The Difference Between Homemaking and Housework

Posted By on May 6, 2012

“Homemaking is not simply housework.  Housework is keeping a house clean; homemaking is creating a pleasant home for one’s family.  The aim and greatest reward of real homemaking is a happy, contented family.” ~ Quoted from an entry titled “Homemaking” by Ida Bailey Allen, Page 2875 of The Book of Knowledge, Volume Eight, Copyright 1962 by Grolier Incorporated

Time + Devotion + Nurture = Womanly and Familial Integrity

To become a homemaker rather than a woman who merely does housework requires that a woman does more than the bare minimum that is required to get her many jobs in the home done–more than just enough to get by. She goes the extra mile in homemaking to do these jobs excellently, not in mediocre ways.  A homemaker adds homey touches and does her job with loving and caring devotion to not only her family’s physical health (having a clean home is very important to that), but their total health: mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical.  She knows that everything she does or doesn’t do in the home has an impact that is, at least in part, affected by the care she puts into her work – she nurtures herself and her family.  Her family, including herself, is wholly cared for and loved.


An example of a difference between doing the bare minimum at home and homemaking can be seen with meals.  Merely cooking or throwing together any old thing, without serious thought, with the purpose of eating because everyone is hungry, is an example of housework, whereas a homemaker buys food wisely, has a knowledge of nutrition, and knows how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals, all of which she puts to use in every meal she prepares for her family.

A homemaker has the time to nurture her family, click here to read more about this from a post titled “A Homemaker’s Loving Time”, if you’d like.

Cheerfulness + Homemaking = A Cheerful Home

A cheerful homemaker creates a cheerful home for her family.  A complaining housewife produces such a dismal atmosphere that her family may spend as little time as possible at home. ~ Quoted from an entry titled “Homemaking” by Ida Bailey Allen, Page 2876 of The Book of Knowledge, Volume Eight, Copyright 1962 by Grolier Incorporated

Can you imagine what it would be like to have grown up in a cheerful home?  A lot of women can and were blessed with growing-up in such homes, but many women in our day and age can’t fully understand the tremendous amount of benefits that growing-up in a cheerful home provides; not only benefits, but life-long effects.  Whether a woman has experienced growing-up in a cheerful home or not doesn’t mean that she can’t take a little time to imagine what creating her own cheerful home will be like.  She can make it happen–any woman who really would like more than anything to have a cheerful home and family can!  And it doesn’t have to cost her a great deal of money!  She can learn for free by taking live or online *Fascinating Womanhood ~ Alaska courses or by taking other relatively inexpensive online or local courses! 

Creativity + Time = A Happy Homemaker and Family

Homemaking need never be tiresome.  On the contrary, it can be the most satisfactory of all careers because it is so creative.  A homemaker uses her skills not only to keep the house clean but to make it beautiful. ~ Quoted from an entry titled “Homemaking” by Ida Bailey Allen, Page 2881 of The Book of Knowledge, Volume Eight, Copyright 1962 by Grolier Incorporated

Did you know that personally creating things is so powerful that it is used as therapy? It has been for decades!  Creating things is very therapeutic. Whether a woman needs therapy or not, doing creative works is outstanding for her mental well-being.  An added benefit for the homemaker is that she gets to witness how much her creative works positively affect others–those she loves most in the world: her family members!  She knows the worth of what she has created, whether it’s a loaf of bread, a painting for her children’s room, or a new set of placemats for the dining room table.  An outstanding illustration of this point can be found in The New Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol L. Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal, when a writer described visiting her Grandmother’s home as a child:

It was a place of unceasing activity: of planting and plucking, of pickling and freezing, of jam boiling down on the stove while a cheesecloth bag full of curds hung from the kitchen faucet to drain.  From underneath the woodstove a scratching, scruffling sound were our clue that chicks or goslings were hatching.  Over all this my father’s mother presided, Keeper of the Keys without parallel…

Sunday dinners were, in a way, similarly patterned.  The dining room table was leafed out to its full length and all the sons and daughters and grandchildren who could make it were fitted around, and every square inch of tablecloth was covered: platters high-piled with Parker House rolls, bowls of cole slaw and green beans, cut-glass dishes of jelly and jam and more.  If Uncle Herb was observed to enjoy the watermelon pickles, or Aunt Gertrude the garbanzos, you could count on seeing watermelon pickles and garbanzos for the next forty-five Sundays running.  She aimed to please.

The writer then goes onto describe more about her Grandmother’s homemaking skills, including making patchwork quilts for each of her granddaughters, then writes:

What did my Grandmother draw upon to work the way she did?  Everybody worked hard then, terribly hard; but that doesn’t account for the restrained merriment we glimpsed in the way she went about things, or the extras.  I could say, “Oh, well, it was love.”  But that doesn’t quite get it, either… my grandmother knew her worth.  She knew the value of everything she did there in that house and around it – knew that it was endlessly significant.

Modern Conveniences + Homemaking = A Fulfilled Woman and Family and A Thriving Society

Today homemaking is a far cry from any humdrum occupation.  Rid of her old-time drudgery, the modern homemaker has a reasonable amount of leisure.  Thus she has time to develop her talents in the creation of a home.  When she also takes an active part in the civic and social life of her community, homemaking becomes a full-time career. ~ Quoted from an entry titled “Homemaking” by Ida Bailey Allen, Page 2881 of The Book of Knowledge, Volume Eight, Copyright 1962 by Grolier Incorporated

To delve into more information related to the quote above, click here to read or re-read, if you’d like, the article “The New Women’s Movement: We’re Coming Home”.

        This post is probably best summarized by the quote below:

All the activities of civilization revolve around the home and the homemaker’s job is the most important one in the world. ~ Quoted from an entry titled “Homemaking” by Ida Bailey Allen, Page 2881 of The Book of Knowledge, Volume Eight, Copyright 1962 by Grolier Incorporated

Thank you for reading this post and for your interest in making your house a home!

*Click here to learn more about FW~A free online courses, if you’d like.

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About The Author

Hi! Thank you for visiting my profile. I am Mrs. Wayne (Nikki) Hunter. I am married to a retired U.S. soldier and small business owner, the momma of several (double digits) beautiful children ranging in age from twenty-two to two, and a homemaker. I have a blog/website titled "The Wonderful World of Womanhood".


9 Responses to “The Difference Between Homemaking and Housework”

  1. claybyfaith says:

    This is a thing I find very frustrating. I am the mother of four boys, young boys (8, 6, 4, and 2). I am a stay at home mom and have been from the beginning. I really want to do an outstanding job at being a homemaker, but I’m afraid I could work 24/7 and never be caught up on all I could do. I’d love for my house to be more attractive, but the money isn’t there, I’d love for there to be better organization, but I don’t always have hours to think through how to organize things systematically. Most days, between homeschool, house care, food prep and clean up, laundry, lawn/garden care, and child care, I’m struggling to just do a minimum, and that’s with me delegating to my children quite a bit! What I don’t want my children to remember is a mommy who was so fussy that they couldn’t enjoy being in the house. When you are in the little years with your children, a certain amount of disorder is inevitable!! And at this time sleep is precious and scarce!(especially as my hubby works swings shifts that change from week to week), and you have to have time to rest, and in my opinion, relationships are more important than all the work! yes it has to be done, but let’s not sweat some of the stuff!

  2. Hi, Claybyfaith! I’m in total agreement, and I know Mrs. Hunter would be as well. The point is that our attitude often makes the work beautiful to our families–not just the flowers on the table or color-coordinated furnishings. We can grouch and grumble our way through loads of laundry and make a “dark” home atmosphere, or we can put on a smile, play uplifting music, and do the chores with a positive attitude. I’ve often called the early years with littles “Mommy Bootcamp.” It’s so much work just to get through the daily routine with lots of little people crawling, toddling, and asking questions. I’ve been there! What really inspired me to evaluate my attitude years ago was a remark by another mother of many who, when asked how she manages to get through each day without losing her mind, said, “I choose joy.” Instead of choosing to frown or sigh in exasperation, she just cried out to God for help and put on a smile. A godly older mom I know used to say, “Fake it ’til you make it!” If you don’t feel like smiling, put on a smile anyway. It’s amazing how it changes your mood. Or just start laughing with your children. Wow! That’s a game-changer, too. God is on our side, so crying out to Him for grace is so key. All the other details (dishes lined up neatly, laundry folded and put away) pale in comparison to how we react to all those things that need to be done, especially in front of our children. I have great childhood memories of my mom singing while she worked (even when it embarrassed me in front of my friends–LOL!). I speak as one fallen sinner to another. Some days you just wish you could hit “rewind” and try it over again. But God gives us mercies “new every morning.” There are nights I fall asleep saying, “New in the morning, please, Lord!” ;) God bless, and keep loving those littles.

  3. Hi claybyfaith! Thank you for your comment. I understand exactly what you mean and where you’re coming from, and do mostly agree that when one has several little ones, a certain amount of disorder (at times ) is (almost) inevitable (some women may never have this problem, but many, many do). I also agree about sweating small stuff to a degree, but have been at homemaking long enough to know that not “sweating” or concerning oneself with too much of it leads to forgetting about it until it becomes big stuff, adds up, grates one’s nerves no matter how much she tries to not sweat it, and causes problems. Of course, there are definitely times to let things go and get on with oneself; finding this balance can be tricky and difficult, but certainly not impossible. Thank you for mentioning it!

    I have three articles that you may be interested in:

    The first is may be of interest to you regarding having a beautiful home when times are financially tight, it’s titled “Beautifying a Home with what One Already Has”, here’s the link to it .

    The second article may be of interest to you regarding time spent on homemaking and organizing. It a home management system that I created while I was in your shoes: several young children, no household help, homeschooling, etc. This system worked outstandingly. Why not give it a try for a week, tweak it (hours of sleep needed, when to do what, and so forth) to fit your unique self and family, and see if it helps? Here’s the link .

    The third is just in case you’re interested or would like some encouragement as to why having a clean and orderly home is important, it’s titled “Why Clean the House?, here’s the link .

    There is a lot to be said for hiring household help, as well. I know that you mentioned times are tight right now for your family, but when planning for the future with money, it is well worth giving serious thought to being able to afford to have someone come clean your home and or a “mother’s helper” or nanny to help once or more a week. This doesn’t make you any less of a woman, wife, or mother, it makes you one who “works smarter, not harder”! The money spent in hiring someone to help out for even just a few hours a week can be seen as investing, not extravagant or wasteful spending, for the morale boost and burden-bearing it provides can actually make you and your family more productive and give you more time to truly enjoy the important things like spending time together, growing as a family, having company over, and such.

    You wrote, “I really want to do an outstanding job at being a homemaker” and “I’d love for my house to be more attractive”, and “I’d love for there to be better organization”, well, give all you’ve got to making it happen and seek balance in “sweating small stuff”. I have an online homemaking course that is free, you are welcome to take it. Clicking the second link above will take you to my blog/website where you can look on the sidebar for more information on the course. Please also feel free to e-mail me (pentucky(at)alaska(dot)net) or sign-up for my blog/website and I’ll be glad to work with you on a plan; also, give my website a look around and you’ll find a lot of information to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

    Mrs. Wayne Hunter

  4. Thank you, Jennie, for your inspiring comment!

  5. Liz McKee says:

    Great article!

    Just want to say be careful about being too clean. A little dirt is a good thing!

  6. Thank you, Liz McKee!

  7. brittlax says:

    Seriously people?! This blog is ridiculous. You are against feminism? You’re definition of feminism is so warped.

    Feminism to me is the right for women to have the same rights as men NOT to be men, but for a woman to be able to choose her own path without any barriers because they are a woman. We, as women, should not limit each other as not every woman enjoys homemaking and not every woman enjoys working in some business field or any other various activities. There are so many talented homemakers, business women, women politicans, etc, why limit them because YOU believe YOU should be in the home.

    Anyways, the best to you all. I’d like to think I have completely misunderstood everything I have read on here for the last hour, but I doubt it. May you find joy in your journey and not limit others joy to achieve your own.

  8. Yep, it’s safe to say you’ve misunderstood what you read. ;) I recommend starting with our Theme Articles, which define terms and explain what we’re about. We are totally in favor of human rights. All humans are made in the image of God and worthy of dignity and honor. Feminism isn’t about human rights, though–it’s about special “rights” that often trample the rights of others in the process. Pop over to “You Don’t Know Feminism” for examples of just that. All the best to you as you continue reading.

  9. veggiemom says:

    You mentioned the New Laurel’s Cookbook….i would recommend reading the intro to the original edition, should you come across it. Although not Christian, this was the first place I ever read about the value and love placed on serving your spouse and family.

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