Housewives are often made to feel guilty by others for staying home and enjoying life. The people around will often begrudgingly acknowledge that there can be situations which demand that women stay home, for instance, taking care of small children or homeschooling, or (in the case of conservative Christians), if the husband insists on it, but in all those cases the underlying idea is that if the wife stays home she'd better spend all her time cleaning or cooking or homeschooling, and if she's done all that, she should engage in some money-making activity, such as babysitting or a home business.
God forbid a lady at home would spend some time in creative pursuits such as drawing or learning to play the piano, and if she sits in the garden with a book while the children are taking a nap, she is looked upon as some sort of a criminal.
Homeschooling mothers will often have it easier because the society will assume they still have enough to do, but if your children go to school, you will get all sorts of nasty comments from the people around concerned with you "doing nothing" during their school hours. As for the ladies who are childless or whose children are grown, not even advanced years can save them from being pushed to find a job, especially now, when Western governments seriously discuss how to make their subjects work until 70 (in the case of Sweden, I heard till 75).
The same goes about spending money. It's true, with one income families money is often tight, but it's not always the case, and even if the woman doesn't marry into a wealthy family, she still can have enough money to spend due to the careful management of finances; but if she goes and buys something for herself once in a while such as a new dress or a glossy magazine, or hires a housekeeper to help her with her domestic duties, she will get all sorts of nasty reactions, accused of wasting her husband's money etc etc.
It never comes to the mind of her critics that she also contributes to the family finances by the wise money management and thus is entitled to some rewards. After all, many husbands don't think twice of spending money on various toys men are so fond of, why can't the wife buy something for herself now and then. (Of course, I'm not talking about the situations when the family encounters financial problems and the wife keeps spending money on useless stuff).
The critics don't understand that home is different from office and factory, where the employees must show at certain hours, perform their duties, then go home and forget all about it. The wife at home has flexible working hours, and the nature of her activities will change according to the season, the age of her children, her husband's job etc. No two households are the same, thus the life of one homemaker will be different from another.
One will be more engaged with her children, another will take care of aging parents or grandparents, yet another woman will accompany her husband on his business trips. The duties of a homemaker simply can't be compared to the standardized work of a post-industrial society.
With all the accent on "diversity" in the media, what our society really values, is uniformity, we have all to be the same, so that we will all be equal. The housewife is dangerous because she isn't subjected to the government regulations and her activities can't be measured and taxed. And, as some people put it, "she doesn't contribute to the country's GDP."
I also have to laugh about the remarks of those critics (chiefly men), who state that housework is much easier nowadays because we have the vacuumcleaner. Of course, those men are also not exactly ploughing the fields themselves, or working 16 hours a day in the coalmines, but the thought how much easier they have it nowadays, doesn't really cross their minds.
The Bible calls the woman "a weaker vessel". I know that feminists point out this verse as the proof of dscrimination, for me, however, it's really about protection. Women are more fragile than men and have to be protected from strenous work, if they are to perform their biological function of bearing and raising children. In the 19th century, various governments across Europe were worried about lower class women and girls working too hard which led to them not being able to perform their domestic and maternal functions, and took steps to protect femininity, such as 1842 Mine Act in UK. (You can read about it over here, scroll down to the year 1842).
The homemaker may not work 8 hours after each other non-stop, like her husband does, she can take a break during the time he is at work and her children are at school, but in the evening when the husband relaxes with a cup of coffee in front of the TV, and the children are in bed, she will wash the dishes and make lunch for the next day and plan her shopping. This is no less work, even though it's done outside of office hours.
As a homemaker, if you do your duty by taking care of your home, husband and children, you shouldn't feel guilty or ashamed for enjoying your free time by doing something you like. You are not a machine and you also need rest. Home shouldn't be a place to stress out about meeting deadlines, but rather a haven of comfort and peace, and if your husband is satisfied with the way you run things, you can safely tell your critics to get lost.