Homemaking is the management of a household and includes tasks such as cleaning, maintenance, organizing, shopping, taking care of kids, managing schedules, and preparing food.
Homemaking and housekeeping can be interchangeable. While both refer to governing a house, housekeeping is known as cleaning and organizing, while homemaking encompasses a broader range of skills.
When one person performs all homemaking tasks, the hours and responsibilities can add to more than a full-time job.
The History of Homemaking
In the late 19th century, homemaking was “women’s work.” Traditional roles kept a woman at home cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. Women were encouraged to take pride in their roles of creating a happy and healthy home life for their families.
These gender roles stayed in effect through the industrial revolution. Then, in the 20th century, as more women joined the workforce, men took on some of the homemaking responsibilities.
Nowadays, women still take on more homemaking tasks even when both partners work outside the home.
A paper written by Valeria A Ramey and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that in 2005 women ages 18-64 spent an average of 29.3 hours per week on homemaking tasks, and men spent an average of 16.8 hours per week.
To break down the findings, employed women spent an average of 24.5 hours per week homemaking, while unemployed women spent 39.1 hours per week performing household management chores. Employed men spent 15.8 hours per week on home production tasks, and unemployed men spent 21.2 hours per week.
Common Homemaking Duties
Homemaking encompasses a wide range of chores. Chores vary by household depending on marital status, the number of children, and lifestyle factors.
In a home with children, childcare accounts for a large portion of homemaking. Childcare tasks include basics such as bathing, dressing, and entertaining children. It also includes taking children to school, extracurricular activities, helping with homework, and arranging playdates.
Cleaning accounts for another large portion of homemaking. Tasks include keeping a home tidy and sanitary.
- Tidying – Straightening up or tidying is the daily practice of putting items back where they belong, picking up trash, and putting dishes and laundry away. It can also include short chores such as sweeping crumbs and wiping counters.
- Deep cleaning – Homemakers can deep clean on an as-needed basis. These tasks include sweeping, mopping, scrubbing toilets, cleaning showers, and wiping appliances as required.
- Washing Dishes – Homemakers wash dishes, whether by hand or through the use of a dishwasher. In some households with two partners, one will prepare food, and the other will wash dishes. At other times, the primary homemaker takes on both tasks.
- Laundry – Homemakers wash, dry, fold, and put away laundry – sometimes with help from family members.
Homemakers are responsible for keeping their homes organized. Organization includes decluttering unuseful items and making a home for the rest. Organizing can be basic or elaborate, depending on the tastes of the homemaker.
Homemakers are, in large part, responsible for all shopping in their homes. Shopping includes buying groceries, clothes, and other needed items.
Bill Payment/Money Management
Some homemakers take full responsibility for money management in their house. But, in the case of a married couple, money management can be a joint responsibility.
In traditional homemaking roles, women were responsible for food preparation, ensuring family members had three meals per day.
Lawn care and landscaping are both homemaking chores. Lawn care includes mowing, weed eating, caring for plants, and fertilizing the grass.
A homemaker manages family members’ time by keeping track of and coordinating extracurricular activities, doctor appointments, work, and school functions.
Making the Most of Homemaking
Homemaking creates a smooth-running household. But in a single-parent home or a house with two working adults, the chores can be overwhelming. In this instance, try these homemaking tips to lessen the burden.
- Split chores among family members – Homemakers can split housekeeping chores between family members such as spouses and older children. Assigning older children as little as one daily task can make a big difference in the workload.
- Hire a house cleaning company – House cleaning companies can perform deep cleaning services as needed.
- Declutter – The less stuff in the home, the less there is to manage. Declutter by removing items that have no use or value to the family.
- Use cleaning checklists – A few minutes spent each day can help homemakers stay on top of household chores.
- Ordering out or using meal kits – Lessen the load of food preparation by using meal kits, simple recipes, or ordering out a few times per month.
Other Terms for Homemaking
Other terms for homemaking include housewife, househusband, housekeeping, homemaking, household management, and housekeeper.