?

Log in

Housewife-mother [crossposted a bit] - This might be your mother's feminism [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
This might be your mother's feminism

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Housewife-mother [crossposted a bit] [Feb. 21st, 2008|06:26 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

motherism

[ailbhe]
I don't have a vast deal to say on this right now, but I would like to hear what other people have on the conflation of housework and childcare into one job called "housewife." It's not what I do, and it's not a job title I allow people to use for me (I'd rather be listed as unemployed than as a housewife, I can't imagine a more loaded word), but since it's what I appear to outside eyes to be engaged in I often end up talking about it.

Inarticulately, while people hang out of my pockets and hit me with small plastic things at knee-level.

I think "homemaker" still conflates the two jobs. A woman who is a housekeeper for her partner and children AND a nanny to her own (and partner's, usually) children is seen to be doing only one job.

Gradually, money-earning partners of unwaged stay-at-home parents are taking on more of the housework, at weekends etc, but it's by no means universal.

I wish I was less inarticulate about this.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: kcobweb
2008-02-21 07:04 pm (UTC)
I used to work with someone who said that when she was home with her small children, she informed her partner not to expect her to clean the house during the day: that was not her purpose. Being with the kids was.

It suddenly occurs to me that that's pretty much how I operate too.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: halle
2008-02-21 07:14 pm (UTC)
If you *really* want to be ill (and why would you?) check out the "Have Your Say" on the BBC website in response to the recent survey saying that the work of "Housewives" would be worth £30,000 a year. It was all very "so now I should PAY my wife to eat bon-bons?!?" and missing the very valid point that work done in the home has value, both monetary and otherwise.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2008-02-21 07:15 pm (UTC)
I no read HYS. No. NONONO stop me please AUGH.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: halle
2008-02-21 07:19 pm (UTC)
Don't do it! I wish I hadn't. I have never replied to one of those cursed things, but I was so tempted to post "They are not saying that you SHOULD pay stay at home parents, they are saying that people DO get paid for this sort of work and this is what it is worth" 1,000,000 times. It just boggles my mind that today, when more of what was traditionally domestic work is outsourced in some way or another for payment, people still don't get that said work has value.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2008-02-21 07:15 pm (UTC)
But I would love to be paid to eat bonbons.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: teleute
2008-02-21 08:09 pm (UTC)
You know, thinking about it, someone out there *is* paid to eat bon bons - they must have a taste tester in the process somewhere...

I want that job. Please.

(and if I can do it sitting at home, with the kids, watching Disney, so much the better).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: wisemanharris
2008-02-21 08:14 pm (UTC)
What about "mother" as the job title?

When I gave up work, i expected and wanted to be able to do all of that stuff - be the complete domestic goddess. Not because my partner expected it, but because I thought it was a fair division of labour as he was out earning a crust. Naturally, this proved to be impossible. I eventually stopped beating myself up about failing to be the domestic goddess and realised that my (full-time, 24/7) job is to look after my child.

My mum did it all though, and had a part time job, and a sense of humour. God knows how.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hfnuala
2008-02-21 09:13 pm (UTC)
I hope it's accepted in this community that one can be a mother even when not being the full time carer. Which makes it rather useless as the job title for a specific subsection of mothers.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: wisemanharris
2008-02-21 09:29 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I just read back what I wrote and actually it's all lies if read literally, as I haven't given up work, I'm on maternity leave and going back part time.

I still think "mother" is a useful term in this context if you don't want to use "housewife" - doesn't mean you're not a mother if you don't do it 7 days a week. But if you're asked your job title and you say "mother" in that context (rather than project manager, rocket scientist, unemployed) it seems to me that it's an accurate description of what you do (if, indeed, you do what the original poster described)



(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2008-02-21 09:32 pm (UTC)
Many mothers also have paid work which is called "full-time". They are also mothers, and they are usually just as hard-working as I am, though I admit they get to pee unaccompanied more often. They do as much housework as I do, generally.

I do try to get people - banks etc - to write "mother" as my job but usually there isn't a tickybox.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thereyougothen
2008-02-22 10:44 am (UTC)
when i have the option i put "mother" and if there is someone to complain to, i complain if it's not an option.

but sometimes i'm just too tired and give in and tick whatever box there is. although I tend to choose not in paid employment over housewife. because i can't claim to be a housewife when i'm such a clart...

funnily enough, domestic goddess never seems to be a ticky box option either.

EDIT: it's not that i'm claiming some sort of exclusivity as a mother - i think that mothers who work outside the home are mothers, *and* whatever else it is that they do. but as i don't work outside the home (actually, my outside employment situation is complicated, but for the purposes of this post I don't) my only "job" is mother.

Edited at 2008-02-22 10:47 am (UTC)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2008-02-22 12:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'd tick "mother" or "parent" as my job if I were allowed; it's a bit like being a poet whether or not you actually spend most of your waking hours writing or publishing poetry. For some people it's what they are, but not their job; for others it's both.

Actually, I need a tickybox LIST when I list my occupation on forms. Mother, housekeeper, volunteer work, writing, etc.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)