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What does a Homemaker do?

By N. Swensson
Updated May 16, 2024
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A homemaker manages all aspects of a family household. In most cases, the term refers to a person who does not work outside of the home. The duties of a homemaker can include taking care of children, cleaning, cooking, managing the family schedule of activities, and running family errands. A homemaker may also be called a "stay-at-home mom," although men also are known to perform the role. Most homemakers are family members, unlike other workers performing domestic services, such as nannies or housekeepers.

People become homemakers for a variety of reasons. For some it is a matter of preference — they enjoy caring for children and managing the household more than working outside of the home. For others, the decision is financial. Especially when there are young children in the family, the cost of child care can be close to or higher than one parent's salary. In some parts of the world, the majority of households have one member who works outside of the home and one who does not.

Whatever the reasons for being a homemaker, the hours are long and the ability to multi-task is critical. A typical day for a homemaker might include preparing meals for the kids, driving them to activities or doctor's appointments, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and paying bills. A homemaker does not have set working hours, vacation days, or a salary. For these reasons, some argue that it is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs a person can choose.

Homemakers come from all walks of life and can be men or women of any age. Some have children, and some do not. For some, the position is temporary — they may leave a job outside of the home to raise young children and then return to work after a few years. Others find that being a homemaker is not for them and return to a career sooner. Still others never work outside of the home and are homemakers all their lives.

Although almost anyone can be a homemaker, most have acquired certain skills along the way. Homemakers typically must be organized and adaptable to switch between a variety of activities during the day. If finances are a concern, the ability to manage money is often very important. They commonly must be able to keep track of busy schedules for multiple people in a household as well. Creativity can also be important to keep children entertained.

Many homemakers fill roles outside of their own household duties. They may care for elderly relatives, pets, or other children whose parents work outside of the home. They are often volunteers for community organizations and help with events at church or school as well. Some homemakers may also work at part-time jobs, either from home or outside the home, to help with family expenses.

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