Is it really a ‘Dirty Word’???


Is it really a ‘dirty word’? In today’s society, it can be. it’s one of those words we long to say, but don’t dare utter.  It may mean a cut in income, which means we will no longer be able to keep up with the Jones.  Our children will suffer drastically because they can’t have the latest technology, or the latest styles, and (gasp!) we might have to give up our credit cards!

Oh, no.  We neither utter that word nor allow our yearning to be a housewife show.  It is not heard of in our social circles. How would we pay all the bills and the credit card minimums if we weren’t a two-income family? What would it mean to our status symbol? No more designer clothes and shoes? Even worse – our poor children would be ostracized at school if they didn’t have the latest, greatest _____________(fill in the blank with whatever fad is currently popular).  No.  We won’t even think that word, much less wish for it.

What word is that, you ask?




Another form more current in today’s vocabulary is stay-at-home Mom. Some even link ‘homesteader’ or ‘small farmer’….or Farm Wife…in that category.



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With the heavy load of debt that so many families seem to carry, it seems unacceptable to allow our heart to yearn for this status.  We wax poetic about the days of our parents or grandparents, when kids came home to a plate of cookies straight out of the oven accompanied by a glass of ice cold milk.  We have a mental image of a woman in an apron, smiling and singing as she stands at the stove preparing a meal for her family.  Think June Cleaver. We wish it was that easy.


The Truth of the Matter


The truth?  You would be surprised at just how many women are actually carrying on the title, and proudly.  Others are diligently working towards it.  And regardless of what ‘Society’ says, it is a worthwhile goal. I am proud to be one, and advocate for it every chance I get.




Who She Is – If She isn’t a ‘Dirty Word’


If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the housewife is the Cardiologist that keeps the home healthy.  Instead of a lab coat, she wears an apron.  She meticulously starts out by taking a pulse rate, then prescribes what is needed. The housewife cleans the kitchen, and takes food out of the freezer to thaw for dinner, which she has planned in advance.  From there she moves to the rest of the ‘body’ and does the same work up.

But she is not relegated just to the house.  Today’s housewives do so much more than just housework. Many of them are also outside tending the vegetable garden, or harvesting food for dinner or some type of preservation.  She is feeding animals, gathering eggs or mucking out stalls.  Some leave the house with an empty pail, and return with it full of fresh milk.  So many of them also homeschool.  If the kids aren’t at the table doing their lessons, she has them outside on a Nature walk, or on field trips.  While the kids study, she has bread in the oven.




A Bachelors of Arts Degree (if not a Masters, or PhD)


‘Housewife’ isn’t really a ‘dirty word’.  Instead, it should be a considered a college degree.  These women have to have a deep and working knowledge of Math, Science, Biology, Botony, Economics, Nutrition, Agriculture, and even English.  A housewife knows how to balance a budget and make $1.00 stretch to $3.00.  She knows measurements.  Any problem can be sized up solved in just a matter of time. She knows how to grow her own food and the nutrition value of every vegetable. For two or 50, dinner can be organized, baked and on the table without losing a moment’s sleep .



She knows that most of the pharmaceuticals on the market wouldn’t be necessary if folks would just grow their own foods. A housewife sees to it her family eats locally, eschews the prepackaged foods, and get their exercise from hard work instead of hit or miss visits to a gym.

She knows that those commercials on television may try to make her believe she cannot live without that product, but from an Economics standpoint, she just laughs and turns the channel. More than likely she turns off the television and picks up her latest knitting or crochet project, knowing that she will soon have one more Christmas project complete – which prevents her from buying into those commercials for those ‘must have or you are nobody’ products. She keeps her family close.  She knows her neighbors and their needs, and is active within her community.




The Benefits


I may not feel the need to rush out and buy all the latest greatest, and I may not measure up to what ‘Society’ feels is acceptable; but what I do have:

• We jokingly refer to it as ‘the shack in the pasture’, but I have a roof over my head.  My home is warm, cozy, and has a squeaky screen door on the back that is always open to visitors.

• Our vehicles run. If they don’t, the Country Boy can usually repair them.

• I know how to cook, bake, grill, can, and preserve our food.  With that knowledge, I put healthy, delicious meals on my table.

• We have gardens and animals. Through composting, they work together to grow that food.

• a creative gene allows me to hand make many of my gifts. It also helps me make a silk purse out of a sows ear, and think outside the box so much eventually I just turn that poor unused box into compost.

• Neighbors and a community who know who we are; know our needs, and we know theirs, and a willingness to help in any way at any time.

• A quiet piece of land that allows me all the fresh air I need, room to walk for exercise, and a place to pray without being constantly interrupted by traffic, sirens, and crowds of people.

• The intelligence to know that all those products on the market are nothing more than something designed to part me with my hard earned money – there by making some anonymous corporation richer, and me poorer. A knowledge that those same hard earned dollars are going to something worthwhile – my family.

• Knowledge I can live a self reliant lifestyle with just a few simple things, instead of a lot of clutter that only serves to distract me from what is truly important.

• A life. A real life. One that is happy, joyful, and contented filled with a quiet sense of peace knowing I am capable of producing a valuable life.





She isn’t a ‘Dirty Word’ – Nor is She Your Average Woman


Housewives (homesteaders, small farmers, stay-at-home-moms) are not a group of dumb bimbos or country hicks that don’t know any better.  They are a group of intelligent women who are well-educated through academia or the Schools of Hard Knocks and Common Sense.  They are calm in an emergency; can plan a year in advance; and can tell you within $5.00 how much they will need to support their family over the next year. They are quick to know a corporation is trying to sell them something they don’t need and have the grace to quietly say, ‘No, thank you.’



Yes. I am a Farm Wife, a housewife, homesteader, and small farmer. Everything I need I have,  right here, right now.  There is no need for fancy cars, the pharmaceuticals with all the warnings, or the makeup. And I don’t consider it a ‘dirty word’, either. Housewives are already beautiful women – on the inside, where it counts.


Want to read an excellent book on Homemaking?  Try Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes!



Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.


  1. Love your take on this. Housewives are so much more than just women who stay at home, we have 100 job titles throughout the day and throughout our lives. I never even thought I would be a housewife, but now that I have been one for the last 12 years I can’t imagine a different life for me.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Sarah. Even when I was a stay-at-home mom, I still did other part time work to make ends meet. But you are right – we wear so many hats, we need a separate building for our hat racks! My kids have flown the coop, but I now find that I am headed back to housewife status. And regardless of what Society thinks, I am looking forward to it. Now I will have a chance to pursue a few of those dreams for my farm!

  2. While there are families who really can’t get by without 2 incomes, there are so many who have bought into the belief that we are less if we stay at home. Words of wisdom.

    1. Author

      I wholeheartedly agree, Lisa. Two incomes can be crucial in this day and age, but if we choose to live by one, I don’t believe we should be subjected to the the idea that we are ‘less’ somehow. Housewives (homesteaders, small farmers, stay-at-home moms, etc.) work just as hard inside the home as they would outside!

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