Wednesday, March 28, 2007

On being a Homemaker

Happy Feminist has me thinking about my current status as a homemaker.

Back several months ago, when the blogosphere was abuzz with Linda Hirshman's hateful opinions about homemakers, I couldn't get involved. As far as I am concerned, the things she had to say made her the Ann Coulter of feminism, another woman whom I think we should all simply ignore just as one does the obnoxious boor at the party.

Do I need to say that I am a feminist? Well, of course I am.

I'm coming up on 9 years of being a full-time homemaker. I am at odds with the other 99% of liberal women who are mothers and not employed outside the home, in that I call myself a "homemaker," not a stay-at-home-mom. But after about 5 years of being a SAHM, I came to think that a) "stay-at-home-mom" is a perjorative, and an incorrect one -- I WISH I could just "stay home," but we're far too busy and b) SAHM is a demotion. I don't just stay home with my kids, and I'm not just a mom. At present, old-fashioned as it sounds, I make a house a home. I make wholesome meals and try to keep the house clean, and repair things and even occasionally sew something. And I spend time tending to the spirituality of our home, planning family rituals and opportunities to talk about our values. But it's just semantics. Whatever you want to call yourself, go right ahead. And by the same token, I call employed mothers "working mothers." I don't feel that it implies I don't work. Sometimes, I refer to myself and others as "full-time mothers." That doesn't mean I think working mothers cease to be mothers at 8 am.

Rarely do I feel defensive about this choice -- because it was my choice, fully supported by The Husband, and I feel it was the right one for us.

But it was definitely a period of adjustment, and a long one. It took me 5 years to get rid of my business suits. It took 6 years, when asked what I did, to no longer reply that "I used to be a marketing director."

This is what I want to be doing. Just as my friend L-A wants to be a teacher. Just as my friend K wants to be a Director of Religious Education. Just as my friend R wants to be a Russian translator for a large company. Just as my friend E wants to be a vice-president in an international company.

We want to be, and we currently are, all of these things. We are also all feminists. And we all support each other.

Wasn't that the plan?

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Hoo RAH.

I love being a woman in this day and age because we aren't limited to one choice (staying home). We can tweak things here and there to make motherhood and life work for ourselves and our families. It took some massive tweaking and adjustments to go from full-time employment in an office to being a mom trying to earn a buck without losing my mind. Now I work 4-5 hours a day at home while my son is being cared for by his grandparents and the rest of the time I am busy tending to the house, etc. I have achieved balance.

P.S. I was a card-carrying member of N.O.W. until this year. They got way too extreme on me and made too many assumptions about what I believe, which eventually pissed me off for the last time. I am kind of on my own now as a feminist...and that's okay with me. I like to think for myself. Isn't that the whole idea?