The terms “homemaking” and “homemaker” are usually used negatively and thought to be a bit old-fashioned and out-of-date.
If you read our blog or listen to our podcast, you probably don’t think of homemaking as a negative thing. But if you stumbled on this post, you might. Today, I wanted to take a few minutes to define homemaking and explain why it’s still important in the 21st century.
What is homemaking?
Homemaking is generally defined as “the creation and management of the home, especially as a pleasant place to live.” And a homemaker is someone who creates and manages that home and creates an inviting, pleasant atmosphere.
Essentially, a homemaker is “in charge” of ensuring everything related to their home and family is taken care of. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s the homemaker’s responsibility to do everything; it’s just their job to make sure it gets done.
What does home management consist of? Cooking, cleaning, decorating, routines, family time, repairs, maintenance, laundry, and general day-to-day home operations.
Read also: The Ultimate Guide to Home Management
What did homemaking look like in the 1950s?
If you have a negative view of homemaking and homemakers, it might because you’re thinking of the idyllic view of the 1950s housewife, as portrayed in shows like “The Donna Reed Show,” “Leave It To Beaver,” and (more recently) “Mad Men.”
Before we go too much further, it’s important to remember that TV doesn’t necessarily show the average person, just like modern shows don’t always accurately portray people.
But it is true that a woman’s life in the early 20th century (going into the 1950s) was very different from our lives today. After getting married, many women stayed home to raise the children and manage the household. That was their job, and they didn’t often work outside the home.
A 1950s Home Economics textbook told women to “try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.” That meant that it was the woman’s responsibility to make sure the house was always in tip-top shape at all times. Because of that, they didn’t only clean every day, but they also got dressed every day. And I don’t mean lounge clothes like we wear now; many 1950s homemakers would do their hair and makeup and put on real clothes.
Looking at all that, it could make women feel like they’re only good for cooking, cleaning, and raising children. It also makes it seem like a woman’s role is less valuable than a man’s role. But a 1950s homemaker took pride and pleasure in looking after her home and family to the best of her ability.
But, I’m still very grateful that homemaking has changed considerably over the past 70 years.
What is a homemaker in the 21st century?
One of the main reasons homemaking has changed so much over the past few decades is that we have a lot more conveniences than we used to. But, laundry still piles up, kids still need to eat, the house still needs to be cleaned, and the home still needs to be maintained. So even if the job title of “homemaker” turns you off, you probably recognize that homemaking is still essential in the modern world.
But it no longer just refers to women nor people who work exclusively in the home. Between economic necessities and more opportunities, women and men can work outside the home and still be homemakers. In fact, if you have a home, you’re likely a homemaker in one way or the other.
Read also: 5 Myths About Being a Millennial Homemaker
Why does homemaking matter?
As I just mentioned, the home still needs to be managed and maintained. And as a homemaker, you’re in charge of all the practical and mundane aspects of the house that just have to be done.
Homemaking today plays a significant role in whether a family’s environment is nurturing, peaceful, refreshing, and secure, or toxic, disorganized, chaotic, and stressful. And what it boils down to is that being a homemaker ensures that your family’s needs are met.