My favourite phrase in the movie "Prisoner Of Zenda" (which I wrote about here ), is the one uttered by Princess Flavia, "women have honour, too!" What does it mean for an average housewife? In her chapter on Good Character in "Fascinating Womanhood", Helen Andelin talks about such virtues as responsibility and diligence and explains that they are essential for successful homemaking.
A homemaker is responsible for running the household efficiently and it's her duty to check that everything is functioning smoothly. If she dislikes some tasks around the house, it's not a reason to neglect them, she will do what is necessary without whining or complaining. She will take pride in the job well done. As Mrs Andelin puts it: "She assumes it (her work) with a keen sense of responsibility, realizing that it must be done and the job rightfully belongs to her." (Fascinating Womanhood, p.214, Bantam Books 1992).
The wife and mother who neglects her responsibility in the home, shows a weakness of character, or to quote Mrs Andelin again: "To turn her back on her work is a serious dereliction of duty." (idem, p. 215.) Think about these words. Dereliction of duty is considered a serious crime. In times of war you could be executed for it! When you are at home full time, it's easy to get distracted. At work, you have your superiors to tell you what to do, while at home you are free to fill your day as you see fit. Unfortunately, sometimes we fill it with hours of watching TV and browsing on the net.
Besides responsibility, a homemaker needs diligence, which basically means to do a good job. Diligence is the opposite of laziness and neglect. Mrs Andelin warns her readers against being just good enough, as it leads to mediocrity. The housewife should always be ready to go a second mile in her job, because only then she will really find satisfaction in homemaking.
There is actually such a thing as the homemaker's creed, which says, among other things, that homemaking is a noble and challenging career and that the homemaker will give the best of her efforts and abilities to it. (You can read the whole Creed over here ). Think about it as an honour code for housewives, just like the one used in Middle Ages by knights ). The world tells us that housewives are fat, lazy slobs and every time we neglect our homes and our appearance we enforce this stereotype.
One of the reasons the world puts homemakers down, is because they don't take pride in their accomplishments at home, and if asked what their occupation is, mumble something like, "I'm just a housewife." A homemaker should not see herself as some domestic drudge, she is the lady of the house and she should absolutely take pride in her job which is only possible if she is doing it well.