Thursday, February 4, 2016

What's in a name?

Do you call yourself a housewife or a homemaker?

As I was thinking about the title “housewife”, into my head came the question, is there an officewife? Or a barnwife? Maybe there’s a yardwife. I personally don’t like “housewife” and always refer to myself as a homemaker. That’s because I think of myself as the maker of a home.

 I’m the one who opens all the curtains and blinds in the morning, letting the wonderful sunshine spill in and warm our home; and the one who closes all the same at sunset to hold in the warmth and shut out the darkness. I’m the one who tidies up and puts a tablecloth on before setting the table for a meal. I’m the one who moves the furniture into the most pleasing and inviting arrangement; puts up artwork and family photos, makes sure that there are several afghans or throws on the couch and chair for wrapping up in when it feels chilly. I’m the one who sees to it that there are toiletries in the bathroom, supplies in the laundry room and clean sheets and towels available at all times. In other words, I make our home livable, welcoming, and lovely.

Rozy the Homemaker (ca. 2012)
I was a homemaker before I ever got married. The small one bedroom apartment I lived in was my refuge and haven. I made it as lovely and welcoming as I could. I have very happy memories of my three years there.

Not everyone is born with the same inclinations I have. Some women despise staying at home and thrive in a career in an office of some kind. Not me! I believe I’m in the right career and consider it as such. I enjoy taking care of a husband, home and family. We’ve bought several homes over the course of our marriage (you do that with a military husband, in fact I joke about having married under a wandering star!) and during the loan application process when asked if I work, I simply answer, “Yes, but I don’t earn any income.” Some people understand, others give me odd looks and require an explanation. I really dislike that question, “Do you work?” No, I lounge on the couch watching movies eating chocolates. Of course I work, all day, every day, all year long! (Well, not really, but you know what I mean.)

Living in Iowa we get LOTS of political survey calls; when they get to the question of employer or employment, I just say “I’m a homemaker.” They have to figure out how to categorize that because it’s not one of the choices.

I also like the biblical term, from Titus 2:5 “keepers at home” as it seems to be another way to say homemaker.

So, how do you describe yourself?

P.S. Of course I realize that there are many women who would choose to be a full-time homemaker, but circumstances prevent that choice. I honor women who both earn the living, and make the living worthwhile for themselves and their families. They do so much more than I do and my hat's off to them.

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