We are thrilled to welcome Ina from That Feminine Housewife Youtube channel to our community today! Ina is a fascinating homemaker, wife, and stay-at-home mom to two children living in Norway.
Even though I have a desire to be liked and accepted, I am not going to conform if that means sacrificing what I feel called to do.Ina, That Feminine Housewife
Welcome to our community, dear Ina! It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. We love your creative and unique Youtube videos on being a modern feminine homemaker (That Feminine Housewife)! Recently, one of your videos entitled “Why I am a Homemaker” got more than 50K views! Why do you think this video in particular resonated with so many people? What sort of feedback did you receive, and how has it impacted the direction in which you see your channel going?
Thank you so much for inviting me to The Not-So Desperate Housewives community, it’s an honor to be featured here. Yes, my most viewed video “Why I am a Homemaker” was heavily promoted by the Youtube algorithm on people’s homepages. Some hated it, others thought it was weird, but most viewers loved it and I got thousands of subscribers as a result! I think I got two types of viewers: ones who had no idea why anybody would want to call themselves a homemaker and others who had an interest in homemaking already and were looking for support and community for their choices. The comments on this popular video really reflected the thoughts of these two types of people, and as far as the future of my channel goes, I believe that video really represents who I want to reach. I want my channel to be a place where both groups can come and be entertained, encouraged, and uplifted.
Generally speaking, It’s difficult to be a modern homemaker in the Western world, but it must be especially trying in Norway, a country known for its egalitarian and feminist society. How have you dealt with the inevitable pressure to conform and be “just like everyone else”?
You are right, Norway has for a long time been one of the countries with the highest percentage of women in the workforce. Staying home full-time is considerably more stigmatized here than it is in North America. People assume the reason for your choice is due to you being one of the following: unattractive to employers, on welfare, part of a cult, or just plain ignorant and naive. When I have told people in the past that I am a full-time homemaker with no plans of changing that in the near future, I have literally seen jaws drop from both men and women. I don’t get that kind of reaction when I visit North America (my husband is from Canada) as much as I do here in Scandinavia. The New York Times wrote an interesting piece on the unique stigmatization of homemakers in Scandinavia, that article rings true in my personal experience.
Even though I have a desire to be liked and accepted just like everyone else does, I am not going to conform if that means I have to sacrifice what I feel called to do. I would rather have less income and endure some scorn than give away this unique opportunity to spend time taking care of my family. I only have one life on earth and for me it is not worth living just to please people who don’t have mine or my family’s best interest in mind. In short, I am motivated to swim upstream by nothing less than my desire to serve my family and society in the way I find most effective with the short time allotted to me.
It seems that homemaking is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, especially in the United States. Do you think this trend will make its way to northern Europe eventually?
That’s a good question I am probably not qualified to answer, but I can gladly share my thoughts on it.
First, from an economic perspective I can somewhat understand the counter-cultural shift towards homemaking in the North American context because there are still some economic incentives for homemakers over there. In parts of Europe, and especially Scandinavia, child care is heavily subsidized, thus giving huge economic pressure not to stay home once the child is old enough for day care (one year old).
I only have one life on earth and for me it is not worth living just to please people who don’t have mine or my family’s best interest in mind.Ina, That Feminine Housewife
Additionally, living expenses and taxes are so high here that you almost have to be privileged to maintain a non-impoverished lifestyle that even remotely resembles that of your peers. In America, I understand that you have greater purchasing power – people can survive more easily on one income, two incomes being more of a luxury than a necessity. Here, single-income families with a man who makes an average wage fall easily beneath the poverty line and can be denied mortgages and car payment plans.
Second, from a social perspective, there are many religious communities where homemakers can find support in the United States and Canada, whereas those structures are scarce in Scandinavia. Finding like-minded communities of faith of is difficult, as are communities that will support homemakers or a traditional family more generally speaking.
In order for there to be broad change in Europe there may have to be political, economical, or ideological shifts that support the single income family lifestyle. Though a lot of women highly value their careers and wouldn’t have it any other way, many women do it out of necessity or pressure, as the same encouragement a working mom receives is not extended to the stay-at-home mom or homemaker. That is not to say that women in Europe will not go against the grain and take up the torch of homemaking, but it will be harder.
What’s your number one tip for newly-weds and young stay-at-home moms?
Apart from simply enjoying the bliss of being newly-married, I often advise homemakers to get their economics under control. I know, not so romantic!
Ironically, homemakers have to be financial experts in order to make it work. We aren’t earning a wage, so how will we prepare for an emergency? What would we do if our husbands are suddenly unable to provide and we have a ten year gap on our resumé or maybe no work experience at all? Personal finance is one of the most central parts of the homemaking lifestyle, so I encourage everyone to get control of their spending, save a lot of money, avoid debt, and invest.
Your readers are the first to know this: I am thrilled to announce my brand new second channel on personal finances for women launching next week called Feminine Finance. I believe it is one of the most important things for homemakers to learn in order to be successful in the long term, and hopefully for a lifetime.
Thank you so much, Ina. Best of luck with your second channel – what a great idea! I can’t wait to watch!
If you liked our interview with Ina, That Feminine Housewife check out our exclusive interview with former Miss Earth Canada, Mrs. Cynthia Loewen.