Homemaker speaks, the nation listens

4 November 2009
After two hectic days of work at the Centre, I'm working at home today. Gone are the days when I would have looked forward to relaxing, shopping and going out to visit friends. Now, settling back into the routine of washing up, sweeping, making beds and baking brings me back to myself and reminds me that my home is the place where I am put right again.

I work in the welfare sector and it's a very tough job sometimes. I don't counsel anyone, I manage the Centre I work at, and I guess I act as a surrogate mother and dish out kindness with cups of tea and encouragement along with advice about getting a job or looking after the family.

I had never worked in welfare before - had never even been in a neighbourhood centre until I wandered in there to ask if they needed any help, but working here in my home prepared me for working there. I teach my The Frugal Home workshop and stretch the slim budget there until I hear those pennies scream, but my preparation for that job is more than those obvious practical things. Since I have have taken control of my home and made it the place I want it to be, I feel empowered to take on many more things.

If someone were to see me working here at home they might believe that I am "just a housewife". How many times have we all used that phrase to describe ourselves? Well I am "just a housewife" who has taken back control of my own life. No longer am I a slave to fashion and advertising, I am not just filling in time by doing my daily tasks. What I do here now is a part of me, it makes me who I am and enables me to do the things I do.

Never undersell yourself or your role of homemaker. Running a home is similar to running a business. You need to work to a budget, manage people, make hard decisions, work to a schedule, delegate tasks, work long hours and make sure those you work with are productive and content. In fact, while all those elements describe the running of both a home and a business, at home you have extras - your work never stops and you raise children. Raising the next generation is not only an important part of family life, it's important for the nation too.

Family photos. The first one is of my sons Shane and Kerry when they were about nine and ten, with their friend Gavin in the middle.

Taking control of the home, while sounding harsh, is, I think, the key to success. You need to take charge, delegate, have routines, get family members working for the good of the family and while that is happening, model the bahaviour you want to see in your children. A tough call, I know, but it pays off if you get it right. I know that we homemakers are looked down upon by many people but don't you ever believe they are right. What we do is the most important job; what we do makes the nation strong.

If you have to describe what you do, proudly name yourself "homemaker", or if you work outside the home as well - "homemaker/teacher", "homemaker/retail assistant" or whatever it is you do. Don't fall in with the rest of them and try to make us invisible. Let everyone know what we do, that we are an important part of our society and that we are proud of the work we do. I am an ordinary woman, there is nothing special about me, but because I have the attitude I have, people listen to me. I got the confidence to be the me I am now from my home - by taking control here and making it productive and alive.

You can do the same thing.

For those of you around Geelong, today I'll be interviewed on your local radio station at around 9.30am. Tomorrow I'll be on a few stations in northern Tasmania at 7.40am. Those are Queensland times, not local time, so you'll have to add an hour.

The headlines will read: Homemaker speaks, the nation listens. ; - )


  1. I believe that you are correct about the home. Unfortunately not everyone in a home will be on the same page but we can try. A family that chooses to have a mum or dad at home is blessed by that decision.

  2. I like to think of myself as a domestic goddess ;]

  3. Thank you so much again Rhonda! I will be having baby number two today, and I will be continuing my reign of homemaker here until the wheels fall off the wagon (and wheel repair is something on the maintainance list, so that shouldn't happen!).
    I often feel the 'pang' of judgement by others when they discover that I am 'just' a mother and housewife. And then am often treated by the sages of 'oh, I wish I could stay home all day', I know full well that they probably couldn't even imagine doing what women like me do!
    Thanks again Rhonda, best day for this post ever.

  4. HI - I read your blog faithfully everyday and I know that when I'm feeling down or frustrated about being a stay at home mother, I can find encouraging words to read.
    Thank you for the support you give.

  5. Rhonda,
    Thanks again for encouraging me and other homemakers in our quest to make the most of our time at home. I find that the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own skin, so to speak, and I find it really doesn't matter what other people think of me at this season of my life. It did bother me more when I was younger, though, and that's why it's so important for us "older" ladies to encourage the younger ones or the ones that have listened to what our society says about homemakers. Have a beautiful day.

  6. Kylie, how wonderful! I'll be thinking of you. I hope it all goes smoothly. {{hugs}}

  7. Hi, I'm in the Geelong area and I was wondering which radio station it is that you will be on? Good luck.

  8. Wow Rhonda! If your broadcast is like your text here, there will be a lot of empowered women standing up tall in your region. Very inspiring thoughts you share with us.
    Been a while since I left a comment but I never miss your blog items.
    Best wishes from Sweden
    Ramona K

  9. How wonderfully true Rhonda! Thanks, as always, for your offerings! Enjoy your radio show :)

  10. Thanks everyone! Rennae, it's 94.7FM.

  11. Thankyou for this reminder and your uplifting words.
    I'm always trying to justify being a housewife. I'm not "just" a housewife, I'm a housewife! :)

    I think part of the problem is that we generally don't value things that don't have a dollar value. As a society, we tend to think that work that brings in money is the only work of value because it's imediately measurable and more importantly, comparable.
    But that's rubbish, and it's so nice to hear your encouraging words.

  12. Women have become liberated and now wonder why their family life is so difficult. If, as the housewife, they willingly take control of it again, life becomes so much easier and they become haooier. Women have the innate sense to make a home, which men do not seem to have no matter how much is relegated to them. I've been following Flylady and the message comes through loud and clear that when the wife takes responsibility everyone, including herself, is happier. Cherrie

  13. Thank you Rhonda for another wonderfully affirming post on the homemaker. I am pleased you mentioned the nation - yes, we are nation builders and I firmly hold the belief that strong families build strong nations - families are such an important foundation. And you also say to proudly state - I would always put down my occupation on census forms as the title of my former professional career. It took me some time to stop this habit but now I boldly proclaim ' Homemaker'. Perhaps we could add in brackets (nation builder)!

  14. Rhonda, thankyou for your words of encouragement.

    I have found your words to be true in my own life. When I made my home and family my focus, when I took control of my homemaking, you could really see the difference in my entire family. We were happier, more content. The old saying 'you reap what you sow' really came into play here for me.

  15. Rhonda! There is NOTHING ordinary about you and as far as being special -- I think we all find you very special! Once again, you are awe inspiring and those you come in contact with are extremely fortunate!

  16. I hear you Miss Rhonda. :.)

  17. I think true "women's liberation" (and men's liberation, while we're at it) is the right to choose any vocation - either being a housewife or working outside of the home - and being respected for that work.

  18. Another great post as always. I used to call myself a plain ole housewife...but these days I call myself a Domestic Goddess =)

  19. Hi Rhonda,
    I am struggling with the full time job/running a family thing and find your posts inspiring. My son has food sensitivities as well as allergies to preservatives and additives, so I have to do a lot of cooking from scratch. Thanks for the recipes!

  20. I think I'll go a step further and call myself a "domestic engineer". I sometimes feel like I've earned a degree from the university of life. We are the hub of the wheel and as
    Williwagtail just mentioned that when we take control we have a happpier home environment and all is well on the western front.
    Great reading Rhonda and great comments. Best of luck with the birth of your baby today Kylie.

  21. I've stopped putting homemaker down ever since my doctor said he stayed at home while his wife (also a doctor) went to school. He said that was the toughest job he has done, and that we are not homemakers, but domestic engineers!!!!
    Love reading your blog and I keep sending the link over to my daughter too. Sometimes hearing things from someone other than mommy.....go figure, but I guess I did the same thing!
    Take Care & have a wonderful day!!

  22. Rhonda,
    I think that is just about the best blog I have ever read!!

    Keep up the great work!!

  23. Hi Ronda,
    I have recently become a housewife by choice. It is really what I want to do at the moment. I don't have any children yet, although would like to try sometime in the near future. I am enjoying having the time to be able to learn so many of the skills that I wanted to know for when I had children such as sewing, crochet, and knitting. When I was young my mum used to make all of our clothes and I would like to have similar skills. Unfortunately my mum passed away earlier this year (she was still very young) and I am having to learn this skills elsewhere. Websites like yours are an absolute blessing. Thank you so much.
    And good luck to Kylie with the birth of her baby today :)

  24. Thanks for the great advice Rhonda, I am going to change my profile to homemaker right now.

    Keep the inspiration coming.

  25. Oh so right. My hubby has been a house husband for over a year now and he tries to downplay it but I'm very proud of what he does and he is coming around. He takes care of our daughter who's in preschool and all the house. He's really gotten into gardening with a bit of direction from myself.

    Life is so much better with having one of us at home full time. I SO appreciate what he does and let him know very often. I can go to work and not have to think about 'oh no what am I going to do for dinner, make this or that appointments' etc.

    Thank you to all the homemakers :)

  26. I sometimes think the word "just" should be removed from the language. It has such a tendency to be demeaning.

    "Just a homemaker" "Just a child" (can't have children?) "Just adopt" (love an animal that died?) "It was just a dog."

    I could go on & on.

    You are so right. When well done, being in charge of a household utilizes so many skills.

  27. I have always called myself a housewife and am very proud of the fact that I could stay home and look after our children and home. With Hubbies work (he is self employed) I find myself out with him so much more - to the point the kids actually told me that they missed me at home. At last all those years of making beds, sweeping floors and being there for them is paying off...vbg. Good luck with the radio program. It will be a huge success.

  28. Good luck with that Rhonda Jean! I love how you compared running a business to running a household - all so very true!

  29. This is a beautiful and very well written post. I love taking care of my home.

  30. I was able to stay home until my daughter was 10. My husband and I decided I would stay home when she was born. For me it was my happiest career time. I love working at home and will tell anyone who will listen. I have never felt I needed to have a professional career to feel successful. A well run house is a success. I have the skills in gardening, spinning, knitting, sewing and so many others that I could provide for my family. Not many of my career minded friends could do this without the modern day conveniences.

    I am stuck in the work force being a single woman but let me tell you, when asked what I would really like to do I say, "be a housewife".

  31. What an excellent post! I love being a homemaker- I truly believe it is the best job in the world, with a new lesson and a new adventure every day. Your home looks beautiful, I love how you've defined it with all your personal touches here and there.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress
    PS A little off-topic, but I was wondering if you've ever made crackers, and if so, maybe you could post a tutorial? Crackers are a favorite snack in my home, but so many varieties from the store are processed and unhealthy. I would love to be able to make my own.

  32. How wonderful you can use your skills in the welfare centre. I see so many young women who can't stand being "cooped up" at home with the children. They can never satisfy their wants and don't have a clue how to "keep" a home or properly raise and care for their children. They are always on the go and their houses are an embarassment. Julie H.

  33. Rhonda I tried to find you on the radio down here in Tas this morning but couldn't find you. Will you have a link that I can listen to you on?

    cheers Kate

  34. Your post reminded me of the reality of homemaking vs. what some people think is homemaking (from what people have said to me).

    They either see only the hard work and day-to-day necessary "to do" list or they think all we do is eat chocolate and watch TV.

    When we were gone to visit my daughter recently, my son called to tell me the "dish fairies" and the "laundry fairies" had not shown up! :)

    Great post...

  35. Hi Kate, it was 7AD and their network along the coast. I was originally told 8.40am, then 7.40, but they rang at 5.40. I had just come in after being outside for an hour doing Hanno's chook and garden chores. We only talked for 5 minutes, yesterday's was 10 minutes.

  36. Just wanted to thank you for taking time to post your recipes and educate us, especially those of us on the other side of the world.

    In the past week I have made your meatball and sauce recipe, your colcannon recipe, yogurt recipe. The first two were delicious, your meatballs are healthier than my recipe (had lots of cheese)and I had never heard of colcannon until your blog. It was very tasty and hardy. I will be making both again, they have made it on my menu list.

    The yogurt came out lumpy. I don't like plain yogurt so when I tasted it, well it didn't tell me anything. Is it ok if it is lumpy or should it come out smooth?

    Thanks again,


  37. Loved this post! I am happy to admit to people I am a homemaker (and proud) but it is nice to hear confirmation of the importance of the role!

    Also, a small comment, but I get really dizzy with those moving Amazon adverts at the sides of the blog - I really struggled to read the post as my eyes kept getting pulled sideways. I do have really bad balance (I once fell off a chair while trying to read one of the old microfiche machines!) so it's maybe just me but I actually had to cover them with sheets of card so I could read the post!

    Thanks again for the inspiration.
    Karen (Scotland)

  38. I have worked harder at budgeting and homemaking since I've been at home than ever before.

  39. I understand the anger and frustration that is generated by the assumption that someone might be "just a housewife" although I have never used the description for myself because although I run a home, the budget, the family, etc I always felt my skills at housework ie cleaning tidying and sorting were to poor to make me a decent housewife! When I was at home eith my eldest child I described myself as a mother, a job I was proud to do.

    I am at home now as a carer to my disaabled DH, for which the government pay me a measly allowance which equates to about a quarter of the minimum wage, but is a vital job. When I had a recent hospital appointment, for reasons I don't understand, I was asked if I worked, I said no, meaning that I had no complications from employers about time off etc. The doctor proceeded to record me as uneployed, despite the fact that I already said I had a child at home and a disabled husband. The label made me very cross and I insisted that she changed it. I thought it a very patronising attitude to assume that any person who did not "work" in the accepted sense should be considered unemployed!!

    sorry a bit of a ranting message, but the doctor was a woman pregnant with her first child, who plainly has a lot to learn.

  40. Rhonda,
    Thanks again for putting to words what I feel in my heart.
    I related to what DarcyLee said, about not being so comfortable in my role when I was younger. I had to learn a lot about being a homemaker, a wife and a mother.
    It has taken years for me to get to the place I am now.
    And while I know the world doesn't place value on what I do, I know in my heart, that what I do, does have value and is important.
    I am content and grateful for the work I do, and I now cherish my role in the life of my family, in our home, and really, in the world at large.
    Thank you, Rhonda, for continuing to bring light to the importance of what we do. Thank you for offering us a steady dose of no-nonsense, encouragement and affirmations and reminders of how to truthfully & practically look at what we do and see the value and honor in it. You are a blessing.
    Donna In New Mexico

  41. Another one of your uplifiting and inspirational posts...yay for living life proudly!!



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