A lot has already been said about this article, which encourages women to put in more entrepreneurialism and develop home businesses. I'm not sure how many of you have read it, as it was pretty long; it did contain a few interesting thoughts, but there are many points on which I disagree.
First, we must remember there are different seasons in life. The amount of time a woman can dedicate to other pursuits after completing her homemaking duties is limited, and at certain periods, I imagine, will be almost nonexistent. But even if a woman has everything in order and still some free time remains, it doesn't mean she should immediately dedicate all the time she has left to money-making.
I have been working from home, on and off, during the last five years. I tutor children and do translations. 'Working from home' sounds very comforting to some women, and in a sense it's true: you have a flexible schedule, and are there for emergencies. But it still means investing lots and lots of time.
There was a summer when I took on a very large translating project, and it kept me by my computer for 7 or 8 hours a day. Of course, I could take breaks whenever I wanted to, and I was still at home to tend to the needs of my elderly grandmother, but regarding my other duties at home, it was not too much better than if I had to work a job outside the home.
Theoretically, I learned, it's possible for me to run around, crossing things off my to-do list at top speed. Theoretically it's possible for me to pile up grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming and washing the floors, cooking for the week, washing windows and what not, in one day. It's possible in an emergency. But this will be a day when I collapse, exhausted. This will be a day when I won't have time to do anything special and memorable, anything that really makes me a homemaker and not a housekeeper.
The way I see it, insisting that a woman should have a home business isn't that different from insisting a woman to work outside the home - though there are, of course, obvious advantages, like not having her work with a male boss, having a flexible schedule, etc. Sure, if I had to choose between the two, working from home is definitely a better option; but in essence, it all boils down to this idea, which bothers me: that a woman must bring in money in order to justify her presence at home. Managing the family budget wisely isn't enough. Being a busy, creative and resourceful wife isn't enough.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with having a home business, for those who can incorporate it into their lives. Actually, if you feel you can do it, great! But not if the woman's more basic duties (wife, mother, homemaker) are suffering, or if her sanity is compromised. And what happens if this income grows and becomes regular and turns into a very substantial part of the family budget? If running this business depends only on the wife, isn't it possible to come to a situation when the husband stops seeing himself as being completely responsible for providing?
These thoughts that are always on my mind whenever home businesses are discussed. When a homemaker feels she must find some way to earn money, otherwise her presence isn't valuable enough, where does it bring us? Isn't it getting dangerously close to the very thing we're trying to avoid, as women who decided to focus on their family and home?
As you see it's far from being black and white, but I was disturbed by the tone of that article, and generally by the attitude that the homemaker must 'justify' being home, either by running around and crossing things off her to-do list all day long, or by managing a home business, or by doing volunteer work. I wish we were at the point when, if a woman said, 'I'm a wife', no one would ask her: 'So... what do you do?'