What is a Homemaker?
A homemaker is a person whose main job is to stay at home and care for the household and/or children. Wikipedia once again sums up the definition and gives great examples.
How am I a Homemaker?
The absolute core and first reason why I identify with this term is that my number one goal in life is to be a husband and father. I would honestly be happier unemployed but happily married and with my children in my life, as opposed to single but in a time-consuming career.
I have always been very domesticated, beginning from in my childhood when I insisted on joining my mother on her weekly trips to the grocery store. In fact, one of the main ways I relieve stress is by going into a local grocer and just browsing around the isles looking for things to have at my apartment or house.
Virtually all of my career up to this point has involved some major aspect of home life. Working in a restaurant has grown my interest in learning to cook for myself, and using proper methods and styles to improve my own meals. I didn’t work in the kitchen, but I did get to observe many different ways that a kitchen is run.
Working in maid service taught me the gravity of consistent effort it takes to keep a house clean and put together. Everyone has a wildly different definition of what they consider to be a “clean home” and mine has been shaped by learning several different people’s definitions. I’ve taken the time to learn about different cleaning products and techniques, and many people in my life have asked if I’d be willing to come in and clean for them, since my passion for cleaning also stems from my childhood. While being the Stage Manager for my high school Drama Club, I would often find myself cleaning up backstage and organizing things, two qualities that I consider to be my greatest strengths.
My time in maid service also launched a new interest for me: home decor and design. I’ve seen (what feels like) hundreds of different styles and ways to arrange and fill one’s home. I went into a deep discussion with a former roommate of mine about how a home should be decorated, as I’ve been told my bedroom has “looked like a college dorm room.” It wasn’t until long after that talk did I see for myself exactly what they meant. At the time, I was still mentally a sophomore in college, and my bedroom walls reflected my own maturity. It was when I started seeing how people arranged their personal spaces and what they felt was important enough to frame and put on their walls that I started to have an adult concept of professional home decor and design.
On a broader scale, the concept of homemaker is also evolving. Until very recently, a homemaker was generally overwhelmingly female, and the term househusband was a joke made to show how gendering homemaker to housewife was silly. It’s a reflection on culture as a whole that “stay-at-home-dads” are becoming more of a thing these days. This NYT opinion column even claims that househusbands are the future. Michelle Visage has mentioned on the podcast, What’s The Tee?, that she is happily married to a househusband. This Slate article gives one man’s experience on being a househusband, much of which resonated with me.
The other part of the term homemaker that I really like is the gender discussion that comes with it. I feel like the sexism of the pre-70’s is already well discussed – in my opinion women should choose what they want to do with their lives, no matter if that’s a career or staying at home. This belief is one my my values as a feminist. The gender discussion that homemaker hits me with is the social constructs that come with it.
The above image leads to the article where it came from. One of the key things this image portrays is of course, a man in a dress. Much of my experience with men in dresses comes from Drag Queens, particularly one who uses that phrase to describe themself. I am not a drag queen, nor do I plan to ever be one, but the concept of being referred to as “mommy” or “mama” is actually something I’m quite comfortable with. I am very comfortable in my cisgender identity, but this particular piece is the bit of gender fluidity in me, which tends to surprise the people that I share this with, since I haven’t met even a handful of men who are househusbands.
Here’s another article from Slate on homemaking. This is related to the gender discussion in homemaking.
Urban Dictionary’s definition mentions male homemakers being as “the lowest of masculinity.” While there are parts of me that I feel are important to be masculine, this is the part of me that cares the least about masculinity. As I’ve said, I’m not the least bit bothered by not appearing to be masculine in wanting a husband and kids that are my primary responsibility. Understanding how much of a threat this can irrationally be to other men, and still sticking with it is one of the personal traits I am the most proud of.
And in the off-chance I ever were to walk a runway in drag, I’d most likely have a kitchen apron on over my dress.