Are you a radical homemaker?
To know if you are or not, you need to know what a radical homemaker is.
A radical homemaker is changing the traditional perspective on the word homemaker. They are challenging the widely accepted paradigms and re-writing their own definitions of what homemaking means.
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
I believe wholeheartedly in the last two lines of William Ross Wallace’s poem. When I write poetry it is to honor the mothers who are tired, confused, lonely and so filled with love for their children. The world continues to devalue women, so it is so important that we honor and encourage each other!
I feel compelled to join many who are keenly aware of the unrealistic expectations that are placed on women. I will be the first to praise the progress of women’s rights; women were ignored for far too long,
but in the midst of trying to have equal rights, too many have supposed that men and women ought to be the same. This is ridiculous since science and common sense tell us that men and women are different in so many good ways.
The Real Problem
I don’t feel suppressed because I am not as intelligent or capable as a man; many special women have proven and still prove that this is false over and over again in history. I feel suppressed because I am being measured by what a man can do and not by what I can do inherently well. I have three daughters that I have carried and brought into the world. This is a power and gift that no man can have. And yet, I feel like I am wasting away my life while I spend most of my days feeding, clothing, and teaching little people.
I read an article recently about an intelligent woman who did years of scientific research validating what many people have considered truth for a long time: new mothers should be with their children for the first threes years of the child’s life. She has been received with open arms and hostility. There is an excerpt from the article that has me thinking about how the future can be brighter for women.
“You can do everything in life,” she says, “but you can’t do it all at the same time.”
I love and honor my husband; he is not free to do whatever he wants-he supports a family of five. He has set aside many of his interests to provide and protect his family. No one balks at his efforts. I choose to spend my days doing daily chores like cleaning dishes, folding laundry, changing diapers and fitting in my personal passions of writing and decorating my home. There may be fewer people than I think who consider my life to be useless, and I know my kids would never tell you that what I do has no value.
This is what I hope for my daughters…choices and reasonable expectations throughout all the stages of their womanhood.
All women should have options and support…
to have a child and care for it well during the most vital parts of their life.
to not fear that they will become stagnant or useless when they spend a portion of their life caring for family and running a home.
to have a career.
to change the world in a personal way.
to do and be whatever she pleases.
I had my last two daughters 18 months apart. To say it was difficult is an understatement. I dealt with depression, anxiety and confusion. I wanted to feel like I mattered and that I was contributing. I wanted to leave the house occasionally without worrying about breastfeeding or changing a poopy diaper. I wanted to have everything at the same time. I need my children-they are my everything-but I also wanted to feel the praise and approval of the world and for some odd reason, I didn’t feel like being a stay-at-home mother was good enough. I don’t think I am alone in this thought.
What I realize now is that it was and always be enough to take care of our families. I don’t have to justify what I am doing to anyone. The fruits of my labor (my children) will speak for themselves. (I don’t profess for a second to be a stellar mom, but I do care and have the desire to make my family’s life good.)
Mother Theresa said, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”
Instead of shaming women for making family a priority and thinking a woman is backward when she sets aside other ambitions to care for children, let’s applaud and honor women and encourage them to care for their family and continue their own personal progress.
Here are some radical and wonderful ideas about homemaking:
“The word “homemaker” is often considered passé. It brings about connotations of June Cleaver in the 1950s show Leave It to Beaver. Today’s mom at home is known as a “stay-at-home mom,” a “mother at home,” a “domestic engineer,” but rarely a “homemaker.” However, before we completely throw this word out, I think we need to consider how appropriate it really is. The word “homemaking” is a beautiful word. It describes “a person who makes a home.”
In Professionalizing Motherhood I quoted Holly Schurter, a mother of eight, on the concept of homemaking. I think her words bear repeating:
Cultivate the skills, not only of housekeeping, but of making a home for your family. As you know already, they are not always exactly the same. Housekeeping consists of the laundry, the dishes, the toilets, and floors that need to be scrubbed, but homemaking is something else…
Homemaking is the deliberate cultivation of beauty and productivity in family relationships. Homemaking is about helping your family feel loved and comforted. Homemaking is about celebrating each other, and about caring for each other, as well as for your friends and extended families and even the occasional stranger. Anyone can keep house. Not everyone bothers to make a home.
Homemaking happens when we fully understand the value of home in our lives. Homemaking happens when we intentionally make home a safe house, a trauma unit, a pep rally, a playground, a school and more. Somebody has to have the time and energy to bring those roles alive in a family’s life. Somebody has to make a house a home. Homemaking is majoring in family relationships.
I think Laura Ingalls Wilder captured it best when she said, “Just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women’s work at home, while only the doing of little things, is just like the golden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens the whole fabric of civilization” (Savage, 2007).
I wish that I could have written the above passage. It speaks to everything that I work for on this blog. So many people are trying to solve the world’s problems, and they seem to blame the economy, politicians or bad luck. If we want to solve the world’s problems, again, we would revere and respect women and their role as homemakers. I want my girls to be excited to be a woman and proud to be a mother.
I am a happy and radical homemaker because I realize that homemaking is a comprehensive and challenging job that requires more than a pair of hands and mindless tasks.
If you don’t make a home, who will? What are the consequences of everyone forgoing homemaking?
Before the world, and even family life, begin to infiltrate children’s mental paradigms, they want to grow up to be the people who care about and help them…a mom, a teacher, a dad, a fireman. I hope that I can live more joyfully in this stage of my life so that my daughters will look forward to it for themselves. I will keep trying and praying that my girls remember more good than bad.
My hope is that you will join me in being a happy mother and a radical homemaker!
Savage, J. (2007). The Art of Homemaking. Retrieved from https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting-roles/value-of-stay-at-home-moms/art-of-homemaking