor furniture I made with my barehands and $80; the fence we built to keep our dog and ourselves happier; the mussel recipe I didn’t think I could make myself, but turned out to be easier than toasting bread (basically).
PPS Here’s my friend Michelle (who started this whole convo) shares her thoughts on homemaking.