The Happy ‘Housewife’

I was at the Sate Library in Sydney only recently and I spotted a greeting card that was shaped and styled like an old hard cover book with a plain red cover, and the title “The Happy Housewife” in simple text.

Now I have to confess that my first response was a derisive one. My knee jerk reaction was ‘is there such a thing as a happy housewife’. But I was almost instantly disappointed in myself for thinking that, because deep down, I know better than that. But I was caught off guard:  what’s to be happy about I thought… Perhaps it was a reflection about how I felt about the importance of what I do at home.

I spent some time looking at books and other things but kept coming back to the card with the title that was almost taunting me. I bought it almost as a challenge to my own thinking. I wanted to put it on my fridge to remind me of what I should be perhaps.

Is it just me or do you think that the word ‘housewife’ is a fairly ordinary one that is often portrayed as mundane and unimportant, that is not glamorous, and seems almost like a poor second cousin to other more important occupations? As a woman, when you’re asked what you do, do you ever cringe inside if you don’t work outside the home but have to say ‘I’m a housewife’ or a variation on that theme?

As a woman who does work outside the home, do you find yourself relieved that you have a title other than housewife? Ladies and gents, have we made the role of being a housewife a less important one than we should?

I’ve had the card with the deep red cover and that awkward title sitting on my dressing table for a good few weeks now and it has changed my thinking I have to say.

If you consider what happens at home.. it’s not just an important place in the lives of your family, but it is the centre of who your family is. Home is where we can be who we are. Sometimes it’s where we hide, where we find solace and comfort and security. It’s where we learn the basics and the advanced techniques of how to live life, of how to interact with others, resolve conflict, and engage in hospitality. It’s our launching pad for life as well as our refuge.

So if you’re a housewife, you are the queen of that domain. Your role is critical because the success of what happens within your home hangs very heavily on you and what you do as the housewife.

So, far from being mundane, although the menial tasks of housekeeping can feel like that sometimes, you the housewife carry much responsibility in providing a safe haven and a warm climate for the nurturing of the people in your home. The hearts and lives of your family are centred around the home of which you are in charge.

My home is where God has appointed me to undertake a vital role… so I don’t need to be embarrassed or feel less than important, or unfulfilled by being a ‘housewife’. In fact, with that in mind I can be free to be happy as a housewife… because what I do does more than just count… it’s critical and influences the lives of those who call it home.

Are you a happy housewife?… it’s worth thinking about.

Karen Dickson

The occasionally reluctant but often satisfied housewife.

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