Valli Gideons can call herself lots of things — a writer, a mom, an advocate, a military wife — but she never used the word “homemaker.”
As the mom, who blogs at My Battle Call, wrote on Facebook, it started during a day date with her husband. Not a romantic one, but the more prosaic type that takes place in an office “involving words like capital gains and deductions.”
Gideons and her husband sat down, and the accountant swiveled the screen to show them the forms. There was her husband’s name and title. And there was her name and the word “Homemaker.”
“My first reaction was to gag,” Gideons wrote. “Next, I wanted to stand up and protest. […] It is 2019, after all. I don’t even own a poodle skirt or set of pearls.”
My husband and I had a day date. Not the sexy kind of afternoon rendezvous where your order a glass of chardonnay and…
Instead of interrupting the appointment to make her feelings known, Gideons sat back and let the accountant get on with his job. But every time they came back to the main page, there it was again — the reminder that her profession was “homemaker”:
My blood boiled. I mean, I have never once referred to myself with that term: “WHO the heck was this person to slap that label on me?”
The mom told Dearly she probably reacted so strongly “because I have never used that word to describe myself. Not once. If I was asked what I ‘do,’ I would say I work from home as a writer —amongst other things. That’s why the word took me aback.” She added:
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with identifying as a ‘Homemaker,’ but it’s just not a term I have ever used when describing myself.
I think women should use whatever term feels right for them. I work from home, I work outside the home, I am a stay-at-home mom, I am a mother, I am a lawyer who no longer practices while raising my kids, I am a military spouse, I am fill-in-the-blank … and in all fairness, I could’ve just asked the accountant to change homemaker to writer or something else. He was just filling in the blanks.”
Gideons sat there, pondering the word “homemaker” and the fact that it was listed as her job on the tax form. That’s when she came to a realization: “I do make the HOME.”
The epiphany led her to consider all the things she does, every day, that go into making a home.
There is the workaday, practical element. She makes the meals, from snacks to birthday cakes, potluck dinners, and family meals. She makes the schedules, ensuring that carpools, games, practices, parties, and play dates all happen. And she makes the appointments, from doctors and dentists to haircuts and IEPs.
That in itself is a mighty endeavor, but it just scratches the surface. Gideons wrote:
I make the relationships: with other parents from school, the neighborhood, sports teams…mom friends at the park, the pool, the grocery store, the gym.
I make the space we inhabit welcoming, warm, organized. I provide the towels to dry their bodies, the blankets to cover them when it’s cold, the art on the walls to inspire.
I make the humble pie. I own my mistakes, and I teach them to take responsibility for theirs.
I make the act of kindness a verb. I show them how to hold a door for a stranger, look someone in the eyes and smile, pick up trash even when, and include the person who is feeling left out.
Then there is all the construction work that goes into raising happy, successful, and kind children. As the homemaker, she makes “homework seem possible,” encourages creativity by making their artwork “feel essential,” and teaches them “when to be honest and when to hold their tongues.”
The Mama behind the magic ears with her two littles. xo
“I make the glue to put them back together after defeats, disappointments, heartbreaks,” Gideons wrote. “[…] I make their differences feel special and their commonalities unique. I make the sky the limit and help the stars to appear within reach. I make the ordinary feel extraordinary and turn the mundane into magic.”
And while this may seem like a statement of sacrifice, the fact that she doesn’t regard it as such is one more important difference:
I make the decision to work from home a blessing. A gift rather than a sacrifice.
I make the house a home by ensuring the people who live here feel safe. Loved.
Gideons realized that she is “the maker of the HOME” and that it is “a pretty important position to fill.”
As she told Dearly, it was a message she wanted to share with all moms, no matter what title they put next to their name:
“I want mothers to know whatever they choose, whether it’s working outside the home, inside the home, or a combination of both — they have value. Being a mom and raising kids is an important job. I hate when I hear a mom say, ‘I am just a stay-at-home mom,’ or ‘I don’t work.’ Because the truth is raising kids is hard work. And important work. And the job doesn’t come with performance reviews and bonuses.”
She added, “I, thankfully, have a spouse who always makes me feel valued. But often, women are the hardest on themselves. I hope this message is taken to heart. Making the home is so valuable. And it’s not about the ‘labels’ because that’s semantics. It’s about mothers knowing their worth!”
Gideons concluded by pointing out what a mistake it is to undervalue what goes into making a house into a home:
“Although my lines on the tax form have fewer zeros next to them than my husband’s, without the maker of the home, all you’ve got is four blank walls.”