When I tell people that I am a stay at home mom, I am often met with mixed emotions. Some believe that being a homemaker means cooking, cleaning, raising the kids, balancing the checkbook and more. Others see it as old-fashioned, being lazy, and an insult to the women who fought for feminism, equal rights and a position in the workplace. With all the stigmas, a woman is more likely to say she’s on extended maternity leave or in between jobs as to embrace the label of “housewife.” But why is it so bad to accept traditional gender roles?
The Myths about Being A Housewife and Stay-At-Home Mom
All this stigma has put some false ideas of what it means to stay at home and why a woman would want to do so. We probably have the media to thank for that and I’m mostly referring to Reality TV that isn’t really reality as we know it. The terms housewife, homemaker and stay-at-Home mom often coincide with being a woman who submits to her husband and is best friends with the kitchen. Let me be the first to tell you just how inaccurate that is.
You are uneducated and without a degree
And this is where we really have television to thank. Reality TV and sitcoms often portray stay-at-home moms as ignorant or dim-whitted women who didn’t go to college or even graduate high school and therefore had no choice but to stay home. This is just simply not true for a lot of women. More and more college educated women are deciding to leave their careers and stay home. And it’s not because they can’t find employment elsewhere. It’s their choice. According to one study, one in ten mothers with a master’s degree are choosing to stay home.
Your husband makes you stay home, therefore you are submissive and dependent
Many people think that for women who stay home, her husband just put his foot down one day and said she needed to cook his meals and clean ‘round the clock. Wrong. For us personally in my home, it just made sense. For the cost of daycare versus the amount of money that would have been left in my paycheck, we found more value in me staying home with our daughter. Yes, I do also make sure that dinner is always cooked and the bed is always made, but that doesn’t make me submissive. I believe it’s the fair trade off for not having to work 3rd shift in a factory like my husband.
Housewives are less ambitious than career-driven women
So many stay at home moms also work from home! So many! (That’s why I started this blog!) And there are about a million different jobs you can do from home on the internet, working as much or as little as you want. But even if you don’t have a formal job title, being a homemaker is not an easy job. Where most people work their 9-5 and come home, my job never ends. There is always work to be done.
It’s easy to be a stay-at-home mom and wife
There are some who think it’s so easy and that I can just sit around at home all day in my yoga pants. Again, this is a ’round the clock job. And my baby is only a couple months old. For anyone with kids, you know that having an infant is hard work. Have you ever tried cooking dinner with a screaming baby while your husband is asleep? Or folding laundry while breastfeeding? It’s definitely not that easy. It’s amazing how much multitasking that motherhood requires.
You’re insulting the women who fought for equality
Why can’t women be feminists and stay at home? This goes back to my burning desire for an answer to the question: Why is it so insulting to be a housewife? The 1950’s housewife is actually a false stereotype of women in that decade anyway. Not every woman stayed home. Yes, it was a time right after WWII and many women did return home from the workplace. But not all! To me, it’s just as fulfilling and rewarding to take care of our home and our baby as it is to work a full time job. And after all, that is what matters, right? …to be doing whatever it is that makes you happy!