One day a friend of mine asked me, “So what do you stay busy with all day since you only have one child?” At first I was taken aback at her question because I feel I stay very busy during my days. But to her, a mother of 7 with one still in diapers, this was a very legitimate question. What does a housewife do all day?
To be honest, yes there are days where I’m lazy and don’t get anything done but keep the child alive and have food on the table.
But most days, I stay busy with many different homemaking skills that keep our home running smoothly and make it comfortable for when my husband comes home at night.
And yes, there is plenty to keep me busy even with just one child. In theory (this is just what I hear from other friends with large families), the more children you have the more household tasks you can train them to do.
I must enforce that it’s important for a housewife to stay busy because an idle mind does not stay or get sharp.
There are always new homemaking skills to learn, books to read (drop the smutty ones, ladies!), letters to write or neighbors to make food for. I’m there with you; it’s much easier to sit in front of a funny movie or scroll social media than to sharpen your mind. It’s definitely a discipline.
What Does a Housewife Do All Day?
1. Help Her Husband
For me, this is a priority in my days because we are dairy farmers which is a family operation. During harvest, I plan my day around getting lunch and/or supper to the field for the guys. During winter, this looks like picking up extra calf chores because there is snow and cold messes and breakdowns elsewhere the guys are dealing with. In planting season, this looks like me being a phone call away to run seed to the field, go pick up parts or refresh waters and snacks.
For you, this may look like filling your husband’s coffee thermos and packing his lunch for work. Or meeting him on his lunch break with a picnic in the park once in a while. Or having his favorite shirt washed and ironed all the time. Sometimes it’s taking care of the finances and records. Or hiding sweet notes in his pants pocket.
Whatever your lifestyle looks like, search out ways you can show honor and love to your husband and let him know you appreciate him working hard so you can stay home.
2. Provide Food
A housewife keeps the people fed. She makes sure she is spending her and her husband’s money wisely on healthful food that will build strong bodies.
Regular grocery shopping and scouring ads and coupons is an art. Predicting what the pantry and fridge will need can sometimes be as tricky as predicting the weather!
Then she has to meal plan, meal prep and make sure meals are served in a timely manner. Then she has to put away all the leftovers and clean up the kitchen.
In theory, this all happens two or three times a day!
Inside my cupboard door I have a list of five or six meals my family loves, I usually have all the ingredients on hand and can be made in a 1/2 hour or less. On busy days or brain fart days, that’s my go-to list.
Or read this article for tips on How to Make Supper When You Work Late.
I’m not sure why laundry is such a loathed task by homemakers. It sure gets whined a lot about anyways. Maybe I enjoy doing it because I grew up with only a wringer washer and feel overjoyed at having a machine do this work for me now.
Keeping clean clothes, towels and sheets on hand is an every day job. Or an all day job if you are waiting for a sunny day to hang laundry on the line.
I enjoy doing laundry because I get to be outside hanging it up (in summer at least). And folding time is my favorite because I watch a movie or listen to an audio book or podcast while I’m folding. You can read about my laundry routine here.
Now to get it all put away…
If you’re super ambitious and want to save more money, look into Making Your Own Laundry Soap.
I’ll be the first to say I’m not a clean freak. But I do thrive in a clean, organized space. So I try to keep our house from stinking and the piles from falling….ok, maybe it’s not that bad.
But really, a housewife should keep her home clean and tidy. Nothing perfect, but definitely functional. Not only will a clean home keep the housewife sane, it will also help everyone else’s attitudes. When you don’t have to hunt high and low for things, you don’t get as stressed.
When everything has a place and everything goes in it’s place, the whole household benefits from that organization.
Daily cleaning of high traffic areas is a must. Having kitchen counters clean and the sink empty can make the whole house feel clean even if it’s not. Wiping down bathroom mirrors after you hop out of the shower can help the whole bathroom glisten.
For a guided cleaning schedule, try my Deep Cleaning Planner that gives you a task to do each day so that you don’t have to scramble when unexpected company arrives.
An unseen but most important part of a housewife’s day is nurturing her family. Snuggling kiddos, reading books with them, playing and listening.
Nurturing the husband may look like researching his favorite recipes, dressing to please him, ironing his shirts, making the bed and decorating the house pleasantly.
Creating a calm, nurturing, loving environment for the whole family will help ease tensions from the day and encourage relaxation.
6. Save Money
In today’s hype of side gigs (I know, I have one!) it’s okay for a housewife to not have one! There is no honor in the hustle just to hustle. If your household truly needs the money, then sometimes it makes sense for the wife to grab a side job.
But many times, being thrifty can be just as beneficial as a side job. Shopping grocery ads, thrifting clothes, patching jeans, cooking from scratch and gardening are all ways a housewife can help with finances without having an income herself.
7. Build Community
This is not required of any housewife, but it is enjoyable for me. It’s a way to get involved in your local community and show your children the joy in serving others without any repayment.
I have one charity organization that I actively help with a fundraiser. I’m involved in our church. And I love baking regularly for a youth organization.
I have to work hard to not overcommit to activities that take me outside my home or away from my family. But I enjoy being part of larger missions that are helping in a way I couldn’t help on my own.
I’m sure there are many other things that a housewife does all day. This is just an overview of what my days mostly look like.
And no, not every husband will understand what his wife does all day either. (But that’s okay. He might understand one day when you get sick.) The joy comes in being able to serve your husband and family who love you rather than a boss who can replace you at any time.
So remember, when someone asks you, “What does a housewife do all day?” you can rattle off the list of everything you accomplished, or you can say, “Only the most important job on the planet.”