What Is It Like To Be a Full-Time Homemaker?

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Claire Bock)

The other day, I met a very nice woman who said something like, “…and so I decided to quit my job.” We didn’t have time to chat further— and I didn’t want to pry— so I was left with a million questions. I would love to hear what life is like for all of you homemakers out there.

Some of the many questions that ran through my mind were:

  • Do you have a set list of tasks to complete every day/week/month? Did you come up with it on your own or did you and your partner decide together?
  • Has your partner ever added items to your to-do list? And if you’re the employed partner, have you ever wished/requested that your stay-at-home partner would take care of something they don’t?
  • What do you do if you feel there’s too much on your plate? And what do employed partners do if the basics are consistently being neglected (dishes/laundry not done)? How do you handle such situations? Is there a boss/employee feel to the discussions?
  • Does the employed partner express preferences- “I like my clothes hung like this and the table set like this”- and does the homemaker ignore them, take them as friendly suggestions, or always adhere to them?
  • How do you decide when you’re done working for the day? When your partner is done? When your list of tasks is complete? If your partner has a long, grueling week at work, do you take it upon yourself to complete additional projects, or do you stick to your usual workload?
  • How did your household determine that you would be able to afford for one of you to stay home? Do you have annual meetings to reevaluate your budget?
  • Do you make-do with less because it’s worth it to both of you for one of you to stay home, or are you able to live and save comfortably- or even luxuriously- on just one income?
  • Do you have a way to make money sporadically, whether to be able to afford emergencies, occasional expenses like holiday gifts, treats for your family, and/or treats for yourself?
  • Do you have your finances set up in such a way that you are financially independent? (I feel like there are probably some worst-case-scenario stories out there..)
  • If the stay-at-home partner starts pursuing non-paying interests such as volunteering, training for a triathlon, or learning an instrument, does everyone agree that certain household tasks can be set aside? Or does the employed partner pitch in?
  • Homemakers, what aspect of staying at home is most challenging to you? I could imagine that monotony, cabin fever, feeling unappreciated, potential lack of financial independence, and other people’s judgmental attitudes might all pose challenges.
  • But let’s end on a high note: homemakers, what’s your absolute favorite aspect of working in the home? And employed partners, what’s the best part of your arrangement?

I look forward to hearing all about your lives and homes!