The women and young girls in a traditional Hmong household are usually the first to get up and are responsible for nurturing of the children, preparing meals, feeding animals, and clean the house. They are the work force of the house. Women obeyed their husbands in every aspect of life. Most times the daughter-in-law must serve her husband’s parents by cooking, cleaning and whatever else the parents desire from her. This is all that the women do back in Laos. They didn’t go to school so their entire day revolved around farming and housework. Mothers would train their daughters how to cook and clean by the time they are 10-12 years old. After the meals were cooked, in a traditional Hmong household the women would eat the meals only after the men have eaten first. This is especially if there are guest in the house.
Today in America many of the Hmong women who are transitioning to western culture work outside of the home and this placed a great amount of problems in the family household. Young mothers are attempting to fill several roles; that of an obedient wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, mother and wage earner.
In their spare time, the women made and repaired clothing for the family. They also taught the daughters how to sew at a very early age. Once they mastered the details of Hmong needle work, they were old enough and considered mature enough for marriage. There are many hours that are spent on embroidering colorful clothing, especially for celebrations and marriages. They say “special occasion requires special clothes”. Sewing clothing and handicraft is one way women make money to help support their family.