Dealing with Stigma as a Stay at Home WifeDanielle Haynes |
It’s no secret that there aren’t as many homemakers in society as there used to be, with prevailing narratives around housewives becoming increasingly negative, such as homemakers being oppressed by their husbands, or that they are often privileged, wealthy, and bored with their lives.
Homemakers depicted in culture are often seen as rich housewives living off their husbands wealth in shows such as “The Real Housewives” or they are depicted in feminist politics as women who are chained to the kitchen desperately trying to get out from under patriarchal control.
It’s no wonder that with these clearly prejudiced portrayals of homemakers, housewives, and stay at home moms, many women are choosing not to stay home and care for their family and are instead choosing to go out into the workforce seeking fulfillment elsewhere.
I’m all for women chasing their dreams, but what about the women who dream of being a wife, mother and homemaker, that have seemingly been left behind by culture? Women like me.
Stay At Home Wife
I’ve never aspired to have a big career, my passions and goals have always centered around home and family. From the moment I became an adult and met my husband, all I wanted was a traditional marriage and family life.
My experience as a modern day housewife is one that I never expected. It’s been the most enjoyable work I have ever done in my life. Caring for my home and family has truly been the most fulfilling work I could ever do. Homemaking has allowed me to reconnect with my femininity through the act of caring for and beautifying my home, and nurturing those under my care.
But the lifestyle of a homemaker is not all sunshine and daisies. I have received my fair share of judgment and have been shocked by the level of prejudice and intolerance many people have for my traditional lifestyle. Most of the bias and judgment has sadly come from those closest to me and my husband including my own family, our friends, his coworkers. People we see everyday whose opinion truly does matter to us.
Many people in today’s culture do not see the value in traditionalism, and family values have fallen to the wayside. Which is truly sad not just for homemakers but for families across the country.
It’s no shock to anyone that in modern day America there aren’t as many housewives as decades past. But housewives and stay at home moms are still a large part of society. According to news.gallup.com about 27 % of all moms are housewives, and 50% of moms say they would prefer to stay home compared to 45% who prefer to work.
What about women without children though? According to the same 2019 Gallup poll 56% of women prefer to work than to stay home. Which is a record high for women in the workforce, but even then, that leaves just under half of US women wanting to be home, or at least want to work less.
So why is there such a stigma surrounding stay at home moms and wives, when almost ½ of all women would want to be homemakers if they had the opportunity?
Has feminism gone too far in trying to normalize women working outside the home, to the point that women who don’t conform to that idea somehow get left behind in the push for “liberation”?
As a homemaker who feels largely left out of the feminist movements, my opinion is a resounding yes.
French feminist Simone de Beauvoir once said, “No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children. Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”
Perspectives like this have become commonplace in modern culture. Many believe that women should be working even if they are mothers and especially if they aren’t.
Women who just want to be mothers, wives and homemakers feel like they are either forced to work for a multitude of reasons or they feel judged and discouraged by modern day narratives surrounding women who become homemakers.
Although often marginalized, criticized and even sometimes mocked, many women still have a natural and inherent desire to be homemakers.
I am one of them, I am proud to be a housewife, and love my life as a homemaker. I’ve chosen to become a homemaker at a relatively young age, but I haven’t always been so confident in my decision, due to others openly discouraging my chosen way of life.
We tell women there is no value in staying home, caring for your home, family, and raising your children is somehow seen as less than. Yet we have to outsource all of these responsibilities when we go into the workforce. All of the sudden the work we do within our homes has enough value that we have to hire someone else to do it as we go out and work. We hire nannies or daycare workers , housekeepers, and nowadays even someone to do our grocery shopping and care for our pets.
So clearly someone has to do the jobs that we homemakers do when we aren’t there to do it ourselves. I’ve learned over the years as a homemaker, that the work women do within their homes has so much value, that if we aren’t doing it, someone else will still have to.
Women who choose to be homemakers are a force for good in society, and have always been integral to families and culture. So maybe instead of criticizing or belittling women who choose to stay home, we can start to recognize the amount of work these women do, and begin to value the role of a homemaker in society once again. Giving women the freedom to truly choose what they wish to do with their own lives.
Just another housewife.