In defense of the homemaker

When you grow up, would you want to be a homemaker? Many would say no. It’s not a glamorous job. It does not come with a fancy title, benefits, insurance or even pay. It’s a job that has not seen growth in recent years, but instead has declined due to many women and men seeking more high-paying or exciting jobs.

Indeed, the job is not for everyone, and while some seek it out, some homemakers choose it simply because they feel the need. For outsiders, it seems that a homemaker with a high education level has wasted his or her talent and abilities by not getting a good job and settling for something “less.”

My mother is a homemaker. It’s not what she dreamed of being growing up, but it is something she quickly grew to love and enjoy. She is content. But when asked by others what she does, her answer is occasionally dismissed with a casual “Oh, you’re just a homemaker.” They believe that because what she does isn’t glamorous, it isn’t worth doing.

Other people may ask where she met my dad, and she’ll respond that they met in church at Stanford, where she obtained her master’s in classics. When they learn she’s a homemaker, they ask what happened, implying there must have been some sort of accident that held her back.

neyer headshot
James Neyer is a junior Honors Bachelor of Arts major from Cincinnati.

My mom’s case isn’t unique. There are many men and women who decide to become homemakers, and when they talk about their career choice, they are met with derision or shock, as if what they chose wasn’t good enough.
I maintain that being a homemaker is good enough. Being a homemaker is a perfectly reasonable career and should be considered as such.

Part of the disparagement of homemaking is due to a misunderstanding of feminism. With the rise of feminism, many women have acknowledged their right to be employed and financially support themselves and their families if they so choose. The number of stay-at-home moms is decreasing as more women pursue high-paying jobs.

Feminism helped women attain the freedom to choose what they want out of life. Women can acknowledge this choice and still decide to be a homemaker. I have seen my mom be accused of “setting feminism back” or not “doing something meaningful with her life” simply because she is a homemaker. She just responds that feminism advocates that women should be able to choose the job they want, and her choice was to be a homemaker.

In this day and age it’s surprising to see so much unnecessary and unwarranted hate for such a vital group of people. For most homemakers, there was no mistake or disappointment that brought them there. They may have had different goals and dreams initially, but, like most people, these changed over time, and they chose to be homemakers.

A homemaker is a respectable occupation, and no one — neither man nor woman — should feel guilty or ashamed for wanting to be one.