DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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11 October 2011

Homemaking - the power career

I received an email from a young married woman in her late 20s the other day. She is trying to decide whether to give up a career in teaching to have children and be a stay at home wife. She said her main problem is that she has doubts about being at home, thinks she'll become bored and she won't be as fulfilled as she is now. I told her to stay in her job until she's sure she wants to have children; being a stay-at-home mum is sometimes a difficult and challenging job but if approached with the right mindset, can be enriching and would probably change her in many significant ways. I also told her to read today's post.


I think the traditional view of homemaking is that it is a fairly menial job, one that doesn't take much thought and comes with no power and few opportunities. From where I stand now, I think that view is rather dated, if it ever was true to begin with; from where I stand now, homemaking is a power career. As the homemaker, you are responsible for the health and well being of your family. It's the homemaker's job to look after the family assets, to set up a household budget and use the family income to pay for everything they need. If that is done well, the savings can be used for the betterment of the family - in paying off debt, or for education, travel or hobbies.

If I were coming to homemaking at this moment for the first time, I would see it as a great opportunity to create a decent, warm, comfortable home for myself and my family. I'd take advantage of every spare moment to skill myself in the areas in which I was lacking and I'd welcome the opportunity to organise my home in a way that would help me work and facilitate the home production of many of the products I used to buy.


If I were moving into a new home, I'd want a larder or pantry, a separate laundry room, a sewing and craft room that also held the ironing station as well as plenty of outdoor space for a vegetable garden, fruit orchard, chickens and maybe some bees. Mind you, I pretty much just described what I have here in my own home, so I'm on a pretty good thing and I'm happy to say I'm making the most of it. Men have their sheds where they store their tools, fix the lawn mower and the kids bikes; it's where they can work with their tools close by, have suitable work benches that help them carry out the jobs they tackle. Women's sheds are their homes - we have to see our homes as not only a place to relax and nurture our families, but also our work place, where we use the time we have to produce the needs of the family. I make bread, soap, laundry liquid, snacks like crackers, cakes and biscuits, wholesome food, jams and marmalades, I make cordial in summer from the fruits we grow in the backyard, I freeze and bottle excess vegetables and fruits. For all those tasks, I need various spaces that help me do my best work and where I can set up for some jobs that may take longer than a day. I sew, mend, knit and write and for those activities, I need a working space; a place where I can think, work creatively and where I can piece together bits of fabric that become larger and useful items, or words and phrases that become blog posts, articles and books. My workspace is in one of the old bedrooms. Our house was not set up like this when we moved in, we changed it to suit how we live and work. And it's changed more than once, it changes to suit our interests and the work being done.


One of the first important tasks for any new homemaker is to organise their working space. Take control of your home and your time, don't be afraid to change things that don't suit the way you work or the type of work you do. If you're living in a newly built home, you might find their won't be enough storage space, so you might need to find some old cupboards for your stockpile and your cleaning ingredients. If you're living in an older home, you may need to open up spaces and let in more light. If there is nothing stopping you modifying your home to better suit your family and your work, get to it, make the spaces inside your home the places where you work to your potential.

Most of us do a large portion of our work in the kitchen - so organising that space to best suit the type of cooking we do will make working in the kitchen easier. We also do laundry, so clear the decks and organise the laundry with your homemade laundry liquids and the ingredients for making it, your soaps and ingredients, a rag bag to hold your recycled cleaning rags as well as an area where you can soak stained clothing and store the ironing board.

Many of the older readers here would know that I don't consider craft to be a hobby. For me it's part of my housework. I sew, mend and knit so we have good quality and long wearing scarves, cardigans, jumpers, hats, dishcloths, tablecloths and napkins. I see that as part of my homemaker's work, not a hobby. Back in my great grandmothers' day, making clothing and woollens for the family was part of almost every women's home tasks. Somehow those tasks where either moved to become separate hobbies or were not done at all. They still hold an important place here, I still do all of them, still enjoy them, and they're a part of my work.  


I see homemaking as a dynamic, vital, engaging, interesting, powerful and creative career. It's a career that offers you the freedom to organise your own hours and do your tasks at your own rate. Of course there is no pay, but if you do it well, you'll be paid back in satisfaction and the knowledge that your family thrives because of the work and effort you put into them and home.  Never be afraid of work. Yes, it's wonderful to be able to take time out to sit and relax, but rest is appreciated so much more when it's balanced by tasks completed. Sitting around all day is overrated. Work is where we find ourselves and the reward for that hard work is a strong character, a wonderful family and a comfortable home.


If you're a full-time homemaker by choice or circumstance, never let anyone tell you that working in your home, cooking for your family, sewing and knitting, cleaning your nest and organising the lives of your family is not important work. Sure it can be tiring at times, all jobs are, but from where I stand, in my grandmothering years, I know that I have done my best work here at home. I'm just an ordinary woman and I don't know much, but this I know, with certainty, when you actively take control of your life and your home, when you plan and make decisions and don't leave things to chance, you will be paid back in ways you never expected. Take control, plan your work spaces, organise your family and your work and then sit back to enjoy the fruits of all that with the people you love. But don't expect it to be perfect, learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes.  It's that simple.

This is a big topic and I've already taken up too much of your time today, so I'll continue tomorrow to talk about the financial side of homemaking. I hope you have a lovely day - enjoy your work whether it be in the home or somewhere else.

62 comments:

  1. its all about perspective isnt it. a change in attitude to what "homemaker" represents, or should we be saying..home executive.

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  2. I could not agree more with your mindset! Of all the jobs I've held in my life (from menial low paid work to highly skilled/well paid positions and even self employment) NONE have been more deeply satisfying than being an at home wife and mother. To watch my family thrive in the HOME I have made from a house is a richly rewarding experience. I have never felt more powerful as an individual, as a woman, or as a member of society as I have in this role. I have the opportunity to truly made a difference every day of my life ~ for which I am grateful.

    It is my CHOICE to work at home and although I do not receive a paycheque, I am "paid" daily in satisfaction and gratitude (not to mention hugs and kisses). :) Beautiful post!

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  3. Love this! Thank you! I'm a stay at home Mom, homemaker, homeschooling Mom, small business owner and we live in a tiny rented house. I wish I could organize my home the way you speak of, I do the best I can with what we have at this point. We have many goals for th future. This is inspiring!

    Becca

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  4. Hello! Just wanted the reader who emailed you to know that I was in her exact situation 2 years ago! I had a "prestigious" university teaching job, was considering starting a family, and afraid if I stayed home I would not be challenged or fulfilled. After giving birth to my daughter, I realized there was no place I wanted to be but home with her. It's one of the best decisions I've made. Everyone needs to do what's best for them, but there is one piece of advice I feel I can now give; Be honest with yourself. I realized I wasn't actually afraid of not be challenged (there's always something new to learn no matter where you are), but afraid that others may look down on me for making this choice.

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  5. To the young wife - I loved staying at home with my young family. As to boredom, no doubt you will join mother's group/play groups and meet some wonderful likeminded women.
    Being a teacher, you are in an ideal position to go back to work when the kids are all at school IF you still want to. It's a job that fits so well around family. You can use the holidays to do all of your sewing, organising etc..
    But you may find you never want to go back,and hopefully your partner in life will realise the tremendous value you are adding to family life.
    Once you hold your first born in your arms you may also find that you never want to hand them over to someone else :)
    Good luck!
    Madeleine

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  6. Everyone is different I love my home and making it a great place and center for our family. My sister tried it and found it was a penance for her. Though to my eyes sitting in a messy home and taking your child nowhere except to the television set is not homemaking.

    A usable home, young children properly centered and properly socialized - mum's groups, playgroup, swimming and library -to name a few groups that socialize kiddies and mums.
    Tasty budget conscious meals and TIME time to spend with your children and partner. These are precious things that a homemaker is in the position to give and do.

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  7. You know, I'd like to add a different perspective here. What you've described is sort of the typical, stereotypical role of the homemaker... and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But many people's lives (at least many of the people in my circles) just don't look like that - the nuclear family where the woman stays home and raises kids while the man goes out and earns a living.

    Plus, it really bothers me that people still take "man's work vs. women's work" in the home as a given. I mean, who's to say that the work shed couldn't be the woman's territory and the kitchen the man's? Or who's to say they can't both have a hand in both, or that one person couldn't do all of the household chores (as I do)... or for that matter, who's to say that your "family unit" has to be based on one man and one woman... I know many people who have much more different and creative living arrangements. And I'm not talking about crazy hippie communes or something like that, but adult siblings who live together, or several couples sharing a large house, or gay couples, or a group of single people living together, or people who care for an elderly parent, or adult children living with their parents, or whatever makes sense for the people involved.

    I guess I'd like to challenge both you and your readers to embrace a broader view of "homemaking." It need not involve raising children, and it can easily include earning some money or running a business from home as part of the deal.

    I don't mean to come across as argumentative, I just think that we should embrace creativity when building our lives, and open ourselves up to all of the different possibilities of "homemaking." When you embrace frugality and self sufficiency, and extract yourself from the stereotypical roles (worker, wage-earner, wife, etc.) that our society creates for us, suddenly many options present themselves that would never have been there otherwise.

    Perhaps I sound like a crazy radical... maybe I am. But I think that many more people would embrace "homemaking" if it weren't quite so narrowly defined.

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  8. Thanks for this post, Rhonda! I get bombarded with insults all the time from strangers that think poorly of me being a homemaker. I much prefer our lifestyle as opposed to a consumption filled one.

    You're inspiring me to learn a lot of homemaking skills such as making bread and soap!

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  9. Hi Brenda, this year I tried to return to full time study and then take up a part time job, all with threee young children..... You will never guess that it was too much, to be the home-maker and mamma I desire to be, being at home full time takes up so much of my time - there is nothing left to work outside of it! Thanks so much for this post today! xx Rach

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  10. oh no, not Brenda - I read one of the comments... sorry, sorry Rhonda xxx

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  11. To the young wife. I take it you are going to put your pay aside and living on your husband's to see how that works. Cutting down expenses and learning new skills little by little to help also. It feels impossible but living on one income can be done. We are here to prove it !! Do not wait till you are pregnant and your due date is close to quit your job. You need time to get yourself settled in your home life. Also time to rest and time to get things ready for the baby. Becoming a parent is another step and should not be taken at the same time as becoming a homemaker full time for the first time. Do not become over whelmed. It will take some time to get familiar with what it takes to run your own home. Each home and each couple has different ideas of what makes for a comfortable home. Even we as homemakers for years, adjust things in our home schedules over the years to accommodate different seasons of our lives. Be easy on yourself. As Rhonda would tell you, it is a process. I guarantee you you will find plenty to do and you will not be bored. Some young people are not used to being alone , having always worked with other people. Also they may not be used to setting their own schedules all day because at work the schedules were set by the employer. This will be a learning experience but sooo worth the effort. It is not that you cannot ever see your old friends...they will still be there to visit. You know Rhonda is here with many many posts to help you and many future posts too!! {{of which I too am grateful}}
    All new parents realize soon after driving home with their little bundle of joy that parenting is different in some ways then they even imagined. We have all been there...you will not be alone. With your homemaking settled somewhat you will be able to enjoy the new blessing with more ease. Yes you will get tired as all parents do and feel over whelmed at times. This is new to you and you will find a rhythm to your days with the baby soon. I know you are not pregnant yet but wanted to add all this because we may not be able to comment to you later. :) You and your husband are thinking right. We are all congratulate you on your new adventure!! Sarah

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  12. I must admit I have struggled as I like being in control and then when I read this it dawned on me that this is actually the perfect career for me.

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  13. staying home to raise a family is the one thing in my life that I know I got right! I was very imvolved in my kids school life and as your a teacher anyway think of all the good you can do. Not only was I involved in school council and parents group, I did reading with the kids everyday, helped in maths group and computer group and helped on special sports days. I was also the mum that helped run the canteen and if parents were needed to help with special outings then I was there too! This help forge a bond with my children and their friends so the teenage years were relatively pain free and now that they are adults we are good friends. I also did all the stuff and home too! haha. You will never be bored, your brain will be stimulated and the rewards will be huge and long lasting.

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  14. EcoCatLady, THANK YOU. I agree wholeheartedly with every word you said. I'm a youngish American stay-at-home-mom who doesn't get oodles of fulfillment out of daily chores, but I'm still very happy staying home. I made this choice as freely as anyone can, and more freely than most and it's still really hard. I don't find having a clean home fulfilling, but I like that I have the time and energy to make sure that I can have a clean(ish) home.

    What I do find fulfilling is that I can live my life as I see fit, that I have the time to do what's important to me. Cooking is great, but even better is that I can do things like source local quasi-organic foods. I organize a buying club that allows me and many other families to have ready access to local quasi-organic meat; it's hard work but it's very fulfilling (except when the farmer insults me for being a mother..but hey, he totally lost our business over that).

    I'm also a very active volunteer all in causes that I really care about. I couldn't do that if I had paid employment, and frankly there's no paid job out there that would be as personally fulfilling.

    My staying home enables us to have the quality of life we want.I don't thrill in every bit of it, but it's good enough and I have the "free" time to put my energy where it really matters.

    To the young wife, the transition from work to home life is hard and I highly recommend you find a group of like minded friends now. That said, once you settle into your new role it can be really wonderful. I'm never bored and I only rarely wish I could go back to work. Also talk to your spouse now about showing proper appreciation for what you will do as a SAHM. My husband gets plenty of reward and positive feedback in his paid job; I need that too. I find that I enjoy my life far more when my husband remembers to not take me and my work for granted.

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  15. Rhonda, I think this is one of your best posts yet. I loved reading every word. Thanks!

    Angela

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  16. Thanks Rhonda Jean, I needed a bit of a push along this week.
    Regards, Barb

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  17. Hi Rhonda,
    I appreciate the validation of the homemaker lifestyle, but disagree in one aspect. I've been a stay at home housewife for a while now, but I'm not and will not be a mother. I don't think you have to have children to lead a fulfilling life, there are many roles and activities you can do both at home and in your community that are rewarding in themselves. I resent the suggestion that the only time a woman should consider staying home is when there are children to raise, since I consider supporting my "family" (my husband, his parents and grandparents), to be a valid and worthwhile task. Just sayin' ;-)

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  18. What a wonderful Post Rhonda, I like the point you make about the homemaker saving the money! I had never thought of this in my duties before, it is a great bonus that comes with the Job. I think I'm doing well on the homemaking side of things, Best Job I've ever had!! Hubby is renovating/extending the Kitchen as I type...and I think I'll get him working on that 'Ironing Station' next! :)

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  19. Rhonda, I love this. I could not agree with you more. I am a former teacher and taught 5 years after my son was born. I those 5 years, I dreaded being away from home but we were not at the point financially where I could leave my job. Finally, we just took the plunge and did it. I left my job, we downsized in vehicles and cut up the credit cards and everything has worked out the past 7 years. I love the thought of a Homemaker being a power career! Thank you so much for your encouragement.

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  20. Gee I love your blog. I find it so inspirational!

    thanks for all of the work you put into it.

    fleur

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  21. Awesome post Rhonda. You echo my sentiments exactly!
    Absolutely here are versions as EcoCatLady and others have suggested. There no set rules as to what a homemaker should be just stereotype of what society does see it as.
    For instance there is absolutely no reason why a couple who have no children (by choice or circumstance) cannot choose to have one of them a homemaker, but society in general wonders why that person would choose to stay at home when they could be out working.
    Personally you set up your family and household the way that works for you.
    For me that is pretty much how Rhondas described.
    I'll be sharing this link with my mummy friends

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  22. Great post. Due to circumstances I became a SAHM when my first marriage ended and I've never gone back to full time paid employment since, though I have done a few short term casual jobs. With my involvement in the kid's schools with reading groups, canteen volunteering and being on the P&C comittee and one day a week at the Red Cross shop along with growing my own veges and sourcing bargains at op shops and food markets I never had time to become bored. I now live with my current partner on his farm so there is always something to do though I enjoy my twice monthly craft group meetings and outings.
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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  23. Great post Rhonda, as always, and EcoCatLady I agree with you too, and I'm glad you pointed that out. Rhonda is right that there is great satisfaction and value to homemaking, but it doesn't have to be one person at home while the other is at work, and I don't think Rhonda has ever said that. We share our housework (more me than him) and paid work (more him than me) and child rearing, which works well for both of us and our kids. Rhonda keeps saying, do what works for you.

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  24. I so long to be a stay-at-home mom and housewife. Financially, we can't quite swing it but we are working hard to get there. We have cut our budget to the bare bones and are making progress. I'm hoping in a year's time we can reach that point and I can devote 100% of my time to keeping my home, raising our son, and helping my husband on our farm. Thank you for the inspiration, Rhonda!
    Kris

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  25. This post is very timely for me. I am working full time, but have only been back at work for 2 months after having our 2nd child. I took 18 months off for maternity leave this time and it's been beyond hard trying to manage the household, time with the kids and work at the same time. However, I struggle with the fear of leaving work. I see how useful it would be for raising the kids, but what happens after? What about when the kids are older and I am no longer needed 24/7? I look forward to tomorrow's post, the financial question worries me also...

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  26. To the young wife.....I just want to offer another side from a previous commenter who said to quit work before you fall pregnant. I certainly would never wish this upon anyone (have dealt with it for 11 years myself) but I would suggest you don't quit work until you are pregnant, because you just don't know how long it will take you to fall pregnant.

    And to other commentors, I don't think Rhonda has a view that 'you must be man and wife, and you must have children'....she was merely posting a more specific post to the lady who emailed her.

    Thanks for an empowering post yet again Rhonda!

    Roz

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  27. Hi Rhonda,

    This is a lovely post, I couldn't agree more about homemaking being a 'power career' as such. As a SAHM, you really are the CEO of your family - if mum is down and out, often things don't get done! I have to admit though, I agree with EcoCatLady and Ashley: 'traditional' roles are both fluid and flexible.

    To the lady who wrote the email:
    The answer is finding the balance that is right for you. And you will never know what that balance is, unless you have a go. The wonderful thing is that 'balance' and rhythm is something that can be experimented with and developed over time and they also change with time (as kids grow older, for instance). There are so many options these days if you find your situation isn't working for you: stay at home, work part time, work from home, work full time etc.

    While I am glad I chose to be a SAHM, and I find homemaking to be satisfying, I would be very unhappy and unbalanced if I didn't do something 'intellectual' and outside the house also. This is why I both blog and teach as a volunteer at night. There are times when being at home can be boring: "Again? But we have sung incy wincy spider 486 times in the last hour..." It is also very challenging and a great opportunity for personal growth (patience for example - that's what I am learning ;))

    You can both enjoy being a homemaker and avoid being completely swallowed up by that role at the same time, if that's what works for you.

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  28. Wonderful as always, Rhonda.

    I've been forced into early retirement from a 35hr a week teacher's asst job through ill health as has my husband. In the past few years, mostly with the encouragement of this blog, I've learned many more skills to enable me to make much of we need at home myself thereby saving money and eating better.
    I thought I might be bored at home but truthfully there aren't enough hours in my days and that's without children here!
    We must all walk our own paths.
    coffeee/Sue

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  29. If you choose to stay home with or without having children is your choice alone. No one else's. If having no children was reason to work then I should be working as my children are grown. Every grandmother should be in the job market if that was true ! There is much to do and enjoy at home with or without children. If the couple decides to have the wife home from day one of their marriage...as we did, that is their own decision. People always find something to talk about, if it is not you it will be someone else about something else. It is Your life, Not theirs! :) Only follow what you believe is right for the two of you. :) Sarah

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  30. To Nadia, I understand you may not understand that there is more than enough to do in the home even once the children are grown and gone. There definitely is. Rhonda is home now with only Hanno and as you read her days and his are full. Yes with the children grown its frees up more of your time but by then you too have developed more and more other interests as time has allowed and so life goes on still busy. Still exciting and still fun. !! Even as children get bigger they still need you. They may not live in the same home but you still share. You still get together. Then too if they marry and have children there are even more people in the family to love and interact with ! Also when the kids are bigger it gives you more time to do things as a couple. It is hard to explain but every stage of life has its activities and time gets filled to over flowing! We volunteer now too and I think we get more out of the volunteering than the places we volunteer do. It feels so good to be helping others. Sarah

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  31. Oh thank you Rhonda. This was a timely post for me. I put my resignation in yesterday for my job (I have had maternity leave for the last 18 months) and I was feeling a bit emotional a bit closing the door on that part of my life. Your post was just what I needed to reassure me about my decision.

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  32. Thank you for this post Rhonda. I love your blog and the support and helpful ideas you send out to us. xxoo

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  33. Love this! I have struggled too (like the other Rachel that commented), but when I actually sit down and ask myself honestly what I'd rather be doing than this - homemaking and caring for my husband and 4 children, there isn't anything else I'd want that can't be done from home. And I have learned (alot from you too Rhonda) about being content and making the most of what I have and where I am and what I'm doing.
    Loved, loved, loved this post and look forward to tomorrow's continuation.

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  34. So true. Loved this post Rhonda.

    Blessings Gail

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  35. Home maker and proud of it......

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  36. First, I want to congratulate the young woman in question, for thinking about these things before rushing into it. The temptation is there to have it all, when the reality is you end up applying the most effort to what you really want to do.

    Secondly, I think the biggest mistake people make when it comes to having children, is planning ahead for what they believe they should personally get out of it.

    Children coming into the world at our request, doesn't give them a lot to barter with. They don't have a lot of say in the skills they possess, money, status or even their name. Everything has to do with what we give them instead.

    So planning for kids to give us something of a personal nature in return for their existence, is asking a bit much. ;)

    While we cannot possibly know what to expect from parenthood, until we become parents, a lot can be gleaned from our personal values system. If we expect a child to justify us for bringing them into the world, rather than finding the simple joy of having a child, then chances are we're not going to get much out of it.

    Children have nothing to barter with except absolute dependency. If you cannot see yourself yielding to that necessity, then don't try. It's not a put down to acknowledge what you are capable of doing. It should be empowering to realise what you want to do the most.

    I'm personally grateful to have a child. She's probably taught me more about myself, than I have taught her about life. Whatever perceptions I had of myself beforehand, they pretty much changed after parenthood. My husband said the same thing. We are better people for having met our daughter.

    Whatever decision you make though, positively own it, because you'll have to live with your decision for as long as you live. Get the most out of what you do, by enjoying the experiences you decide are important to you.

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  37. I just want to add, that I would not quit my job before I was pregnant, simply because you never know IF you will be able to have children.

    I think there is lots to do at home, and having a great, well-kept home to live in makes me very happy, but I find that I also need a challenge outside the home, and social interaction with others, in order to be happy. I guess it depends on who you are, what you want to do.

    Fortunately, you have a degree in teaching: there is usually a lot of work available in teaching, so you should be okay in finding work if you need to, even if you take some time off.

    Also regarding finances, you could use the wages you are earning now to reduce your mortgage (if you have bought a home) to reduce your living costs in the long run, or create an emergency fund, to give you some peace of mind later on.

    Anna

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  38. 'I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances...I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...I can do everything through him who gives me strength.' (Philippians 4:11-13) - comes to my mind as a response in this discussion.

    One can have a very fulfilling out-of-the-home paid career and be depressed, or.....equally, be a SAHM and enjoy the role, but because of low self-esteem or isolation, not be happy.

    Finding happiness in the ebb & flow of one's roles in life involves navigating losses & embracing change and all the while dealing with the various emotional issues that go on in life. There is loss & gain, uncertainty & the unknown, curiousity & spontaneity, risk & challenge, positives & benefits to navigate in the decisions of life.....

    I find that while I have developed a number of homemaking skills, that my strength does not lie in those abilities at all. The strength comes from God working in me giving me a strong sense of 'self' and connectiveness to him, others & the environment.

    Like others have said, it's a matter of perspective.

    On a practical note, your email-er is never 'alone' in this world and a decision 'now' is only ever for that moment, isn't it? There is so much support 'out there' for her in her community & neighbourhood & blogworld & perhaps extended family. I find 'never saying never' a good philosophy.....there are seasons of life and activities/skills/people/books yet to discover just 'around the corner' from her in the next 24 hours....and for us all.

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  39. Dear Rhonda, please let me call you this way, I wish I had a mother like you to listen to and to share my beliefs in homemaking. I hope you don't mind that I share this post in my blog, it is too good not to be shared worldwide.
    Wishing you a lovely day, from Portugal with love,
    Virgínia.

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  40. I think what I like about the comments here is they emphasize the importance of personal choice and finding what works for you in striking a work-life balance. For me, that choice was not to have children and work full-time outside the home, but my hub and I also have a large veg garden, orchard, and try our best to live lightly on the planet.

    For others, their life plan is to raise a family, perhaps when one parent stays at home, perhaps not. It's all good. I think the main point of advice I would give to the lady that emailed Rhonda is to be honest with yourself...absolutely honest. If you want to have kids and stay at home, great. If you don't, then don't...don't do anything because that is what "society" thinks is best, or your parents think is best. Ultimately, you have to find out what works for you. You invent your life.

    Great post Rhonda!

    AM of the bread.

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  41. Hello Rhonda, I always bookmark your homemaking posts. I am also a University Lecturer but I find no satisfaction in my work. I would readily give up my job in a second if only we could afford it. My husband is still studying (while working) to be a Obs & Gynae and so we need both our salaries to survive. We live in Sri Lanka and the cost of living here is very very high compared to our pay. I have cut my expenditure significantly by reading your blogbut still it is difficult to contemplate living on one salary.
    I would much rather stay at home with my son and be full time homemaker, but it may never be.

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  42. What a beautiful post. I crave in my heart to be in a position where I can be at home permanently and be a homemaker. :)

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  43. I've been a stay at home wife/mom for nearly 6 years. I quit my job 3 months after I married my husband and came home to be his wife. I never once thought I'd be bored, and I wasn't. We had a dairy goat, 40 hens, and 1/2 acre garden all on one acre. Before having our first baby I learned things that I didn't know like canning (using both a water bath and a pressure canner), knitting, and sewing. Once our 1st baby was born, I had a little less time, but still had down time. I could have chosen to sit in front of the TV but instead I kept busy, cleaning, canning garden produce, and cooking all of our meals from scratch since our grocery budget was $120 a month....it really helped stretch those grocery dollars. Shortly after #2 arrived. I found I had less time but still kept a garden and sewed when I could. Then #3 came and free time was harder to find (I had three kids 2 and under). Now I'm pregnant with #4, my oldest is 4 and we will be starting school next year (home school). There have been different seasons in my short time as a stay at home wife/momma but I've never been bored. And I am so glad I took the time to learn skills I didn't know when I didn't have children or only had one child. They come in handy now and learning new skills at this moment in my life has been put on the shelf. I wish all momma's would come home to be with their babies. It is so fulfilling in ways I never thought possible. I know it's not possible for everyone but it's something I would push and work for. And I also believe that nearly every couple can make it work. My husband has never made much. He makes a little less than $30,000 now which puts us just under the poverty level in the U.S.

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  44. Well said. I LOVED (loved, loved) staying home w/my family. I had to go back to work outside our home in March of '10 b/c my husband was laid off & subsequently under-employed; fortunately, we had already graduated our youngest from our homeschool, so I wasn't needed at home for that, after 16 yrs of homeschooling.

    Now that I am working outside the home, I will be the 1st to admit that my home is not as well run as it had been before & since I work so many evenings (at a health food store) I, sadly, don't get to cook so many homemade suppers for my family & am not as available for church activities or to drop everything & help someone like I used to be. It saddens me, frankly. But this is only a season & we are hoping that once our grandbabies start coming that I can again be at home all the time.

    Enjoy your children, enjoy your time at home. It is a blessing to be a stay-at-home wife & mom.

    Blessings from Ohio/USA...Kim<><

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  45. the dining area in your first photo looks so restful and inviting. a place to sit a spell, have a cup of tea and a chat.

    making a home is a lost art, yet so meaningful because the home is truly our physical anchor. our main base of operations where we launch our lives and dreams. we start and end every day there. its value is immeasurable

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  46. Love love love. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  47. To the young wife. I was climbing the corporate ladder - never thought I'd be a stay at home mum let a lone a home schooling mum.

    she has doubts about being at home, thinks she'll become bored and she won't be as fulfilled as she is now

    Bored is something I have never been, fulfilled more than my wildest dreams.

    My life is a lot different from what I planned. I know the child rearing yeas will be some of my best looking back.

    I love this quote.

    “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
    ― Joseph Campbell

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  48. It was great to read your blog, remind me of what I HOPE to have someday! Right now I am 31, single and working of some (silly) credit debt. Hopefully someday I'll meet a great guy and get married and start to build a life with him. I would LIKE to be a homemaker, and this is something I think I would find great satisfaction in! It flies against the norms of my peers around me, but like you said. I don't judge them, their choices/wants/lifestyles! They may think it's strange that I would take my college education and current career and end them to stay home and keep house... But that in and of itself would be a full time job and then some! I am reading the frugality blogs, the housemaking blogs and doing what I can to prepare myself should I be blessed with the opportunity to stay at home! And may I say that you are far busier as a homemaker than I am as a single career girl :) Keep up the good work, because I look up to you!

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  49. Hi Rhonda, I have been reading your blog for some time now and find your words and lifestyle truly inspiring.

    I'm a single, childless 40 something, running a business and about to move into my own home. I am so excited to be taking this step and am itching to bake bread, make stock, jams and preserves from scratch, make my own laundry and bath soaps, set up my sewing room and permablitz my garden. I'll be doing all these things because I see enourmous value in living frugally and expressing my creativity in these ways. I agree with you, being a 'homemaker' is totally empowering, and even for just one person it is still about creating a home and being in control.

    Love your posts Rhonda. :-)
    Lisa

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  50. Thanks for your post. It made me reflect on my journey. It took me a while to get to the point I am now. I struggled with motherhood, felt menial and unsatisfied, especially in the early age I felt house bound with all those feeds and sleeps not much to do other then watching tele. We have always lived in the big city, living the high life, working a very demanding and challenging job. I loved it. But going from working 50 hours a week to full time motherhood, that’s a huge step. I felt very lonely. Fast forward 4 years, I’m still a full time mother, of two.
    But now thriving in a country town, where we became part of a community. Where we are living the real life: chooks, veggie garden, cooking and baking everything from scratch, sewing, quilting, planting an orchard and a forest for the wildlife. I’m using my brains in all the different parts of house making and feel challenged learning all these new things. Yes, the earnings are different, but my life is so much richer.

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  51. "I guess I'd like to challenge both you and your readers to embrace a broader view of "homemaking." It need not involve raising children, and it can easily include earning some money or running a business from home as part of the deal."


    How do you know that many of us don't already think like that?

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  52. Hi Ecocatlady, I read your comment and would just like to ask if you read Rhondas blog much?
    I have been reading for a year or so and while your argument is a valid one, I have noticed that Rhonda does include all the variations that make up a family/couple/whatever but just doesn't write them in everytime. It would be too tiresome to write something like. While men/women like to work in the shed and women/men like to work in the kitchen, etc.
    So I know that Rhonda includes all of these even if she doesn't spell it out everytime. but it is good to touch on them every so often as a refresh for newbies.
    Dayla

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  53. Hi RJ

    Thanks again for another wonderful post. I work part-time (30 hours a week) so I perform a balancing act with being part SAHM and part employee. I work out of necessity as I'm divorced and still raising two children. I see both careers as equally rewarding although I'd prefer to be home full time!
    Lis xx

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  54. Excellent post, Rhonda! Over the years as my children were growing up, I occasionally worked part-time as a Registered Nurse (full-time every now and then)...but my favorite time was when I could be a full-time stay-at-home-mom. I loved it. When they were in school, I took care of our home, cooked, baked, painted, wrote, sewed, decorated the house. I was never bored.

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  55. Thank you. It's always great to have ideas reinforced as a bit of a reminder why we are on the path we are on. I'd put aside an hour this morning to catch up on all your posts as I hadn't read since before our camping trip. (I happened to read your weekly article while away, and excitedly showed hubby the story). Been great to catch up on all I missed!

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  56. Anonymous commented about not quitting your job before you are pregnant.
    Well many of us are having children older and for those who are struggling to get pregnant, if your job is stressful, quit first if you can. I was very stressed at work and tried for 18 mths to get pregnant. I quit and was pregnant by first ovulation post-quitting! Coincidence? Maybe but I think not. Now I'm at home with a very healthy nearly 3yr old and probably have to go back soon (only a few days a week I HOPE) for a number of reasons, but its been such a precious time and my obstetrician has never earned easier money than with my pregnancy (at 43). I'm very lucky Iknow but I don't think its completely luck. So don't assume staying at work before you are pregnant is the way to go. Good luck!!

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  57. Sorry I just read the comments about adding your name to an anonymous entry - after I'd posted about quitting work and getting pregnant..
    Marie

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  58. Hi Rhonda, I have only very recently found your blog, via Australian Women's Weekly. I spent 10 years working for a multinational corporation, which was rather soul destroying to say the least. I've been home full-time since I was 3 months pregnant with our daughter, who is now 13 months old. I struggled with this massive Life Change for a good long while - I was embarrassed to write occupation "home duties" on forms, and it took me a long time to come to terms with losing my financial independence. It's been a long journey but now I have found my peace and I feel so lucky to be a stay at home mum. I have enjoyed reading your posts and especially this one and the comments, which are so interesting. Like some of the other posters, I also volunteer in the community, and I've done some distance learning study too. I don't think I could stay home without the outside interaction and brain stimulation on top. Some parts of early motherhood are mind-numbingly boring I will also admit! But I too am learning new skills, even bought my first sewing machine back in March, and I love my mama life. I know that folks back home (I'm British living in Australia) who know me from "before" probably think I've lost my mind, but somewhere along the way I've managed to stop caring completely what folks think about these choices I've made. I'm considered an "older" mum at 37 and I think this has helped me take a step back; and life's experiences have taught me what really matters - home, health & family. I used to judge others so harshly before I got here myself and I wondered why they'd bothered getting a tertiary education etc....and now here I am..but I figure all that path is just what got me here, to where I'm meant to be ;) Money is short, to put it bluntly, but I honest to god don't care. I'd rather have clothes from the op shop and be able to stay at home with my daughter, whose daddy baths her every night and breakfasts with her every morning. It's all about personal choice, and I am happy to say I've reached a point in my life where I am totally at peace with my choices :)

    Love what I have seen of your blog so far, especially this post. I look forward to following you religiously in future ;)

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  59. I do appreciate greatly, your words of wisdom that you have for the young potential homemakers and for an older homemaker like me. I have been a stay at home mom for over 23 years and I still needed your encouraging words to keep going and your challenging words to remember how important my job is at home. Thank you and I am so glad to have found your blog. :)

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  60. I really needed to read this today. My husband and I are young (23 and 25). We are looking to buy a house and start our family but are afraid the burdens are going to be to much. I am almost finished with school and he just started work at a job he loves. I struggle with the home-maker in me and the city girl that wants no strings attached. I like to say I have the country mouse and city mouse all in one soul and I never know which will be the dominant on any given day. I long to be that 1950s wife that can juggle it all but I then the feminist in me thinks that that would be settling, I could be a successful business women. I am so confused I recently started a blog, The Good Wife. I think your blog helped me sort a few doubts and fears.

    A big thanks,

    Mrs. Edwards

    PS-For some reason it will not let me post my info so I have to post as anonymous.

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  61. hi ladies,
    sorry been off line for a while, expecting my 2nd anytime soon, so I've not had much time to read the posts. Rhonda, is it possible for me to be a good homemaker while I keep my busy job? I struggle to find time for things like making soap, baking bread..I've tried gardening over the weekend.whats the next best way to cut on the consumerism of being a working mom esp with the 2nd baby coming?

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  62. Thank you EcoCatLady for articulating some of the issues that make me uncomfortable when reading about homemaking/ers and thank you Rhonda for opening my eyes and allowing me to take pride in the duties I perform in and around the home. I've been reading your book whilst at home with my new baby and it has helped me come to grips with my new situation and responsibilities. I currently work both in the home and professionally outside the home part-time. In our ideal world my husband and I would both work part-time allowing us to equally share home and child care duties but unfortunately our jobs don't allow that at present. I LOVE spending time with my baby, cooking, gardening and sewing but dislike other aspects of homemaking and miss the intellectual stimulation of my job. Working one or two days a week is a great compromise for me and importantly I feel I could step up professionally and financially if something ever happened to my husband and I was suddenly the sole provider. Like previous posters have mentioned we had trouble conceiving, experiencing many miscarriages, and it wasn't until I changed jobs that we maintained a successful pregnancy that resulted in our child. So whilst I personally wouldn't stop working altogether I certainly recommend looking at your situation carefully and then go ahead and do what is best for YOU and YOUR family. All the best, Coco.

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