DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

30 April 2014

Homemaking - a changeable feast

I think most of us want to feel that we’re spending our time wisely, that we’re productive, contribute our fair share and get the job done efficiently. I felt like that when I worked for a living; I feel the same now working at home. There is no doubt that if you work as a doctor, nurse, teacher, fire fighter, police officer, retail assistant, factory worker, lawyer, scientist or truck driver, you’ll be part of the national work force and be rightly proud of the part you play in the nation’s progress and success.  You'll be respected for the role you play in your community and as a bread winner for your family. Homemakers care for children, manage the household budget, have control of the family’s spending, balance budgets, clean, cook and bake for their families, drive children to school and after school activities. They stay up at night with sick children and partners, shop for healthy food while spending the least amount of money, mend, recycle, sew, and they often make many of the cleansers they use. Homemakers send students and workers off every day well fed, clean and ready to work after a sound night’s sleep. Homemakers play a large part in the nation’s progress and success too, but they are rarely acknowledged, let alone respected for it.



Homemaking has been looked down upon for decades. That is not going to change overnight. But I think that homemaking has undergone a radial change and not many people know it. Homemaking now has more in common with the 1900 - 1950s style of homemaking, instead of the 1960 - 1990s style. Many of us are now actively engaged in traditional crafts and activities while using using modern technology and appliances in this radical and proactive enterprise. There is a huge group of homemakers who work in the commercial world in addition to their work at home, there are many homemakers who work at home, earning extra money to boost family finances, there are the homeschooling homemakers and homemakers who volunteer in their communities. It's changing.


We need to work together to help change outdated attitudes about homemaking, so that not only do we continue our work at home with the support of family and friends, but we also open up the option of a homemaking career for younger people, both women and men, who, right now, might not even know it's an intelligent and important option. You can help spread the word by telling your friends and neighbours about your favourite activities, maybe bread and soap making. Show them your knitting and sewing. Demonstrate your life in gentle ways. Be your own best advertisement. If we can develop our own strategy to talk about our work in a way that highlights the significance of it, if we show, by example, that homemaking makes us content, if we reskill ourselves for a productive future, if we guide our families with grace and confidence and if we share our experiences in a thoughtful way then we'll gain some of the support we all hope for and validate our choice to be what we are.


I know that my life is better now that I take care of my home and family as my main concern. It wasn't always the case. I never really knew the significance of caring for a home until I gave up work and came home. I realise now that the day-to-day tasks of homemaking - the bed making, sweeping, cleaning, laundry, cooking and the physical work of a home, as well as all the sitting on the front verandah relaxing and thinking, created the person I have become.  But there are many women who balance work, volunteering, home businesses, homeschooling and homemaking. We all work in different ways but we are doing the same work, we're caring for family and home - our nations' true assets.



Homemakers make most of the buying decisions in the home and that gives you and me the power of the dollar/pound. Use it. If you don't like the service you receive, if the goods you buy are faulty or inferior, complain. When we're assertive, shopkeepers listen. They're not stocking an ingredient you need? Ask for it. Shopping is best done with a happy mindset, it's not an exercise of walking behind a trolley picking up products and dropping them in. It's much more involved and active than that. Read labels, know what you're buying, ask, know your products and where to get the best deals. We want good quality and the best value for our money, the shopkeepers want you to take what is in the shop at the advertised price. Shopping is our battlefield. Doing it well gives you the power of the money you spend. We all have to take advantage of that.


Modern homemaking is an independent creative activity, it can be whatever you want it to be and it will give you many wonderful reasons to get up every morning. If you really do become what you do, then I have become a modern homemaker who wants to show women and men a way of life that will slow them down and bring enrichment and meaning into their lives. My home has become a centre point for me, where I am made content and self-reliant by the work I do. Right here is where I find a steadfast inspiration every day to carry on. I didn’t know a life lived like this was possible until I stumbled into it. My home is where I reclaimed my independence and discovered how to live well and to my true potential. It may not be everyone's choice to work at home doing household chores but I have been enriched by it and I doubt I would be as happy as I am without meaningful work to do every day. I don't want to live a life where I don't have to do any work, and I don't want to be dragged down by it either. I have found a good balance that requires of me that I plan, work and put in the time and in return I get this feeling of sublime contentment. And I am thankful that homemaking slowed me down enough to discover that, to enjoy the natural world surrounding me and to enrich my spirit.

44 comments:

  1. Have you read Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes? I'm only part way through but thus far I have found it a very interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Today I "unofficially" began my summer break! While I still have some faculty meetings to attend, most of the next 3 1/2 months are mine! I am so excited to have a chance to be "just a homemaker!" After staying home 10 years, it was hard to go back to work; so, this is a change I embrace!

    As such, this summer I have resolved to "live it like I own it" --- like I am retired. It is a rehearsal, actually, because I am going to be living on the same money I will have when I do retire. It is going to be an experiment into living a life as I plan to have in four years. I can't wait!

    Today, I have made soap and bee food. Plus, puttered on cleaning and projects. No dread. No rush. No demands beyond what I have made of myself.

    I think I am going to like this! A. Lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful. I can feel your excitement and I certainly understand it.

      Delete
  3. It's great, isn't it! There seems so much more depth to life when homemaking is considered important. Our family find we are becoming more and more involved with life at home as the years go by. We now teach our children at home, milk goats daily, grow veggies and we I nvolve every family member with the life we live and it feels very good. We feel very connected with the world we live in.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This way of life is so enriching in so many ways. People I talk to about this often feel 'trapped ' in their other life , and I think I was lucky enough to be able to ease into it all gradually.I think the time has passed where people thought I was 'weird' ...now I am finding that people are looking at this life as something they long to do too. I think the change has come from blogs like yours where the 'weird' people finally feel the confidence to tell people who they are and be proud of it. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  5. A wonderful post Rhonda. Society thinks there is something wrong with you wanting to be a full time mother like "what do you do or do you work" and you say "I'm a full time mother" and then there's the "oh" and silence. Caring and raising the next generation of adults is an important role and the traditional family where people are home around a dinner table talking about their day. The perception is if you are home without children as they are in school you are at home in the couch watching tv. I never get to sit on my couch unless I sit and watch a movie with the kids on the weekend. There is always things to do. It would be nice if homemaking was not frowned upon and was realised for all the valuable roles within that role that homemakers do. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

    ReplyDelete
  6. DH and I have embarked on a new and exciting simple life style. Talk about declutering......we have sold everything, bought a caravan and plan to live on the road, simply and embrace everyday from sunrise to sunset and all the hours in between. I retired last week and we have started our travels already. Each day will be about the people we meet, the community we find ourselves living in, cooking from scratch and making do with what we have, We have been moving towards this lifestyle for a while now, making bread, washing powder, cooking from scratch and tending a small herb garden. I have also taken up knitting dishcloths . Although we will not have a vege patch, we can support local people in the places that we choose to stay. We have wanted to live on the road for a long time now, to just travelling around, but living I. Various places with a while to experience the area, the people and the seasons. DTE and you Ronda, have given me much to think about in "how" we actually live and one of the few books I carry with me is yours. I know that we can live well, on a limited income, while traveling this great country of ours. Less stuff...more life. In declutering, in do have one delimna. I have a huge box of embroidered and crocheted cloths and doilies that I can't carry with me.....any ideas Ronda?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations on your retirement Gail. What a wonderful time of life for you both. If you are anything like me, you'll have a feeling of endless possibilities and a determination to just get on with it. I hope you enjoy your life on the road. Thanks for taking my book with you. I am sure someone will treasure those embroidered cloths and doilies. If you were closer, I'd absolutely love to go through the box myself and possibly find some suitable for myself and my daughter in law, Sarndra, who uses a lot of embroidered cloth and doilies in her sewing and dress making. Maybe someone here would like them. Have you thought of selling them on gumtree? Don't give them to the local op shop because in my experience they don't really value them and they end up in the bottom of a box somewhere. I'm sure this dilemma will be sorted out here in the comments today. :- ) Happy trails!

      Delete
    2. Hi Ronda, I have given a lot of them away to family and have given the box to a friend whose daughter is getting married and they are using them for the 'vintage wedding'. I have told them to keep what they would like to as a memento and put what is left back in the box and I will pick it up when I am back in FNQ. Am not coming your way at present, are making our way to Darwin. You are right, I would rather gift them to people who would appreciate all the hours of work and love that went into making them. Will keep in touch....Cheers Gail

      Delete
    3. Gail, If you have any embroidered items left over after your family and Rhonda have been through them, I would love to take them off your hands! I collect vintage embroidered linens and have a dream of one day opening a vintage textile museum to display it all (sadly, just a dream unless I win Tattslotto). Anything I don't keep in my collection, I give to our Guild so it can be passed on to other collectors or people who can use it in craft projects.
      I should tell you that I am not the only linens lover on this forum!!

      Delete
  7. A very insightful post as usual, Rhonda. Making the home a place where a family feels loved and sheltered is a job of the utmost importance and should not be denigrated like it is in some circles unfortunately. The cooler weather is just around the corner by the feel of it and should arrive here in time for Gardenfest on the weekend. I will be rugging up if the BOM forecasters are right. Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A big part is being mindful and enjoying the task at hand instead of wishing you were somewhere else or thinking ten steps ahead. Be in the moment. When I was first married my mother kept saying to me "You're such a good little homemaker!" I was terribly insulted. I thought 'But I'm so much more than that! What about the degrees I've worked for?! The respect of my peers, my colleagues?!' Now I understand and embrace what she meant, because the role of homemaker wasn't something I respected or valued I couldn't accept the compliment at the time, how things change!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you :). I have been on the same journey - valuing myself as a homemaker. xxx

      Delete
  9. Lovely post articulating what we all feel ,it is indeed a" lightbulb" moment for many when they take the time to make a few household items or supplies and a few meals from scratch, such a feelgood sense of satisfaction and achievement.I found it quite emotional at times..."coming home", "in my place", serenity, whatever you want to call it, it just feels Right to be doing this.
    One of my pet peeves is the term "stay at home Mum" you hear it everywhere, I think we should all try to use "Work at home Mum" , as such you may not be doing paid work, But.....you are contributing to the household budget in many ways and building a strong, healthy family unit.
    I hope the rain heading this way will get to your lovely vegie garden, what a boost at this early planting stage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Margaret. Building a strong, healthy family unit has no price that can be attached to it.

      Delete
    2. When people would ask me if I worked? I used to reply Yes at home. Then they assumed that I had some kind of home based business or I worked from home.
      cheers kate

      Delete
  10. Margaret...........I agree with the "Stay at Home Mum"........it doesn't do the role justice. One quote that I like have have used is "I gave up work, but I didn't stop working". Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's from my Down to Earth book, Kathy.

      Delete
  11. Lovely post, Rhonda. It took me a long time to value myself as a stay at home mum when I moved to Australia 6 years ago - before that, I was working a full time corporate job and was miserable. Even though I wanted to be at home with my babies, I somehow felt that "just being at home" was not something to be proud of. Over the years, I have realised how important my role is. I have seen how my husband loves coming home in the evenings from his corporate job. He says he doesn't feel like he needs to go on holiday, because it feels like a retreat every time he gets home! Because of the balance he feels at home, he goes off to work feeling recharged and is managing to have a very satisfying career without the burnout. My children and calmer and more peaceful because I am more present with them, since I have embraced how important my role is - to hold the space for the family. Women don't realise how powerful we are, I have learned that when I am happy, so is the whole family and when I am unwell, the family is unwell. Making money is not the only value we add, there is so much more to it. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post Rhonda. I have learnt so much since we moved to the country 6 years ago & your book has been a great insparation for me. Sometimes I feel that there is so much I want to achieve living on 7 acres etc but at the same time as I'm also in my 60s I just don't have the same strength & energy anymore which I find frustrating.I have so many things I want to do, one being to learn to crochet so if anyone knows of a good book or website to learn from I would really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jenny

      I learnt to crochet last year, and am still learning, all through the internet. I found these websites useful:-

      http://www.craftyminx.com/crochet-school/

      This lady also has left and right handed videos.

      For some reason, I couldn’t “get” her tutorial of the slip knot so I used this video:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8GnAnrHXSs

      and this is their website where you can look up heaps of other things:-
      http://newstitchaday.com/classes/

      This tutorial of the granny square really clicked for me:- http://rensfibreart.wordpress.com/2patterns-2/the-humble-granny-square/

      and this website also has some good tutorials:-
      http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL69F5A7FE3F95232F

      And I follow this blog. Lucy is absolutely lovely:- http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/

      Hope this helps. Now is a wonderful time to learn. I am currently on my third blanket and the nights are now cool enough and the blanket is big enough that I can snuggle under it as I crochet.

      Samantha

      Delete
    2. Thank you for such a kind gesture, Samantha.

      Delete
    3. Hi Samantha. Thanks so much for the links. I have been wanting to learn to crotet for ages. I had a go at it a while ago and ended up very frustrated with little result. Saturday I followed along with Mikey from Curtzey Crote (one of your YouTube links) , I'm upto lesson 6, have learned single, half-double and double crotet. I'm well on the way to finishing a very nice wash cloth! Thanks again :)

      Delete
  13. Thanks very much Samantha, will definitely give these sites a go

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A site called "Lion Brand Yarns" has lots of free patterns and good instructions for crochet and knitting.....have fun/

      Delete
  14. Beautiful post Rhonda! I am a homeschooler, homemaker and I also do some freelance work from home. This post really resonates for me. Not long ago I was with a group of friends who had all recently returned to full time work because their children had reached school age. One talked about how she was relieved to go back to work and how working makes her feel like a whole person again. The others all enthusiastically agreed. The conversation went on for a while and I listened, as good friends do, then said "I'm really happy being at home probably the happiest Ive been in a long time." This was met with silence. But it's true. I love educating my children every day and watching them grow, I love budgeting, sewing, cooking and gardening. I view my work at home as being valuable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you are home with the children everything you say and do, all day , every day, is influencing the way they are being formed into the person they will become. Daycare is other people and other peoples kids being the role modesl and you have no control over any of this input.

      Delete
  15. I loved reading this, thank you for sharing. Like others I too hate the phrase Stay at Home Mum, it has come to imply that you are making a contribution to society when in fact we are. All those homemakers as you say are quietly getting on with their happy contented lives. If I get asked if I work, I reply yes I am a home educator :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. For a couple reasons I have not been able to be a stay at home mom or homemaker. I am juggling all of the above. Somedays are smooth, some are not. But I have to say that I am raising my daughters with the mindset that I errored in going back to work and that they should if at all possible stay at home and raise their families and care for the home. They all see that many homes are disfuctional because both the parents are out of the home and that the world is gone amuck. I have regrets and I acknowledge them. I can only influence where I can. This was a great post and I was Amen-ing all throughout.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wish it were different but I have to admit I don't know anyone who is interested in the simple life....they say they are but don't live that way. It gets a little frustrating to me and I tend to focus on my husband and myself because I really don't have an interest in shopping, spending money etc. I'm not complaining because I love my life but it seems in Arizona it is still go go go and spend spend spend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite a few forum members say the same thing and end up making friends and socialising with other forum members. I know it's not quite the same but they are real people feeling the many of the same frustrations and joys that you're feeling. If you're not a member yet, drop in for a look. :- )

      Delete
    2. thank you Rhonda and I will give it a try. But I really want to experience it in real life...not virtual. I'm thinking I need to get out of my comfort zone a bit and find like minded people...though it might mean driving a bit etc.

      Delete
  18. I love those little baby shoes. Could you post where to find the pattern? So very adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Here it is Jinger: http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2011/12/6/mollys-sketchbook-felt-baby-shoes.html

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am a mum to a beautiful 19 month old girl & i am currently working 2 days a week at my paid job & spending 5 glorious days at home as a homemaker with my girl. We originally wanted me to be home full time with her & running the household but i returned to work when she was just 5 months old 3 days a week as my husband was only working 3 days a week & unable to find full time work. We were in big trouble financially but have recently refinanced our mortgage & consolidated our credit card debt into the loan (not ideal but the only other option was to sell & rent) we haven't used a credit card in years & now we are in a position that i can be home 5 days a week & we are working towards me being home full time until our daughter starts school. I feel so much more fulfilled being at home taking care of my family & household.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Love those sweet baby shoes. I recently down loaded the same pattern. I have not made any yet, but I am sure ready to do it. Just going through my supplies looking for the right materials to use. Do not want to buy anything new if I can help it.
    Love your blog. Being a home maker is a job I cherish. I still do paid work, I am lucky to be able to be home, but I love being home in MY house.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Exciting writing. I've always believed that homekeeping is the best and most rewarding of jobs. I feel too that my pottery business is an extension of it, as I keep castoffs for our family use and I work right here, so I can leave the studio for awhile, deadhead some geraniums, put on some artichokes to boil, wipe the fridge down and go back to finish pottery work with just a few steps outside. Your sandwich looks heavenly.
    I am determined to make mozzarella this summer!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dear Rhonda,

    Still reading your blog (since 2008!). This post speaks to me on so many levels but mainly because there is life, zest, and passion behind the words. This is how I feel about homemaking. Even though I am a Montessori teacher working five days outside my home (one of the very few professions, sadly, that can't be cut down to four days unless you open your own school, and I'm not there yet), I definitely consider myself a "part-time homemaker." I make the menu plan, keep the home cozy and tidy, keep up with the laundry, bake and cook, knit. Husband helps as he is needed, and I've completely converted him over to the idea that "peace and happiness begin at home." He is a convert!! :-) So far, so good as we are in our first 6 months of marriage. I hope gardening/sewing/preserving are in my future once we begin settling into our new region (just got new jobs) this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for this post, Rhonda.
    I have been considering starting a TAFE Diploma in Early Childhood Education.
    I love children and I would love to work with them, however, I have two children under 6 right now and even though I wasn't planning to work in the field right away, I'm even wondering if studying/doing assignments/going to one class a week would be too much. I have been feeling very confused as I see it as something that could enhance my raising of my own children but I also feel like I already need to manage my time between my own housework, volunteering and pursuing my other interests (reading, spirituality, exercise etc).
    I decided to write my own mission statement for clarity, that I can refer to when I face these kinds of dilemmas. Basically, it is this: what is my current role in life (being a wife, mother, housekeeper, hostess to all who enter my home) and if something does not fit with that right now then I need to cast it aside until a future time. It is helping to answer my question about study (not right now) even though I still REALLY want to do it....

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Rhonda,
    Ive been reading and enjoying your blog for a few months now. I've also read "The Simple Life" and am nearly finished "Down to Earth".
    My home is in Palmwoods but I've been living in Indonesia (Jakarta) since Dec 2011 with my Husband and 4 children. We will be moving back to the Coast at the end of this year :)

    I'm very keen to get back to our Home (1 1/4 acres close to Eudlo) and return to growing food, worm farming, composting, keeping chooks and generally doing as much as i can to live sustainably. Life is very different here!

    As I have plenty of free time right now, I have devoted a lot of it in the last months to preparing for our return. I have used the internet and books (ordered online) to teach myself to make soap, skin care products, bread, tortillas, pasta, and anything else I can so these things come "easily" when I am back in the real (busy) world of being a home maker and mother in Australia. I have even used Youtube to learn to crochet!! Motivated of course by the desire to make wash/dish cloths like you suggested. :) (I love my newly arrived Eco Yarn by the way, thanks for the recommendation)

    I have found your blog, forum and books so valuable, not only in helping to teach me some new skills but in helping me to feel comfortable in my desire to live the way I have always wanted. I love to cook, "make things", grow food budget carefully, plan and implement and care for my family but have always struggled with the idea that it is not "working".

    I really just wanted to introduce myself and say that I look forward to meeting you in June. I'm booked in to your talk at the Nambour Library :)

    I am very excited about our return to the Coast and to working hard in my Home :) Thankyou for your contribution :)

    Liss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liss. I look forward to meeting you soon.

      Delete
  26. p.s. May I ask where you got your Jam/stock Pot (Maslin Pan) pictured in this post?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can find maslin pans at most kitchen ware shops.

      Delete

Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

A link to your blog will be automatically added to your comment. Please don't add another link to your blog in your comment. Those comments will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...