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Housewife is a term used to describe a married woman who stays at home to personally raise her children and take care of their needs. This is the traditional role of women at least through the children's pre-kindergarten years. Homemaker is a mainly American gender-neutral synonym for a housewife or a House Husband. She's often a stock character in Dom Coms who can generally be identified by being in the kitchen and lovingly counseling her children because she is The Heart of the family. There will probably be reference to her doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, household cleaning, chauffeuring, managing the family finances and/or sewing. Her children and husband do like what she does.

If the Housewife takes pride in her appearance for the benefit of her family, she's also a Hot Mom. Compare Yamato Nadeshiko, a Japanese cultural ideal where a woman runs the household with a touch of iron as opposed to Extreme Doormat, which is culturally neutral and describes someone who lets everyone 'walk all over them'. Compare and contrast to House Husband, when a man takes the role of homemaker, much to the utter surprise of pretty much everyone in popular media. With a good man at her side she's far from a case of Meekness Is Weakness.

Examples of Housewife include:

Anime and Manga

  • Miyako Inoue, at the Distant Finale of Digimon 02. She's possibly more like Izumi below, of course, given that she has her Digimon help her with the kids.
  • Izumi Curtis of Fullmetal Alchemist, as she rather emphatically stated.
    • For those not familiar, she usually says that in between beating the living shit out of the (canon) best elite-foot-soldiers in the story, effortlessly taking down borderline immortal creatures (homunculi) that can regenerate (one of them is the size of a tank, incidentally) and invading a bar filled with multiple chimeras, trained fighters, and a homunculus just so she can chew out her student.
    • Chapter 95: "When someone asks 'who' I am, I always say, 'a house-wife.' That's the polite response... But just for today, I feel like showing off a little. I'M AN ALCHEMIST!"
  • Kasumi Tendo of Ranma ½ after her mother's demise, despite not being married.
  • Many female characters in Monster, notably Mrs. Fortner.
  • Delia Ketchum of Pokémon
  • Jennifer "Miko" Shibuya from Kyo Kara Maoh
  • Mikoto Uchiha from Naruto
  • Fujiwara Touko in Natsume Yuujinchou.
  • During Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid, the title character finally decided to temporarily rest her wings to recover from her injuries and has taken up this role to raise Vivio, with Fate as the working wife who is usually away from home. Led to a scene where newcomer Einhart mistakes her for an ordinary housewife, causing much snickering from everyone else.
  • Wedding Peach: The love angels have frequent fantasies about being this for Yangiba, and their fights over it is the series' longest Running Gag


  • Nell McLaughlin, mother of Alison Lohman's character in Flicka is the Wyoming horse ranch homemaker with all the domesticity and at least as much guts as the sitcom wives.
  • The 1995 film Safe is about a housewife who developers multiple chemical sensitivity disorder.


  • Molly Weasley from Harry Potter is a somewhat Badass example.
  • The heroine of Special Circumstances is shown as this. Given the action focus of the series it's not prominently on display, but it does show some in subtle ways.
  • Celie from The Color Purple ends up early on as a housewife of an abusive Mr. Albert, taking care of kids who don't even accept her at first. Woobie ensued.
  • Charity Carpenter is a stay at home mom for a total of seven kids while her husband is off fighting evil. However you should never touch her kids. When the villains of one book took her oldest she suited up with a near armory in the back of her minivan and invaded the nevernever to get her daughter back.

Live Action TV

  • June Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver is the archetypal television example.
  • Samantha Stephens from Bewitched
  • Big Love centers around a man with three housewives, and three houses on the same block for them to keep up.
  • The main cast of Desperate Housewives (at least originally, later on most of them hold down full time jobs leaving this as something of an Artifact Title).
  • Alice Kramden from The Honeymooners
  • Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy
  • Peggy Bundy from Married... with Children (though unlike the ideal housewife, she does absolutely no housework and just spends all her time in lazy ways).
  • Mum from On the Buses
  • Diane Coupland from Bless This House.
  • Played with in That 70's Show: Eric's mother Kitty acts VERY much like one, but she's actually got a job outside the house as a nurse.
    • Later on when Red loses his job and she has to work full time she nearly cracks when she finds out Red and Eric still expect her to do all the cooking and cleaning anyways.
  • Carol Brady. Interestingly, she did very little housework, because they had a full-time live-in housekeeper, Alice.
  • Subverted in Hannah Montana of all places where Robbie Ray does a fair share of the home-making duties. Of course having a Missing Mum helps.
  • Edith Bunker on All in The Family. Later on, though, she gets hired part-time at the retirement home where she's been volunteering.
  • Donna Stone from The Donna Reed Show There was even an episode talking about how being a house keeper is hard work.
  • Marion from Happy Days
  • Inverted on Doctor Who: When they get stuck in 1969, Martha has to get a job to support The Doctor. Apparently stranded Time Lords don't work in shops.
  • Occurs in Charmed with Phoebe and a magic ring, directly referencing Samantha above.
  • In Smallville Martha Kent can generally be found in the kitchen especially in seasons one and three and part of two when she's not working for Lionel or running the Talon.
  • Amy Matthews of Boy Meets World acts every bit the domestic one from the beginning usually letting us forget about her real-estate career in the first season.
  • 7th Heaven's Annie Camden studied everything from art to business and economics for the express purpose of running a household. When Mary and Lucy pressure her into a business deal so she can be more than "just a housewife," she calls them out on such a narrow-minded view.
  • Roseanne threw this image out the window and replaced it with something much closer to reality. They even lampshaded the differences on a clip show hosted by Roseanne and a committee of TV moms who had come to "set her straight."
    • Though Roseanne often described herself as a housewife, and did do the majority of the actual housework, she was never a stay-at-home mom. In fact, she worked more consistently than her nominal "breadwinner" husband.
    • One episode involved her taking over Darlene's home ec class and teaching the girls "realistic" homemaking with a trip to the market. There, she taught them how to pick out the cheapest meat and fortify it with generic corn flakes to make a meatloaf big enough for five people plus leftovers. Darlene, who'd been groaning and snarking the entire time, admits she's come away with a better understanding of how hard it is to take care of a family.

Newspaper Comics

  • Every family-oriented comic strip is covered by this trope, although some housewives eventually found jobs outside of the house.
    • Blondie: She was an archetypical example until she got her own catering business
    • Hi and Lois: Lois eventually became a real estate agent, with many jokes revolving around her profession.
    • Calvin and Hobbes: The mother gave up her career to raise Calvin. She sometimes wonders if she made the right choice.
    • FoxTrot: Andy has a part-time job as a newspaper columnist, but she's mainly a housewife.
    • Baby Blues: Wanda even cried when they asked her to go back to work in one of the early strips. In today's strips, she still has mixed feelings about it, and in the Animated Adaptation final episode, she wanted to go back to work, only to change her mind again and go back to taking care of Zoe, leaving the Nap Nook business to Melinda.

Tabletop Games

  • The Melissidae bloodline from Vampire: The Requiem sometimes invoke this role to hide their undead activities under a facade of being a loving wife living in a small house with a white picket fence caring for her nuclear family. Subverted HARD, however, due to said housewives usually being absolutely inhumanly insane. Also due in part of their loving "families" actually being made up of kidnapped strangers who were tortured, brainwashed and subjugated to the Melissidae's screaming hive mind to the point where they lost their sentience and began acting as mindless drones to their new queen, living and dying to her whims. Yikes!
  • The very dark Kult once suggested this as a playable character — looks straight, but spends her time reading old tomes about how to summon eldritch abominations.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble from The Flintstones
  • The Simpsons: Marge Simpson. She had done a few things like repair work, selling pretzels, being a cop, and other stuff.
  • Jane Jetson (although, she mostly press buttons all day long to clean the house).
  • Lois Griffin, though she does teach piano from home.
    • As well as the handful of one-episode careers she has had.
  • Francine Smith.
  • Diane "Didi" Kropotkin Kerpackter-Pickles from Rugrats, although she is a part-time schoolteacher in the earlier seasons.
  • Mom from Cow and Chicken and Dexter's Laboratory
  • Mrs. Turner (or "Timmy Turner's Mom") from The Fairly OddParents, although in the earlier seasons she was portrayed as a real estate agent. And even as a spy.
  • Kim Possible's mother, despite having a job as a brain surgeon, still has some time to do housework. It's not known if her husband simply does no housework or if he does and simply isn't seen onscreen while doing it.