The home revolution

18 August 2010
Let's continue on the theme of career Homemakers today because there is work to be done.  We need to form a strategy.  The common problem that seems to crop up with many is when friends and family criticise our choice to work at home.  I really don't get this. I think some of it stems from not understanding the work of a homemaker and part of it from a conformist mentality.  When everyone conforms to the group dynamic, it validates their choices.  When someone doesn't conform, it creates doubt and suspicion.  And although homemaking might sound like the most harmless of careers, it's a radical choice now and not everyone will be comfortable with this home revolution. We need to work together to help change these outdated attitudes so that not only do we work at home with the support of family and friends but we also open up the option of a homemaking career for younger people who, right now, might not even know it's an intelligent and important option.

As you age, confidence fills every atom of your being.  Well, it has for me. I've always been a confident person but now I'm older I just expect many people to have differing opinions and beliefs and when I'm made aware of how different I am to many of my contempories, I just shrug and get on with it - I expect it.  And that might be the key to this - expect that people won't understand and when they tell you that, it's not a shock and you can talk to them about your choice in a rational way.  Don't be hurt by what others say to you on this topic.  For some reason, some people who would never think of insulting or hurting you with a comment about how they don't like your new hair style, think it's perfectly okay to tell you they don't like the way you've chosen to spend your days.  They just don't think it will offend or upset you, and if they do, you don't want them as friends.  Walk away.

I think it would be helpful to think carefully about your reasons for wanting to be a homemaker  and then write it all down.  Include all the positive benefits like debt reduction, healthy food, family support, being greener and reducing stress in your life so that you're clear in your mind about your own particular reasons.  When this topic comes up, say that you know this way of living is the best for you and your family and explain your list in a positive and self confident way.  Be prepared to talk about your decision but don't go on about it too much.  If someone won't accept your choice, then just end the conversation with something like: "You might not understand why I need to do this but I'd appreciate your support."  During the course of your conversations with friends, tell them about something that you're enjoying at the moment, talk about your normal everyday activities - particularly those that might seem quaint or outdated.  Tell them about your bread and soap making and how everyone appreciates your skills.  Show them your knitting and sewing.  Demonstrate your life in gentle ways.  Be your own best advertisement.

Homemaking has been looked down upon for decades.  This is not going to change overnight.  But if we all develop a strategy to talk about our work in a way they highlights the significance of it, if we show, by example, that being a homemaker makes us content, if we reskill ourselves for a productive future, if we guide our families with grace and confidence and if we share our experiences in a thoughtful way then we'll gain some of the support we all hope for and validate our choice to be what we are.