If you are a full-time homemaker, you might well be the only one on your street, in this day and age when most women work outside the home. In fact, for many of your acquaintances you might be the only stay-at-home wife/mother they know. If you think about it, it means that for many people whose lives touch yours, you are representing the entire concept of being a helpmeet to your husband, a mother at home, a housewife.
It means that your conduct, your spirit, your behavior, and everything you say or do, affect the way people around you - your family, friends and neighbours - think about stay-at-home wives and mothers in general. This really makes you stop and consider the impression you leave, doesn't it?
If you project discontentment, people will think, "staying at home is probably frustrating for her, she should be out working like everyone else". If they drop by for a visit and your home is messy, they will say, "she is lazy - she doesn't really work in her home, she just wastes her time"; and if you dress sloppily when you go out to the grocery store, people will decide all stay-at-home wives and mothers don't care about their appearance because dressing up for their husbands isn't worth the effort.
Such judgment may not seem fair, and it probably isn't, because each family with a mother at home is entirely different, and even those who are excellent, cheerful, prettily dressed homemakers with helpful children have their bad days. But the fact remains, you are someone who, by her entire way of life, is in opposition to the common worldview for most women today.
That's why I always try to seem content when out and about; I don't think I'm being less than honest by doing that, even if I'm not having a particularly good day, because on the larger scale I'm not only happy with my life at home, but consider it a delight, a privilege, and the highest calling.
Often neighbours who work outside the home ask me how I feel about staying home full-time. When I tell them how happy I am, and what a good arrangement it is for our family, some of them secretly whisper to me they wish they could be home with their children, too. Others tell me how they see mothers at work coming back from maternity leave and crying their eyes out because they miss their babies so badly.
Not long ago a neighbour of mine saw me washing our windows on the outside when she came back from work, and told me how sorry she is she never has time to wash her windows. When she took a day off recently, she happily spent it working in the garden and cleaning, and told me how wonderful it felt to be working in her home. Her face shone with happiness. It was obvious to me her heart is at home, but being at home full-time just isn't socially acceptable anymore.
Imagine that one of your acquaintances says about you when you aren't present, "I know a woman who stays home for her family, even though she is well-educated and could get a good job. She is happy, her home is welcoming, and her children are sweet. And she is always so soft-spoken and cheerful. I never thought anyone could be so productive by simply being a housewife." And perhaps one of the people who hears this is a woman who is struggling with the decision of whether she should become a stay-at-home wife; and perhaps hearing that there are other women out there, doing just that and living a happy life at home, might make her lean towards the decision of coming home as well. Wouldn't that be wonderful?