15 January 2013

Housework - because I want to and I like it

We had to leave very early for the hospital yesterday so I didn't have time to finish my blog. But I have good news! Hanno's angiogram showed a couple of small problems but nothing to be too concerned about. He has some "wall damage", a complete blockage in one tiny vessel that goes no where and a 30% blockage in a larger blood vessel. It can all be treated with medication. Hanno started back on his warfarin last night along with the new pill which he takes once a day. He goes back for a checkup in March. So, angiogram tick, let's move on with renewed hope and confidence. 

Thank you all for you good wishes, prayers, comments and emails. I am sure I have the loveliest and most caring readers on the internet. 

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I received this email recently, thought it was a great topic to discuss, replied to the sender to watch for an answer on the blog, copied the email here, deleted the email, and forgot to ask her if it is okay to use her real name. So, as I'm not sure, let's say this email is from "Mary".

I enjoyed your recent post about homemaking in later life, but I have a question about homemaking for younger people. You speak a lot about being a mother and grandmother, and about how that fits into being a homemaker. My question for you is what do you consider the role of a homemaker who does not want children? My husband has a construction company, and I take care of the paperwork. We have recently sold our company to a larger company, and he will be going to work for them in the new year. His work frequently takes him out of town during the week, and brings him home on the weekends. People are asking me what am I going to do now that I don't have the business to take care of. Many people know that I don't wish to have children, and seem to feel that there's no need for me to stay at home if I'm not a) going to have kids or b) do the paperwork for the company, especially since my husband works out of town. I am feeling frustrated because people don't seem to understand and I'm not sure how to get my point across to them, that working in my home is giving me joy and fulfillment. The people questioning me are people I care about and respect, who care about me as well, so I don't feel comfortable ignoring their questions. I'd like to be able to have a productive conversation but am finding that I can't come up with something better than "because I want to and I like it." Do you have any advice about how I can explain my role as a homemaker, without kids, with an out of town husband and no "real job" to do at home?

Let me start by stating I am proudly working class. I love my work and I think work makes us the people we are. However, I don't believe that paid work is more valuable than other types of work - house work, voluntary work, education and study, being a parent or a carer, or any other type of work. Paid work is necessary for most of us, but the work that really contributes to our well being and mental health is the work done at home, by men and women, to make a comfortable and welcoming home, keep costs down and to increase self-reliance. That is hands-on work where you see a result for your efforts every day. Paid work is necessary to buy or rent a home to live in, to buy food and clothing but apart from the minority of people who love their jobs and couldn't think of doing anything else, most people work because they have to. 


There is a large group of us who have recognised that paid work is not the reason for being; it is what enables us to live how we choose. When we have worked enough to acquire what we need, we can cut back on the amount of paid work we do and just live - doing those things that make us happy. There is no point in working just to accumulate money. When you have what you need - a roof over your head, clothing, food, and the things you enjoy around you, what is the point of working more. Our society seems to celebrate young entrepreneurs who make a lot of money and retire early to enjoy life. They ignore people who work in a way that allows them to do that without making a lot of money. Why is that? If you don't want to buy into the conspicuous consumption model we have lived with in the past 30 years, why wouldn't you recognise your own level of "enough" and then stop paid work to enjoy what you've worked for? 


I have no doubt there will be people who read this post today and know they will never have the opportunity to leave work - they're providing for small children, disabled or sick relatives or have been left with debt. There will be others who don't want to leave paid work. That is their interest. It engages and satisfies them and they enjoy meeting their colleagues every working day. 

And we have many people like Mary. 


Mary, it sounds to me like you've reached your level of "enough". Your husband is bringing in a wage and that is sufficient for both of you to enjoy what you have and to be confident that your savings and investments will see you through. It's irrelevant that you have no children, if you decide to be a homemaker, if you have enough work to keep you active both mentally and physically (and most of us do), if you enjoy time spend on domestic and creative activities, then you're in the right place and you're doing what enriches you. 


I think your job as a homemaker should be whatever you choose to include in your life. Even though you're much younger than I am, your role could be very similar to mine, which is to care for the home, to shop mindfully, to cook healthy food, to clean clothes and linens, to tend the garden, to mend, recycle and repair. To me, that's work; enjoyable work. You'll have your own routine and you'll be baking most days, cooking from scratch, making green cleaners, soap, laundry products, knitting dishcloths, mending clothes, storing food and you'll be doing it all in your own time. You're totally in charge of how you spend your hours and when you look back at the end of the day, you'll feel satisfied that you've done what you needed to do and you'll look forward to doing similar tasks tomorrow. 


I don't know when we moved from working because we had to, to working because we're expected to, but it happened along the way. If you don't do your work at home, who does it? You pay others to cook for you in the form of convenience food, frozen and packaged foods and takeaways, you buy products are are inferior to those you can make yourself, you buy new clothes because you can't make minor repairs, your home suffers if it's not maintained. I think it makes more sense, if there is enough money coming in, for someone to be at home, whether they're looking after children or not. I don't understand the mentality that says we all have to work so we have enough money to buy everything we need and then have no personal input into our own lives at all. It makes more sense to me to have someone at home who can customise the home to suit those living there. And that is not menial work - it is blessing to everyone who lives there, including the person who does the work. 


Mary, I love your explanation: because I want to and I like it. That should be all you need say. You're living the life you want to live. You don't have to conform to anyone else's standards or ideals, and you don't have to be having babies and looking after children to justify your home work. But I understand you want to explain to those you love so why don't you start by saying: "I don't have to work because we have enough. I stay at home because I want to and I like it." And then go on to tell them what it is you do at home, how you save money in a variety of ways, how you have the time to create and tend a vegetable garden and how you're enriched by what you do. Maybe those who are questioning you really have forgotten that this is how we all used to live before paid work became such a dominant force. 


75 comments:

  1. Amen! Frankly, it's no one's business whether or not you stay home. If you and your husband are happy with it that is all that matters.

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  2. Simple Living/Sourdough333January 15, 2013 6:00 am

    Hi Rhonda - it is great news about Hanno, I am very glad that it can be treated with medication.

    Have a great day.

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  3. Hello Rhonda, I am glad that Hanno's results are able to be managed with medication, and I wish him all the best? My Dad had a valve replacement and pacemaker inserted a year ago now at R.P.A., he is in his early 80's and without this operation he was given 12 months to live. Now even though he has many limitations, he and Mum still manage to live independently. I really enjoyed reading your post this evening (in South Africa on holiday). My Mum follows many of the principles you write about and I believe that as helped enormously in my parents quality of life in their advancing years. I don't comment often, but today your post brought back some memories. Your blog is wonderful and I also have your book! Kind regards, Ann

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  4. Very glad to hear Hanno's good news, Rhonda!

    "Because I want to and I like it" is reason enough for me.

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    1. Barb's comment says it all for me too!

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    2. Glad Hanno has got the Ok. I agree totally and being a mum with 2 children at home with hubby at work my addition would be " beacause i want to, i like it and I can"

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  5. Rhonda I think I just heard a collective sigh of relief throughout blogland! That is such good news about Hanno.

    Cheers, Karen near Gympie.

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  6. I am so glad to hear the good news about Hanno.

    What a wonderful post and I hope this will set Mary's heart at ease. Mary, enjoy your life.

    We chose not to have children ourselves, and I've worked and not worked, I have been working part-time for the past 16 years. I just lost my husband of 43 years, and now I am taking care of our home for myself, and am trying to find my groove of 'doing' for myself, and not for the two of us anymore. I feel lost, terribly so, as it's just been 5 weeks. Your post has inspired me to pick up the pieces and grow in grace in this continuing journey. To enjoy taking care of home, making things by hand, gardening and seeing the beauty in the ordinary of every day life. I have many loving memories surrounding me of our life together and I want to grow stronger with each and every new day.

    FlowerLady Lorraine

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    1. Lorraine, I'm so sorry to read about your husband. {{hugs}}

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  7. Absolutely fantastic news about Hanno, so pleased!
    Judy xx

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  8. Glad to hear that Hanno's health situation has been identified and not as serious as it could have been. All the best to the both of you. Ree x

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  9. Rhonda, am very pleased to hear good news about Hanno :)

    And what a wonderful post today, I totally agree with what you say. I think people forget if someone doesn't work within the home we either sacrifice cleanliness, homecooked food, home maintenance etc, or we pay someone to do it for us. So we work to pay someone else to do the work that we could do for ourselves if we didn't work. Makes sense? Not to me anyway. I have a neighbour who runs her house like clockwork, and volunteers three afternoons at the local school, yet she is constantly asked why she doesn't go back to 'work'. It does annoy me how you're not valued in our society unless you are working in paid employment. I have been at home now for 12 years since having our one and only child and will not be returning to paid work. It's not easy financially but we manage and we're happy :) And our house is clean, healthy homecooked food is on the table every night and weekends are spent together rather than frantically rushing round supermarkets and doing the washing ready for the coming week. Even though we have one child, now he is 12, it is often assumed I work. If asked I just smile and say 'I look after our home and garden' :)

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    1. I know quite a few people who have chosen (or are soon planning to) return to paid work after their kids are of school age. Many of them question my desire to continue staying home even when my child is older. I think it's very similar to Mary's situation in this way, as they ask me, "but what will you do all day?!" I can't imagine taking care of the home the way I currently do AND having a job outside the home. Some people may be able to do both, but I know my work at home would suffer, if just from lack of energy! I'm very grateful to have the choice to be home, even if it does mean we have to sacrifice a lot financially (and even if it means I will be looked down upon by people who just don't "get it")
      -Jaime

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  10. Hi Rhonda,

    Such great news about Hanno! What a relief you both must feel at this manageable diagnosis. So very happy for both of you.

    Mary, I think it is admirable that you are sticking to your guns and intend to enjoy being a homemaker. The only people who should have a say about whether or not you work outside the home are your husband and you...no one else. Hopefully the questions from your friends will stop once they see that you are satisfied with your new role. Best of luck to you!

    Diane in North Carolina

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  11. So glad to hear about Hanno :)

    I feel that because people are so disconnected from their homes and food they have no idea the amount of work that goes into producing and sustaining those things. They see one person working outside the home and one in it and think "well person (b) has got a pretty good deal!". I think a few 'we' statements might help too, i.e. "We prefer to have one person working in the home", as these people might just be assuming this is your decision alone and a selfish one at that. Make it clear you made the decision together and you are working, not lazing about the house eating bonbons. At the end of the day some arguments can only be won by example. Live your life and soon they will see for themselves the benefit your role brings to your household.

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  12. Rhonda,
    That's good news about Hanno. Im glad :-)
    I think your right in saying perhaps a lot of people don't get the "simple life" and "no paid job" philosophy as they are so out of touch with it or have no idea that life can be this way (to whatever degree is financially possible) if you choose to get off the materialistic consumer band wagon.
    I'm loving all your posts at the moment as it reinforces things - great motivation at the start of a new year.
    Cheers,
    Sarah from Jimboomba

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  13. I loved this. You've given me much to contemplate. I too, find working in my home for my family so much more fulfilling and purposeful than my paid job. There is such a feeling of contentment seeing a clean and well maintained house, filling my family's bellies with good, wholesome food and making things with my hands. Unfortunately, as a (now) single mother I am in the position where I have to work to have the things we need but I still feel content knowing that my heart and purpose lies in my home.

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  14. To FlowerLady Lorraine so sorry your just lost your husband. A big heartfelt hug to you.

    Hey Mary, Stay at Home Wives and Mothers get a bad rap. If any of us were thrown back into an office, whether we have done that job before or not,we would be tops at multitasking,handling outbursts and be able to throw a party together in seconds flat.
    I am a SAHM and when we are with friends, a lot of times they ask each other about their work day and naturally, they never ask me how mine was. One day I commented that I worked at Xavier Inc. (Xavier is my boy's name) to make a point that I do work all day. I was never snotty about it, but I think people need to review their old school ideas about what a homemaker is and not see it as some oppressive subservient ideal from back in the day. I really believe that is part of the issue. Homemaking is a choice and it should be a respected one.
    Being a homemaker is pulling your weight and if caring for the homestead makes you happy, then by all means, smile with pride. It is an important job whether it is recognized as so or not. Cheers!

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  15. This is a timely piece for me. I'm reconsidering my relationship with paid work. I think if somebody can configure their life so that they don't have to do paid work, or they can cut back on the amount that they do, it can bring with it great fulfilment and freedom. I am sure for some paid work can be an exercise of great mental nourishment but that isn't the reality for most. To be sure, for most work is something that is boring, draining, stressful and they want finish for the day / week as quickly as possible.

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  16. Lovely news about Hanno.

    Perfect answer for Mary, she should do what feels right for her, maybe her family will take stock of their lives & realise being at home can be very fulfilling.

    best wishes,

    Angela (south England) UK

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  17. happy happy news about Hanno!! My husband had two stents put in his heart after the angiogram, its amazing at what they can do and learn from sample (relatively simple) tests!!
    Your answer to this email was perfect, we need stop listening to others and listen to our heart more!

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  18. Wow,Rhonda,fantastic response for Mary. So relieved for you and Hanno too - great news :)

    Madeleine

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  19. I finish work 2 and a half hours earlier each day so I can pick up my daughter from school and spend time with her because "I want to". I often get questioned about this, how I can afford it and why I don't place her in after school care.

    Firstly I don't want to because I want to be with her and secondly the money I would be earning would pay for the others to care for her and convenience food to elevate the rush.

    Unfortunately many Govt work places don't like staff going part time. They talk about "work life balance" but getting part time is hard. My work place would like me to be full time again. I have another 4 months signed off at part time but I feel they may tell me I have to come back full time after this.

    Mary is lucky to have choice and I think we often have to explain ourselves because of social norms say we have to work to "put into the economy" and also people are envious. The home takes a lot of work to manage healthy food made from scratch, produce grown at home, a happy atmosphere for its inhabitants and you know what we should also be applauded to have the time to smell the roses and read good books while we live.

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  20. For me personally, I would be somewhat on my hackles if someone asked me why I stay home if I have no children and be a home wife. Your question asker is much more gracious than I would be.
    We chose to not have children as I personally do not like children. I am not parent material, I am not patient, nor geared to children, and I am honest and woman enough to admit it. Does not mean that I hate them, I just am not made for children.
    People are consumer driven, both in home, family and jobs. When you step out of what is considered "normal" for today's living, you are looked at like you have two heads. The new normal is a huge home debt, credit cards, several cars that are not paid for, and assorted other needs that you either have or not have. I have lost many,many people whom I thought were "friends" which turned out to be fair weather friends if you do not follow into the pits of purchase and follow their idea of fitting into the circle of what they consider a lifestyle. I learned to let it roll off and found myself enjoying my home, and learning later that most of the people I knew were drowning in debt from medical emergencies, and job loss, and some even living on the streets or in cars because of poor choices. Your question asker just needs to not really answer to anyone's inquiry as she has nothing to answer to.
    Great post today.
    I am so very glad that Hanno is on his way to recovery. Please take care.

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  21. First of all, Rhonda, just wanted to say that I'm so glad about Hanno's test results. That must be a huge load off your mind.

    And for Mary - one of my pet peeves is the idea that somehow "working" is more fulfilling than being at home. I personally find this idea to be utterly ridiculous. I don't have a job, although I do have a few websites that I manage from home which make me my living - but it takes very little of my time.

    Mostly I'm just a stay at home person! I am child-free by choice, and don't live with my significant other, so there's really no one to take care of except my 4 cats. And the other thing is that I HATE housework! I'm not into sewing or crafting or decorating or making things look nice and pretty. I spend my days dealing with whatever must be dealt with - whether that's cooking or cleaning or home repairs - but I also have plenty of time for the things I love - cycling, yoga, gardening, music, watching football, blogging, studying Spanish, and just being a human being!!

    I think we do ourselves a terrible disservice when we try to shove ourselves into some pre-made box that society has constructed for us. There is nothing "moral" about being busy or "productive," and nothing nefarious about enjoying your life in whatever ways you choose to enjoy it! Slow, simple, homebody, even fuddy-duddy... it's all good!

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  22. I'm so glad Hanno got good news.

    I like this post a lot, for many reasons. As a stay at home mother, I often get asked when I'll be returning to paid work, I can't imagine the uproar I would face from people if we didn't have children. It is expected I will return to paid work, and I think often about what I would actually do for paid work. I have only ever worked in customer service roles, while studying different things on the side. I always found small levels of satisfaction in my roles, but nothing compared to working in the home which fills me up and suits me to a tee.

    Our youngest is nearly 5 months old, so unless it is out of financial necessity, I expect to be at home for at least another 5 years. There seems to be this deadline of expectation that I will return to paid work, or at least studying, when our youngest enters primary school.

    I'm not sure if I will, it will depend entirely on how we are going money-wise, but I can already hear the remarks from people I know if we choose for me to keep working in our home.

    "But what do you do all day?" (Too much to list!)
    "You must get bored." (Sometimes, but not once have I thought, "Jee I wish I still worked at the supermarket!)
    "Don't you want to contribute to society?" (I am, just in different ways!)
    "What about the money?" (Money is far from everything)

    Thank you for an inspiring post. I wish more people, and society as a whole, knew and VALUED the satisfaction and contributions that can be made from working in the home.

    PS - I am so excited, we are FINALLY getting a small flock of chooks, possibly this weekend. I can't wait for the added enjoyment and education it will bring my family, and the fresh eggs will be wonderful! :)

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  23. Lorraine so sorry to hear that your partner passed away it would be a huge shock for you and the way you expected to spend your years together. It's formMary I think the comment about "we have decided for one person to be out in the workforce and one person to be working at home is a good one.

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  24. Fabulous news regarding Hanno Rhonda. I'm so pleased it was nothing major and now you can both relax.

    Mary - My first thought was that your friends really don't know you if they can't see you are happy doing what you are doing. I think your answer to them is perfect. You are happy and your husband is happy and that's all that matters. Like so many I choose not to work and instead stayed home to raise my children and be a "housewife". It was looked down upon by many of our friends and acquaintances - but I didn't care. What I was doing was important although I used to dread going to parties as they would always talk about work or the latest item they had bought but never asked how my "work" was going. Now I freely discuss what I have been up to - preserving, sewing, knitting, soap making. Some still look at me like I'm from another planet but it doesn't matter. I'm home, I'm happy, we are saving money, the children prefer me at home and I'm available at the drop of a hat to help my Tradesman husband when he needs help.

    Keep doing what you are doing Mary.

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  25. Along along thef lines of Mary who would like be at home without children I think it is equally difficult if have children. According to society once children are at school your role as a mother is over so according to society and the government you only need to be a mother for 5 years (ie birth to five years). You are frowned upon if you don't work because again like Mary people who don't work must sit at home all day and watch tv. As a mother I do 6 hrs outside the normal work day as a min. So from 6-8 am I am on the go doing breakfast getting kids sorted for school, making sure bangs are packed with homework books etc before we leave at 8am then there is the 45 min round trip to and from school. Then at 2.30 pm it starter again and there is afternoon tea homework unpacking and sorting bags and lunchboxes school notes etc getting the washing off thef line starting dinner doing baths tidying up after dinner stories and bed etc and then that's 7.00-7.30 pm because I have littler ones. It would be later if the kids were older. So before people go off to work for this day time paid job a mother has done 6-7 hrs work for the family as there is no sitting down with a coffee and a magazine. During the day there is all the housework meal planning washing ironing bill paying school functions reading swimming etc food shopping baking etc etc when people who work (ie paid employment) think that mothers don't it is crazy. Just because mothers don't get a group certificate it is considered being lazy and not contributing to society which is very frustrating so Mary without children would be in a worse position because society would think there is no reason for someone without kids would want to be at home. In my Mother's Day days went to work and mothers stayed at home and raised the kids but one generation later even dwhen you have kids and want to be there for your children you are somewhat frowned upon. Children are not adults until they are 18 and in my opinion mothers should be allowed to be mothers without thinking we are all lazy and taking advantage

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  26. The warm fireplaceJanuary 15, 2013 9:03 am

    Brilliant post Rhonda, and superb advice for "Mary" and anyone else in her situation. So glad to hear the good news about Hanno.
    Sue

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  27. Glad its good news about Hanno, you deserve it.

    Mary should just tell people that she is home because she can. Most people would love that. If they have something to say, its their problem.

    I work part time, love it best of both worlds hubby full time. He will retire in about 7 years earlier if we pay of mortgage, working on that one, then we have discussed a role reversal as in he taking care of home, and I still only work paid part time work and at home. I am 14 years younger so this all makes sense. I wish I could give him the opportunity to retire earlier but both our ex's spent everything. Di

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  28. Really happy to hear that Hanno just needs to take medication. Very good news!

    Marie Claire

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  29. Mary I wish you well as you make your decisions. I'm a childless woman too, I could not count the number of people who have asked me if I'm childless by choice and then proceed to advise me in a range of ways even though their advice has not been sought. Make your choices and be proud of them.

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  30. Hi Rhonda so glad to hear Hanno is alright

    Linda xx

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  31. I think it is great that you guys can live that way Mary - and I imagine your husband would love being able to come home from being out of town and both of you not having to spend his precious home time doing things around the house, because the rest of the week is so full with both of you working.
    And i think no matter what way we live, we always get judged. We only have 1 son (not by choice) and people judge us openly for not having more. Really, you think I don't know that pain myself, that I also need you to point it out to me? So none of us can EVER win with all the different expectations, so however we choose to live that makes us happy is all that matters.

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  32. All too often people of today's modern society imagine a homemaker sitting on the couch in PJ's watching TV all day long or out shopping and lunching with friends every day. Making your house a home for yourself and your family- no matter what that comprises of, or how many- is WORK. To what degree it encompasses your life is up to you.

    Days of old tasks were sometimes divided into two categories- men's work and women's WORK. With that title, society of that time acknowledged that women in the home Worked!

    Cooking, baking, cleaning, gardening, preserving, mending and sewing are tasks where time and effort are essential- today and more so in times past. Homemakers in bygone days worked from sunrise to sunset. Even their 'down' times they mostly had mending or had some homemaking craft at hand when 'relaxing'. It is a shame on our times that we have so little respect of their life's work.

    'Mary', whatever tasks you have embraced in your homemaker's role make your living space your home. I assume you don't go into others lives to demand they live according to your precepts, therefore they shouldn't foist their beliefs upon you. Your way of life is personal.

    People hesitate to make negative comments on others political or religious views, yet have the audacity to judge a person's daily schedule that harms no one. Homelife is an intimate sanctuary where others beliefs shouldn't intrude.

    Wishing you well on your homemaking journey.

    Rhonda, So glad Hanno's medical problems can be treated in non-invasive ways. Hope he regains his optimum health quickly. Blessings to you both. xx

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  33. Hi Rhonda- constant reader and rare commenter here. I am so glad to hear that Hanno is going to be okay. I have been thinking about you both a lot. It seems like so many people I know, both personally and in blogland, have been going through many rough family and medical problems recently. I'm so relieved to hear that this one is resolving itself!

    I love your feedback and all of the comments above in support of Mary. I also wanted to say thank you for your recent posts on budgeting and living on less. They have been a major inspiration to me as I am starting the new year newly single and living in a new place, so trying to simplify and re-budget for one. Your posts encouraged me to get moving on that, and I've been posting on the same theme.
    All the best to ALL of your family.

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  34. Dear Rhonda and Hanno,
    What wonderful news! I'm so glad for you both! What a relief. Here in the States we would very affectionately call Hanno a "tough old bird" someone who just keeps going in spite of any and all obstacles. Best wishes,

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  35. Firstly, I'm so happy to hear that Hanno will be okay. You both must be very relieved. My wishes for a continued recovery to better health.

    I love this post. I really appreciate your perspective. I am a homemaker myself. I am also parenting and partially homeschooling two small children. I have frequently been asked what I want to do "when I grow up," meaning what will I do when the children are older. I tell people I will still be doing this and so many are surprised. They act like homemaking is only acceptable when you're raising little kids, otherwise it's just weird and aimless. I couldn't disagree more. My days are packed. This afternoon I sewed four double-sided oilcloth placemats for my kitchen in under an hour and a half. I then made a lasagna for dinner which will also feed my husband for lunch for the next two or three days. I love my work and I find it fulfilling. That's my fond wish for any person in his or her life.

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  36. the 'dominant force'...........it affects just so many things...
    I have always loved being at home, even before I had children, I couldnt wait to be 'home'....work just wasnt my 'thing'...it was not because I was lazy, just that I hated the fact I was there doing things I didnt particularly enjoy for others, just for money..........I could find enough to do home here every day, even without the children, they are just a bonus!!!!
    In this world, we spend too much time commenting on what 'other' people do...........we should just get on with doing what we do and helping each other....

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  37. Glad to hear the good news on Hanno!
    I am so glad you did your post on this e-mail. Mary after battling cancer and told I was in remission by the doctor. The doctor looked at me and asked "when are your planning to return to work?" When I told him that my husband and I decided that I stay home. His mouth dropped open and asked "what are you going to do sit on the couch and watch T.V. all day?" I just replied you don't know me very well do you? I just ignore these comments because I know that my husband and I couldn't be happier with me being home. Our lives are so much richer and I don't mean financially. When someone asks me I just say I am retired and enjoying gardening etc.

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  38. Rhonda,

    WONDERFUL news about Hanno! :)

    I think your answer was spot on for Mary. I can totally relate. :)
    - Kristin

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  39. Mary does not have to answer to anyone else for how she lives her life - she can choose to live it as she sees fit. Rhonda is spot on with her answer to Mary!
    I rarely comment, but this particular post struck a chord deep inside me. And it's something I need to remember, too: I can live my life as I choose, not because someone says that is how it should be lived, but because I am choosing (responsibly) to live that way. Excellent post!!

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  40. Hi Rhonda
    I'm glad everything will work out with Hanno with just medication. My mum used to work sewing stents for people was such a difficult job but so rewarding.
    I'm a proud stay at home mum to my two daughters (2.5 and 8 months) and now I'm starting to get asked what I will do for work and when will I go back and I don't think I really want to. That would be mega stressful having to work full time and look after our home. I'm happy being home I find it fulfilling. At the moment though we only rent so hopefully when we buy a house in 5-6 years time I can still stay home or at least work part time.
    Mary - they aren't true friends if they question what you do. You are doing a great job!!

    Tia

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  41. Thank you for this post it reaffirms the work I do in the home, although I do have 2 young children, people still ask me when I'm going to go into paid work etc. This post has helped me to answer my nearest and dearest critics too :)
    Glad to hear that Hanno is in the clear too.
    K xx

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  42. Just popping in quickly to say good news about Hanno!!

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  43. I too am so happy that Hanno got a good report from his doctor!! You must feel so relieved!!
    I am 65. Growing up our neighborhoods were full of women staying home and loving it. I know, I still talk to many and they still say thy loved their life. Also the many many years before that women had been home. When I married it was starting to be where women were told they should work and less women were home in my neighborhood as my own children were growing up. Also way less older women who could mentor the younger women. By the time my own daughter was about grown it was the norm for women to work and some said odd if they stayed home. It was almost unbelievable to me that the shift happened so fast. I stayed at home and now I have grandchildren I am still here...and still loving it. I believe that if Mary and her husband agree for her to stay home who are we to say differently? I would certainly had stayed home even if we had not had children. That would have little to do with it. Like you have said before Rhonda, while home we have more time to plan and work to use the money that is coming into the home to its best advantage. As the years go by your knowledge just grows too! No one is just sitting home eating bon bons for sure. That would be soooo boring!!! :-) Mary you are one of the women who are now in the vanguard of a new back to the home movement!! :) Enjoy your life and don't let any one else tell you how you should live our life. What would your friends say if you told them how to live theirs?? Some of the people you know might be watching and follow your example someday! Then they too can know our joy. :) Sarah

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  44. Wonderful news about Hanno.
    A reply to Mary: you should be comfortable with what you want to do, and disregard what others think about your choice.
    Having a husband that also works away and at the moment I only see for 3 days every 2 weeks, I find that I could not be home alone (all my friends work, and I have no family in Australia)so I work part time 4 half days a week, keeps my mind occupied, meet people, talk and I'm lucky to have the freedom to take time off when I want (as long as my colleagues cover my shifts). This way I have time to visit my husband in the East coast for a week or more once in a while instead of him just coming for 3 days every 2 weeks.

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  45. YES!

    I loved what you wrote Rhonda,especially the line about being able to customize the home for those living in it. I have never understood why someone would be praised for having a business of cleaning homes for other people but not praised for wanting to stay at home and clean it and arrange it for their comfort. These are all the things everyone working hopes to achieve one day - the chance to live life the way they want too!

    Good news about Hanno! Thanking God!

    Deanna

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    Replies
    1. I am afraid no one praises me for my house keeping business. Most people ask me why I do it when I can do so much more!

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  46. Am so glad to hear that Hanno is okay. It must be a big relief.
    I enjoyed reading this post and I hope that Mary finds the strength to not bow down to the naysayers and to just live the life that she wants to without having to explain herself.
    I am 39 yo, single with no children and I live on my own. I work fulltime with the intention of reducing my hours this year to spend time at home. My home is my sanctuary and I find nothing brings me more pleasure than to do a good days work at home and have it feel clean, tidy, organised and comfortable. I cook from scratch, bake, tend to my vege garden (with the hopes of one day relying on it completely for my veges), I knit, am going to learn to use my sewing machine to make clothes, make my own cleaning and beauty products. I live simply and I love it. Eventhough I don't have a partner or children, living simply feeds and nourishes my soul and that's what matters. Other people may wonder why I bother because I am on my own but what matters to me is what brings me joy and satisfaction. And living simply does just that.

    So Mary, do what you want and what you like because that's what matters to you.

    Rae

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  47. I completely agree, Rhonda. I am in the same situation as 'Mary', except that my fiance and I are older. When we marry the plan is that I will not be in paid employment. I am looking forward to it very much, because we will still be a family, albeit a small one - just us. It is important to create a home. Many people have a house (some of them are very nice), but it takes real commitment to make a home. A home conveys the essence of who you are as a couple. But, it is more. I think we have lost the value of neighbourhood. I have begun to get to know my future neighbours. I want to know then and keep an eye out for them. Some of them have busy and difficult lives. It will be good to cook something for them, or harvest something for them at times. I want them to know me and know they have a friendly neighbour to whom they can turn if they ever need to. I want to be able to be available to my extended family and be involved. That's me; that's my life: creating a home. There is great value in that.
    So glad to hear about Hanno.
    Julie

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  48. This page spoke to me! I have recently moved to a more rural environment and finally have the time, space and opportunity to do lots of things I've wanted to. I now have bee hives, am building a chook shed, am fencing and clearing parts of our property, learning how to cook without using convenience food, baking my own bread for the first time, and want to start making my own cleaning supplies... basically everything this blog is about - and I'm also unemployed. By choice. With no kids.
    I hear you Mary, I've had quite a bit of judgement thrown at me. It's easy to ignore those you don't care about, but when it's coming from loved ones it's another story!
    I find the cheerier and chirpier about your life you can be, the better. If you are always filled with interesting and upbeat news about the things you are doing, your loved ones will start to realise that you are happy and fulfilled... and you will often hit on something that makes them say "I've always wanted to try that!", and the penny will drop that you are doing good works even if it doesn't sit in the normal consumerist mindset. People don't tend to talk about the things that fulfill them, but it does shine through if you are happy :-)
    Good luck Mary!

    And thank goodness Hanno is ok!
    Cathtastic (long time reader, first time poster!)

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  49. What an exellent answer, Rhonda!

    And Mary, I'd like to add that those who ask - they are humans too... I mean there's envy involved (misery loves company!)... Or, they might be confused - what to talk about with you when you are not working anymore. They might feel they can't share with you how tired they are after *working* all week, how behind they are with their home making etc

    Stay firm with your decisions. You and your husband know what's best for you.

    Lady Lydia has some good posts on staying at home and what to answer to those who keep asking(It's a christian blog):

    http://homeliving.blogspot.fi/


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  50. A wonderful blog post and reply to Mary! I am in a very similar position after leaving a stressful job that caused me many tears. Now I look after house, home, husband & dog and love it! We are both healthier & happier. We don't spend a lot on "stuff" because we feel we have all we need but not a day goes by that we are not thankful for the life we are leading.

    Very happy to hear Hanno is better!

    Rhonda, you are such an inspiration!

    Much love,
    Kirsten @ The Happy Larder

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  51. Great news about Hanno! What a relief! And as for Mary, I loved her original reply. It's assertive,honest and a very good reason to give.

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  52. Fantastic news about Hanno.....

    But Mary's question is on one subject that makes my blood boil!

    Why oh why should anyone go out to paid work if they are able not to and don't want to......I have not worked for pay for 12 years, have no children and am fast approaching 50. I'll admit that I'm lucky as my husband has a well paid job in IT, but if he can't support the two of us on one wage then the world I live in is a very sad place.

    I have often been asked 'when are you going to get a job?' Sometimes I want to answer by saying that by not working I'm letting someone that really needs the money to have that job. As for being labelled as being 'selfish' for not having children, which I have been, I reckon its actually the least selfish option. The population is doing well enough without me adding to it.

    Recently I realised that as we do not have children we do not need to leave a legacy. We are not spending a fortune to get children through school/university, making sure they have a roof over their heads forevermore, nor trying desperately to leave enough money when we go to make it worthwhile to each child after inflation has kicked in. And when I realised that it changed a few things for me. It doesn't mean we're out spending our money wastefully but I can choose to be a homemaker, allowing my husband to work at his job without having to worry about any of the chores around the house and leave time for us both to enjoy what we have. Isn't that what most people say they're after?

    So Mary, I believe it's your life, no-one else's. Choose to live it as you wish.

    Hooliganhound (was in Sydney but now getting used to a very different lifestyle and 5 acres :-))

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  53. It sounds as though you know what you want out of life, and how you want your life to be -that is great. There is so much pressure in society, and expectations. But it's your life, no one else's. If you chose to be a career woman, your life would be hectic, particularly when your husband is away also. For a home to function, something has to 'give'. Your husband I am sure, will appreciate having a warm and cosy nest to come home to, instead of a woman crazily running around, trying to do it all. If being at home makes you happy, I'm sure your husband will also be happy. Why are expectations so different just because you coose to have no children? A home still needs to be tended to - kids or no kids. A garden, a car,clothes washed etc, pets walked and bathed.Be true to yourself, and keep the homes fires burning!

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  54. Hello Rhonda, so pleased to hear about Hanno, I'm sure it's a great relief for you all.

    Great advice to Mary, as always, but it sure is a shame that she should have to justify her choices to others.

    When I was a child growing up the the mid 50's/early 60's all the women in our street only worked seasonally (fruit picking) and this was considered 'earning pin money', their proper work was considered to be in the home! How times change in a such a short time and, I think, the natural balance of a woman's role.
    Jak x

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  55. Hi Rhonda, I'm so glad you raised this. We do not have children either. At the moment I am the main bread winner...and my husband is at home. He is working on his writing. We share the cooking.

    Although I have a full-time job I still do a lot of cleaning at home and have allotments where I try to grow some of our food. All of this has to be fitted in around work....except when I'm on holiday and then I have the time to do it all justice...and it is a full-time job in itself this home-making! So Mary I don't see any need for you to apologise for that.

    Compared to the consumer society we live in, which is doing so much harm to the planet....you should be proud that you are working toward something more valuable.

    Hope you continue to enjoy it.

    Love Carolemc.

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  56. You don't know how many times I have been asked when I will be returning to work. I have three children, and the youngest is only 3!! People automatically assume that as he is old enough to attend preschool, I will be returning to work. This is absolutely not the case. I am at home because it is where I want to be, and because it is where I am needed. As a couple my hubby and I worked hard early on in our relationship to reduce our debt significantly. We are now in a position that we can afford for me to be at home, and that is what we both want.
    When people ask me when I will be going back to work, I simply answer them with..."I enjoy being at home, we can afford for me to be at home, so Why should I take a job away from someone who needs it?" It usually makes them stop for a minute, and a least consider what I have said.

    Also great news about Hanno!!

    Great post as always
    Cassandra

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  57. Praise be God for the good news for Hanno. With the end of 2012 I decided that I needed to cut down, way down, on the number of blogs I follow. As I went through my list and carefully considered things I came to the conclusion that your blog is the only blog I need or want to follow in 2013. You are like a beloved Aunt or dear mentor to me, teaching me the basics that I never learned before (probably because I was too stubborn and impatient). Every time I read your blog or the forum I learn something new and I leave feeling like I just had a nice long chat with a dear friend. Thank you.

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  58. I'm joining the collective sigh of relief! So glad about Hanno's test results and that the blockage can be treated with medication.
    It's a shame that in our present society we are only valued as "good citizen" or "good people" if we have paid job. Everything centers around paid employment.
    As we adopted a new, young dog from a Spanish shelter which likes to meet and play with other dogs, I've met quite a few new people recently. One of the first questions those peopled asked was: "What's your job?" Oh my God, what's happening to this world? Just imagine the situation: your're standing in the middle of a large meadow, a pack of dogs is frolicking around you and people don't talk about their doggies or kids or home, but about their jobs.
    I really do prefer our French neighbours. When French people meet, they generally talk about food! Good, home made food, made from scratch, with care and love. The French (at least in the rural areas) still value homemakers.
    My advice to Mary is: We all should listen to our hearts! That,by the way, helps to keep our hearts and bodies healthy.
    Best wishes from the South of Germany.
    Heike

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  59. So glad to hear of Hanno's wonderful prognosis. I am sure it is a great relief to both of you. First, i clean people's homes for a living now; and most people do not praise me for it. In fact, a lot of people ask me what ever would I 'really want to do a thing like that for'(?). I reply that I get a great deal of satisfaction helping to make a clean and orderly, peaceful place for those who do not have time or cannot or don't want to do it for themselves. I know how I feel when my home is the way I want it; and can enjoy it immensely. I started my business because I had never had my own home, do appreciate the work in one, and also appreciate and the fact that we are all different in many ways.

    We find joy and pleasure in life when we live it for ourselves and appreciate our own talents; not live it for someone else's idea.

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  60. So glad about the good news for Hanno!

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  61. Hi Rhonda...it's wonderful news about Hanno....YAY!!!!!!

    Thank you for a lovely post which really 'spoke' to me as I felt included as I am a Carer turning 60 this year looking after a daughter with a disability. My Husband will be retiring in a couple of years and is looking forward to 'working' at home which to him will be to help out with our beloved daughter so I can have a bit more free time. I have been a stay-at-home Mum (with a few small casual jobs in years gone by) and I find sometimes that there are never enough hours in the day!

    There is a lot of satisfaction being at home so GO MARY!!!!

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  62. It always nice to visit here Rhonda and read your posts and I enjoy the comments from your followers as well. You lift my spirits. Thank you everyone.

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  63. Mary - you are at home because you can be. I would love to be able to offer that explanation, unfortunately, like many, I work because I have to. Not to provide material "stuff" but to pay bills. First chance I get, once my mortgage has gone, I'm cutting down the hours to spend more time doing things I want to do.

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  64. Great news about Hanno!

    I used to get ridiculed for choosing to be a mum and homemaker at such a young age. When all my friends were heading off to University, travelling or just entering the work force I was expecting the first of our five children. I have never worked a full time job outside of the home and I have no regrets whatsoever. While choosing to stay at home has been challenging at times, it has been greatly rewarding and a choice I would make again in a heart beat.

    I often get asked what I will do once our youngest starts school and whether it scares me having no 'work experience' so to speak and I have no hesitation in saying that I will continue to work in and around our home till I am no longer able because it's what I love to do.

    Mary, I admire that you have decided to stick with what you enjoy doing :)

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  65. First off, wonderful news about Hanno. Like all your readers, I've been concerned about him.

    I think your advice to "Mary" is sound--no surprise there, as you are one wise lady. The one thing I'd suggest is for her to find a volunteer activity or class--something to provide companionship and community since her husband will be away from home a lot and she may find the house awfully quiet. (Unless she's a true introvert and happy spending a lot of time alone. I know people who'd consider days at a time with "no one to bother them" and plenty of uninterrupted time to do their projects to be heaven.)

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  66. I am glad that my hubby earns enough for me to at stay home. I love what I do and I think my role is important.

    x

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  67. Um, it's ok if you spend your day attending to housework and baking meals from scratch, but it is also ok if you skip the dusting but once a week and lounge around in pj's reading books and eating snacks!!! You do NOT have to justify staying at home instead of going to a paid job by trotting out a list of everything you do all day that someone else is going to "count" as being acceptable work. If you have the time to fill your day with fun and leisure, so what?! People say things like "it must be nice to __ ". Actually, yes it is! And I'm really grateful that I am able to stay at home, take care of the house & the kids & putter in the garden and do fun things. Sometimes our life is an absolute hectic mayhem of stressful schedules, but other times? I get to sit all day long in pj's if I want to! And I count that as a definite perk to being an at-home mom & wife.

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  68. Thank you for this post Rhonda! I'm the one who sent you this question, and I'm so grateful for your response, as well as all of the kind responses in the comments. It helps so much to know that there are others out there that 'get it' and I've taken all of your words to heart. I know the support here will help me explain myself to my family and friends, and give me strength even if they take a long time to 'get it.' Thank you all!

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  69. Ohh I love this question and your answer. I just found your blog and I really love it. I have been making small moves in line with your philosophy for about a year and reading your blog is going to help me learn more, so thank you. I have a very small space within which to work but have been quite productive. It's so rewarding and we are teaching our daughter valuable skills. It's small steps for us but any step is a good step.

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