A while back, on a post on my Facebook page, there was quite a discussion about the wife’s role in homemaking. Someone suggested that it was unfair and sexist for me to talk to women about homemaking or sexist to assume the wife was the homemaker. So let’s talk about the role of a homemaker for a bit.
First, I’d like to point out that my website is intended for a female, Christian audience. While I do have the occasional male reader, statistically speaking far more women read my website than men. And truth be told, I don’t intend to write for men.
It’s not because I don’t love men (I do!!) or because I think men can’t or don’t need to be helpful around the house (of course they do!!) or that I think men deserve more respect than women (everyone deserves respect!).
Rather, it’s because my writings are written with women in mind and obviously my blog is titled, A Virtuous Woman (not A Virtuous Man).
The Role of a Homemaker
So, having said that, I would like to challenge the idea that having and serving in different roles in your home and marriage equals inequality. It does not.
Can one spouse have more power than the other? Sure. It happens. It’s sad and not representative of a healthy relationship.
But serving in different roles or traditional roles doesn’t mean one person is less valuable than the other.
If my husband and I decide I will be a full-time homemaker then that is my job. I have several hours every day to work at my job. Just like my husband has several hours to go work at his job. We have different jobs.
That doesn’t mean his is better than mine.
Caring for children, scrubbing toilets, doing the laundry, and any other variety of household tasks is not demeaning to a woman who cares for her home. It’s a noble role. It’s an act of service, duty, and responsibility.
Jesus said He came to serve, not to be served. We have the opportunity as women to be Jesus to our family every single day whether we work full time in the home or outside the home. When we serve out of love and tender care, we are not only serving our family and all who enter our homes, but we are ultimately serving the Risen Savior. Because He said, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me. (Matthew 25:40)
She looks well to the ways of her Household
Proverbs 31:27 tells us, “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
The role of a homemaker is incredibly important. She not only cares for her home but she also cares for all who enter her home. She sees that the details are taken care of. She organizes her day so those seemingly small details are taken care of. Details like fluffed pillows on the bed or warm blueberry muffins cooling on the counter.
It’s the sweet and thoughtful gestures of a homemaker that bring life and love to the heart of a home.
But it’s also the mundane and ordinary tasks that a homemaker oversees on a daily and monthly basis that give life to the home. Fresh, clean laundry, folded and placed in drawers. Floors swept of crumbs. Bathrooms tidied and wiped clean.
You see, the role of a homemaker may be to scrub and sweep and clean. But the role of a homemaker can also be to manage and delegate and organize.
I love how Mystie from Simply Convivial talks about the duties of a homemaker. She says:
“A homemaker may or may not be the one washing her sheets, but she is the one ensuring its done. She may or may not be the one washing the dishes, but she is the one who sees to it that there are dishes, that they are clean, and that there is cause for using them (i.e. regular meals)…
“The duty of the homemaker is to take the resources of the family and distribute them as required to care for the family. A homemaker provides comfort and a base of operations for not only her family but also her community.”Mystie at Sumply Convivial
I’ve been incredibly blessed to be a homemaker for the last 30 years. During that time I’ve raised five children. My youngest is almost 18 years old now. I’ve cooked thousands of meals, folded so many loads of laundry, and cleaned my house so many times you’d think I’d be a pro by now.
Homemaking is a lot of work. But even after all of these years, I can honestly say I love homemaking more today than ever. I’m thankful for the opportunity to care for my family. I love feeding them good food. I love making our home a warm and inviting space. I love being a homemaker!
Serving your family is not “less than” a career outside the home. If your husband goes to work each day, appreciate his hard work. Being a homemaker is an important and equally valuable job.
Having said that, if you work outside the home, you can still consider yourself a homemaker! If you are single, you can still consider yourself a homemaker! If you have a home to care for – you are a home-maker.
Is Homemaking The Wife’s Job?
For some reason, lots of people are offended by the idea that a woman would take care of the home. If a wife is the primary caretaker of the home, does that mean the husband has no responsibility to care for the home as well? Of course not. If a husband is able to offer help, he should.
There are many men who cook, clean, and care for the homes alongside their wives. That’s awesome! Not a problem. A wife does not have to do it all.
There are times when it makes sense for a husband to help around the house. If your husband likes to cook and you don’t – that’s okay. If you decide together that certain chores around the house will be done by one or the other – that’s okay.
The main thing here is not how the chores are divided, but rather the attitude you demonstrate about the chores. If you as a wife have an attitude of pride, selfishness, and power – demanding your way – that’s not any way to have a kind and loving marriage. Just like if your husband demanded you do certain chores and had power over you.
Having consideration for each other, being willing to go the extra mile, working hard in the role you have taken on whether it be working outside the home (full-time or part-time) or working inside the home full time – will make for a happier marriage.
Dividing up the chores in a way that seems fair and equitable to the both of you is a good idea. Many husbands who take care of the outside yard work while the wife manages the inside chores. Or perhaps your husband has an incredibly taxing job so that he comes home completely exhausted. In that case, as a wife, you might do the majority of the household chores.
There are so many jobs that men do that few women ever do. I’m so thankful for strong, hard-working men that keep our country running. I would never want to go out and do some of the jobs I see men (husbands) doing!! I’m not physically able to do some jobs nor would I want to. Being a kind and generous wife, thinking of his needs, caring for him with tenderness and appreciation is a precious way to serve your family.
I think the assumption that helping women find the tools, resources, and encouragement they need to be better homemakers is sexist is a rather absurd assumption. And I don’t mean that to be brash.
However, if I want to write for women and encourage them in their role as a homemaker, it shouldn’t be offensive to other people. If men need or want resources to learn how to be better husbands, I’m sure there are resources out there for them. My site is not written for men. I write for women.
- That does not mean I believe men should take advantage of their wives.
- That does not mean I think men should never help care for their homes.
- That does not mean I think that women should take care of all the household and family responsibilities.
- That does not mean I think men deserve more respect than women. In fact, I believe that men and women deserve to be treated with equal respect.
I don’t believe that being a homemaker or striving to be the best homemaker you can be is undeserving of respect. I believe that women who care for their homes and families deserve the utmost respect and appreciation for the love, care, and tenderness they put into their homemaking efforts.
I believe that if you are a full-time homemaker and your husband goes to work each day and works hard that you should take your job at home seriously.
I want to say this with as much grace and understanding as possible. I am not saying that being a homemaker is easy or that you should have a perfectly tidy home all of the time. Being a full-time homemaker is hard work.
But, if you know you struggle with time management, pray about it and work on it. If you feel unorganized or surrounded by clutter – work on it. Read books and blogs and magazines that encourage you in your homemaking. Read works that help enrich and edify your role as a homemaker.
You can always be learning how to be better at your job – your role as a homemaker.
If you were to work outside the home, training, and learning on the job would be a natural part of it. The same applies to homemaking. Appreciate the work you do at home as worthy of time and effort and learning.
The truth is, if we want to elevate the role of a homemaker, we have to raise the bar. Our grandmothers took pride in their homes. They took their role as a homemaker seriously. Anything worth having is worth working for.
If you desire a neat and tidy home that is full of love and laughter, warmth, and good food – it will require diligent and persistent effort. Truly.
You cannot live and work and play in a space and expect it to be easy. There will always be work to do because all people, families, and furry friends dirty things up. We use dishes and laundry and toilets. We track mud in from outside. We shed hair and fur and dead skin cells. We spill things. We get careless and leave messes out instead of picking them up right away.
Life is messy.
But it’s also beautiful.
There is so much beauty in the care and keeping of a family.
Home is where the precious, private moments of family life happen. It’s where we live and grow and worship together.
Home is the heart of the family.
Your home deserves a dignified daily response to it’s care.
Your role as a homemaker is valuable and worthy and incredibly sacred. You are called to the ministry of homemaking:
“to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:5
I understand my website doesn’t appeal to everyone. And that’s okay. I’m totally okay with that. It actually does not bother me one bit.
I’m proud of my role as a homemaker.
Intentional Homemaking: 30 Day Challenge
Over the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at the role of a homemaker, why homemaking is important, how homemaking is a precious ministry and more. I’m so excited to begin my series, 30 Days of Intentional Homemaking tomorrow! If you missed that post, you can read about it here, and sign up to join the challenge so you don’t miss a post!
Will you join me? What do you think the role of a homemaker is? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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