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13 December 2012

Homemakers come into their own at Christmas

Not many women grow up knowing their career of choice will be that of a homemaker. Most Western education is steered towards the commercial world but it is not until we start that type of work that we realise that our time might be better spent doing for ourselves and our family at home, actively saving the money brought into the home by the breadwinner and having time to raise children. Of course, it's not a choice for all of us. Many women have to work to make ends meet and some women work because they want to build a career or like the stimulation of the business world. But it seems to me that whether you stay at home and work, or go out to work, there are unwanted opinions and judgements being made about your choice. There is guilt involved too. The homemakers sometimes feel guilty for not bringing in a wage and the wage earners sometimes feel guilty about putting their children in day care.


I am happy to be living in a democratic country where free choice, within the confines of the law, is taken for granted. The last time I looked, free choice was not immoral or even unfashionable. Why then do so many people feel they should make their opinion known even when it's not been asked for. If the person making the comment is not in your family, it is not their business what you do with your life. We have to stop this silly petty behaviour and support each other, even when the choice made by someone we know is not what we would do. Giving out support and encouragement is much better for the soul than constant criticism and disguised hatred - that will make you crack around the edges.


Homemakers come into their own at this time of year. Even advertising changes from featuring career women in spiky shoes and men in sharp suits to gingham enhanced homemakers decorating the Christmas tree with eager, perfect children. TV news reports the shopping crowds are swelling and how much of a work out the plastic is getting. But we homemakers are at home knitting, crocheting, sewing, polishing, creating, cooking, baking and wrapping a huge variety of beautiful and soon-to-be-appreciated gifts that have nothing to do with shopping malls or cheap 'stocking fillers'.

We've changed.


We know that the spirit of the season has nothing to do with how much we spend, how big the tree is or how many bottles of Christmas cheer we can afford to provide. It more about gathering the family around, spending time together and appreciating each other. That is what Christmas is about for me - it's looking back and looking forward and knowing that our family is safe, sound and supportive of each other.


So as we glide slowly towards Christmas day, I hope you're not falling for the hype or stressing yourself out. Remember, this is not a competition or a race. This is the time for showing the love as well as feeling it. Take things slow, remember your small steps and be kind to yourself.

35 comments:

  1. Our life is our choice and should not be dictated by anyone. I was raised in a military family, then by a single Mom. Times were tough, but we made do. One year my younger sister wanted a bike for Christmas, but my Mom could not afford one. So my older brother found and bought some beat up old bikes and fixed her up one very beautiful 'new' bike. I certainly lost my way during my go-go yuppie, spend like there is no tomorrow, young adult years. At 50, I have come full circle and understand, and better appreciate being home and enjoying the simpler things in life.
    blessings, jill

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  2. Hi Rhonda!

    Great post! I have been on both ends. I worked for about 16 years, while raising a family. I now have the privilege of staying at home, although all of my children are married and gone, raising families of their own. I love staying at home, there is great satisfaction in being a homemaker, contrary to popular belief! I don't judge or condemn those who work, either because they have to, or they want to . . . I have been there! No matter where we live in the world, we need to support each other - we are all in this together!

    Many of my Christmas gifts will be homemade, as I love to crochet and bake. In these crazy times, we need to stay out of debt. There are so many wonderful ideas on-line, and I know that everyone looks forward to a gift made with love!

    Hugs,
    Barb

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  3. Hello Rhonda
    No comments so far because I think you have said it all!!
    I am doing the reverse of most following your blog. After nearly forty years of living "the good life" we have had to relocate. We chose the outer city to be closer to family.
    After all that time being able to live cheaply, grow what we needed and "live on the smell of an oily rag" we are now city livers. What a shock. Now see the world from the other side. Fast food, pre-made and all that.
    Hopefully we will survive and my husband has already put in a little "survival garden".What a change!!!!
    Lots of love to you and yours.

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  4. I haven't even put the Christmas tree up yet! DH and I are going shopping tonight. We only have to buy one present each and we're looking forward to doing something out of the house together. We plan on including a walk past the Christmas lights on the way.

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  5. How I agree, Christmas is NOT a competition! I have been enjoying making a selection of home-made gifts, edible and some in the useful category, and taking SO much pleasure from this - as always. I have taught my daughters that home-made is good and it fills me with joy to see my eldest daughter being "a chip off the old block". Even my middle daughter prefers home-made this and that in the kitchen and they are both excellent meals-from-scratch cooks.

    I am planning and making a hamper of home-made preserves as one gift and also making my own Sloe Gin as gifts. I see there are now commercial answers to Sloe Gin and similar drinks, but mine has just three ingredients - Sloes, Gin and a mother's love . . .

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  6. Hi Rhonda,
    It has taken me about 5 years of my married life before I stopped feeling guilty for not bringing in a wage. Now I see that what I do here at home is valuable.

    For Christmas gifts this year I have made dipped beeswax candles, hand towels, dish cloths, soap and peanut brittle. I supported the local hand crafted markets as well. I think anything home made is so much nicer than mass produced products.

    Hope you have a lovely Christmas Rhonda with your family.

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    Replies
    1. Some things take their own time. You're there now so that's the main thing.

      Merry Christmas to you too. XX

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  7. I love this post, as a stay at home mom for wow 13 years now, I've spent my fair share of time doubting & feeling bad for not making an income. It's just now at the cusp of 40 that I realize what I truly bring to the table & I'm so thankful that I've had this opportunity to raise my children & build a home. I've been sick recently & my husband just told me what an appreciation he has for how hard I work & I do...for a smile & a honey the house looks great. I truly appreciate the little things, especially during the holidays, it always bothers me when I get caught up in all the things I'm supposed to do & the commercialism of it all. Here's to slowing down & honoring the true reason for the season.

    Blessings to you & yours this Christmas season- Carrie

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  8. I just wanted to recognise the work done by men as homemakers (and suggest that maybe there should be space for them to see this as a valid and valuable option).

    There's no way the giant Christmas Biscuit Bake-off of 2012 at our house would have happened without the equal efforts of my partner, and overall, his determination to rearrange his work so he could spend time at home with our son while I work has been crucial to our sanity and identity as a family.

    Merry Christmas to all!
    Karen

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  9. Wonderful post Rhonda...found myself nodding at your words the whole way through...as soon as i gave myself permission to take the stress and expectations out of this Christmas season i have been feeling a whole lot better emotionally!
    I'm so enjoying working with my partner on some homemade Christmas toys for our twins and little stocking fillers...i think their faces will light up our day when they see them...thanks for the opportunity to reflect through your words....have a lovely weekend x

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  10. Beautiful post. I have been both... A single working mother with my eldest (who is now 20) and now a stay at home Mum for a year with my second child (who just turned one). I hated every minute I had to work and be away from my eldest, but I was so concerned about being the single Mum who stayed at home living of benefits, I almost killed myself with stress trying to work and raise a child on my own.
    Nineteen years on, I have a partner and another child. But this time around I saved enough money to have a year off at home with my son. Saving have all gone and I need to go back to work, but the thought fills me with dread.
    We do everything possible to save money,sew, recycle and even planted a huge vegie garden, my debt is growing so I need to go back to work. If I could afford to I would stay at home with my son until he started school. I think my most happiest and fulfilling job has been a stay at home Mum.

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  11. Thank you once again for reminding us to reflex on what we are really wanting from this festive season and the rest of our lives. To be supported in our decisions & lifestyle no matter where we are in life.
    Stress reduced christmas, tolerance, understanding & kindness to others and OURSELVES here we come!!
    From hot & windy Vic.

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  12. I was blessed to stay home with my children (and homeschool them) for 20 years. I'm in the work force now (we need the money!) But as soon as I am able, I'm going to be at home again!

    I'm with you Rhonda, home made gifts and spending quality family time is what it's all about!

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  13. I truly appreciated this post, so I posted on my Facebook page. The simple encouragement is kind and thoughtful, and reminding us what is worthy of doing, and why.

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  14. Rhonda, I want to thank you for a beautiful and timely post. I have been wondering if my decision to retire even though I am under sixty is wise, but I now realize thanks to you that my contribution to our house and home may not be financial, but is just as important. Thank you again.

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  15. Beautiful post!!
    Again this year our gifts for school teachers were homemade cooking. The music teacher told me our gift is her favourite every year. (She has taught instrumental music to our children for nine years) Another teacher told me, 'homemade how yummy, theres nothing better!' My eldest daughter(18 years old) served her Year 1 teacher and the current Principal at her work this week and the Principal commented on her little gift(marshmellow) which she chose from a selection on goodies. The Year 1 teacher commented to my daughter "I see your Mum is still cooking those lovely gifts'. These gifts take a little time to make but are always well received. I make a mix of sweet and savory for the teacher to chose from. Marshmallow this year because one teacher in dairy free. Ruth

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  16. Great post as usual Rhonda.

    I have both worked and stayed at home, and I know which I prefer. I am my happiest at home, I have all I need and want right here :)

    x

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  17. Women especially need to drop the guilt you talk of and be confident in their own choices, whether to work in the home or out in the business world. Everyone makes these types decisions for lots of good reasons, many of which aren't immediately apparent. If we can drop the guilt we feel and be comfortable with our own choice, I believe we'd be less inclined to make judgements on other people's choices. That's my wish for 2013..

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  18. I really enjoyed readng this post Rhonda. Thank you.

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  19. I agree with you........... too many people talking when not requested.....people not satisfied about their lives..... I would love to stay at home.. and I'm still lucky because I've a job that allows me to stay at home each afternoon (and care after my children) and 3 mornings a week... I've a part time job... but staying at home and living a simple life would be my dream...
    P.S.: is that in the jars lemon curd????? I love it and make it with le lemons of my garden each year!

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    1. It's lemon butter from the backyard lemons, Clara.

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  20. Hello Rhonda and date readers. Perhaps you can help as us blog readers tend to follow similar paths. I have been following Julie at mooberryfarmhomesteadingjournal and it has just disappeared. Is it just my feed or did something happen. How do you get in touch with a blogger??

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    1. It's just your feed, Julie is still there.

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  21. Oh, I just love you, Rhonda!
    Great post. There is something beautiful about accepting others right where they are at. After 36 years, I am starting to figure that out. :)
    I just said to my mom yesterday, how I hear people saying that this time of year is so busy and hectic. I just don't feel that. We have very few to prepare gifts for, as we don't exchange gifts with adults (just the children). So, that helps. But, like you, I don't buy in to all the hype of the season. I know the real meaning and try to focus on that.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours! May 2013 bless you more than 2012.

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    1. Thanks Nicole. Merry Christmas to you too. :- )

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  22. I totally needed this! Thank you Rhonda. :)

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  23. So true. I just talked about it on my blog today how the only thing I really miss from my former job is how I helped change lives and futures being a Mental Health Therapist. But that my children are happy and safe in my home eating home made bread, home made yogurt, wearing things I knit and knowing that they are loved. Thank you for your reminder of slowing down. I do hit the rat race of making things this time of year and with an 11 week old to take care of on top of a 4 and a 2 year old I don't have as much time to sit down and knit and make like I use to.

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  24. Do you know Rhonda last night on TV someone was spouting that Stay At Home Mums or Dads may NOT be the best choice of parent for their own child??? I could not believe my own ears!?! I was absolutely flabbergasted to hear that!!! Who better to look after their own child than the mother or father? I do realise sometimes due to commitments both parents must go to work. However If a parent chooses to stay at home and raise their own child what right does the media have to devalue that single most important job of Parenting???
    Why do we insist on belittling Mums and Dads who choose to give their children the best start in life that they possibly can by being Stay At Home Mums and Dads?
    35 years ago when I stayed home to look after my 2 children I was constantly made to feel like a second class citizen. As you can probably guess this makes my blood boil.

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  25. I saw the program advertised but did not watch it because I had a feeling it would be having a go at stay at home mums. I did not stay at home and I have regreted that decision all my life. I was lucky though because my son got his values from my Grandmother and my Mother whose values were the same as mine. I don't make any judgements but I do wonder what the outcome will be by having different people with different values guiding a child on a daily basis. My only hope is that those that choose to work have a clear understanding of what they are working for, to aquire more STUFF or to put food on the table......but then, I now speak with an older head on my shoulders.

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  26. Thanks for your post Rhonda, it was just what i needed to hear, I am trying to feel less guilty all the time and just enjoy my children especially while they are young, but it is a constant battle.
    Have a wonderful Christmas time with your family.
    Julie-Anne xx

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  27. Oh how I wish wish wish I could be a stay at home Mum to my 7yo son, my husband can't work due to illness, so I am working full time, it will be that way for at least the next 20 years, unfortunately we don't have the choice. It is true what you say about the guilt factor Rhonda, I feel it every day that I am away from my little man :-(
    Di
    Launceston

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  28. Hi Rhonda
    I'm just spending time over the festive period catching up with some of my favourite blogs.
    This is a beautiful post and echoes my sentiments entirely!

    I so wish everyone would adhere to the importance of family time as time is just so precious these days.
    Everyone rushes continually each and every day and miss all the beautiful things in life.

    Like you I LOVE making homemade pressies for everyone.
    I hope you've enjoyed some lovely family time over the festive hols....
    Tilly x

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  29. I've just found your blog and have spent a couple of hours browsing here. I'm retired and have finally got to slow down. I am lucky in having been able to retire early (at 51) after 20 years of being very frugal. Those habits have largely stuck and we live well on a relatively small amount because of that. You are writing about the choice between homemaking and outside work. My mom worked from home as a photographic colourist largely because it allowed her to look after me, but also because she liked to keep her own hours. My dad was self employed as a photographer for many years but eventually took a full time job working for the State. Mom was a brilliant budget-er but my Dad saw himself as the 'head' of the family and resented any financial control from her. When he put them in debt beyond sense, she'd gradually sort things out - and then he wanted control again! Growing up watching this I always knew I would make my own money and pay my own way, and I did and do; it never seemed a choice to me. The other thing I would say is that men - at least not those my age - see themselves as homemakers. House-husbands are more common than they once were, but still a small minority. Women tend to be the homemakers whether employed outside the home or not. If they are lucky (and I am, now) they find a partner rather than a boss or a baby (men can be either, but I suppose so can women). Partners are the best! I'll shut up now, and go back to browsing. Love your writing!

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  30. I aim to give each person on my list something bought, something made and something baked. Men are harder to make for, I think, but this year those on my list got hot water bottles with hand sewn covers. My spice cakes are very popular, however! (BTW, the link to your cheap and easy biscuits doesn't seem to work; I was wondering if Australian biscuits were like British or like American...). Happy holidays to you and yours!

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    1. They're English-style biscuits.

      Makes 7-8 dozen, cook 10 min at 180C

      500 grams butter (approx 1.1 lb)
      1 can condensed milk (390-400 gram)
      1 cup sugar
      5 cups wholemeal self raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder)
      toppings like choc chips, smarties, jam, cinnamon and sugar

      Cream butter and sugar, add condensed milk. stir in flour. roll into balls and flatten. top with choc chips etc, or thumbprint and add jam for jam drops.

      Bake at 180C for approx 10 min until golden brown. cool on racks.

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