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21 May 2010

Making your life your job

In with a lot of other emails I had one from Ceri through the week.  I asked her if it was okay to answer in a post because I think this is something many people struggle with.  To summarise, Ceri wrote that she and her husband have just moved from Dubai to Cyprus in the hope of living a simpler life.  She writes:  "What I would like to have some ideas on are  how to adjust and not feel guilty about being a stay at home wife.  We have no children and I have worked long and hard most of my adult life. My husband’s salary covers the bills and we can put aside a little for the future and the life insurance but there is very little spare outside of that.  ( I used to be a 3 overseas  holidays a year Radley handbag girl,)  Now  I have chosen to stay at home as this was part of the plan to drastically change our way of living, but I feel really guilty about not bringing in the bread even though I am learning to bake it.  I feel ashamed to tell friends that we cannot afford things and don’t want to make new friends for fear of them laughing at my simple ideas.   How do I overcome this?

 Also  how do I go about starting my own veggie garden in rented accommodation.  How would you suggest I do this so that I don’t upset the garden but still begin my dream of growing my own produce and know I can take it with me when the time comes to move on."

Dear Ceri, all changes take time to feel right and natural and this is a very big change so it doesn't surprise me that you feel uneasy.  One thing you should do is to think of what you're doing at home now as your real job.  It will be as time consuming as any paid job, maybe even more so, and thinking of it as your job might help you with your adjustment.  That is what I did when I left work. I wasn't earning money but I felt it was my job to save money in the home to make up for what I wasn't earning.  That lead me to everything I currently do in my home.  It is my job to shop for bargains and get value for every cent we spend; I must grow or buy good quality food for our table; it's my responsibility to look after our assets so they last as long as possible - that covers everything from bed sheets and clothing, to everything in our house and the house itself.  If I do my job properly, we'll spend less, conserve more and live well in the process.

With your husband going out to earn money and you saving your money at home, you'll make an excellent team.  Remember, you'll be leading the way here.  This is new territory for both of you.  Check through blogs you can relate to and see how others are living, then cherry pick what you think will work for you. Your job then is to customise that to really suit your lives, and add more of your own original ideas.  When I first left work, I wanted to live a simpler life, I wanted to built a life that would suit both Hanno and myself, I wanted to work hard but to really enjoy every minute of the day.  I knew there would be days of toilet cleaning and vacuuming carpets, but I also knew there would be many times I'd be out in the sunshine talking to the chickens and gardening, and times spent cozying up inside in the winter with my knitting.  I wanted all of it.

When you live like this you feel you're really in control and if that's the first time your own life has made you feel like that, it's very liberating.  You feel like you can take on the world!  Everyone's life is a series of stages - you've been through your three annual holidays and Radley handbags stage, now you've progressed to something beyond that.  (BTW, I have no idea what a Radley handbag looks like.)  What this stage is like is all up to you and your husband.  There should be no shame in what you're doing now and being open and honest with your friends is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.  Anyone who shuns you for not being able to buy what they buy is not worthy of being your friend.  But you'll have to develop pride  and satisfaction in the way you live before others will see it in that light too.  I hope you can just forget about what others are thinking - just live as you wish, develop your skills, become more self reliant, and I think that will bring you self confidence too.

There are a number of things you can do in rented accommodation.  
  1. First, ask the owner if you can put in a garden and show them drawn up plans for what you would like to do.  You may be surprised.  
  2. Go to the local recycle shop and buy some containers in which to grow lettuce, tomatoes, chard and herbs. Plant small varieties of the vegetables you like to eat in these containers.  If you plant against a wall, you'll be able to grow beans, peas and cucumbers too.  
  3. See if you can find a good market where you can shop weekly and accept the fact that while you can't garden now, it is waiting for you in the future. 
  4. Grow sprouts in your kitchen and learn how to make sour dough and yoghurt, gardening can wait.
There is a lot to take pride in when you build a life that makes you happy.  Money alone cannot buy that, it takes time, effort, skill and the ability to let go of what we've been programmed to believe.  Turning your back on conspicuous consumption, giving yourself time to hand-make a life and living with less is the opposite of what we are brought up to believe will make us happy.  When you live that way, it may be uncomfortable for some people but soldier on nonetheless; they'll get used to it or move on.  As you are settling into your new lives you should be focused on each other and your home, other things and people can wait.  But I believe that when you build the life you want; when you develop a rhythm to your days that helps you accomplish all you want and need to do; when you slow down and concentrate on building your new life, the people who mean something will be there.  And they will be people who will not make you feel shame in the way you live or how much you can afford to do.  It's a brand new way of life for you, Ceri, many things will seem strange and unusual, but you should also feel excited and optimistic.  You are on the verge or reinventing your lives and yourselves and you are very fortunate to be able to do that.  I wish you well in your new lives.


  1. Many places have community gardens where you can rent, or volunteer for a garden plot. We do this even though we own our home, because our yard is surrounded by evergreens and the shade is hard to grow in. We grow most of our produce in this plot.

  2. Ceri,thanks for asking the questions that prompted this wonderful response from Rhonda. I'm in a similar situation and also struggle to"justify my existence" because I'm not earning.Rhonda, thank you for your thoughtful reply.
    Re growing veggies - you may be able to get polystyrene veggie boxes for free(in Australia they're used to pack broccoli for sale)and they make great planting boxes with a few holes in the bottom.

  3. Rhonda Jean , you answered that in such a lovely and honest way. I think so many people want to make the life change your friend writes about but are too scared.

  4. My husband and I do not own our home and have had a garden for the past 7 years now. It has looked a bit different depending on where we were living but very doable! Our first garden was at the community garden since we were living in Student Family Housing and there were no garden areas at all. It was hard to have to load up the kids to drive to the garden to weed or see what was for dinner but very fun and worthwhile. Our next rental the owners let us have a small garden as long as we re-seeded it. Ends up we moved in January so were not able to plant grass in the dead of winter. We bought a bag of grass seed and paid the owner the re-seed it in the spring which he did not charge much at all. Now we are at another rental and have a huge garden and 40 some chickens! Its a little scary as if our lease is not renewed in January we'll have to look for another home that allows tons of chickens. The garden is very doable though. Ask your landlord, dig it up, and plant. We have never done raised beds or anything since we will just be re-seeding when we leave. Container gardening is also a wonderful idea. A few packets of seeds and you can have a wonderful garden, it really doesn't take much. Sun, dirt, water, and time. :)

  5. Rhonda,
    I think you made some excellent points and I hope Ceri will look through all your past posts as there is much she can learn there and maybe find some new ways of looking at things.
    If I could say something to Ceri, would be this,live your life for yourself and your husband!! What others may think is nothing to you,unless you let it be.Embrace this new life you want!! You are in for many,many wonderful times!!

  6. Awesome post!!! I think far too many of us have been suckered into believing our net worth is determined by how deeply connected we are with the rat race.

  7. I don't work outside the home or have kids either, so I understand where you are coming from. I used to feel bad about it but now if people ask what I do, I say I work at home. I like the sound of that instead of saying unemployed or even homemaker.

    When we were still renting, I planted in pots on our balcony. Lettuce, herbs and cherry tomatoes grew very well.

    I also like Rhonda's suggestion of going to farmer's markets. Another idea is to head straight to the source, either farms that sell produce on the side of the road or have yearly U-pick sales. Strawberries will be coming up soon at the farm and it's much cheaper to buy a large quantity in season. Then you can make jam or freeze them for the coming year. Also, by hanging out at farms/farmer's markets you should be able to find new friends with similar values. It's win-win! ;)

  8. My mom was a stay-at-home wife. She always said it was a learned job, just like any other job. I've worked my whole married life so far (4 years), but we are planning and putting away extra so I can stay home when kids come along. Of course, Hubby is a student, but when he gets his PhD and a professorship -- no guarantee I'll work then! I'd much rather stay home even then. I've decided that I won't bother with what others say; I've learned to ignore those things are that hurtful or not encouraging. Its hard, but its learn-able.

    Good luck Ceri -- you'll find a community that will encourage you in your endeavors, I just know it.

  9. Ceri - hang in there. I actually envy YOU for having a supportive husband so that you can stay home. I love that. It can be tough to make friends, but believe me, the ones who are real, honest and appreciate you for who you are not what you do or how much you make, those are the valuable ones. All the best! And lovely lovely blog Rhonda Jean!!
    - Lynne, fr Cape Cod

  10. What a great question. It is one asked by many people looking to keep their lives as simple as possible. The partner that stays home, in any marriage, has a great deal of responsibility and work. Your answer, Rhonda, hit the nail on the head. An absolutely outstanding and correct answer.

  11. I really needed this post right now, thank you so much!

  12. Great suggestions Rhonda. She is welcome to check out my blog and specifically section on "urban gardening". Almost all of my veggies are in pots because we rent and barely have any space for planting. Some of them have been successful and some have been failures but I am learning. I recently had to transplant everything back into pots from our small little garden because the sun wasn't shining down on the little patch of land anymore. You live and learn and it's a great experience even if you're only harvesting small amounts at first. Good Luck to Ceci. xo m.

  13. As the old saying goes "A dollar saved is a dollar earned." I don't know if you have the actual cash to do it, but you could take your shopping money, do your shopping then anything you haven't spent (because you got it from home, got a bargain on it or just didn't spend) goes into the tin for next week. Then you have a something tangible to see how you are contributing to the marriage (as well as the baked bread etc!).

  14. My husband's family is very conservative. His mother still believes I'm full of strange ideas, LOL.

    I've always been a free-thinker though, so it doesn't really bother me - if anything, it makes me sad to see those who question my methods, don't even understand their own.

    Don't believe those who question what you're doing, even understand what they're doing. Be prepared. It's GOING to come across sounding like a bunch of airy-fairy nonsense, no matter how you express it, LOL.

    We just had my husband's family over recently, and I'm glad they visited. But they still don't get what we're trying to achieve together. Honestly, I'm content they can see who we are, without having to justify it now.

    My job in life isn't to make people like me, or even make people BE like me. My job in life is to experience it the only way *I* can. Some things I choose and others are imposed on me, through circumstances beyond my control. That's life.

    You will come across a lot of questions about what you're doing. That's life too. :)

    Be prepared for who you are, want to be, and WILL become. You only ever have to express that person to others - they don't have to get it. That's not your job, LOL.

  15. Ceri, Thank you for your questions to Rhonda, I can also throw in a few things also.
    I live in a manufactured home of 1200 sq ft. I own the home but the very tiny lot I have my trailer on is rented, and is TINY.
    I have a south facing side of my trailer and this is where I grow my garden which produces 80% of my family's food. I barter for meat and other things I cannot grow my self. I grow in topsoil bags where I am at as there are too many pipes and utilities running under and by my trailer. You could possible master this also. I grow most of my veggies this way, and others like larger veggies, I grow in 20 qt containers, including herbs, and lettuces, and tomatoes. Anything is possible, you just have to try and experiment, this is not an exact science.
    There is nothing wrong with living simply, and friends who judge you by your pocketbook, or your purchase capacity are not worth your time or energy, these type of people are toxic to you and your partner, and do not listen to them, I "had" people around me like this and I dumped them in a hurry and have not looked back, and that has been 20+ yrs ago. Dream on and pursue.

    Vicki S in the US in Nebraska

  16. Debbie, Ontario, CanadaMay 21, 2010 11:36 am

    I really liked this post. I haven't as yet make the successful transition from a working mom to an almost stay-at-home mom yet. It's still a work in progress. I have days where I feel guilty about staying home but it's working out so well for my kids and hubby that I'm just going to have to give it my 110% just like I did with my out of home job. Thanks for the support and encouragement Rhonda.

  17. What a thoughtful and lovely answer to Ceri's question!! I have been a SAHM for 32 years. I have done jobs for money from my home too. I consider it a privilege to work at home. Not everyone understands my job, but I would not trade it for anything.
    I love Heather's comment that she simply says she works from home. Cool, I love that.

  18. Ceri - wishing you all the very best in your new venture, and adventures. :-)
    Re friendships and opinions - you can never please everyone, and besides: What people think of you is none of your business! ;-) (Ie, it doesn't matter, hurtful though it may be, as pointed out by The Younger Rachael.) Look at this way - you will more time to cultivate more enriching friendships, based on similar interests and values, rather than the flimsy friendships within the paid workforce, which only exist via circumstance and association, largely.
    I am a landlord, and would be delighted if a tenant wished to garden. I am certain that your landlord will have no problem with you value adding to his/her property. The container gardening option is always there, too.
    Glad to hear that you have an intelligent/supportive husband, who values your very real contribution to your household. :-)
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  19. What an interesting and thought provoking post.

    I agree with so much that has been said already, but I will add that true freedom (and everything that stems from that, including contentment)comes from reaching the point where you honestly don't care what people think because you understand the value of what you are doing...and what has brought you to that point.

    'Making your life your job' sums it up perfectly

  20. I think it was this sentence that cheered me up: "It is my job to shop for bargains and get value for every cent we spend;..."

    I spend a bit of time doing that sort of thing.

  21. Some of the comments reminded me of an article in the RACV magazine (motoring magazine) that I got in early May in the mail.

    The interview was of a guy from the Mallee who is young and helps people with their money. He had some comments to make about people who brag about their money and about them going to dinner parties etc. There is also a website, but the article was amazing.

  22. I would be thrilled if I had a husband, and could stay at home. I do live a simple life, it happened automatically being single with a little house, so I work, garden (mostly pots for convenience), bake, jam, quilt, knit, sew, dehydrate veggies, make cleaners, and antiwrinkle oil and I'm going to learn to use the canner I got for my birthday, and I also plan to attend a perfume making course. I love being able to make things for myself.
    My friends are lining up to come and stay a weekend, and most of them invited themselves, some of them wish they could do the same thing.
    Good question, and great answer.
    Jean (Denmark)

  23. I have been home for many years now. It may take some time for you to adjust to your new choices, but you will. You are choosing a life rich in time versus a life working for material things. Of course I don't believe that every woman who works chooses to, but I think many do because they don't want a life of less material wealth, or a life where they feel they have to sacrifice.

    If we are at home, often there is sacrifice - we can't always have what we want, and everything we have may not been the latest or the greatest, but I believe you'll get to the point that you won't doubt your choice a second, and you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. The richness of your life won't be held by the value of what you own, it will be held by what you value most. I wish you all the best in your new life journey!

    I have never ended up homeless, or without food, or without the necessary needs of life. It has always worked out somehow, even when on paper it didn't look like it would. Most days it still barely works out on paper, but we have all we need and a little more.

  24. Well, I am overwhelmed and sit here in tears as I write. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Rhonda!!! What a wonderful reply. Makes so much sence to think of it as my new job. You have put so much into perspective... just wish I could pop in for a cuppa tea to soak up all your wonderful wisdom. You are truly a special person.

    Fantastic to read all the responses too, amaizing how, by reaching out the universe has supplied a number of wonderfully supportive people. Funny seeing in black and white on the internet that we are changing our lives makes it more real.
    By reading all of these responses I realise I am so doing what is right for us. Thank you for your encouragment and great ideas on gardening in rented accommodation.

    I feel I have now made new friends


  25. I am frequently amazed at how often I am presented with a blog post such as this at just the right moment in my life! Reading this post and all the comments has given me some much-needed inspiration and confidence ~ not to mention a well-aimed kick-up-the-proverbial-bottom!
    So many thanks to Ceri, Rhonda Jean and all the lovely ladies who took time to comment (((hugs)))

  26. So inspiring to read that you are all out there. I too am a stay home mum, currently studying to be able to go back into the workforce on a casual basis, so that I am also at the same time able to 'be there' for my children before and after school and all of the school holidays through the year. My career, is my family, it's just that simple, however, it's most definitely the busiest career I have ever had for no $$ payment at all. Yes, at times I am made to feel I am a burden to society, however, when I see my children are happy and my hubbie comes home to a clean home and cooked meals, I know I am the lucky one. Go get 'em Ceri - I wish you all the very best in your new and very challenging career, but I guarantee you will be so much more relaxed and happier for it. Hugs to you.

  27. It's a problem that has been around a long time, that you are defined by the job that you do, instead of by what you do (subtle difference there). It's always one of the first questions that people are asked and then they go from there... and I've been guilty of it too.

    Actually Ceri, I think new friends will envy you rather than anything else. They will wish that they had your choices, freedom and control. Good luck!

  28. Good post!

    A lot of the time, when you make a lifestyle change like this, it is hard for your friends to go with you. Your priorities change while their's do not.

    You will make new friends in your new life who will have the same priorities and goals that you have.

    This does not mean that you forget the old friends but they will eventually be left behind as you develop.

  29. Ceri,
    last summer I gave a high paying career to be a SAHM to my 3 children.
    I like you also have a thing about Radley lol and now instead of buying them myself my dear family buy me one now for my birthday or christmas so I don't feel I'm going without.
    Your story really touched my heart as I had all the feelings you have now.
    I felt guilty for giving up my job - yes the money was nice but it caused me so much stress and grief.
    Slowly over the last last year I have learnt to run our home like a business.
    I save money or what we have left each month and I shop for needs and not wants anymore.
    I bake my own bread daily and all the family love it.
    I grow my own veggies and last year I did really well so fingers crossed for this year.
    I bake cakes and biscuits and the children love these.
    I always have something to do - I am always busy and in some ways my life now is harder than when I worked for a company. I wouldn't change anything though - I am so much happier providing love and time for my family and having time for myself.
    I've recently started keeping chickens and have my first lot of eggs under the incubator ready to breed my own chicks.
    I started with a list of how I would like my life to be and in just under a year I'm surprised at how much I have achieved.
    Go for it Ceri.

  30. This has been a wonderful post.

    Blessings on all who live or wish to live this lifestyle. It is a journey taken one step at a time.


  31. Rhonda's point about thinking of your husband and yourself as a team is important. You are both working to make the simple live you want.

    I have to work at a full-time job now, but I feel that I have two full-time jobs because I am trying to live a simple homemade life, which involves extra work at home. I make all our meals from scratch, mend our clothes, hang clothes on the line to dry, garden, you get the picture. That is all a lot of work, but it is the work I love and would gladly give up the pay check job and focus on homemaking. The household runs smoother when someone can focus on homemaking.

  32. I experienced the same reactions from people especially relatives who implied that I was just lazy.

  33. I, too, rent and my landlords let me garden, as it adds value to a home. As long as one does not do something outrageous, (whatever that might be!) gardens are usually welcome. I used to send over large bouquets of flowers to them, and it was delightful. Now there is a change in management but no change in the garden.

    Live your life for you; not others You are not hurting anyone and should live life as you choose with that in mind. Buying means nothing other than making a manufacturer rich.

  34. I've been working from at home for the last six years and I can honestly say I've never been happier or more fulfilled. Both my partner and I see it as my 'job' to run the home, cook, sew, shop as economically as possible, grow a few veggies and generally keep everything ticking over smoothly. It really suits us as a couple and the arrangement works incredibly well for both of us. Good luck to Ceri in her new role in life, I hope she'll enjoy it as much as I do.

  35. "You are on the verge or reinventing your lives and yourselves and you are very fortunate to be able to do that."

    Rhonda, thank you for this post, and in particular the above line.

    In so many ways I feel that describes where I am at too! What an exciting place to find oneself : in the process of creating a life more attuned to my values.

    Like Sharon said before me, this is such a timely post to read.


  36. I would also like to contribute some encouragement to Ceri. The home you'll be able to create (now that you don't have the outside demands of outside employment)will be a much calmer and more soothing one for both you and your husband. There will finally be time to create the home you haven't had time for before. Nevermind what anyone else says. This is obviously right for both of you. ENJOY the process...whether it's baking bread, planting the garden, quilting a throw for the sofa - whatever you choose to do, enjoy it!

  37. Rhonda, this post came just when I needed a refreshing reminder of what life could be like. Thank you so much for your inspiration.

  38. What a gentle and kind response! I feel like your advice and the tone of your writing was helpful to Ceri as well as others!

  39. Ceri,

    This is the most wonderful kind of life you could possibly have! It is life work and very valuable, which many things in this world that we don't get a salary for are!


  40. Love this post,Rhonda!
    I wanted to ask what you do about needing new clothing,like skirts and shirts? Do you make them or buy these? I am in need of new skirts(I dont wear pants) and I am wondering if it would be more frugal to buy them or make them? My sewing skills are basic and I am a plus size woman so the skirt prices vs. material and time would run the about the same. What do you think? You always look so lovely in your blog pics.


  41. Great post, and great comments as well. I especially liked the one where one reader reminded us that a "dollar saved is a dollar earned." And actually, it's even more than a dollar earned, at least in the US, where they would tax that dollar you earned.

    I am privileged to be able to stay at home with my two young boys, but I also think I am in a season of life right now where I can't do all the "domestic" things I want to do, like bake bread every day, etc. They are just very hands on, being boys, and being 2 1/2 and 8 mos. old. It's funny, though, even though I have plenty to keep me busy between cleaning, cooking, and nurturing our kids, when I tell people sometimes that I don't work outside the home, they almost respond as if it's an indulgence. Some moms manage to work from home and generate income, but I just find that too much to cope with right now, so I am trying to find ways to save what we do have.

  42. What a wonderful post! Always a joy to visit your blog :)

  43. Yes! Great post Rhonda. I made my life my job last year and could not be happier. Thanks for writing about this so well.

  44. We live on a sailboat and also long to have a veggie garden. We did ask the marina we're in now if we cold have a spot and they said they "would think about it". In the mean time, we have used buckets we found dumpster diving and other found containers to start doing some tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and strawberries along our pier. We know lots of fellow boat dwellers who manage tomato and herb plants on board. If they can do it Ceri, you can too!

  45. Well said...thank you Rhonda!


  46. What a wonderful question and wonderful response! It's so inspiring - I find myself (mid-twenties) underwhelemd with the idea of working 9-5 for the rest of forever but, being single, struggle to forsee ever not having's just encouraging to be reminded that all things are possible and you have to live the life *you* want to live, not the one you are "expected" to live...
    Good luck Ceri! xxx

  47. I just had to add a comment on this, since I often have a similar struggle. It's wonderful that your very best friend, your husband, is supporting your efforts. Rhonda is right in all she says, but there is also the consideration that you have your husband to lean on. Sometimes, just verbalizing your fears helps to dispel them. For instance, would you say to your husband, "I'm afraid so-and-so won't like me anymore, because I can't go to that expensive restaurant for lunch"? The other wonderful thing about your being home, is that you can invite your friends to your home, instead of going out. A simple snack or meal and a grateful, gracious attitude is all it takes. You might even change the hearts of those who are also "Radley handbag girls"...

  48. Rhonda,

    I Love this......

    There is a lot to take pride in when you build a life that makes you happy. Money alone cannot buy that, it takes time, effort, skill and the ability to let go of what we've been programmed to believe.


    This is so true and full of wisdom.

    I know I have written here many times that I have felt guilty to just sit and knit during the day...and Rhonda has help me over come this...I also have a shop on Etsy and I feel like I can make a little money while knitting for my family:)

    Thank Ceri for letting us all not feel like we are alone in our thinking:)


  49. Great feedback Rhonda. I just found this link and thought it would be an interesting resource here. Easy gardening idea, although I don't know how I feel about the plastic bag potentially breaking down..... Hopefuuly the link works. Hope you are well! PS Have you thought about creating a pay pal account where people can donate to your volunteer location....I thought about that in response to your buying goods for the'd give some of us an opportunity to contribute. Blessings to you!

  50. I think a lot of people would find themselves in this position, I certainly do as well. I really think finding some like minded people to share the journey with helps- even if its just online...

  51. I to felt this way so instead for calling myself a Housewife, I call my self a Domestic Economist. It is really the same thing just a fancy title! Enjoy your time and have fun! This is the best job I have ever had!

  52. I still work 5 days a week but now my have finished school, one wil enter uni next year and son went travelling half wasy through his degree and is now at home intending to finish the degree next year, also a husband who has a business only JUST! Therefore I am the only breadearner. So what I am learning from your blog Rhonda is sustaining the family and teaching them their is more to life pleasures than spending money. Even though we have less money than we have ever had we don't have a credit card! We onlyhave a v.small morgage and every month becoming even smaler and we eat better than most top class restaurants! Because we have a sustainable garden. We are together more and learning something new every day. Just taught my daughter to make bread and I never buy procesed cleaning products anymore, used up a container of old crayons to make candles, so our dinners are always candle lit. Honestly we haved never been happier. I used to work shift work - now I have every weekend off so I can get into a rythym which also makes a big diference. Good luck to Ceri.

  53. This is great advice for someone facing a huge lifestyle change!

  54. Thank you Rhonda! (and all the commenters - there is so much wisdom in those comments too)
    This post has helped me to finally take the decision that I have been thinking about for a long time now. I was working freelance for a newspaper, but it didn't really work out. I was suffering from stress and I think I am/was facing a burn out. We have been discussing quitting, my husband does make enough money to provide for our family. Still, I had a hard time deciding to let it go, for several reasons (money, being part of society, other people thinking I needed a job). Your words reminded me of what we really wanted our life to be like. Simple, peaceful, happy. And since the job was taking it all way, I now finally decided to quit. Thank you so much!

  55. This life is the only life you will be given so live it the way you two want to. I have been a stay at home mother and now the kids are grown and I am still at home. After so many years I know how to run our home but I am never bored. Things are always changing in everyone's lives and so things at home have to be tweeked along with it. Always too a new skill to try. Right into retirementand beyond. I learn new things all the time and many from young women close to home or on the net. Ceri, we hope to hear from you often in comments and let us know how you are doing and if you have any questions or comments we are here. I and many other women we know have found their friends actually envious of them being home. With or without children. Never feel guilty...whos life is it?...yours not theirs. From reading things in the newspaper etc about young women coming home it encourages others to think and do the same. Many think it impossible till someone they knows has done it. At first they may be surprised and say so but maul it over in their minds if they too could do this. Seen it happen over and over! Sarah

  56. Don't be too hard on yourself and remember that in one way or another we all CHOOSE the lifestyle we wish to be living. You have made the decision to live a more simpler life and if in that decision it includes you not working a 9-5 job, so be it.

    I myself checked out of that race 7 years ago. AFTER my son moved away and i became an empty nester. I am 44 now and i happily tell people that ask that i am retired. I think it is all in your own making on how others will perceive you. If you are ashamed to be home, like you SHOULD be doing more, then it shows through in your day to day interactions with people.

    Be proud, hold your head up. When asked respond like i do "hubby makes the dollars and i stretch them as far as they possibly can go". That is a job all in itself and many days a lot harder than one who just punches a time clock and goes about their routine job.

    It will get easier and you will become more confident when you begin to realize all that you bring to the table. Until then, be strong, ignore the ignorant and just enjoy this time in your life.

  57. This doesn't have much to do with the subject of your post. But I've been wondering for a long time.

    I see a lot of fabric in the photos. And I know that many mamas and women these days do a lot of sewing.

    Do you buy all organic fabric? If not, what do you think of the environmental impact of the textile industry? It is one of the most polluting but I see many, many people following "simple lives" yet purchasing a lot of this stuff.

    Just wondering...

  58. Probably the hardest part of living simply is letting go of societal expectations. I know just last evening as I was talking with two other moms at my son's baseball game, I was again confronted with the realization of how differently our family lives from most.

    The skills you can learn one by one - don't try to take on too much at once or you will probably get discouraged. Our family, with six children, made the transition over a period of five years and now we homestead and both my husband and I work mainly out of our home working with our hands. I have blogged about our family's journey.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

  59. Thank you for the inspiration. I pray daily to find new interesting work that glorifies God in some way and doesn't bore me. ;-) I'm glad to have discovered your beautiful blog.

  60. Rhonda, I was reading your Christmas message today and saw the link to this post below. I've been retired (early) for 7 years now and have come to understand most of what you said on my own, but how beautifully you put it all! Making Your Life Your Job is such a perfect phrase it feels as though I've been given a Christmas gift. Thank you. Happy Christmas to you and yours!


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