When my husband and I began our family seventeen years ago, we made the decision that I would be a full-time homemaker, if at all possible. For years, we were able to abide by that decision, and we counted it as a blessing. Money was never in great supply, and I took in bookkeeping to supplement our income. But now that our children are all in school, we have felt the need for me to work part-time.
I was thrilled, though, when an event in our community convinced me that there are many who regard homemaking as a worthy contribution. Following a career day at our high school, the local newspaper printed an overview of the events. The reporter inaccurately paraphrased the main speaker’s remarks, saying that “women should no longer be content to be housewives” and that the “stay-at-home scene for women is now passé.” In reality, the speaker never made these comments.
The response to the newspaper article was overwhelming, a morale booster for the homemakers in our community. The opinion section of the newspaper was flooded with letters supporting the career of homemaking. A surprising number of women were offended that the choice to be a full-time homemaker had been criticized in public, especially in a school setting.
Women with careers outside the home and full-time homemakers alike responded. “I know I’ve made important contributions to our children, our marriage, and our household,” wrote one woman. “These are not measured in dollar amounts.”
The public outpouring of support, praise, and validation for the job of a homemaker was gratifying. In a public way, and in a personal way, we were individually and collectively given a pat on the back.
I’m thankful I was able to fulfill that rewarding role full time for so many years, until all of our children were in school. It has been a blessing. Many times it has been difficult, emotionally as well as financially. It’s hard work to be a homemaker. But it’s good work. It’s challenging. It’s a job that will have lasting, eternal effects. It’s a job I’m proud of now as we continue to raise our children. I’m beginning to understand why President Harold B. Lee said the most important work we will do is within the walls of our own homes. (See Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 80.)