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12 February 2013

Homemaking - Unique. Remarkable. Joyful. Satisfying.

I was listening to the radio the other day and tuned in just in time to hear a young woman talk about how bored she was staying at home with her twin girls after being in an exciting job in fashion. I thought I'd like to move in with that family for a while and show them how exciting it can be to take control of a home and to introduce the family to sustainability via housekeeping. I'd like to show them the remarkable possibilities and how those possibilities open up life rather than make it boring. Nowadays, many homes are run on the notion that you buy as much as you can to help you save time so you have the time and energy to earn money to pay for all of it. I know that because I used to do it. It was only when I became worn out and sad that I realised what a sorry way it was to live. It wasn't life as I wanted it to be, it was just survival.


In my mind's eye I had this ever-evolving idea of being a successful and happy woman working in her home on a number of projects. While I was still working, I didn't fully understand the complexity of my home's potential but now I do, I wish I'd made my change much sooner. Being at home gives you so many choices, so much power in your hands to have the home that is right for you and your family. Something that fits you like a glove, not a one size fits all. You are aiming for Unique. Remarkable. Joyful. Satisfying. Forget all those stories you read in magazines about boredom, you can reinvent your home life, take the bull by the horns and make your day to day work whatever you want it to be. And it is the homemaker who makes those changes - female or male, married or unmarried, straight or gay, working in the home full time or part time. It's possible for all of us in a variety of ways.





When I came home for good, I threw out all those old fashioned ideas about being stuck at home, buying everything we needed, having a different chemical for each job and food cooked by some unseen person or machine.  I wanted to simplify my life as much as I could by making my home productive and when I got into it, I was shocked and ashamed at how much of my independence I'd given away for the sake of convenience. I wanted to create a new, for me, way of being a homemaker  - one that embraced work at home rather than resent it. I saw it as an opportunity to turn housework on its head and to make my day an exercise in sustainable living that was filled with interest, learning and contentment. As the months rolled by, I could see that I was making myself much more self reliant and our home resilient and strong and capable of nurturing us during the good times and the bad. Our family life improved, and we became healthier and happier.



This is one thing I'm sure of - you make these significant changes to your life by doing one thing, by deciding to change yourself. You start with one thing and as that unfolds, it brings in new possibilities, which lead to something else and eventually the joy of it unfolds before your eyes. It is a small steps proposition where you work at it every day in tiny ways that add up and make life worthwhile and enriching. And you can't buy that anywhere. There is no product that will give you the feeling of satisfaction you get when you create this kind of life for your family. When you finally "get it" and work on making it better every day, that's exactly what happens - life gets better.  So, don't tell me that life at home is boring. It will be what you make it. There are possibilities there that are open to all of us - we'll all choose our own unique mix of what works for us. All we have to do is decide to change, then step up to the work.


In the past few months there were a few people, women and men, who were leaving work to start life as homemakers. If you're still here please let us all know how you're going. What is difficult and what is easy? And, is it what you thought it would be?


70 comments:

  1. Good morning Rhonda. I had to drag myself out of bed this morning only to discover you've already posted! But even bleary eyed and half asleep I was thinking of all the things I could achieve today as I headed down the stairs. I have whole day at home today with no interuptions and I can't wait to get stuck in.

    All my children are at school this year so my role has changed slightly. I feel that I can really make a difference in the home and garden with my extra time. I plan to sew and cook and grow veggies and create a space that Hubby and the kids can't wait to come home to. I haven't been bored for years!

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  2. Hi Rhonda,

    Good post, as usual! I've been a full-time homemaker for over a year now and I, like you, wish I had done it sooner. I am more satisfied and fulfilled. I am calmer and feel so much more in control of each day. One thing I am especially enjoying is "shopping" in my own pantry. My husband laughs whenever I tell him that "Today, I shopped in our freezer for tonight's supper." Having a well-stocked pantry and freezer throws a completely different light on meal planning and we have found that it's really a lot of trouble (not to mention more expensive)to go out to eat like we mostly did in the past. For the first time in over forty-five years of marriage, I'm cooking more from scratch. It's been a pleasant surprise to learn that many of the things I'm cooking from scratch don't take much longer than the pre-packaged foods I was preparing before. Plus they cost less and taste better.

    I couldn't agree more about taking small steps. I struggled most of this past year with trying to give up paper napkins as I thought I would be constantly washing cloth ones. I thought I would need a clean one for each meal. So I experimented with using a paper one for breakfast and then instead of wadding it up and throwing it in the trash and getting another paper one for the next meal, I put the one from breakfast in a little basket (so as not to confuse it with my husband's napkin) and tried using it again at lunch and supper. I've learned that I'm not as messy as I thought I was and I've gradually been able to give up the paper napkins and can use a cloth one most of the time for all three meals in a day's time. So it was a slow process for me to convert to using cloth napkins - something I would never have done in years past when I was working outside the home and it was always hurry, hurry, hurry all the time just to get through the evening meal so I could hurry, hurry, hurry to get other chores done at night because I wasn't home in the daytime to do them. Chores are now done on a much more flexible schedule...the only one I still hate is the vacuuming!

    As you say, and I agree, the opportunities are remarkable whenever you are a full-time homemaker.

    Diane in North Carolina

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    1. I'm doing the same at home, using one cloth napkin a day for breakfast and dinner and it's working very week!

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    2. For 20 years I have lived on farms and have milked cows and reared calves. To me I was " at home" BUT I decided that I was not going to be on the farm once I hit 50. Now at 53 almost I said to my dear husband I have had enough of being in that cowshed and all I want to do it be home particularly in the afternoons. We have changed our jobs come this June and I will only have to relief milk at the new job which is once a month. I am very excited. I will be able to take a stall at a Farmers Market 3 minutes up the road. I will be able to do some voluntary work and most of all I will be able to be where my heart is--- full time at home. I was speaking to a friend last year ( a sheep and beef farmers wife) and she told me that her and all her lady friends in the district who have had jobs away from home have quit and come back home to be with their husbands and where their heart is.
      Karen NZ

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  3. Life is what we make it. Only boring people get bored. I do wish I was working a little more outside the home (art is my passion and that will never change) but I am discovering more and more 'jobs' inside the home I love such as making yoghurt and knitting dishcloths. If I won lotto tomorrow I would still want to do what I'm doing but perhaps with a little more time in the studio, and of course with my husband around more.

    I think part of making jobs easy and enjoyable is ensuring your home accommodates them. Kitchen jobs are usually my favourite because my kitchen is super organised, tiny, but almost always clean. Other areas of my home are not as organised and therefore jobs in these areas are more stressful, especially if they require me to get out equipment, find somewhere to use it, then pack it away again e.g. the sewing machine. I'm now continuing my crusade on clutter and building a functional home.

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  4. so true in every way, though i can imagine having twins would severely limit your capacity for home making for sometime, depending on their temperament!
    but even having the vision of where you want to go with home making and taking tiny steps provides such a boost for your self-esteem, that the need for external validation just begins to fade a way which is so liberating.
    i get such a thrill every time i see your pictures of your home made soap because its on my plan for this year to make my own, after the newborn period has settled down x

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  5. I have been a stay at home, homeschooling mom for 10 years now...(wow how the time flies) and never have I heard any thing better on this topic than what you have written here. I do on occasion still slip into the this is boring mood. As each day, month, year goes by that feeling slips away more and the joys of being a homemaker, homeschooling mom and finding new ways to more self reliant over come those feeling. I find it very helpful reading your blog. Thank you.

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  6. Hi Rhonda,
    I left work to be a full time homemaker five years ago now. At the grand old age of 39 I'd had enough. Enough of the rushing, enough of packaged food and enough of never feeling like I was a good enough worker or mother as I was attempting to be brilliant at both.

    At first I panicked a bit as I thought one less income meant we'd struggle financially. But as the months wore on I realised we were doing better financially as I was able to save money in so many ways.

    Of course the biggest way to save money was no childcare costs. I was able to be home with the kids 24/7 which was a win financially and emotionally. No packaged food. Home cooked meals are so much cheaper and I discovered a love of baking - real baking, not throwing a packet mix together. Of course some things haven't worked. My vegetable garden has been a disaster, my attempts at crochet pitiful and home made cleaners a bit hit and miss.

    What I have noticed is that we are all happier. Kids love having me home and able to attend every school event. I'm happier doing the one job, homemaker, well. My husband is happier just concentrating on his job and not trying to pick up the slack at home as well. I am never bored.

    My days have a definite routine. Mornings are kids to school and housework. Lunch is followed by baking, creative pursuits and walking. Afternoons are homework and dinner prep. Evenings are time for chatting and reading.

    Blogs like Down to Earth remind me I am on the right track when the world around me seems to be in a consumerist frenzy.

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  7. Rhonda, can you move in me for a while and straighten me out. LOL I work full time so im not at home but when i took 2 years off (16 yrs ago) I started an Avon business in a new area. It went gangbusters and i bought a Jenome and leanrt to make my new sons clothes. Then i volunteered at a retirement home and a group of 15 visited in a bus for afternoon tea and a movie in our home cinema - we had the best time and they loved my little boy. (many of them hadnt seen their family for years so it was good for them to come into a home). I couldnt imagine being bored at home. I dream of that day when i can. Good Post Rhonda.

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  8. Hello Rhonda,

    What a lovely post! I've only done a bit of part time work for years now. It is from home, which I like. I'm not nearly as organised or do as much as you, but I'm never bored.
    I love it when the family say, thanks for the dinner, it was lovely, & I know that it's all done from scratch. Well almost, I do sometimes use a stock cube!
    Love Angela (south England) UK

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  9. I think life at home can be boring the same way any job can. When you get in a rut, thinking that you are doing it all and just plodding along. The beauty of being a homemaker is that you are your own boss, so when the jobs you are doing start to feel mundane, you can choose to shake it up a bit - learn a new skill, delve deeper into each chore and make the home a bit cleaner/more organised of find some other new task that will make your home that bit more sustainable, comfortable, frugal or whatever. I'm a person that gets a big bored when doing the same thing over and over, so this rich and changeable job as homemaker suits me perfectly. And when I start feeling bored, I harass hubby to let me get the goats I dearly want ;). I've nearly convinced him!

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  10. I've been at home full-time for about 2.5 years now, but it's only in the past year or so that I feel like I'm really sinking my teeth into it. I've become braver with being less reliant on chemical cleaners, we recently became chicken owners (LOVING IT!), and although we've given our vegie patch a break for the time being, I have plans in my head for a new improved system for us to grow some of what we eat.

    Things I've found hardest have been cooking things from scratch. I enjoy baking, and have no trouble baking cakes, biscuits and the likes (all the 'naughty treats!') from scratch, but it's savory dishes I struggle with. I think it's partly because dinner time is usually a chaotic time in our house, with a 4 year old and a 5 month old to bath and get ready for bed, and the idea of trying new recipes at that time of day sounds a bit daunting. It's not like we end up eating microwave dinners, but I do rely on pre-made, add-water-to-make-a-flavour-base sauces a lot, or jars of pasta or stir-fry sauce. Now Miss 4 has started kinder, I also want to have a big cooking session to freeze up some easy-to-heat dinners so we won't resort to take away as often.

    I have to ask (because my Dad has a lemon tree and regularly gives away buckets of the fruit to anyone who will take them!) what are your plans for all those lemons?!

    Thank you for another inspiring post. I love reading this blog in the morning, it always gives me a little boost of focus and calm for the day :)

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    1. I can relate to what you say about dinner time being chaotic! My method is to thaw the meat or at least decide what we will be having before lunch. During nap or snacktime I prepare the salad, and if I'm lucky enough to have both little ones nap at the same time I often do some or all of the meal prep. That allows me to put some toys on the floor for the two boys (age 3 and 11 months) to play with while I finish the cooking. OR baby in high chair and 3 yr old coloring while the finishing touches happen. I also feed them early to allow time for baths :) Everyone has a different routine, but what works for me is being prepared. I often make things knowing that the next night I can "tinker" with the leftovers for a fast but new meal.

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    2. Hi Larissa, the lemons were from last year, I juiced them all and froze the juice. Our tree bears fruit all year but the bulk of them come in winter. So I juice them and save the juice for summer cordial. Unfortunately, this year we lost a lot of fruit due to the drought so I doubt we'll have much for cordial next summer.

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  11. Hello.
    This year we are permanently moving to Serbia and we are looking forward to making our dream house and to start life as homemakers. Your blog is very inspiring and we put your link on my blog to easier follow you. Bye for now ...
    Roberta & Nenad

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    1. Hello Roberta and Nenad, good luck with your move.

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  12. Hi Rhonda,
    I have recently taken long service leave from a stressful government job at half pay to give me 6 months at home. Initially I was worried I'd miss work, miss the brain stimulation, miss the social interactions. The reality, after 3 months, is that there was no transition needed for me, I don't miss anything.... NOTHING. I am a much nicer person to live with, I am calmer and we are not rushing out the door like mad people every morning to get to childcare so I can get to work by 8.30. Life is so much better. It is stimulating. It is rewarding. But above all it is enjoyable.
    Our challenge however, like so many other people, is our mortgage if I decide not to return. We have the ideal property that allows us to grow our own fruit, veggies and raise our own meat but of course that comes at a price and that will be a major factor in my decision about returning to work or not. In an essence I LOVE BEING AT HOME
    Leslie
    Xx

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Leslie. I changed a lot too when I left work. When the pressure is off you become your real self. From what I hear, child care costs are the real killer. Do you have a family member who could help you with that?

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  13. No doubt there is joy to be had in homemaking when you can stay home to enjoy it. Unfortunately we're not all in that situation where we can afford to stay at home.
    Working 6 full days (plus overtime) every week to provide for the family doesn't leave time to enjoy homemaking.
    Arriving home exhausted every evening then having to start the household chores is not a joy.
    As much as I like your blog Rhonda sometimes you do come over as being patronising. This post just made me feel firstly saddened then annoyed. Please don't assume that we all have as much as you do.

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    1. Choices, sweatheart, it's all about the choices, everyday.
      Is your house, car, clothing, belongings all about practicality and needs not wants.

      Just an example... have you used the same leather handbag for 20 years? (Rhonda has) THAT mindset over your whole way of living is what saves all the money and allows you to step back from crap jobs and crazy hours.

      A simple life is not easy,the main hurdle for some, is getting past what others think....what would people think if you used the same handbag for 20 years....it doesn't matter really, it's your choice.

      Choices, everyday... Need or want,

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    2. True, Margaret, I am a believer in choices. But there are 'choices' and then there are 'choices'. Eg. to buy a new handbag or not (btw I am not sure but Rhonda could have been working outside of the home during some of that time she had the old handbag) or to survive.
      For others, the choice to stay home or go to work is not that easy. If I were to stay home and look after my children there would be absolutely no income coming in, save the single parent pension. (I have tried this and was unable to raise my children above the poverty line). I work full-time and I 'home make'. I don't have more than $10 a week if I wanted to spend on luxuries such as clothing, handbags, etc. I definitely make choices: I grow vegies, don't flush the toilet, buy secondhand, make my own cleaners and facial products, etc. I have also made choices in terms of the work that I do, when I could 'sell out' and work for companies which cause environmental destruction, but live more comfortably. I have also made the choice to drop one day of work a week to stay home, which means that I will not be able to meet any contingencies, medical, house maintenance, or otherwise. My choice.
      Everyone is on their own journey and we all need to be supported in our choices, with understanding. I don't think people would be on this website if we weren't all committed to simplifying our lives.

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    3. Hi Sharon,

      I can relate to your coming home exhausted every day and then having to start the household chores the same evening. I did that for years and years - occasionally working not only six days a week, but seven. So I know what it's like to feel that you can't afford to stay home, or even it's maybe that you're so deeply embedded in your work away from home that you haven't had the time to consider that there might be another way. Bills come due and someone has to pay them. What I didn't realize while I was working so much is that so much of the time I was spending my hard earned dollars on items to make it more convenient for me to work...such as eating out a lot, very little cooking from scratch (no time for that), convenience foods, no bargain hunting (no time for that), no mending clothes (no time for that), or much of anything else ...so that I was not only being wasteful, I had no peace of mind from feeling in control of my day to day life. It was not until I was so tired of working in order to pay the bills and keep up the lifestyle that we had created that I finally just sat down and tried to think of ways to save money, instead of hoping to earn more. I had not realized how much difference it would make to bite the bullet, work out a budget, cook multiple meals at the same time, etc. and seriously consider what we needed instead of what we wanted. Over time, it eventually came together and there is now joy at being home and my "work" is running our household efficiently and economically. This is not to say that there weren't sacrifices; believe me, there were. But the reason I'm writing such a long reply is that I sense that you may think a person has to have a lot of money in order to be able to stay at home and that you're sad or annoyed because you think that is the only way. Please know that there can be other choices for you. I truly hope you can find a way that works for you. I hear so much of myself the way I used to be in your words and I want you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel; you just have to be willing to seek it out. I hope you can find a way out of the exhausting hours you're working. Good thoughts of success are being sent your way.

      Diane in North Carolina

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    4. Sharon I sense your frstration in your reply. I've found personally that when I feel frustrated I 'see' others words or actions as patronizing. I too, don't seem to have'as much' as Rhonda. However, I know from reading this blog that Rhonda had to work hard over many years to get where she is at today. As she often says, do your own thing to be happy in the season you are in. I hope that soon you will be able to move to another season where you don't have to work so many hours. Until then, do what you can or what feels right for you. Take what works from this blog and leave the rest behind. Best of luck to you.

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    5. Margaret,

      Sometimes the only choice is to work just to meet basic needs. I think Sharon was coming from a place of pain and saddness and perhaps she is just so very tired. Sometimes making all the "right" choices still leads to working outside the home, mindset is not always enough.

      Kind Regards,
      T.

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    6. I know from personal experience that work conditions can put you in a very bad place, I once had a job with such a heavy, stressful workload, that by 10am I would be in the "ladies" throwing up.
      Living and enjoying a very simple life is ongoing hard work and takes a lot of work and hard decisions to get there.
      Who would choose to live in an old 5 mtr caravan for 3 years, with a 2 year old, while hands on building a home? bit of a local joke ? yes... debt free in the end ? yes.
      We all do the best we can at the time.

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  14. Hi Rhonda,

    Forget moving in with that lady on the radio Rhonda, and move in with me!
    Or at least consider it, lol.

    Struggling a bit to find any order (mostly in my head) at the moment. I think we can become faced with too many options, and the task of simplifying them, can it itself become a mountain.

    cheers
    Fi

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  15. You've mentioned the key aspect that has driven my curiosity to find out how to do things that a lot of people I know think are silly: independence. I don't much care if it's cheaper to buy sweet chilli sauce (the most recent example that came up in conversation at a dinner just yesterday), that's not the point - I just want to know how to make it myself (and am not convinced that I can't make it cheaper than buying ready-made either).

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  16. Having children was my catalyst for change, for a lot of things. I recall a work colleague who left our company around the same time as me and we had our first babies within two weeks of each other. When I spoke to her soon after (her son was less than a month old), I was shocked and quite saddened to hear her tell me how very bored she was. I, on the other hand, was thrilled and delighted, and loved my new role as a mother.

    I recall telling my own mother once that I was bored. It was a hot day and I was nine or ten. Her answer was a bit of a shrug and the suggestion to find something to do. Which I eventually did. I haven't ever felt bored for all the decades since! There have been times when I've felt stuck or not known what to do, however those times passed.

    There is a lot to life however our attitude to it and how we react to incidents and changes, plays an enormous part, in my opinion. I still work however I love being at home. I enjoy the simple act of washing up, for example, and making do with less - less money, less equipment. It can be a very satisfying life but, like most things, it's what you make of it.

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  17. ..."by deciding to change yourself." A fundamental truth that is the key to our empowerment. Please, Rhonda, never stop doing what you do. Love it.

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  18. I have never been bored at home, Rhonda. Even when I used to work full time, my time at home was always precious and fulfilling. In the last four years, I have learnt to grow fruits and vegies, make bread, yogurt, cheese, soap, green cleaning and cooking from scratch. I regularly make meals from my own garden produce and preserve surplus fruit and vegetables. Last year I started a local sustainability group with a few neighbours in my street. We now meet regularly to support each other with becoming more sustainable, swap surplus produce and exchange skills through local workshops in each others' homes. Never a dull moment...I am so busy i have to 'make myself' take time out. The most challenging aspect has been growing vegetables,learning to prioritise and accepting I can't do it all.

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  19. What a magic and true phrase: "sustainability via housekeeping".. A motto for the Forum perhaps?

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  20. I so agree with you, Rhonda. I have been a full-time homemaker for nearly eight years and I am rarely bored, restless or unsatisfied. I love what I do. I enjoy your posts so much; I gain so much strength and courage when I read your writing on this subject. I wanted you to know that today, as one step toward more natural, healthier cleaning methods, I bought some new washcloths so that the old ones can be repurposed for cleaning. I want to eventually crochet a set for myself but until then the washcloths will do. I am serious about making this change and I feel that you have inspired and empowered me to do it.

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  21. I really appreciate the joys of homekeeping, and the simplicity and sustainability that it brings. I love making my own soap and yoghurt and chicken stock. I wish I had the time to do more of it. BUT. I also love my job outside the home - I get to do interesting, meaningful work with intelligent and congenial colleagues. I wouldn't give it up for the world, and I wish I had more time to do that too. I also know myself well enough that spending too much time by myself at home is not good for my mental health.

    So, while I'm all for promoting the joys of simple living and homemaking, I think that we also have to recognise that it's not for everyone. I think that we should each play to our strengths and strive to the things that we do best. After all, we still need some people to be going out to work in our society. And if the occasional shortcut is necessary to keep us happy and productive as we work outside the home, I don't think that's the end of the world. Until I can clone myself that's what I'll be doing. OTOH, I'd love to have someone doing some housework for me while I'm at work!

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    1. This must be your first visit here because had you read any number of old posts you would know that I encourage everyone to do their own thing, that you need to be true to the seasons in your life and no matter what you do, strive to do your best. It's good we agree on these important points.

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  22. The warm fireplaceFebruary 12, 2013 10:15 am

    Great post Rhonda, i am never bored at home, as you say there is so much to do, and learning continually from blogs like yours, thank you so much for giving us the hope of a new type of "Freedom", self reliance and re educating us in old skills that are so needed, going against the tide is very empowering and makes huge sense in these difficult times.
    Sue

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  23. I don't know how one can be bored as a homemaker since there is always something that needs to be done! My hands are never idle. I don't think the lady on the radio is doing it right. ;)
    ~S.

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  24. g'day rhonda
    a great post as always
    how does one get bored with children? i've been at home since having my first & there was never a dull moment, if anything i had to find things to do when they all started school but it was all good, never boring & now when there is no one at home, it still isn't boring, as someone said, "life is what you make it"
    cheers

    selina from kilkivan qld

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  25. I am 35, married, have no children, and recently started my homemaker journey. I am taking twelve months of unpaid leave. The reason I gave to my employer was to be with my husband while he worked overseas for three months. The real reason was because I'd long had enough of being unbalanced. I worked in banking and IT, and as much I liked analyticial work, I didn't like it taking over my life, which it had in the last year or two. I was stressed at work, came home stressed, and couldn't relax enough to do the things I liked: cooking, art, music, craft.

    It's only been six weeks since I finished work, and it's been great to be at home. I alternate between a little housework, cooking, computer time, studying Greek (one of the countries on our itinerary), walking the dog, and creative work. I knitted myself a cardigan, started painting for the first time in years, cooked all my meals from scratch, and am playing the guitar again. Aside from the cooking, a bit of housework and knitting, I wouldn't be doing any of those things if I was at work.

    I must say that my boss couldn't quite understand why I was taking so long off work, and thought I might get bored in six months, but I found more people than I thought who were quite receptive to my 12 month break. What they would think if this time off became permanent is another matter.

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  26. Wonderfully written post Rhonda. I just realized I've been at home a whole decade now. I don't miss outside working and I can't say I've ever been bored. With kids there is always something to do and my home projects lists just grow and grow, you know how it is! I wouldn't change it for the world. Yes, I do consider myself lucky to have the choice to stay home, but at the start we did struggle financially. But we decided we just had to make it work. The choice of where to live has always been a major factor in me deciding to stay home. Our first house was the cheapest in the area (and needed a lot of diy). Where we have built now is very affordable, and we built within our means so our mortgage is cheaper than rent here. Of course some people do not have a choice, but it is something to consider.
    Just about to make a cuppa to catch up your last few posts :)

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  27. I've been at home since last May, when I was made redundant from a part-time job. I'm loving being at home, but I've always found difficulty answering the inevitable "What do you do? questions you get when meeting people for the first time socially. I always felt that people would judge me as being a bit brain-dead if I told them I worked at home. Then I thought, forget that. Now I tell them. So when someone asks me "What do you do?" I tell them "Cook, bake bread, grow my own vegies and fruit, preserve the produce, tend a vineyard, make wine, volunteer at the school, make my own clothes, knit, crochet, look after chickens and sheep, read. Oh, and look after my children as well!"
    Bored? Never, ever. As my mother says Önly boring people get bored.

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  28. Being bored mustn't be confused with having nothing to do. My children are adults and on their own now, but the time I had off paid work when they were tiny was MIND NUMBING. I have always cooked from scratch, grown at least some of our fruit and veg, and I made most of the children's clothes. But, it doesn't matter how much I loved those kids or appreciated seeing the end products of what I did, I found the lack of intellectual stimulation very difficult. I was busy, somewhat satisfied with the fruits of my labours but bored witless. Given the work I was accustomed to doing (and loving), there wasn't enough challenge in being at home and I felt brain dead. Each to his own, but beware confusing boredom with having nothing to do. You can be run off your feet and bored silly because some part of you isn't fulfilled by the routine and tasks.

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  29. I never had a job in high end professional. Most of the time I work it been mainly in service business. Which in nut shell which I felt I was treated like crap.
    I know not employers treat there worker like crap.

    Home making I feel I have more respect and I'm not talk down to. I'll take home making any day.

    Coffee is on.

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  30. I only recently discovered your blog, and I'm so glad I did.

    I left paid work to have my first child three and a half years ago, and I've always been asked about when I was going to "return to work", the truth is that I don't want to. I've never been bored, and I've never been happier, I love being a homemaker.

    I know very few people who see what I do as being a valid occupation, everyone seems to think that it should only be a temporary situation and that I must rush back to paid employment, outside the home, at my earliest opportunity. I don't want to live as though I'm constantly running out of time, and feel truly fortunate that I'm able to do things my way.

    Thank you so much for sharing this post, and all the others, I will continue to read them for as long as you continue to write them.

    Tenille from Melbourne.

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  31. Fantastic post Rhonda!

    Homemaking is my all time favourite subject and you have just reinforced what I have always felt. Bored? That is wishful thinking, I don't have time to be bored!

    x

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  32. I found work to be mind numbing. I was satisfied at doing my job well, but there were no thrills. Being a bookkeeper for an accountant, every day was different, each clients books a challenge but at the end of the day going home was exciting, it was MY space. After having kids and not returniong to work it became more satisfying. I still get a tingle when the canning jars start popping and want to let anybody in the house know about my success. The sewing room is my private retreat, a place to lose track of time. Raking leaves, the sigh of the wind, goats bleating, chickens scratching all leave me centered. Work was hollow, meaningless and could go on without me. My house can't!

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  33. I really enjoy your posts on homemaking. I am a 30 year old stay at home mum to 3 kids (2 are at fulltime school the other at home with me), and in my 6 years I have been at home I have and still feel a small part guilty. My husband puts no pressure on me at all, I find I feel pressured by society to be doing 'more' - there are not many school mums (at our school) that are *just* mums, most juggle kids, school, work and/or study. I have tried studying from home, looked at advertised jobs etc, then always end up caving it in as it is not what I want, but I feel it is somewhat expected of me. I know these are obviously just my own issues, and noone probably gives a rats what I do, work/study or not. But I would love to feelcontent working at home as a homemaker and wife and mother. Its hard at school pick up sometimes when someone asks you what you did today and all I can think of is clean, cook, read etc (I am happy doing these things but they seem quite trivial compared to most other answers (worked, finished my assignment etc) Anyway, Im rambling on now! Thank you Rhonda

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  34. I must say, as a "younger" home-maker (37 with 2 teenage sons), that although I do love being at home and looking after my family, I miss other aspects of working.

    If you're not used to it, it can be very challenging to find such contented satisfaction in doing the same things, day in and day out. I can't imagine throwing a pair of babies into the mix as well, so I can see where the person in question may be coming from.

    Every day in my outside job I could interact face to face with a variety of people, help them to achieve something, and feel gratification at that. I had goals, targets, and I felt satisfaction when each was completed. Yes, I do achieve things at home, but honestly, unless you'd know I did it yesterday, and will do it again today, there's no real "reward" for a job well done. Except getting to do it again tomorrow.

    Not everyone feels the same about things. I'm still struggling with feeling valued in my contribution to the home.

    I consider myself lucky to have that luxury. I know that there are some people who are miserably trapped in debt spirals, and who need our pity and not our preaching. Sure, some families have double incomes just so they can have all the luxuries in life, but not all, and some people have to work 2 jobs just to keep feeding their families. Convenience may be the price they pay for their own sanity and survival.

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  35. Hi Rhonda
    great thoughts and thank you for sharing them. I balance between casual work outside and work inside the home. I have enjoyed learning so many things in the past year but also appreciating that I have the choice to pursue this lifestyle. I struggle with guilt at times for not working outside the home but that comes from me not my family. I grew up seeing my mother do it all in the home (and fab at it) and was influenced by societies opinions that this work was not of value, I heard on TV yesterday pollies saying women ought not be "chained" to the kitchen, they don't see we like it here by choice!. I am learning to value it now. The bread is baked today and home-made sausages are being cooked for dinner with spinach from the garden. Seeds planted for autumn crop and compost turned, laundry done with homemade liquid and every time I wash my hands I am amazed that I made this soap, how cool is that! It has been a busy day. This I value and the time to enjoy it with my family. You have helped me see that. Kind regards Leonie

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  36. I have been a homemaker, first professionally being a family help, after that from de day I married in 1979. I have always been very happy with and in my mother- and homemaker's life, even when I had to stretch the guilders and the euros to over the limit.
    When I was asked: "What do you do?" My answer became, after years of feeling shy and of a less interesting level: "I am a mother and homemaker includng those 41 side-jobs".
    Often one of those busy, working mother's tried to decide for me that her child could come home with mine to play, since they were too busy and I had nothing to do...... With four children of my own!
    It took some time but I learned to let those people think and their children were always welcome in my home, unless they'd behave...

    Thanks for this great post, Rhonda! It's always a pleasure to start, sometimes finish, my day with an update from you on your fantastic blog.
    Cheers,

    Jeanneke.

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  37. Hi Rhonda,

    You have inspired me to continue doing the little things around the flat that make a house a home - thank you for making my day :)

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    1. Thank you for saying hello, Matilda. Are you Robyn's daughter?

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  38. Hi Rhonda. I'm 29yrs old and a single ,mother to an extremely active demanding 10month old beautiful girl. I always looked forward to having my first baby being a stay at home mum. My mum was fantastic at it we lived a frugal life and she was home when we got home from school with homemade goodies and activities for us to do. I'm scared now I am a single mum that I may be forced to go back to work but I am so determined not to. I live in a cute little cottage and live very sparingly I try and cook most things from scratch and have started making my own cleaning products. I would love for a mentor to come along and spend some time with me give me little suggestions and where I Hi Rhonda. I'm 29yrs old and a single ,mother to an extremely active demanding 10month old beautiful girl. I always looked forward to having my first baby being a stay at home mum. My mum was fantastic at it we lived a frugal life and she was home when we got home from school with homemade goodies and activities for us to do. I'm scared now I am a single mum that I may be forced to go back to work but I am so determined not to. I live in a cute little cottage and live very sparingly I try and cook most things from scratch and have started making my own cleaning products. I would love for a mentor to come along and spend some time with me give me little suggestions and where I can plant some herbs, how to create my own laundry liquid how to minimise my bills being on a single income. I want to do it for myself, the environment and most of all set a good grounding/example for my daughter as my mum did for me

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  39. Hi Rhonda! What a wonderful post! And so true! I left my paid job a little over a year ago and my husband & I decided to move to Wales. My job was making me ill & miserable and it was exactly how you said: we were working hard to be able to afford all the stuff that was making us unhealthy & unhappy in the first place. It took me a while after the move to be able to confidently say that I work at home, for our home. I was embarrassed in the beginning - I thought people would see me as lazy. Silly really! I am active and busy and as a family we are healthier & happier. It's the best choice I have ever made & we are grateful that we were able to take this step. Thank you again for your brilliant post! Kirsten x

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  40. Great post, thank you Rhonda!! I recently moved from Holland, where I grew up, to Denmark to live with my Danish boyfriend. In Holland I had a job that was extremely busy part of the year and then parttime the other half of the year. I liked both parts, but always felt that I loved having some more time preparing food from scratch, gardening, making cleaning products etc etc. Now that I moved I had to leave my job and it is very hard to find work here as a foreigner. I always looked up to the Scandinavian system where wages are more equal, women have a better position, libraries, universities and health care are available to everyone... But now that I moved here I also found out that because women can work at any time in their lives, it is expected of you that you do and my feeling is that people have all kinds of negative assumptions about you when you don't. Also, life here is so expensive that even when living as frugally as possible, it is very hard to live off one income. Right now I'm hoping to get a parttime job that still allows me to work on a creative, frugal and sustainable household. I'm actually quite enjoying being at home in the meantime as there are so many interesting chores to do and I still have a meaningful social life, with volunteer work and so many other way of meeting new friends outside of the work floor. Don't get me wrong, I think it is awesome that women here have so many possibilities, as we should have, but I also think a reappreciation of housework as described by you in this post everywhere in the world would help our planet and increase happiness :-)

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  41. Thank you for your post. I love home and family. Home is the place where I find joy and fulfilment.

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  42. I am a homemaker now and proud to be so, and I was a homemaker for many years when my boys were small.

    Once when we were really hard up I sat down and actually wrote lists of what I saved each week by being able to stay at home and run the home, shop around for bargains, cook food from scratch, raise the children and help my husband with his businesses paperwork and what it would have cost me to go out to work. With the expense of travel, a 'working wardrobe', childcare and convenience foods it actually would have cost us more for me to work, so until the boys were both in full time education and able to look after themselves after school I did not return to the workplace.

    Now with my second husband and no children at home I am once again in the role of homemaker. This was not a decision I took lightly as I enjoyed my years working (both for other people and running my own shop), but my husband has an important job that can lend itself to stressful times and he needs a home run smoothly and well and a happy wife to make life 'easier'. By growing our own fruit and veggies and raising our own chickens, we have adapted to a largely self sufficient lifestyle and the roles we currently have suit us both, and are leading up to the day when my Lovely Hubby can take early retirement and join me in living 'the Good Life'.

    And that is all that counts.... that what you do suits your own lifestyle choices. None of us should be swayed by 'popular opinion' or by what we read about and see in the media. We should be strong enough to say 'this is what we have chosen'. Your Blog highlights this so often and is a breath of fresh air.

    Sue xx

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  43. Rhonda, I love your post - it really hit home. Your statement 'It was only when I became worn out and sad that I realised what a sorry way it was to live. It wasn't life as I wanted it to be, it was just survival.' truly expresses how I felt when I was working full-time with 2 sons (even after they were grown). I was exhausted and so was my husband. Our home was not a home, it was just a place to return to. I am changing that now and starting with the kitchen trying to organize it in a way that works best for me. I plan to go through the whole household decluttering and sorting as I go - making it a true home. It is not a race and it will take me some time but it will eventually be done.

    I love your blog - thank you.

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  44. There are so many people, Rhonda, who are on the treadmill of striving for everything and forever wanting more. They can't see that they are wearing themselves out both mentally and physically - and for what exactly?

    When I left the world of retail fashion and became a gardener twenty years ago the financial shock was huge but the change in lifestyle has opened up many new opportunites. I'm healthier and happier than I've ever been - and with far fewer possessions.

    Sammy, in a comment above, was saying that she could do with a mentor to show her how to do things and, of course, we all have one in you. What I would say to Sammy and to others who are afraid they may be doing something wrong when it comes to gardening is this: "have a go, don't worry too much about mistakes for once you make a start the learning process is rapid ".

    Thank you so much for the constant inspiration you give us all.

    Johnson

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  45. Hi Rhonda, I always love your homemaking posts! I feel as if I've just entered a new stage of life which, for me, is quite gratifying. I stopped working as a university instructor when my first child was born, 17 years ago. Despite the financial sacrifices, I have enjoyed every day as a stay-at-home mom of 4. I have cooked and baked and homeschooled and stockpiled and raised chickens and goats - it's been, and continues to be, my life's passion.

    Just recently, however, I have started working "here and there" in a variety of capacities - as a tutor, a childcare provider, bookstore clerk, dog-walker. All in all, I work outside the home around 15 or so hours a week. And I have to admit, I am loving it! I am meeting new people, working different parts of my brain - and I also love that I am contributing to the financial security of the family. The best part is that I still have time to do many of the homemaking jobs that I also adore - but every once in a while, it is a luxury to order in pizza without feeling guilty, take my girls shopping for new clothes (on sale, of course!) - even plan a family vacation for the first time in many years. I am realizing that there are many stages of life, and that we don't have to be fixed on one particular path. And now I particularly relish a day when I can be completely at home, with no outside commitments. Heaven!

    Kate in NY

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  46. Hello. =) I like it when you do these occasional "Oh, just in case you forgot what you were doing, here it is" kinds of posts. I'm 38. In October, my husband and I bought a house with some land, about an hour from the city. Prior to this, I'd been living in apartments for the last 20 years. The purchase destroyed most of our savings, but we have no mortgage and enough left to get us through any big emergencies, so far. Money is tight, and when it gets really tight, I consider getting a "real" job (I freelance edit from home, and I write). But then I look around and I just devise new ways of saving, most of which are better and healthier for us. We stopped using commercial shampoos and conditioners. We're just finishing up my first batch of homemade laundry soap (gotta make more!). Stuff like that.

    Just yesterday, I (finally) finished up a first draft of a novel. I've been devoting a lot of time to it, and although I love to write and I'm excited that I got it out, I found that this morning, when I woke up and didn't have to go straight to my laptop, I was *really* excited to be able to get back to my most immediate concern--planning my first big veggie garden. I'm even sort of pumped to catch up on some cleaning. I was surprised, but very pleasantly so.

    Cheers for the swell blog post. =)

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    1. Hello! Congratulations on your new no mortgage home and getting the first draft of your novel finished. I feel exactly the same way when I can devote full days to home and don't have to write. Good luck with your big garden.

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  47. Rhonda,

    Thank you for this post. Although I love them all,your homemaking posts are always my favorite ones! I wonder why some of us are so hard on ourselves. Why do some feel guilty if we work at home and not have paid employment? I work part-time now, but would rather be home full time. However, I can never seem to let myself do it because of guilt! I have a college degree and my husband's complete support. I do enjoy parts of my job, but it takes a lot of life energy for the amount of wage I earn. The decision to be a full-time homemaker should be between me and my husband and no one else, yet I always question it ............

    Thank you for another thought-provoking post!

    Angie

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  48. Hi Rhonda,

    I’m one of those male soon-to-be homemakers. The timeframe for coming home will commence when our baby is due in June, at which time I'll go on “paternity leave” and hopefully never return to my high stress job. I’m feeling so excited by both the arrival of the baby and the chance to refocus my efforts in the home that when I start thinking about it I can barely sit still.

    I’d have to thank you for your words which have opened this possibility to me – I’m not sure I’d have sat down, done the sums, and had the courage to give it a go otherwise. Michael.

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    1. Hello MIchael. I think I remember you commenting a few months ago. It must be so exciting for you both to have these plans while you await the arrival of your baby. I really relate to your "barely sit still" comment. That's how I felt when I gave up work and I went to bed each night knowing what I could do the following day. I just had a look at your blog and I love it. I'll have to get a cuppa later and read back a bit. I've added you to my sidebar. Sending best wises to you and the Mrs.

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  49. Hello Rhonda from Oregon, USA! I've been following your blog for some time and it has been a continued source of inspiration for me. My journey has had me leave the workforce due to my husbands health and we have chosen to keep 'mom' home in order to allow for more balance to our families life. My personal journey to creative a productive home has been going on for a little over a year now. It's a challenge, my neighbor's look at me as if I were cross eye'd sometimes. But, for our family, living with less stress and a focus on family and home has been huge for all of us and in my opinion has improved our mental health. Cheers, Jenni

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. Just found your blog and must admit it has made very interesting reading to me. I have been fortunate enough nto have always been a stay at home Mum and homemaker. I have been ridiculed through the years about being bored, how do you fill your days...Oh I couldn't think of anything more mind numbing commentsa and such like. These same women were then bemoaning the fact about, their dirty houses, piles of ironing, ready meals etc. Whilst I was baking bread, shopping and making proper meals. I used to be so surprised when I saw what my friends used to thrtow away food wise.I always use fresh meat and veg etc...each week writing a shoppinbg list and a weeks meal menu and even though the children have all now flown the nest I still do. One of my daughters isa chip off the ol' block and is by choice a stay at home Mum, yes finances are hard for them but with lot sof tips from Mum, she makes it work.

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  52. I would very much love to stay at home and be a full-time homemaker. Right now, I am still working full-time and really look forward to the day when that can change. I do need to keep my job since my husband is self employed and I need the benefits that my govt job allows me. But you are right, working outside the home seems to take the best parts of me sometimes and I feel that I could do so much better for myself and my family if I were at home.

    I do live simply, I make my cleaning products, we cook real food, we garden, raise some animals when we can - in fact, we just recently moved into my husband's family farm, so we will try to do more now. We don't consume much in the way of consumer goods, we prefer to buy used when we can and we have lovely antiques that have been either handed down or purchased cheaply at auction. I think our home is a place where we are comfortable and people like to gather.

    I have a chronic illness (MS) and do need to keep the benefits to cover Rx when it is needed, but I wish there was some way to stay home instead. I hate to think that the only way that I will get to stay home is if I take long term disability - and if it comes to that, I may not be much use in the home, either. I guess I will continue on as I can for as long as I can. At least I know that we can manage to live on much less than we make, if we ever need to.

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  53. Okay, it's time to close these comments down now. I don't want readers having slinging matches here. I hate having to edit out some comments but I know if I don't it will get worse.

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