Are You A Homemaker? Or Do You Just Stay Home?

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I posted this quote on our facebook page a few weeks back and didn’t think twice about it….until I received a flurry of comments on my facebook page and in my inbox.  I think it struck a chord, and the tune was a tad sour…so let’s take a look at this…

“The homemaker has the ultimate career.  All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”

― C.S. Lewis

I fully agree with Mr. Lewis, but there are some things that we need to break down, because I really think it could change the way that we view our roles as parents…

As I set out to write this post, I did what any good blogger does…I googled “homemaker”.  I found this nifty summary, courtesy of Wikipedia, which I believe is only partly true:

“Homemaking is a mainly American term for the management of a home, otherwise known as houseworkhousekeeping, or household management; it is the act of overseeing the organizational, financial, day-to-day operations of a house or estate, and the managing of other domestic concerns. This domestic consumption work[1][2] creates goods and services within a household, such as meals,childcare, household repairs, or the manufacture of clothes and gifts. Common tasks include cleaning, cooking, and looking after children. A person in charge of the homemaking, who isn’t employed outside the home, is in the U.S. and Canada often called a homemaker, a gender-neutral term for a housewife or a househusband. The term “homemaker”, however, may also refer to a social worker who manages a household during the incapacity of the housewife or househusband.[3]”

So yes, Wiki, “homemaking” does in fact entail the mundane, the cleaning, cooking and the like.

However, that’s not at all what C.S. Lewis was alluding to.  I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but judging by his ideals, values and philosophies, I think we can surmise that he meant that a “homemaker” is more than someone who coordinates the logistical functions of a home.  Any hired servant could do that and being a maid is not the “ultimate career”.

 

His definition of “homemaker” is something worth sending troops to war for, something worth sacrificing for, and it’s not a given that all those who are at home are “homemakers”…

 

C.S. Lewis was born in 1898 and passed away in 1963.  He lived at an electrifying time when the world was catapulted forward at a million miles an hour.  He rode in a horse and buggy but saw the invention of the computer.  He witnessed  World Wars 1 and 2, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the free-love cultural revolution.

He was there when the roles of men and women in the home were turned upside down during the Industrial Revolution.  He saw women leaving their homes to go to work in the city for the first time.  Mothers working the munitions factories on the home-front during the wars, groggily trudging home to steal a few precious hours with her children before returning to work.  All while her husband was saving the world somewhere in Europe.  Working and single mothers were a cultural norm.

So when he spoke of a “homemaker”, I have to imagine that he had these things in mind.  He wasn’t supposing that the ideal homemaker always had a four-course meal ready for her family, that she dutifully studied the Bible for hours each day, and that her children were always well behaved, her home was immaculate, and she was the symbol of beauty; always calm and never tired or stressed.

 

I sincerely believe that to Lewis, the word “homemaker” means someone who is standing at the threshold of their home, ready to take on the world and fight to the death to make sure that her children are safe.  She’s a soldier.  Willing to do anything to make sure that her home is a refuge from the rest of the world.

 

There may be laundry strewn about, dishes in the sink, but her children know that they are loved.

You may work 60 hours a week, and you may even be a single parent, but when you have positioned yourself in the trenches, ready to sacrifice everything to protect your children and raise them to know the Truth in confidence and peace, then you’re a “homemaker”.

In that same reasoning, you may be a stay-at-home mom, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a “homemaker”.  You may have even made the difficult choice to homeschool your children, but if there is only apathy and annoyance and you live each day, void of a resoluteness in your spirit to see your children find Life and Honor in what you’re teaching them, then actually no, I wouldn’t exactly say that you’re a “homemaker”, you’re simply “at home”.

Working outside of the home or staying home all day.  Married or single. Mother to one or to fifteen – none of these things influence this equation.

 

Being a homemaker is not a vocation, it is a choice in your spirit to sacrifice and to make sure that you are giving your family a haven when they walk through that front door.

 

When Lewis said  “…all other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career ” he was simply saying that raising our children, giving them Hope and Faith, caring for them, protecting them, and doing everything in our power to see to it that our homes were a beacon of light for them to return to was really all that matters in this world.

Anything else was secondary.

 

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This post is linked to Better Mom Mondays, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Mostly Homemade Mondays

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15 Responses to “Are You A Homemaker? Or Do You Just Stay Home?”
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  1. Cassandra French

    If I haven’t said this before, thanks! So greatly appreciate these posts and the vitally useful information on the blog.

  2. Cheeky Bums

    aw thanks 🙂

  3. <3 you Kelsi.

    Generations ago we worked to put food on the table and clothes on our backs. Today it's not the same. We work for money, or "just to get out of the house". It's glad to see that there are others that still hold these values.
    Aubrey @ Homegrown&Healthy recently posted..DIY: Make your own apple cider vinegarMy Profile

  4. Cheeky Bums

    I wish we lived closer 🙂 – kelsi

  5. Brianne

    I stumbled upon this blog and I love it! I have 3 kiddos 4 and under, and since my oldest was born I have been on a mission to be a healthy family, we have come a LONG way, but we still have work to do. I love all the great ideas a motivations I find here! Today I was TIRED and questioned why I was making my own bread, using (washing…) cloth napkins, and why I always have to really cook dinner, and your post today answered my question! Thank you! I love how it works when you are having a moment of weakness, someone out there helps you remember why you are doing what you are doing!

  6. Cheeky Bums

    Brianne – I’m right there with you! I wrote this as much for myself as anything, and I’m so glad it made a little more sense of your chaos today! 🙂 thanks for stopping by!! so glad to have you! -kelsi

  7. Loved this post and I love C.S. Lewis! He’s my BFF next to Chesterton. LOL!

    I have to totally disagree with the Wiki on this one point especially: “This domestic consumption work…” Have you read Radical Homemaker? It’s amazing at breaking down how the home moved from being a unit of production to being a unit of consumption. Prior to the Industrial Revolution homes produced things! Food, clothing, animals, toys, entertainment. The things they produced they traded for things they couldn’t produce. Today the home is seen as a unit of consumption only and the job of the homemaker as simple an acquisition officer. She or he has to procure food, clothing, toys, electronics, services none of which are produced in the home. It makes us market centered rather than “home-centric.”

    We are really striving these days to make our lives more and more home-centric. Can we make it? If we don’t know how can we learn? Can we grow it? Can we trade someone else for it? Do we REALLY even need it?

    It’s a bit lengthy (sorry!) but here’s a great quote from the book Radical Homemakers:

    “A women’s place in the workforce has become the norm in the last fifty years, the American household has changes to accommodate the shift. Agriculture rapidly industrialized and generated highly processed foods that supplanted most home cooking; skills were replaced with products, thrift with income, and time with convenience. As the home became increasingly devoid of enterprise and creativity, few could blame women for fleeing the hearth. However, during the same fifty years, our health, happiness and well-being have also dramatically declined. The abandonment of the kitchen, the loss of personal finance skills despite rising household incomes, the relentless increase in busy-ness and the compulsion to replace emptiness and loneliness with consumer products have put us on course for an ecological, social and cultural train wreck….And above all, [Radical Homemakers] were fearless. They did not let themselves be bullies by the conventional ideals regarding money, status, or material possessions. These families did not see their homes as a refuge from the world. Rather, each home was the center for social change, the starting point from which a better life would rippled out for everyone….”
    Daja recently posted..Answering Your Questions: Stretching Meals With CarbsMy Profile

  8. Cheeky Bums

    Daja – I love this quote and I will definitely be checking out that book! thanks for sharing! Someone else on facebook was talking about it the other day, so I MUST put it on my reading list! What a great perspective…my hubby and I have often talked how we have to retrain first OUR thinking, and then our children’s – about how we function as a family and our outlook on needs/wants/rights/entitlements (grrr. I detest that word) and our perspectives on what it means to have a work ethic. We’ve been pouring over US History this year for homeschool and it has been sooooo enlightening – not just because I love my country and enjoy history, but because my kids are *getting* it – they are seeing the correlation between hard work, ingenuity, risk taking, etc and the blessing that comes through obedience, servanthood and in being content with simplicity…

    on a separate note, I wish you lived closer so that we could go out for coffee and arrange a play date or two! 🙂 Blessings!!! – kelsi

  9. Wouldn’t that be lovely?! Well, if you are ever in Southern California, you let me know!
    Daja recently posted..Prayer for week of January 21 — Standing, Still StandingMy Profile

  10. Wow! Fabulous post! Love it…especially that last quote! Thanks for sharing this on Titus 2 Tuesday. Hope to see you again this week.
    Kathy recently posted..The Unforgettable Quilt ProjectMy Profile

  11. Valarie Denton

    I found you today through conerstone confessions. While my husbands job has been downsized and we are “finding a new means to live within” I have been questioning so many things. Your post put a huge smile on my face and made me realize all that we do is so completely worth it! Our satellite was turned of today and I have spent so much time with our four year old. We do preschool at home however when not doing school she is usually watching cartoons while I am cleaning and such and today we had so much fun together doing those things. Maybe some things are just a blessing that you didn’t see coming! Thank you so much for your insight and wisdom. I will be returning! Have a blessed day!
    Valarie

  12. Cheeky Bums

    Thanks so much for stopping by Valerie! Certain season of life can help you (or make you..?) re-evaluate EXACTLY what you want in life and when it boils down to it, there are so few things we NEED and such simple things we can enjoy…It’s a learning process, but one well worth it!
    Blessings! – kelsi

  13. What a great post! So true that staying at home doesn’t make you a homemaker. This is a great reminder to be intentional. I will be sharing this post:)
    Faith Konrath recently posted..My baby’s crying!My Profile

  14. Outstanding post … It’s about time somebody said this 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I, too agree with what you conclude Mr Lewis intended with his statement; it takes that extra measure to make a house a home!!
    Mrs H recently posted..Love Those Board Games: How to Store EfficientlyMy Profile

  15. Cheeky Bums

    Thanks Mrs. H! so glad you stopped by! – kelsi