Education and Training: None
Employment Outlook: Excellent
Definition and Nature of the Work
People who take care of households for themselves and for the other people who live with them are called homemakers. They are responsible for managing the resources of their household. Homemakers may also perform general housekeeping chores and personal services, or they may assign them to other members of the household. Sometimes they employ people outside the household to do these tasks. Every household is unique, and the duties of each homemaker vary according to the ages, habits, needs, and incomes of the people in the household.
Homemakers are generally responsible for keeping their homes clean and running smoothly. They decide what cleaning jobs need to be done, and they arrange to have them completed. Cleaning tasks may include dusting, sweeping, making beds, washing and waxing floors, vacuuming, and a wide variety of other chores. Many homemakers also make sure that clothing and household items are laundered, dry-cleaned, or mended when needed. In many cases, they shop for food, clothing, and other household needs. Homemakers often plan, cook, and serve many of the meals for their households. Sometimes they make arrangements to have others cook meals in the home or to buy meals from outside sources.
Maintaining the household budget may be another responsibility of homemakers. They may take care of bills, banking, tax filing, and other financial matters. They often are responsible for day-to-day expenses, and they sometimes do long-range financial planning for their households. With other household members they make decisions about buying insurance, taking vacations, getting loans, and other important matters. Consumer skills are very important in making these decisions concerning the use of a household's resources.
In households with young children, homemakers have a great deal of responsibility for their care. If the children are very young, homemakers may feed, dress, and bathe them. As the children are growing, homemakers are responsible for creating a happy, healthy environment that will foster positive emotional and physical development. They may teach the children good health and personal habits, and make sure that they have proper medical and dental care. They may help them with their homework. As the children grow older, homemakers spend less time overseeing them. In some cases homemakers care for adult members of the household who are ill or infirm.
Many homemakers drive household members to and from their daily activities. They may also have cars serviced. Some do minor repairs on cars and household appliances.
Improving the appearance of their homes may be another household responsibility. Homemakers often decorate their houses or apartments. They may paint or paper walls and ceilings, apply floor coverings, or refinish furniture. Sometimes they care for lawns and gardens. Often homemakers arrange to have these jobs done by outside contractors.
Since many homemakers have full- or part-time jobs outside the home, two or more household members may share the work of running a home. Homemakers spend varying periods of time in their occupations, and the needs of every household change. Homemakers' careers are flexible and diverse.
Education and Training Requirements
There is no minimum age or educational requirements for homemakers. They learn such skills as cooking, cleaning, and child care informally at home. Individuals can prepare themselves for homemaking by taking high school and college courses in family and consumer science, psychology, sociology, mathematics, and first aid. Contact experienced homemakers for suggestions on ways to improve homemaking skills. There are also many books, magazines, and television and radio programs that teach homemaking skills.
Getting the Job
Most people become homemakers when they gain the responsibility of caring for a home and its occupants. In most cases other household members work outside the home to provide the income that the homemaker uses to care for the home. Choosing to become a homemaker is a personal issue and a career decision.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
The employment outlook for homemakers is excellent, because every home needs a homemaker. Since homemaking is not a formal job, there is no formal advancement in the field. However, homemakers usually improve their skills with experience. As they become more experienced as consumers, for example, they often learn to make better use of the resources available to them. Many homemakers believe the highest form of advancement is being satisfied with the management of their home and knowing that other members of the household are satisfied in their home. Other homemakers see a decrease in the number of chores or an increase in the household income as a form of advancement. Both the job of homemaking and its form of advancement are defined by the individual members of the household. Because needs change, the household that needs a full-time homemaker in one decade may need only a part-time homemaker in the next.
Homemakers work in a great variety of physical surroundings, determined in part by family income and by their own skills as a homemaker. There are no set hours for homemakers. Discipline and motivation are two qualities homemakers need to have. Patience, understanding, and a good sense of humor can help them to deal with the many demands of running a household. Successful homemakers are successful managers who can balance the many changing needs of household members and achieve a smoothly running household.
Where to Go for More Information
American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
400 N. Columbus St., Ste. 202
Alexandria, VA 22314
Earnings and Benefits
Homemakers do not earn salaries. They share the household income with other members of the household. One benefit is a flexible work schedule. They are able to pursue leisure or work activities inside and outside the household. Homemakers may have to provide their own benefits, such as health or life insurance. In some cases homemakers receive benefits from jobs they hold outside the home. They may share in benefits extended to other members of the household who have jobs outside the home. Some lawmakers are trying to pass laws that would change the financial status of homemakers.