How to explain that you're a homemaker?

posted 2 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 31
3042 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I lived in an area with a high percentage of South Asian Hindu women where it’s more culturally normative to be a SAHW/M, and they would say proudly: “I am a wife/mother” when asked that question at office holiday parties. Their tone almost seemed as if it expressed an unspoken, “Obviously,” like I were asking something absurd. I think if you answer in a straightforward manner that shuts down further questions, that would be great. 

FWIW, I always answered, “How lovely! What are your hobbies? I’m really into cooking and reading, myself.” I think more people should steer the conversation towards common ground. 

Post # 32
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

We live in a time where not only is being a homemaker rare but impossible to do. A lot of couples rely on a double income. You may just need to inform people when they are being rude.

Post # 33
665 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

My mom was a stay at home mother my entire life. I longed for (and still secretly do) to be a stay at home wife. But due to living in a very expensice city and general fiances, that will never be possible. 

I find it SO HARD to keep the house maintained as my mother did. Though I do try. I work 50 hours a week and try my hardest to get home and clean the house, laundry, dinner, lunches etc but it is EXHAUSTING and I dont come close to getting this house in s good of shape as she had our home.

Don’t explain yourself. There is no need. 

Post # 35
146 posts
Blushing bee

The best explanation I read was from a couple who said, “When we got married, we agreed that he would make the living, and she would make it worth living.”

Post # 36
367 posts
Helper bee

The only question I would ask you is if your husband has an equally successful single brother 

Post # 37
335 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Just say you don’t currently have employment and aren’t looking. The term homemaker I find a bit silly because the rest of us that work also take care of our homes. So just own the not employed title, be proud if you’re happy with it and call a spade a spade. If they’re genuinely curious beyond that you can talk hobbies.

Post # 38
1366 posts
Bumble bee

You’ll probably get less questions if you just say your are unemployed or retired or you volunteer with ___ organization. These days keeping house when you don’t have kids does not take the amount of time and effort as it once did. All those people probably work full time and do all the things you do on top of that. 

I would encourage you to volunteer and give back to your community if you don’t already.

Post # 39
882 posts
Busy bee

Housekeeper is a legitimate occupation, people are always looking for a good one. Why is homemaker any different. You should not have to explain or justify yourself to anyone. Having said that, if it bothers you just tell people you have retired from the workforce.

Post # 40
1830 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

CanMurph :  The difference is that housekeepers take care of more than one house, including their own. Low wage workers (which unfortunately housekeeping usually falls under) have houses to clean too. They manage just like the rest of us who work and have a happy, clean home as well. 

I think the key is not focusing on the cooking/cleaning aspects, since all humans have to do that. I’d focus on volunteering/hobbies/etc which is what people would usually love to do more of if they had more time. 

Post # 41
2188 posts
Buzzing bee

Yeah maybe I just am not familiar with the phrase “homemaker” but I didn’t know what you meant in the title of this post either. You really don’t owe anyone any explanation, unfortunately that doesn’t change the fact that some people will want one/ judge you. The fact that you are confident in your decision is all that matters. Answer the question as you did, saying as much as you are comfortable, and then ask them questions, people love talking about themselves!

Post # 42
899 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

cheezits :  They’re probably asking not to be rude but because they’re genuinely curious about how you fill your day. In my corner of the world being a SAHS (not a SAHP) is very rare.  I actually don’t know of any so I would be curious if I met one, especially since everything that the SAHS’s in this thread say they do is what everyone who works also does. (At least the people I know) That all said, if we were financially well off for me to stay home then I would be thrilled because I could devote the time I give to my job to volunteer projects.  I think most people would love that opportunity and could relate to someone who does that.  Not so much to someone who gives all their time to cooking and cleaning.  

Post # 43
1670 posts
Bumble bee

People ask because “homemaker” isn’t a job in the same way a stay at home mom is.

I consider staying at home with the kids when they’re small to be equivalent to a job because when I don’t stay home I’m going to have to hire a nanny to look after my kids full time. Being a stay at home mom is like being a nanny for yourself. 

But I can’t come up with a list of things to do around my home that would total 40 hours I could hire someone else to do every week. Most people do it all themselves on top of full time jobs. 

But there’s no shame in that. I wish we were wealthy enough that I didn’t have to work a full-time job. Wealthy women on the UES of Manhattan often don’t work because they have rich husbands! Just own it. 

Post # 44
1017 posts
Bumble bee

MrsSapphireTopaz :  That is WHAT the term homemaker implies, spelling it out would be completely silly. Also homemakers don’t just tidy up their house all day long.

Post # 45
75 posts
Worker bee

is_a_belle :  “they would say proudly: “I am a wife/mother” when asked that question at office holiday parties. Their tone almost seemed as if it expressed an unspoken, “Obviously,” like I were asking something absurd.”

morgansmom :  “When we got married, we agreed that he would make the living and she would mke it worth living.”

I think that combining these two things are the key. Act 100% confident in what you’re doing to the point that you make it seem like an “absurd” question. If they push further, respond with MorgansMom’s line. 

Yeah, most working people are not complete slobs and do take care of their house despite being busy, myself included. But in all honesty, you probably do it better. Yeah I cook, but I don’t have time to try a lot of new, complicated recipes and actually perfect them. Clothes that should be handwashed to make them last longer often get thrown in with everything else. My husband and I feel our lives would be much more fulfilled if we had dogs, but right now we are gone for such long hours we wouldn’t be able to properly care for them. If a car breaks down or if the plumber has to be called last minute we have a stressful scramble to figure out which one of us is going to take time off work to wait for the plumber who vaguely says they’ll show up between “7am and 2pm”. If my husband needs to be dropped off at the airport in the middle of the day or if the cat gets sick and needs to go to the vet, we have figure that out too. The list goes on. So yeah, maybe all of us working 40-50 hrs per week technically do the same things as you, but I’m sure you do them better and that your husband appreciates not having to stress about it.


Most people would like and value a less stress free life, unless they are the neurotic type who has no identity unless they’re working crazy hours in a career. Admittedly, I lean a little towards being the type that needs my career to complete my identity so I’d probably respond like one PP along the lines of “my degree is in ___ although right now I’m focused on __”. But that’s my style, and wording my answer that way would be almost like apologizing for who I chose to be, which no one should have to do.

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