Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Title I Don't Like

Over the last couple months, Josh and I have been receiving post cards in the mail from a company who is taking care of an alumni book for Southwest Baptist University. The card asked us to please "call this number" and update our information so that our fellow classmates can keep in touch.

Finally on Saturday afternoon I made the call.

The lady on the other end of the phone was so very nice. She asked my name and then referenced to my maiden name. She confirmed the year of my graduation, my degree, and then asked some follow up questions like if I had completed my masters degree. We made sure my phone number and address were correct, and she also asked if I wanted to list my children's names. I could even email a picture to the company if I wanted. I might just do that.

Then came the question that I somehow overlooked...I should have known she would ask. I should have better prepared myself for it.

"And what is your current occupation?"

I paused. I took a deep breath. And I responded, "Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom," I said with a cheerful tone.

"Oh, that's a difficult job! So I'll list that as homemaker..." she continued.

I cringed.

"Could we just leave it as stay-at-home mom? I just like the ring of it better," I tried to joke, yet remain serious at the same time.

She said, "Well, I'll certainly try. One lady asked me to list her as a domestic engineer and the line when to homemaker by default!"


But as she typed what I asked her to type, it stayed as the title I asked for. I was glad.

I'm just not sure why that word bothers me. Really. Why? Especially considering I know that as women God has called us to be homemakers, whether we work outside of the home or not (as I referenced in My 10:10 Challenge back at the beginning of the year). I know that Proverbs 31:27 says "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

Have I been brainwashed by our current society? Even though I am a stay-at-home mom (and, ultimately, a homemaker) do I somehow put less of a value on myself? Why do I think that way? Especially considering this is exactly what I wanted to do. I prayed for two years after I had Caleb because I didn't want to work...I wanted to stay home! After Sarah was born, Josh agreed that we could make it happen. And now, 3.5 years later and another child added to the mix (my Gabriel), I am doing exactly what I feel I should be doing.

Why am I not a happy homemaker?

Well, it's not that I'm not happy. The title just still makes me cringe.

So I'll have to sort through these feelings and somehow figure it out. I want to be able to see the word homemaker and not think anything but happy thoughts when I see it.




Well...not yet. I'm still working on it.


Mrs. Haid said...

OH, I get you sister. I don't value the title and I cringe too at SAHM. It makes me feel a bit defeated for some reason.

When people say, "I always wanted to be a mom!" or "When I got pregnant, I just knew I wanted to stay in the home!" I totally can't relate. I didnt' have that in my plans or in my mind.

I think that is why I cringe, because I feel like I am still new in this world as a mom and the label wasn't something I had prepared my heart for.

I do think of how my home would be different if I worked 60 hours a week. It would be a landing pad, not a launching pad. Does that make sense? So this helps me to consider that God didn't want my house to be a dumping ground of chaos because its not the best for his children. He wanted a cozy and supportive nest to give opportunity to grow.

Thanks what I think, anyway, and the things that I am learning as a 6 month SAHM (who works just a little bit).

happygal said...

Oh I hear you. And I am a "working mom" and while that is never listed as my title, I also hate being called that. As if to say other moms aren't working. Good for you for standing up for yourself. All of us moms feel the push and pull over how to "define" ourselves and what that means to your identity. It isn't easy, is it?

Jennifer said...

I totally get it! I would ALWAYS want to be referred to as a SAHM, rather than homemaker. That's what my Mom did....not me. Haha. I think the "oldness" of it bothers me the most...and plus the title "homemaker" doesn't describe (very well) the things we do. SAHMs do SO MUCH MORE than "make a home". ;o).

Causey Fam said...

I still haven't called that company back and we too have gotten postcard after postcard! Not sure I need to. With Facebook, I am in contact with just about everyone I can remember.

Jessica said...

You are very blessed to be a "homemaker" and even though you may not like the title, I look on you and other "homemakers" with envy. I look forward to the day that I can proudly tell people I'm a "homemaker".

I think it depends on how you look at the word and how you think people will perceive you when they hear "homemaker". For me, it only matters how I view it and if other people don't place the value on it that I have, then that's their problem, not mine. I know how important of a job it is and what it means to God, my husband and my children.

I think we tend to worry too much about what other people will think of us. Just know that in your families eyes you are a hero and no other job in this world could be more important in their eyes, no matter how prestigious it is.

Ashley said...

I LOVE the title homemaker! I think it holds a wonderful connotation. It means that I place value on making our house a home! What husband doesn't want to come house that is a home rather than a shell with furniture in it? What wife doesn't like a happy husband? What mom doesn't want her kids to WANT to invite their friends to their HOME.

I just love the word home. It makes me warm and fuzzy...so the fact that I can MAKE a HOME...is AWESOME to me! :0)

Jennifer Norch said...

"Stay-at-home-mom" bothers me because I'm a busy mom. "Stay-at-home" sounds like I don't have to run errands, pick-up and drop off from school, practices, and friends' houses. Some days we spend more time away from home that at home.

But yet "homemaker" does sound sort of old fashioned. It doesn't really account for the fact that you identify yourself as a mother and have an improtant job of raising children.

I think no matter which you choose, both have certain connotations, so you just have to make peace with it in your own mind, and realize that to others- SAHM and homemaker are interchangeable.

Regardless, realize you are a very lucky woman to have the opportunity to spend time with your children and be actively involved in raising them, as well as providing a cozy home for your entire family. Blessed indeed!

Kelley said...

So many wonderful thought-provoking comments- as was the post! :-)

I call myself a SAHM to other people just because it's the modern term, but I consider myself a homemaker. I think SAHM seems to be a slightly feminist mentality (isn't that ironic)toward my role, as if I would never dare to stay home to take care of my husband and house. Because that role would mean that I'm less valuable than he is. :-)

I think of myself as a homemaker because I'm not just home for my kids. I'm home to keep our life together and happy- and when my kids are gone, I still plan to be home keeping our life together and happy. :-) THAT is not something that is received well by most people- even my fellow SAHM's. lol...

Sonora said...

I feel the same way! I always wanted to be a stay at home mom and am so grateful and blessed to be one, but I hate it when I have to list my job as homemaker too. I have spent so much time wondering why.
I believe the mom should be at home (if possible) to raise the children but a part of me misses being able to list Software QA Engineer. It made me feel important. I guess nothing is more important than raising our babies, maybe they just need a better title for what we do. How about Superwoman?
Oh and I hate it when someone says they don't work, they just stay at home. I'm sorry, but I dont' know if anything is harder than staying at home. I have never worked 150 hours in a week at any job I had. (I have twins so I dont' sleep much!).

CRAZYMOM said...

Here's my take on it:

I don't like "homemaker" because, like Jennifer said, it reminds me of the old days when that's just what women did. There were no other choices, really. (OK fewer choices)

I call myself a stay-at-home mom because in my mind that title points out that I made a choice. I guess you can say I am proud of that choice or maybe I just have a chip on my shoulder! LOL

Few things aggravate me as much as the comment: You are so lucky you GET to stay home!

No, I made a choice. It is the right choice for us, but it is a CHOICE. I gave up the manis and pedis, the SUV, the expensive clothes, the fancy vacations...blah blah blah. Instead, we struggle on one income with 4 kids because for us, it was the right thing to do. Make no mistake, it is a CHOICE.

Susan said...

I really like the crazy mom response..but this being your mom, and now that you blog followers know that you and I can be honest with each other and still have a genuine love for each other...this is my opinion of the "titles"..Christina, I never ever thought of you as a "homemaker" that is the Mrs. Clever on TV that stays home, kids at school, no dust in the house, cooks and irons all day...no honestly never thought that was you...YES..stay at home mom..so you..because you did choose too..but you at there for you children...yes you do clean, dust (Iron--do you?)..but the priority is the children....so love you for that!!! You are a GREAT mom. love you!!

karina said...

I'm in my 14th year as a homemaker. I've struggled with the title and tried on SAHM and Domestic Engineer. Somewhere along the line, don't know where or how it happened, I began to embrace Homemaker. Aspire to it really. SAHM to me seems more like a title of someone who has nothing to do but sit around and eat bonbons (an image I try to avoid). Domestic Engineer seems very contrived, calculating and cold.

Ahh, but Homemaker. It exudes warmth and welcome, peace and tranquility, love and nurture. I have the incredible job of creating something that no one else in my family is suited to create, a home. There's a sense of purpose and even pride in knowing that without me this place would cease to exist. No, it's not perfect but it's good.

And recently I got confirmation that I'm doing a good job when my daughter's best friend asked if she could come live with us for a few months because she feels safe here and her family life is very unstable at the moment.

I've balked at the title in the past, but my perspective has changed.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I LOVE the title "homemaker".

I find it funny that many people think homemaker is an old-fashioned term; the more common older term is "housewife".

I think housewife is a funny term; I'm not married to my house!

I quit my job a month before I got married. I was certainly not a "stay at home mom" when I first got married.

I was a homemaker.

I prefer that term over SAHM, because I feel that it more accurately describes what I do. When my children are grown and no longer at home, I will still be a homemaker.

Yes, I take care of my children. Yes, it's one of my most sacred responsibilities. And, unlike many SAHMs, I actually STAY at home most of the time! I leave the house to go to church on Sundays. On a good month, I feel blessed to be able to go grocery shopping. Not all months provide that opportunity for me right now; I haven't been grocery shopping since mid-December, and I don't expect to go before April (if that). I teach my children at home, and as I don't have the money to go lots of places, we are at home during the day. By that definition, I could call myslf a homeschooler or a home educator. However, that is also not all that I do.

I don't think there's anything wrong with staying at home. I don't feel trapped because we have one car, or because I don't drive away from the house every day. (Of course, I have this http://theprudenthomemaker.com/ediblelandscaping.aspx to enjoy every day).

Instead, I strive to make my house a place of beauty and love. I am home, so I want to enjoy my suroundings.

I have SO MUCH to do. And, honestly, dusting and ironing are not on that list too often! (my children do the dusting :) ) More important to me are sewing, gardening, cooking, and photography. I'd rather weed the garden than scrub the floor :) (though that has to be done, too). Some people delight in a spotless house. I delight in the flowers on the kitchen table (from my garden), the asparagus spears stickng up from the ground, a beautiful meal on our plates. I like a clean house, too, but it doesn't bring me the happiness that the details of making a house a home do. I do four loads of laundry a day, but it's certainly not all I do.

I love sewing dresses for my daughters, making a delicious meal, embroidering flowers on a nightgown, harvesting food from my garden, teaching my children how to read, holding a nursing baby, etc.

I have many titles: wife, mother, seamstress, chef, home educator, housekeeper, etc. I choose to describe myself as a homemaker; it describes all of those things.

Mary said...

Hey there! Thank you for the comment on our blog.

This is a great post. I am a new SAHM and am struggling. Not with what I'm doing but with what others think of what Im doing. I am so blessed I am able to stay home. I definitely feel this is what God wants. But like you said, in society today its that homemaker thing. A family member of mine who I was close with said some not so nice things in regards to me staying home. (and may I add this was at my daughters 1st bday party and I over heard her saying it to someone else.) Anyway! I am still trying to ignor what others think about the homemaker or SAHM occupation. I am just thankful I am to stay home.

Sorry this is so long! Thanks again. :)

Frantic Mom said...

I get into discussions about this all the time. For me, I hate that I have to put "unemployed" on many forms because homemaker or any other form is not listed. When I'm feeling paticularly plucky, I check other and write "dometic goddess."

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