10 June 2009
The work of the homemaker is getting tougher. We are battling hard economic times and trying to stick to our budgets while food and fuel prices are increasing almost every week. Some homemakers who work outside the home as well are faced with cutbacks and job losses. SAHMs are raising children and running their homes, some are doing that easily and gracefully, others feel guilt that they aren’t contributing to the family’s income, or suffering the criticism of “friends” that they should get a job.

Let me say this clear. Homemakers - women and men, are an essential and significant part of who we are as a society. Whether there is recognition to attest to that fact or not, they are the glue that holds us all together. Yes, we need commercial enterprise and entrepreneurs to keep our nations moving forward and commercially viable. We need big business to provide some of the products we use. We need to maintain our civic responsibilities, support our law enforcement and armed services organisations, we need to elect honest politicians. But unless we form stable families on which to build those civic institutions, we won’t amount to much. Families are the foundation of our nations.

Commonsense and CWA (Barossa edition) cookbooks.
The CWA cookbook was my mothers.

It is tough, no one is denying that, but we can make it better by supporting other homemakers. Be proactive. Invite a new neighbour in for coffee. Take a magazine and flowers to your sick neighbour. Encourage other homemakers in their work. Share recipes and tactics. Take the washing off your neighbour's line if it starts to rain while they're out. Show younger homemakers that while this job is difficult, never-ending and unpaid, it is also incredibly satisfying, enriching and wonderful. Lead by example, guide others with your strengths and accept assistance when you need it. Be the friend you want to find.

Make your mark, stand tall and know that your contribution is important. Providing comfortable and secure homes for ourselves and our families places our children and working people on solid ground. We are the ones sending them out willing and capable of making the most of their work and school; we are the ones setting the tone for what they will become. I am not stupid enough to believe that our children grow up to be our mirror image, but we can have a significant input into the type of people they become. Model the behaviour you want to see in them - teaching kindness, generosity, tenderness and humility help build character and form a stable foundation on which to build a life. Show your children that you enjoy life and that your family makes you happy. That will be your greatest gift to them. Show them the benefits of hard work. Be proud of your work and show it. Not everyone is cut out to be a homemaker, so for those of us who do this important job it’s essential that we understand that it’s not inferior to any other job. It is nation building.

I hope there will be many things of which you will be proud when you’re my age. If you can say you launched your children into the world as decent people; if you can say, that most of the time, you did your best; if you know that you supported and encouraged other men and women in their tasks; if you know that you helped build a strong and supportive community, you will have done a fine job, not only for yourself and your family, but for your country as well.


  1. Well said! Thanks for standing firm on the importance of homemakers.

  2. Rhonda,
    Thank you so much for your post today especially the last paragraph.
    This is what I feel is my greatest accomplishment,my children as productive citizens and loving and lovely young men and women.
    With the way the world is today with such emphasis on getting more and doing more, I truly need the validation once in awhile.
    Hugs and God bless,

  3. Rhonda,
    I am so in sync with your comments and thoughts on homemaking. Like you I have worked outside the home and am now here full time and growing into this role with relish and delight.
    I have been trying my hand at some of your recipes and crafts and can not possibly thank you enough for doing the work ahead of me, of removing all the rocks and roots and creating a smoother path for me, as well as others.
    your work here in this world is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
    Thinking of you and your family as you complete the plans for the wedding...hope it is beautiful and blessed.

  4. Excellent post Rhonda. Rosie

  5. So very, very true! At the moment I work part time but soon we hope to try for another baby and I will be giving up work once pregnant, not only because my job is not really suitable for a healthy pregnancy but also because I really want to take on full responsibility for what happens in our home and garden. I am lucky enough that my wonderful hard working spouse is earning enough money to make this a viable option for us - we will still have to budget strictly and make do, but that is ok by us because we will be a step closer to how we want our lives to be. I think it's sad when women judge each other for choosing to stay home or for choosing to work and use daycare. No matter what we choose (and some of us don't get a choice - I've been there too) everyone of us has a hard job to do when raising a family and we should all do our very best to support and empower each other.

  6. Standing on the inside cheering you on!
    Tell it! Sing it from the roof tops!
    Example it. With a cheerful pleasure and good humor for those tasks that are not so pleasant.
    Great Post Rhonda!
    The strength of character to hold our heads level and our arms are strong from kneading the breads we eat.:)

  7. Thanks for the encouragement and the passion that comes through in your post, Rhonda!

    Cath in Sydney

  8. Rhonda
    I'm writing up a post at the moment on raising well mannered children, as this is sadly becoming a rarity in today's society and what you shared today echoed my own thoughts as I put pen to paper.I agree wholeheartedly with what you have written and yes, our children do follow in our footsteps. It really is my heart's desire to raise children who will be all of those things you mentioned... kind and compassionate,loving,resourceful individuals and I am so aware that I need to model these qualities in my own life and especially at home. Thank you for the encouragement.

  9. That post was awesome! I think I'm going to print it out and put it on my wall for inspiration on the tough days.


  10. I am so glad that you posted this today. This was just what I needed! I have been feeling discouraged the past couple of weeks because I am not working and my husband is working two jobs to support us. I am having a very hard time finding a job that will work with his schedule and still allow me to homeschool my son, and your words of encouragement are just what my husband keeps saying but having someone else say it is sometimes what I need. Thank you so much!

  11. Rhonda,
    Thanks so much for this post. So many times today people look down on you if they ask what you do and you respond with homemaker or SAHM.
    I hate to think where the world would be without homemakers & SAHM!
    I love your blog and today's post shines among one of your best!
    Karen / Michigan

  12. Amen Rhonda,
    I find your blog and post very inspiring and I was just speaking of the very thing over coffee with a friend today. It's a very important job. I have been very inspired to make changes in our own life because of your blog. Keep up the wonderful work you do.

  13. Show your children that you enjoy life and that your family makes you happy. That will be your greatest gift to them.

    What a powerful statement! Great post as always Rhonda.

  14. Thanks for this today Rhonda. I've been having a real hard time lately, beating myself up because I don't work outside the home. My husband doesn't mind at all, financially we don't need for me too work, and realistically I know that I couldn't cope with a job and my home and family to care for. So why do I beat myself up so much? I have no idea, but thankyou for being another voice to reassure me that what I'm doing is valuable and important to my immediate family and consequently to our society and culture as well. Thanks Rhonda.

    cheers Kate

  15. Thanks for the encouragement!

  16. Thank you so much. That was just the pep talk I needed today. I love your blog :)

  17. I've always been home and I've never wanted to be anyplace else. I'm in my senior years now and enjoying it more than ever. I don't think there is a better life than taking care of your family and your home. I have been free to be creative and make my own choices in how I spend my time. I charish that. Good post. Thankyou.

  18. Beautifully said. Thank you.

    Best Wishes,


  19. Rhonda, I clicked to your entry today to see the same CWA book that a friend lent me for some jam recipes, which belongs to her MIL, and I'm now trying to find my own copies of!! Another classic I have in my collection si the first edition of Cookery the Australian WAy, which was my mum's high school text in the 60's. A young single male friend of mine has just purchased the current edition of it and thinks it is the best recipe book he's found for teaching him how to cook more than his basic repertoire. I'm only 32, an old fashioned home maker at heart, and I love that these books have such a place in my life, and now I'm seeing it in those of others around me :-)

  20. Thank you so much for these words. They are so encouraging. Homemakers are very rare in my area and I often feel weird and guilty for not having a paid job, although inside I know it's the right thing to do.

  21. Thank you for the encouragement, Rhonda!

  22. What a rousing post! wonderful!To me there is NOTHING more important than giving my daughters a good home life,for them to see a mama that cooks & cleans & plays with them,tells them stories,builds dens with them & who makes their beds with clean sheets & finds clean sweet smelling pajamas for them,this to me is what is stitching the base of their childhood together,life can weave on top of it but its my job to get it started off on a strong base
    GTM x x x

  23. Reading your posts really start my day off right! Encouraging words to think on during the busyness of the coming day!

    Thank you!

  24. Well said, Rhonda!
    Thank you for your words.
    Blessings to you!

  25. Thank you for that encouraging post. Too often we think we aren't contributing anything to the home if we aren't bringing home any money, but that just isn't true. The value of our time and effort can far outweigh a paycheck. I'm so glad I've found your site. I have learned so much.

  26. Rhonda,
    Thanks for sharing these very encouraging words!

  27. Thank you so much for this. Even among fellow friends who are homemakers, there seems to be this pressure sometimes to do more than "Just staying at home," as if the staying implies passive babysitting and servile cleaning. I read your blog practically every day, mainly for encouragement and support in being domestic and proud of it.

  28. Great post Rhonda,
    my husband works part-time, and he gets a a few not so nice comments about he is the house dad. I would like to think that we could accept everyones life decisions and not put them down for it.

    I will print this post out for him, as I think he would really get something out of it.

  29. Such wisdom and encouragement (as usual)! As a new gardener, I always learn something.

    I've been thinking a lot about how families survived the Great Depression and WWII.

    Hubby and I had to stop by a hardware store this morning and as he was searching for the piece of pipe he needed, I talked to one of the men who works there.

    He said he has had many people come in this spring asking for help to build containers to catch rain and to build compost piles.

    Hmmmm... hopefully they are not using the containers for the same things at the same time. :)

  30. Greenpa wrote a similar post you might be interested in:


  31. Such wise words Rhonda,

    blessings Gail

  32. Rhonda, When my second child was born, I took a leave of absence from my doctoral program in English literature . . . and I never looked back. Now, 10 years later, a few family members and friends are hinting that I should "start using my brain again," by which they mean I should consider going back to graduate school or finding a teaching position! I guess they don't think being a homemaker is all that challenging - which I find hilarious.

    I am totally struggling with gardening (this is the first year I've managed to grow ANYTHING, a few little herbs and tomatoes, but still . . . so exciting!), and I am only now (after about 400 attempts) making bread that actually tastes, well, like homemade bread, and I am still not the world's best or most efficient housekeeper, but I am trying, trying, trying . . . it is the most demanding and mentally challenging work I've ever done - - - much harder than presenting papers at academic conferences, I'll say that much.

    Thanks for the inspiration today!


  33. Rhonda,
    I really enjoyed your post today. Homemaking is were my heart is also. I do have a question for you I have been looking into recipes for fermenting pickles. Have you ever put up pickles this way? The recipes that I have found end with doing the pickles in a water bath after the fermentation or storing them in the refrigerator, I am wondering how our ancestors use to ferment pickles and keep them in crocks during the winter. If you have any recipes or information about this process it would be great.
    Enjoy each of your posts, read it daily.
    God Bless,

  34. Great post Rhonda!
    I have been out of work for over a year now, I went back to school to be an oncology massage therapist. I volunteer mostly because there are really no paid jobs doing that here in the US. I have had to come to terms with being a Stay at Home Wife and not bringing in money, my husband has never once complained. By not working out of the home I have learned to bake bread and all sorts of treats, planted some basil and embraced my crafty side once again. It is hard in a society where we are defined by what we do and salary we make, to prove volunteering and homemaking are crucial to our lives.
    Your blog is always inspiring, keep up the good work!

  35. Work is work. Something is more joyful then others.
    But it important for all us to do our part.

    Coffee is on.

  36. I really like your blog. Thank you.
    It is womderful to see someone do the gardening and all the homemaking and enjoying it, what a blessing.

  37. Thank you! What a lovely post for me to read when I am right here in the thick of it with three small children, a beautiful husband and an organic farm. The homemaking seems never ending but I really couldn't imagine it any other way.

  38. Dear Rhonda,
    Thanks for the super encouraging blog! I have been on both sides of the coin, super career woman and then SAHM once pregnant with my first. It's lovely to read your posts with such positivity in them, they help me a lot with the loneliness of being at home. I have been home for my children more than 20years and never regret my decision,but it doesn't always turn out like a fairytale! Keep up the good work!

  39. Thanks for your kind words Rhonda. This is the first time I have been a homemaker in my 44 years of life and somedays I don't feel like I am contributing to the household but after reading your post I realize I do contribute something and I enjoy it.

    The biggest thing for me is making wholesome homemade meals. My family loves them and give me praise everyday now.

  40. Well said (as usual)! The world doesn't always appreciate the contributions of homemakers. I love the quote, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." (William Ross Wallace)

    I recently made a list of all the skills I'd like to learn around the homestead and otherwise. Although it was great to get it down on my blog in concrete form, it can also be discouraging to think about how much there is to learn, and then wondering if it even matters. Thanks for the timely reminder - it does matter :-)

  41. I grew up with a stay at home Mom. She loved her role and knew early on how important it was. I loved the fact she was always there when I came home from school and later college each day. I'm glad my daughter and daughter-in-law are SAHM's and both homeschool my grandchildren. I'm proud of them both for doing that.

    Thanks for a great post, as always.


  42. Hi Rhonda,
    I am certainly one of those people that you are talking about and i am very proud of myself. Ive got 4 children and my husband has supported us for 22 years. I love being here for them, cooking, cleaning, attending school day functions,taking & picking them up from school,attending sports trainings amoungst many other things.... and yes all my friends work and have at some stages questioned why i dont work....my answer to that is that i had 4 children to love and grow with not have someone else take care of them. Sometimes my husband has had a little difficult with the fact that i dont bring in an income but i (we) have raised two children to become very successful adults, who have a many friends that love to spend time in our house and ive got two other children who are well on their way to becoming the same.
    We are all very happy and love to spend time together as a family...sure we are not perfect but we are complete and always here for each other.... i take credit for that because ive worked really hard to achieve it...thanks for your support and recognising stay at home mum's like me.

  43. It's tough here as husband is out of work and the thing I feel I should do is got out and get ANY job. But I've learned that it has to be the right job...translation...one that has benefits or will make a significant contribution to the mortgage. If I leave...all goes to hell in a handbasket. I'm the referree around here! Is it worth it?

    Suffice it to say I'm looking for a job...but again...

  44. Another wonderful encouraging post, as always. Can't wait for your book to come out!

  45. Excellent points. Personally, I don't have kids (yet, anyway), but for now I value homemaking both for me and for those friends who do come over and spend time here. I figure if I can keep a nice home, then I can welcome people who need to be welcomed, and then send them out into the world hopefully a bit better taken care of.

  46. It is still odd to me how very fast society flip flopped. When I was growing up homemakers at home was the very norm. Then the next generation and it is society saying women should work outside of the home. Do you realize how fast this happened? Many of my friends qwnt to work because it was expected of them. Women's lib and society said to get out and do your own thing So they went to work cause they thought they should,... not cause they needed to. Once in the work force they spent that earned $ and needed more cause they saw more they wanted to buy. So now both NEEDED to work. So they were in a vicious cycle. Now both mates felt working was the norm and had to continue. What they could have made they buy now. Beause they are tired after work they get take aways instead of cooking at home. And on it goes. The 2 working family keeps running and I mean running in a circle at times. For many they can step off that merry go round and slow down and enjoy life more again in a slower lane. Your blog teaches us how to do that steps at a time and still be able to do in life what is needed. Doing that with the money we have and fun in the doing of it. You can regain the peace and calm you need in your lifes. I hear so many women say they are over whelmed by work at work then work at home. Tell them to read this and other blogs like homeliving.blogspot.com/ and Brenda at coffeeteabooksandme. blogspot.com/ and the blogs you all recommend on your side bars. There are ways to turn this around. Life is to be lived and enjoyed. Jody

  47. Rhonda,
    Your words got me teary eyed.
    Thank you for the affirmation of homemakers. Sometimes I/we, can feel very insignificant. Thank you for the reminder to stand firm, and be proud of what we're doing & who we are, not matter what others would have us believe.
    Donna G. in New Mexico

  48. Great words about a great calling! It's SO important, and so important to encourage each other in it! Thanks!

  49. Thanks! I agree. To be honest I think it would be so easy to go to work 9 - 5 and put the kids in daycare but I would never be able to do that. I think homemakers have the hardest job there is.

  50. The thing that I find bemusing and ironic about those who criticise the role of homemakers, is their belief that one automatically finds "fulfillment" outside the home, ie, in a paid role. Some of these same people work in clerical or retail roles - and whilst I am not meaning to sound rude (as indeed these same people most certainly can be) - how fulfilling is that? Seriously!
    Even my husband, who works in emergency medicine, often says that ANY paid position becomes boring after a certain period of time - there is little fulfillment in being tied to a role that is determined by others.
    There is something seriously wrong with the creativity and thinking of those who berate SAHMs - I for one, am never bored!
    Tracy (Brisbane, Australia)

  51. Another thought regarding the lack of regard for homemaking, and the distorted societal view that contribution can only come via paid employment......
    Have all of the double incomes not contributed to driving housing prices upwards and onwards? Would there be more employment available for those who truly need it if more mothers elected to stay home and raise their children?
    Tracy (Brisbane, Australia)

  52. Thank you for this little pep talk. I enjoyed reading and value what you wrote. A few weeks ago I decided to stick my neck out and see if I could host my first tea party. I invited some new friends and some that I don't know yet from our local facebook group. I am nervous and shy that they will come into my home, but I really want my home to be a place where I can enjoy company of other people and that they feel welcome. Over the last few years settling into a new place it has been strange to realise that I don't get invited for coffee as I had expected to when I was a teenager imagining life as a mother at home. So I invited and not just three or four are coming I have twelve coming for lunch now!! very nervous hope I am a good hostess. Kas


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