September 5, 2012
THE MAIN subject of this video by a reader named Kimberly is “ecological breastfeeding,” a way of naturally spacing one’s children which also, and more importantly, is the best way to feed an infant and young child.
Kimberly also does a great job in the video of explaining why she prefers to call herself a housewife, instead of a “stay-at-home mom.” She was radicalized by this website.
—— Comments ——
This video was interesting to me, as I have recently been reflecting on the term “housewife.” Originally, it meant, “the wife of the house,” as opposed to a servant or a dependent. Housewives in Western culture, going back to the early Middle Ages (and probably beyond, but I’m not as informed about earlier periods), had a higher status than most women. Many people belonged to one household but the housewife kept the keys, set the rules for the house, directed the servants, made decisions about everything that we do today. In addition, she was often an active producer — weaving, sewing, doctoring, midwifing, food production, preservation and storage, etc. — all these were part of a housewife’s role in the family. “Housewife” connoted far more than raising children, although that was (and still ought to be) a primary part of her job.
The more children I have, the more I realize how crucial it is that someone be at home full time, running the household. Being a housewife is, as this young woman states, truly a full-time job. And the poorer you are, the more full-time it has to be, since the housewife’s work sometimes tips the balance between meeting the bills and going into debt.
As always, such a pleasure to have found your thoughtful site.
Running a home is like a running a small hotel. While mechanization has freed housewives from some obligations, it has created others, such as the maintenance of vehicles and appliances, the copious paperwork that is part of modern life, and the need to run errands far from home. Mechanization has not made educating or civilizing children any less time-consuming.
It’s true that many of the cottage industries that once existed in homes have died. But there’s no reason why some of them couldn’t come back.
Joe A. writes:
Husband and housewife are related words, inflected for the sex of the object.
Man and wife are likewise related. It goes something like this (quickly and simplified):
Mann is the germanic root for what we call Homo sapiens. (Or at least those Homo sapiens living in central Europe in the good old days.)
A male was a “were” and a female a “wif” so a male man is a “wereman” and a female man is a “wifman.” Add a little clipping and soon enough you have “man” and “wife” meaning today, roughly, “a man and his woman.” Yes, very androcentric and it worked well for centuries.
Now a man or a wif who was on the ball and applied themselves might rise above the rest of the serfs and come to own their own home, outright or through a long-term tenancy agreement.
Those that live around Scots or Scots-Irish people know they say “house” more like “who-ss” which makes sense when you realize the “hus” of “husband” means exactly “house.” Such a man would be known as house-bonded or a husband. A housewife is merely the female equivalent.
Along the same lines, “mister” and “mistress” were once considered the entry-level titles of the aristocracy, which survives in rump in the US Navy where all officers below the ship’s captain are addressed as “Mister” according to the rules of etiquette as were known to the British Royal Navy when this convention was formed. An officer, you see, really was a gentleman i.e., an aristocrat.
So Mister and Mistress John Smith, man and wife, were in fact well-born freeholders of some kind or another, almost certainly related by blood to the local poobahs.
Sadly, feminism, as most of the isms, is a product of the low born and its proponents remain ignorant of their own political history even as they work diligently to debase themselves to the status of peasant-serf.
“Housewife” was a term of distinction. Now the definition is “social parasite.”
Kimberly is doing a lovely thing in promoting breastfeeding and the use of the work housewife, all with the Blessed Mother looking over her shoulder. Nice to see this kind of courage from a young mother at a time when there’s so much out there to kill one’s hope.
Sibyl wrote: ‘Housewives in Western culture, going back to the early Middle Ages,…..had a higher status than most women. Many people belonged to one household but the housewife kept the keys, set the rules for the house, directed the servants, made decisions about everything that we do today. In addition, she was often an active producer — weaving, sewing, doctoring, midwifing, food production, preservation and storage, etc. — all these were part of a housewife’s role in the family.”
Reminds me of the character of Kristin Lavransdatter in the book of the same name.
Thank you for posting my YouTube video, Laura. It’s gotten many views since you posted it yesterday. I have been asked to make more videos that explain how I have incorporated the Seven Standards into my daily life, and my husband has agreed to make one about how my choice to use Ecological Breastfeeding has benefited him. Hopefully we’ll get to making them sooner than later.
I found the commentary on the word “housewife” quite fascinating. A dear mentor of mine suggested that I might use the word “homemaker” instead. While this word does not seem as silly to me as the phrase “stay-at-home-mom,” it still doesn’t have that ring to it that I like. I feel inspired by the word housewife, and even protected by it. Today it is, as you said, Laura, considered socially parasitical to make the distinct claim that you work… dare I say it… for your own beloved husband. I hope that nonsensical way of thinking will melt away like filthy snow in a blazing sun. I am honored to have the duty of caring for my husband and his children, and keeping his house. I feel that my role is very much above the role of a working woman, and it isn’t because I am arrogant. It’s because the truth is felt, as only the truth can be. My husband and sons know that I am valuable, and since feeling valuable seems to be at the heart of most women’s actions, I feel I have found the “short-cut,” straight to their hearts, by being the heart of their home.
Kimberly wrote: “It’s because the truth is felt, as only the truth can be. My husband and sons know that I am valuable, and since feeling valuable seems to be at the heart of most women’s actions, I feel I have found the “short-cut,” straight to their hearts, by being the heart of their home.”
There is also peace in the truth, a peace that can be sensed in the above statement, a serene happiness. I have always felt there is a marked lack of peace, a sort of restlessness and insatiability, in the heart of the modern feminist; always striving, never satisified no matter what progress has been made. No truth, no peace.