“HOUSEWIFE: A married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework.” – Oxford Dictionary.
“Denise, do you work anywhere now?” A neighbor asked, evidently curious about my constant presence at home.
“Yes. Yes I work very hard as a full-time Housewife.”
There was a pause. A puzzled but pleasant smile. Finally “Well good for you!” ended the brief conversation. Other responses have been:
- “Must be nice.”
- “It can’t be THAT much work.”
- “No. I mean WORK. You still WORK somewhere don’t you?”
Thanks to popular t.v. shows, the perception of the American Housewife has often been misguided. Be it the shapely 1950’s mother who did all her housework effortlessly in high-heels. Or the current “real” Housewives who pass the day in a glut of lush extravagance and bickering. I am neither young, desperate or have a rich husband. I can not afford to squander precious resources like time and common sense.
My past roles – Art Curator, Artist In Residence, Art Teacher, Caregiver – needed little explaining and were often met with respect and empathy. However the term Housewife is little understood and is sorely in need of rebranding. To help clarify matters, here are a few personal Q & A.
- When did you retire?
I didn’t retire. I still work. I work very hard as a full-time Housewife.
- Do you work part-time?
No. I work full-time as a Housewife.
- O.K. But don’t you do things online?
Sure. I have a blog and a couple of online shops. But…
- Oh! You’re an Entrepreneur. Right?
Not really. Earning extra money for the family budget is just part of my work as a Housewife. Everything I do from cooking from scratch to making our laundry products is part of my home management. Similarly, gardening and canning supplements our food stuffs. Learning to sew and crochet adds to our wardrobe. Collecting kindling and burning firewood during the winter saves on heating. Growing and using medicinal herbs in teas, tinctures and salves keeps our immune systems up and medical bills down….
- Gardening. Sewing. Herbs. Cooking. You’re a Homesteader! Are y’all gonna get chickens?