Unfortunately, the term "housewife" has a negative connotation. As far as I know, a housewife has ALWAYS been undervalued and taken for granted. She's only appreciated when she's gone and everything falls to pot! Then, for a short while, she's recognized and thanked. But, too soon, her value is forgotten once again.
The term "professional woman" doesn't include the housewife, the domestic engineer. Career women don't include housewives in their ranks because a housewife doesn't "get paid". In the old days, women were taught that becoming a housewife and mother was their ultimate goal.
"A good wife always knows her place." -- Oh my, we have come a long way baby!!!
But the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. In my generation we were taught that we could become anything BUT a housewife. Choosing to become a housewife is considered a "waste". You do your "real job" to bring home a paycheck and then do the housework on the side. A modern woman can do it all! They work 9-5 in a career bringing home big bucks AND can be a loving wife AND an involved Mommy AND a meticulous housewife AND a playful sex kitten in the bedroom AND an active church member AND keep up with extended family/friends/hobbies AND workout 3 times a week AND volunteer at the local charity organization, AND, AND, AND!
Girls grow up today thinking they can be and have all things! Unfortunately, real life only gives us 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year. It is impossible to do everything and do it well and have a quality life. Our girls will learn that bitter reality all too soon. But our boys grow up and continue to expect this impossibility from their mothers and wives. They were taught and fully expect women to be and do all things and do them well. And it will make them bitter and resentful when their mothers and wives can't meet those unrealistic expectations.
We can't realistically do it all! So we make choices in our lives and we live with those choices without looking back always wondering, "What if...?" We pray about our choices and then we make our decisions based on the best we know at the time. It's a waste of time, brain power and emotions to worry about what if's. When I was a teenager I wanted to own a red Jeep, learn how to fly, jump out of an airplane, be an oceanographer, work in a bank, be a gemologist, live in a penthouse apartment, have a husband who was 6'3". I drove a 10 yr old 1967 Ford Falcon because it was what I could afford; I never learned how to fly or jump out of an airplane because I learned I'm afraid of heights; I hate fish and squirmy things so being an oceanographer was out; I worked as a bookkeeper and accountant but NEVER a bank; I cannot even stand to think of living in an apartment in a big city because I love my house and land with space and privacy (in fact, we've downsized from a family farm with 90 acres to our 1/2 acre lot now); my husband is 5'8". And I'm happy with my life and could care less about changing any of it. It's nice to have dreams for the future but it's a big waste and emotional drain if you are always worked up because life didn't go as you planned. You have to have realistic expectations and you have to except life as it happens and enjoy what you have. You can make yourself and everybody else miserable because of your lot in life. Or you can look for the blessings and make yourself happy within your lot in life. I am reminded of 2 movies..."Mister Mom" and "Groundhog's Day".
When I did a Google image search on "housewife", I found some very disgusting sites too. It seems there is no limit to the perversity of men and women! So the term housewife brings up images of "Desperate Housewives", housewives who are sexual nymphs and secret prostitutes, or, women who are still in pj's and hair curlers with children hanging on them as the husband comes home from work, or women dressed up in dresses, pumps, pearls and a frilly apron who greet their husbands with the newspaper and slippers. None of these describes the professional housewife!
God's purpose for women is to be a woman of excellence in whatever they choose to do. He has a purpose and plan for each of us. For some it would be to become a nurse and for others it's to become a lawyer and for some it's to become a big rig driver and for others it's to become a housewife. I prefer the term "homemaker" because it describes the job perfectly. A homemaker makes a wonderful home and a loving home environment. But she is a real woman with real problems. A real homemaker learns how to do her job well, to the best of her ability, taking in all her circumstances and juggling a lot of balls in the air. In reality, she can't clean the house and take care of the toddlers while wearing a dress, high heels and pearls. But she doesn't have to resort to staying in her pajamas all day and never brush her hair either.
If she hones her skills, works on her weaknesses, is an overcomer who is always growing better at her job then she is a professional homemaker.
No one starts a job, a career, knowing everything! We have to be trained, work on our skills, learn how to use the tools available, take classes, use our imagination to come up with solutions, network with others, listen to mentors, etc. It's the same with a professional homemaker!
I have always wanted to be a homemaker! This was something I played at even as a child. I didn't particularly want children because I've always known my health was precarious and was afraid I couldn't carry them or could stand up to the rigors of motherhood. (Although I adore children, especially babies.) But I did want to be a homemaker. As a young teen, I thought I had to choose some other "real" career and began to dream of being an oceanographer, banker, gemologist...but it wasn't ever real in my mind. Being a homemaker was real to me.
When I got married, I had to work because we were too poor to live on his salary alone. Since his mother had also had to work all her life (and she had 6 children) Stan expected me to work, especially since we didn't have children. I was only able to work full time a few years in all my working history because of my health. But I kept dreaming for the day when I could dedicate myself to being a homemaker. I come from a long line of homemakers on both sides of my family. It's how I was raised. Stan couldn't understand it. Why would I give up a paycheck? It was a source of friction between us and was something we probably should have discussed in marriage counseling. Of course, back then we'd never heard of marriage counseling!
As my health worsened, my hours got shorter and shorter and finally I had to give up work altogether. Stan had no choice but to accept it. At first, he was bitter about it, but, over time, he learned to enjoy the hand life had dealt him and I think he rather likes me being at home. I keep a good house, I've learned a lot of skills, I keep polishing those skills and networking to learn more and more. And he's appreciating it more every day. Sometimes I think he takes me for granted but not all the time. And he tells me regularly how much he appreciates me and my work.
He likes coming home to a nice home. I may not always have dinner on the table and slippers between my teeth! I may not have done the dishes yet. And I certainly don't dress in high heels, lipstick and frilly apron with pearls and a cocktail dress! LOL! But he knows that I will get the house in good order when I can, that I love to cook and I'm a good cook,... i.e. he has learned to trust me and my skills to do what needs to be done within the physical limits I have! I don't take advantage of him by staying home and being a lazy bum. I try to do my share to make our life comfortable and happy.
So I consider myself a professional homemaker. And, althought I'm good at my job, I don't get promotions, prestige or a paycheck. But I do get paid in a lot of ways...satisfaction, fulfillment, good work environment, flexibility, strong bonds with my family, and God's blessing because I'm a woman pursuing excellence in my field and bringing Him glory!
Here I am in 2004 (before we moved to our current house with a much bigger kitchen)!