Homemaking - a domestic apprenticeship

30 March 2011
Another email has me writing today about homemaking. It's popular topic here, mainly because it is valued, but also, I believe, because there are too few mentors around who will guide and encourage young people towards a domestic apprenticeship.  Those young people, and some who are older, are looking for guidance. The skills of homemaking are seen as menial and not worth much, and often women who work at home, raising children, baking, sewing and cooking are ridiculed as being old fashioned, lazy or "just a housewife".  That is a narrow view of what housekeeping is because if you let it, your home will transform you and is capable of giving you the power and confidence to do anything.

The email comes from a reader in the UK, I'll call her Kate, who says in part:

"Of course, I have plenty of things to do around here and gardening is one of my passions. But I didn't want to be "just a housewife" or "spend my days cleaning". The only role models I have are a couple of other mothers, one of whom employs a cleaner and the other whose chief occupation seems to be acquiring status symbols.

Now, of course, I have discovered you! You seem like a heaven-sent mentor and I love your views on being a homemaker and how it is a viable, creative, fulfilling occupation. Young women, I think, find it harder to embrace this role as their peers can sneer. However, I now feel this is a way I can contribute as much as my husband to the home and I'm very excited!

I appreciate you receive many emails and are very busy (hopefully cuddling a newborn!) but if you do have time to reply I'd like to know if you would still live this life if you had a large family? One loaf of homemade bread lasts ten minutes so I feel a bit daunted at how I would be able to keep up with all these young appetites/soap making etc. Or do you think it's doable, no matter the size of family?"  (
Kate also says in the email she is the mother of five children and the youngest has just started school.)

Yes, she gets it!  Housewifing, homemaking, SAHM, WAHM, or whatever you care to call it can be a rewarding career that will help you to contribute as much to your home as your partner does.  Of course, it's not a competition but everyone wants to feel their time is being spent in a worthwhile way and that what they do is indispensable, appreciated, important and meaningful.  Women want to make a significant contribution to their families and when they do, they feel valued and confident.  There are many ways to go through life but I believe one of the best ways is for one partner to earn money while the other partner manages that money to enable the family to spend less than they earn.  No matter what the income is, spending less than you earn is the key.

So how do you get to that place of feeling like your work in your home is important and that it makes a difference?  You have to take charge of it, you need to identify what it is you need to do, and then carry out those tasks to the best of your ability.  When people feel they're in control and are making a contribution, they do their best work.  And when you're raising children, it is in everyone's interests - yours, mine, the community's, that you do your best work.  Children raised well will make our future brighter.  We need to raise givers and doers, not takers and layabouts, our countries depend on it.

I guess you could go two ways. You could see housework as dull and dreary, do as little of it as possible, complain that you're bored, watch TV or play on the computer all day, then open a packet of something for dinner and wonder why life has let you down.  Or you could do what I would do.  If I were a young newly married woman now, I would dive into my new career of being a homemaker.  I would establish a budget and take over every financial transaction relating to the home.  I would challenge myself to get the best value for every one of my dollars/pounds spent.  I would talk to my partner about future children, a future home and work out, with him, how we would work towards what we both wanted.  We would have many deep and meaningful conversations, we would write down our goals, and then we would both work towards them; him by going out and earning a a wage and me by using that money wisely and by creating the best home possible within the boundaries of my budget.

I would buy the best quality we could afford, I'd learn how to cook from scratch as well as how to make and preserve jams, sauces, relish and fruit, I'd learn how to make a good loaf of bread and try to keep out as many preservatives and artificial colours and flavours out of our food.  I would do that because I would have identified that keeping the family in good health can often come down to the simple things like preparing wholesome, unprocessed food.

If you take on any job and believe when you're told that it will be boring, tedious and difficult, you can either believe that, or you can question the motivation behind such statements and find out for yourself.  I prefer to believe that anything I spend my time on, particularly when it involves my family, has the potential to be enriching and meaningful.  If you're just starting out, or coming to this way of life a bit later, I encourage you to dive right into your job as if it's a struggling small business that will evolve into a great success if you understand what you're doing, put time in to skill yourself and work hard.  Once you take that challenge it will give you many wonderful reasons to get up every morning and the more things you want to do, the more you teach yourself, the better you'll feel about homemaking and yourself.  You'll realise then that women make most of the buying decisions in the home and that gives you 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.  Shopping is our battlefield.  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.  Sometimes getting what you want  takes time and it might involve changing the way you shop.

And in answer to Kate's question, yes, if I had a large family, I would live like this.  I think my children would be happier and I believe it to be the best way to live.  Not just as a retired couple, but from the time you walk through the door of your first home as a committed couple.  If you're making bread for a large family, you'd make 5 - 10 loaves at a time, then freeze some.  On the days you don't bake bread, you might bake biscuits/cookies, muffins, cakes or scones for snacks to supplement the large bowl of fruit on the bench.  Soap making takes less than an hour and the soap lasts for a couple of months.  Making your own cleaning products doesn't take any time at all, the cleaning takes the same amount of time but with a large family you'll do it more frequently.  You'll be doing your laundry in the same way to everyone else, but you'd make your own laundry liquid (it takes less than 30 minutes to make enough for several months), and you'd be hanging the washing on a line instead of using a dryer.  It's much cheaper and healthier, to cook from scratch for a large family because there are so many crock pot/roast/casserole/soup recipes out there and you aren't relying on packets of soup or convenience foods to feed them.   I'm sure there are many readers with a large family, please chip in here and help Kate understand how a large family works.  

And don't forget to model the behaviour you want to see in your children.  Not just today or tomorrow afternoon, but all the time.  As you go about your everyday work, your children are watching and learning how to be when they're older.  If you want them to cook and bake, show them that you do it and teach them how to.  Let them help you while they're young.  Show them how to make their beds, put their toys away, take their dirty clothes to the laundry, feed the dog, put away dishes, sew on a button, how to repair a ripped shirt, mow the lawn, plant seeds, water the garden, clean the car, clean their shoes, watch over their siblings and to be a good citizen.  Everyone of those things will enable them grow in confidence, help them as they grow and help you in your daily work.

Don't listen to anyone who wants to put you down, no matter what you're doing. If you have friends who demean you, tell them it hurts you and you would like them to respect your lifestyle choice.  If they don't, walk away, they're not friends. Believe in yourself, know that homemaking is a valuable way to spend your time, and do your best. What you do in your home will improve your quality of life, even in the most humble home.  It's a great investment in your family's future and one you can be proud of.  Those "friends" who say housework is dull don't understand its potential. It not a series of mind numbing chores, it's active and enriching work that helps a family be their best.  Sure, you'll have days when you wished you could leave it all behind but from my experience, those days are far outnumbered by beautiful days that make you realise there is no better way to live.

ADDITION:  7.30 am, Sunny and Kerry have just gone to hospital for the birth.  :- )

10.00 am, Sunny is in very early labour.  They were given the opportunity to wait at home so they've gone back home in the hope that Sunny can rest.  She's been awake since 3am.  They have hourly checks to do and instructions on when to return to the hospital, which is only 10 minutes away.

Thank you all for your good wishes for them.


  1. Bravo! Well Said! I shall bookmark this post for the days when I feel "down" about my "profession."



  2. Great post Rhonda, Well said....we can't expect our children to know how to do these things if we don't take the time to teach them....

    There's no such thing as 'just a housewife' We are way more than that.
    If you think about the rolls we fill ....we are also doctors, nurses, vets, engineers, plumbers, electricians, bakers, chefs, psychologists, technicians, seamstresses, farmers, gardeners, hairdressers, ..........and the list goes on and on.......

  3. I was priviliged enough to have 20 years at home with my children then recently I've returned to work. Returning to work has made me and the rest of the family realize how valuable my time spent at home was. The kids always had a parent who could spend time with them, cook, wash and do all those tasks which make a house a home. the kids helped at home and have the basic skills to run their own home which have come in handy now they live away from home. Being the one who stays at home and supports the family in their day to day activities is not demeaning its the most important job of all, watch how soon things turn to chaos when you are not there to do your normal routine and you'll soon see how valuable you are.

  4. I have been lucky enough to have been a SAHM and the value on my family has been wonderful to see. They know fresh food, the nutrition of food, where food comes from, how to cook food and what they should and shouldn't eat. Even though they do eat Mc. Do's occasionally they don't actually enjoy it. They often tell me how to eat !!!

    Sometimes this life can be lonely but we live as we choose and it seems right to me. It is how my parents live, how I was brought up and it is really how one should live. Only today I walked around Aldi and saw cheap ready made cakes and I know in my heart of hearts that living the kind of life that Rhonda inspires us to is the real way. Somewhere along the path from the 70's consumerism has taken over and I find much joy in making my own dishcloths, making my own candles, Christmas decorations, and hopefully one day I will finish my hand stitched quilt, stitch by stitch. My advice is to follow your heart, if it feels good and right then do it and don't listen to the naysayers. Be truthful to yourself.


  5. 35yrs ago when I had my first baby at a young age of 17.. many girls were going out working. I decided to stay at home and be 'just a mum' as many people called it.. as I went through life... I stayed at home right through the birth of two daughters.. struggling at times but loving being at home - so many times I was looked down upon for being like I was. career women sneered at me.. i felt lower than low.. and still I make excuses to people.. not sure why... wish you had been around then Rhonda!! I was told once..'the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world'... how true that is. :)
    [ps is he there yet? sorry, could not resist :) }

  6. What a beautiful post to read first thing in the morning. Sucha lovely way to start the day, I am all inspired now.
    I must start collecting the ingredientsz to make my own washing liquid. Along with some containers to store it all in

  7. Thankyou Rhonda for another insightful post, you've encapsulated everything that matters and given some mundane tasks their own level of importance. I agree with everything you say, especially about the long and meaningful conversations with your partner, things do and can change so it's a matter of adapting, sometimes weekly. I have found that I need to plan and save for birthdays and Christmas, it's a time that I find very expensive so I need to have the jar in the wardrobe going all year!One thing I would've like would have been to find someone to go halves with me on grocery specials, I think that would have contributed to saving as well as having a friend on the same page.
    Have a nice day Rhonda,

  8. What a great post Rhonda, you never fail to make home making sound so wonderful and encourage all who read your words to feel that all of it is worthwhile and 'real'.......Suzanne.

  9. Hear hear! We don't have kids so I can't add much, but I was one of four kids and my DH one of five and our parents lived simply with few mod cons. Most people of their generation did and so that proves to me that it is perfectly possible to do so now.

  10. Great post. I raised 5 children. I cooked, cleaned, took them to school ect, i quilt & embroider. I just became highly organised so everything fit into my days & no-one missed out on anything. People used to say to me "how do you find time to cook ect with all those kids?" Very easily. I love cooking & anytime i went to something that required a plate of food it was always homecooked whereas other with only 1 or 2 children would bring bought food. So yes Kate it is very, very doable.I've always loved being at home.

  11. Hi, I have just stumbled across your blog. It looks really good and I like your thinking. Will be back

  12. Loved this post Rhonda! Thanks so much :)
    as a young homeschooling mum to 4 (almost 5 children)there is always so much to do around here! Our children are little apprentices here now (yep even our sons) as we all learn the value of hard honest work, team effort, sustainability and community. We are far from perfect and still learning so many things - all part of this journey that I wouldn't swap for the world!
    Lusi x

  13. I am a mother of 6 children aged 8,9,10,13,14,and 25..
    I often hear things like "whats happened to the world ,the youth of today have no respect....it all might be true i believe it might be because they too don't have role models..parents are very busy with other things , they don't slow down and take the time for family...it might be old fashioned ,it may not be the glamourized "career"...but never forget that to stay home and be present in your family lives you are building a better brighter future not only for your children but for society as whole..

    and sure there are a lot of jobs to be done and when they children are babies and toodlers life is alot more fullon,but as the children get older they can help take on jobs like breadmaking,cookie making day,laundry,bedmaking,cooking dinner once a week,they are our apprentices we are there mentors.

  14. Bravo and much applause! That was a wonderfully encouraging and inspiring post. I am a homeschooling mother of 4 children 9, 7, 5 and 2. We live just outside of Rockhampton. I came to the realization a couple of months ago that if I become too reliant on pre-packaged convenience foods it is basically like stealing from my husband. There is certainly nothing wrong with having some quick and easy things stashed away for the times when things get crazy around here, but to use them as staples, with their excessive price tags is not right at all. I consider myself to be privileged to have this opportunity to stay at home with our children and it is certainly not because my husband earns a huge amount of money (he is a mature aged apprentice electrician) but because we have been fairly careful with our money. Frugality is really a bit of a hobby to me as well as a necessity for living the way we do. I love your blog and thank you for taking the time to share your life and your wisdom with all of us.

  15. once again I find I need to thank you. As a 35 year old homemaker (have been for 10 years now) I had no role models, nowhere to learn because I was raised for a more lavish life than the one I chose. A couple of years ago I hit the internet searching for models of the values and skills I was searching for that would enhance and improve my work. I found you!
    Not only have I learned new skills, found more joy and pride in my work but I have more confidence to let the comments and opinions of those who have no respect for what I do - roll off like water on a ducks back. i'm now trying to be purposeful about having grace for those people because if they had any idea of the value and joy I take in what I do....they wouldn't look down their nose. They might take interest. I have to thank you for your grace filled example. I SO appreciate the attitude and skill you model so well for each of us.

    I do have a question....I have not found the right way to answer the simplest of questions. When people who do not respect the role of homemaker as having any value, I find myself stuck for words in those conversations just after "hi, how are you?" and it moves into asking me what I've been up to....All of a sudden I am saying something lame like "oh nothing exciting, just the usual." Because I'm thinking what do they care that I spent a whole day doing laundry or I revamped my cleaning routine or I can't find washing soda ANYWHERE so I worked out a new laundry powder recipe that I'm testing. I find value in that but I know they don't so it seems to even mention.

    Any advice in these conversations? I would love to hear some words of wisdom in how to phrase what I do in these situations.

    Blessings to you!

  16. Thanks for that post. I think I'll print it out and put it in my book of inspiring things :)

    Can't wait for your post tomorrow! Congrats!


  17. Since bread baking was specifically mentioned as an example, I thought I'd add that baking bread actually takes very little hands-on time. It's all the rising that takes time, and you can walk away from that. Find a recipe that makes multiple loaves at once and go from there. (My favorite recipe is from More With Less, and it makes 4 loaves.) Baking in bulk doesn't really take any extra time. :-)

  18. What a lovely post. The best commentary I've ever read on my chosen career. As a young mother I had up and down days, and sometimes even " i want to run away days" lol - but its a magnificent career and I wouldn't change a thing. Go for it "Kate". you can do it!

    Exciting about the little one!!!!!

  19. here here! I so agree, being a home maker is a wonderful role and what is missing in our society. It is also difficult, I am fairly good, however. my mother is gone along with all other females that could guide me, so it is blogs like yours that inspire me to continue to learn and aim for a more sustainable life.
    Can't wait to hear the baby news....
    xx Brenda

  20. Thank you for that wonderful post Rhonda and hope that it helps Kate here in the UK.
    I have been a SAHM for 14 years now and I have felt priveleged to have had the choice. I would not have wanted it any other way, but it has been in the past,to me,a bit of an identity issue, if you understand. I always found myself saying "I was just a housewife and full-time Mum" with the feeling I had to somehow justify why I wasn't out there in the working-for-money world, but I did finally realise that I make such an important contribution to my family and home that I now call myself a "homemaker" for that indeed is what I am. (I noticed that is what my husband Mark called me as well on our recent Census document, and I am so glad he sees me as that as well as his wife & mother to our 2 children, of course).
    It took me a long time to realise this (as daft as it may seem).
    Sent with love and very best wishes to your son & his wife as they wait for the arrival of their baby xxx

  21. homemaker - sounds so much nicer than housewife the more british term, but it's a great job, it's only taken about 10 years for me to feel that i really, really enjoy it, i hometeach my two kids and they really love joining in with all types of housework, my children are helping me on my allotment we are learning together and they are great cooks, when you see your children enjoying doing things like that through choice you really know all of the hard work is worth it.

  22. A great post! We should show our children how to do these things around the home, I think they appreciate the experience when they are older.
    Today is going to be a very exciting day for your family, a most amazing day.

  23. I am a housewife and proud of it. My husband and I have 6 children (5 still at home) and we live on acreage. My husband is the breadwinner and I am the "CEO" of our household. We grow all our own milk, meat, eggs and are always increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables that we grow. My contribution to the household includes the milking of the cows, the care of the poultry (ducks are coming soon...Yay!), making as much of our food and meals from scratch as possible, cleaning, mending, soapmaking to name just a few. 'Kate' was asking about making bread for a large family...I am happy to admit that I use a breadmaker, but not for the cooking stage. Time factors, at this stage of our lives, don't really allow me to make and knead the bread dough (although a very relaxing activity when stressed out) so in less than 5 minutes I can have all the ingredients in the breadmaker and in 90mins the dough is ready. This then takes around 10 - 15 minutes to shape and leave to rise. I can do this 2 - 3 times a day with the bread being cooked the same time as biscuits/cakes, etc or with the evening meal. The excess rolls/loaves get frozen for later use. This all fits very well around the other activities in my day. Like you keep saying Rhonda, find what works for you and your family. The day will come that I won't need the breadmaker but for now it helps me make homemade bread and my family wouldn't have it any other way. Good luck to Kate.
    Cheers, Kirsty.
    PS Enjoy the arrival of your new grand-baby Rhonda. :D

  24. Rhonda I have always thought of my homemaking as being the part that kept our family together.We survived off my husbands wage and I was lucky enough to stay home with my girls, for that I am very grateful. I have had working Mothers ask me how can you just do that. I take pride in what I give my family I think of it like my job and my contribution to our life. Whatever I was doing it was for us and would make a difference. Sure it was hard sometimes but the rewards of a couple of girls to know their Mom was happy in her job and was always there for them was worth it.
    My girls know how to look after themselves they are self sufficient and if they marry someday they may or may not decide to quit their jobs and just be a housewife it will be their choice but they will never think of it as a useless job. It is a very important job and your family will be grateful for it. Be happy that you are able to do it, and do it well.

  25. WOW, Powerful stuff Rhonda I needed to read that. I feel inspired!

  26. You've put me in the mood for cleaning and soup making! Thanks :)

  27. I need to send this to soooo many people I know. I am a stay at home mum, my daughter turned two late last year. I have been at home full-time for the last nine months and I love it and feel very full-filled by it (much moreso than I expected to), but I HATE when people make comments like "You get to sit home all day", or "You must have time for that, you don't do anything", or even "Don't you think we should all contribute to society [by being in paid work]?". The last one really, really got to me - staying home to raise my children IS contributing to society in too many ways to list; I have no problem with working mothers at all, I was one for over a year; I just feel it is worth the sacrifice of the extra wages for me to be there every day as the primary carer, and looking after most of the day to day duties round our house. Granted, I don't bake my own bread, but I do bake and try and cook from scratch, we are in the process of growing our first batch of vegies, we have planted fruit trees and vines and we are hoping to get some chooks in the near future. It may not seem like much to some, but to me it is deeply satisfying, and I love being able to model to my daughter simple things like how to plant a seed and nurture it into a plant that will grow vegies to nourish us. I could go on!

    But I will just say, thank you for not only 'getting it', but for being able to express the satisfaction and some of the reasoning behind the desire to be at home, and that it IS a very worthwhile, full-filling career choice.

    PS - So excited for your first grandbaby, I'll be checking back for updates!!!

  28. I would also add a reminder that you don't have to be superwoman and try to do it all, sometimes with everything else that happens, you have to pick and choose the most important bits. And then, as those other chores become second nature and you gain more time by doing them quickly, you can add more things to your day. Trying to do it all and not succeeding would be less valuable then incorporating what you can at first. I know Rhonda has written about this previously, that everyone's version of the simple life is different, depending on their circumstances.
    Just thought it is valuable to remind about that.

  29. We have a large family and no friends who live like this. We were raised that way so it helps but really people as young as us don't understand why we don't drive 2 new cars and buy things on credit etc. I love this life and look to blogs like this and others like minded for encouragement. We don't preach the lifestyle but sometimes we have more time to do the things we want than others because we don't have to work such long hours.

  30. Amen and Amen, so well stated, I am proud to be a housewife, I was always a stay at home mom, that was my goal in life to be a good mom and wife, Yeahhhhhhhh I did it, and loved it.

  31. Another inspiring post, Rhonda. Thank you! There are also many stay at home dads now due to rising unemployment in many male dominated professions, the increasing casualisation of the labour force, the rise of contract labour etc. In many of these homes the wife can be the main and sometimes the only bread winner. I know most of your readers are women, but wouldn't it be great to do a similar post on the profession of 'househusband'. Also, the husbands/ partners who do work also have an important role to play on the home front apart from wage earning. They might enjoy cooking, baking bread etc during their time off paid work!

  32. Can't wait to hear about the baby! Thanks for this post. I am only now getting to this point after years of homemaking. I now know that this (in this way) is my CHOSEN profession!

  33. To Alex: I bet if you're honest with people who wonder what you do all day, you'll pique their interest.....and they'll be over to taste your homemade goodies & tea in no time! Or, one day, they'll ask for that homemade laundry soap recipe or your advice/help with something they have no idea what to do eg sewing, gardening, recycling, etc. Easier said than done, but with practice, your self-confidence will rise and you won't have to mumble your response. What you said in your comment sounds perfectly fine, so use that. If all else fails, try calling their bluff by saying something really zany and 'off the wall' and watch their reaction!

    To Rhonda: my heart leapt at the words in your last line!

  34. Hello Rhonda and Kate,
    My husband & I are awaiting the birth of our 8th child. Our eldest has just turned 15, youngest is 20 months. I am so thankful to be a stay-at-home Mum. We live as simply as we can, on one income. I won't lie - sometimes it is VERY hard work (for example, we go through SO much food !!), but it is worth EVERY SINGLE BIT of that effort. The children are happy and healthy - instead of focusing on accumulating 'stuff', we focus on working together and building our family up. There is so much I could say - but Kate, please be encouraged!! You are doing a GOOD work! Just do what you can and ignore every discouraging voice. Go at your pace - step by step, bit by bit, preparing a haven for your family (as opposed to a 'pit stop'!)
    Sending you a hug from one Mum and proud homemaker/housewife to another,

  35. Thanks for summing this up so beautifully, Rhonda.

    To 'the Mrs.' --I have at times struggled with the same thing when people ask me what I 'do.' But I've realized that trying to make it sound super interesting and glamourous will only make it seem like I'm insecure about my role as a homemaker. I think the best thing is just to say brightly (and with true pride) "I get to be a homemaker!" They may be slightly confused at how you can seem so happy about it, but they're free to ask more about it if they want....

  36. What a well timed post. I gave birth to my first child (a gorgeous girl) 3 weeks ago so am very new to being a stay at home mum, although I previously only worked part time so was already a homemaker to some extent. I am looking forward to staying home and raising my daughter for as long as we can afford and am proud of it but I have one question - how do I do it all without getting overwhelmed?

    I am assuming it will get easier as my girl gets older but right now it is a bit of a struggle. We dont use a clothes dryer or dishwasher, I am using cloth nappies and we have chooks and a vegie garden but right now I am struggling even with that much, let alone cooking from scratch and making clothes, knitting etc (all things which I want to be able to do). Any tips on keeping myself organised and sane?

  37. What a well timed post. I gave birth to my first child (a gorgeous girl) 3 weeks ago so am very new to being a stay at home mum. I am looking forward to staying home and raising my daughter for as long as we can afford and am proud of it but I have one question - how do I do it all without getting overwhelmed?

    I am assuming it will get easier as my girl gets older but right now it is a bit of a struggle. We dont use a clothes dryer or dishwasher, I am using cloth nappies and we have chooks and a vegie garden but right now I am struggling even with that much, let alone cooking from scratch and making clothes, knitting etc (all things which I want to be able to do). Any tips on keeping myself organised and sane?

  38. I love this post. Well said, Rhonda. As for doing this with a bigger family - I believe it is very do-able. I have three kids - I bake my own bread, make biscuits, cakes pastry etc from scratch. I have a (very weedy!) vegetable garden, but it produces well. I sew and have started knitting. How do I find the time? I only go out when I absolutely have to, my son has one winter sport, so there is not too much rushing around. I try to get dinner on early (slowcookers are wonderful). Take it one step at a time.

  39. Kudos for another wonderful post Rhonda!!! The family CEO is as important a role as that of the breadwinner. Thank you for the reminder that what we do is of value and importance!

    Won't be long and your new chapter will begin, Gramma!!

    central Illinois

  40. Thank you so very much for this post. You have no idea how much it means to me. As a stay at home mom, I've faced many hurts from Moms who work and put down what I do. It is nice to find support and comfort in this. I really needed this today. :-)
    Many Blessings to you!

  41. Thank you, Rhonda. Thank you for the inspiration that you always are by being honest and being a role model that most of us would not have otherwise. Especially thank you for the reminder today to model the behavior that we want to see in our children.

  42. Any news yet? Although if there is I'm sure you'll have better things to do than hang about around the computer! How exciting!

    If I was starting all over again I'd make it easier on myself and make more notes of what I was doing and the results I had. For example, I have a fabulous cake recipe book with one excellent recipe for chocolate cake and one seriously dud recipe for another chocolate cake. I made that dud, dry, tasteless cake THREE times before it occured to me to write "Not This One!!" in the book! I'd make notes of exactly what I put in that last chutney so I could make it again - it was fabulous but I've forgotten what I did differently that time. And I'd plan the meals and make extra to freeze ahead of time. Overall, I'd spent a little more time thinking first and doing later. The bigger the family, the more beneficial this is.

  43. I think SAHM mums need as much encouragement as they can get. There is no annual review to benchmark you performance - it is all internalised! Well done on another encouraging post. I shall have to bookmark and revisit in days when I am discouraged.

  44. I know some people who applaud my decision to be an at-home mom and others who don't. I've realized that I can't be influenced by the opinions of others, but rather do what is best for my family.
    Five months ago we moved to a different town and I left behind the two part-time jobs I'd worked at for a number of years.
    Due to health issues I have, my husband encouraged me to stay at home rather than looking for work.
    At first I felt guilty and like I was letting him down. It took awhile to feel at home in my new role.
    He's shown a lot of appreciation for the home cooked lunches I make for him and for the fact that I'm home always for our son.
    He told me that it was discouraging to have a wife who was always fatigued and never had the energy to do very many extra activities.
    A supportive husband makes all the difference in a wife's attitude in the home. If he wasn't supportive, I wouldn't be able to be contented at home.
    I love your posts and I want to congratulate you on your grandchildren!......Denise

  45. This was great! I agree with all you said. It is well worth it and you will not regret making the decison to be a Homemaker. It can take time to add to your list of skills when you are new to it. I would suggest to the new ones, if you are able see if you can find others in your area who are like minded sometimes you can pair up and do some of this together. I found a friend and neighbor who does soap with me and we split the cost and the soap. We only have to make it once a year. More often if we give it away as gifts. :o) My advice also would be not to try and do it all at once. Pick one thing at a time learn it then move to something else. It doesn't all happen at one time.Also I "ditto" the advice of getting the kids involved early. Yes, it may take more time to teach them but later on they become very independent in doing the chores and you have taught them well you work yourself out of "doing it all" at least while they are all still at home. thanks for sharing! Love your blog.

  46. lovely post Rhonda. hoping all goes well with the birth - hugs, Jeni

  47. Oh im so glad i didnt open this post before i went out this morning as i would have missed the update. Fingers crossed that all goes well for the new parents to be and that you are not too distracted waiting for the good news! Lisa

  48. 'We need to raise givers and doers, not takers and layabouts, our countries depend on it.' Can I say a loud amen Rhonda - actually I did when I read that statement. And this is what I am hoping to do with my own family. We have 7 children ranging in ages from 18 to 1. I grew up in the UK. I did not have a domestic apprenticeship - my mum relied on convenience foods and home economics classes at school served up very bland fare and were more theory than practice. So much better to learn these skills in a real home! I had to teach myself to cook, budget etc. There were few role models for me but I found the books of Emilie Barnes and in the days before blogs I just gleaned every word of wisdom from the pages of her books about how to organize a home.
    I know I cannot master every home art but I choose the ones which benefit my family most at this season in our lives. Bread making is one of those skills I have chosen for this season of my life. Quilting can wait! I bake bread only one or two loaves at a time and decide which meal we will have bread with - somedays it will be for lunch so I use the dough cycle on my breadmaker for a pizza dough or make Annabel Langbein's Busy Person's bread which is a no knead bread you rise in the oven at a low temperature - it is fabulous bread. If I make sourdough that needs all day to rise that loaf will be for the evening meal to accompany a pot of soup.
    I'm determined to raise givers and doers - too many homes today have become motels for the teenagers and older young people who live in them and parents have allowed it.
    Looking forward to your next post which I'm guessing is going to be a joyful announcement from a proud grandmother.

  49. Beautifully put! Thankyou.

  50. I worked as a nurse for eighteen years, when the kids came along part-time, doing the dreaded nightshift because that fit in around them when the money was needed. I used to get told that I 'don't really work because I was at home during the day'. Go figure!!

    Recently I had lunch with a group of women that I went to primary school with (we are in our early forties). When asked by one (who is neither married or has children) if I worked, her response to me was "oh, you're just a housewife". No, I am not just a housewife, and have never considered myself to be so.

    Thankyou for this today, sometimes you need reminding just how important what we do is!

  51. Thank you Rhonda for encouraging women to be homemakers. I have been home as keeper of the home for 40+years. I love being home! Now even into retirement it has worked out. Others told us we would regret my not working and bringing in money when my husband retired. That in retirement we would not have enough money. That has not been so. We have plenty. Months at a time he had been out of work when young and still we made it on our own. We have no bills for anything..cars, home and all paid for . We only owe now for car insurance, yearly house taxes, and monthly utilities. I am saying this to encourage others. As you wrote I did my job and watched what money came in got used and spent for the best and in the best way. I never felt it drudgery but kept it like a game to outsmart even myself as I learned more and more to do more ourselves and spend less. You never stop learning. There is one problem I have noted women who worked encounter when coming home for the first time. They are used to having a routine at work and what has to be done there...also a time limit etc, Also at work someone is watching it gets done and praising them hopefully when they do a good job. Once home they are on their own. All day to work and no set schedule anymore. No other co workers to talk to or be encouraged by. They feel like they are lost at sea so to speak. Do you have any tips for them Rhonda? They need to start small as they have done house work before naturally but this is a different situation. They need to set up routines but do not know where to start. Sarah

  52. What a WONDERFUL way to say all that! I agree with you 100%. Our children learn about life from watching and listening to their parents. If we show contentment in our life in whatever we do, hopefully our children will pick up on it and want that contentment in their own lives. We need to look at each day as a new beginning that the Lord has blessed us with! Thank you for your wonderful words.


  53. what a fantastic post Rhonda, thanks for helping my way of thinking get back on track.

    How exciting for your whole family. Is he here yet?

  54. Well said Rhonda..........

  55. Great post, very inspiring. Looking forwards to your book!

    Em - all I can say is it gets easier! Your little one is only 3 weeks old, don't add to your pressures by trying to do it all. I used cloth nappies but had to use the drier otherwise they would never be dry! Bit by bit your life gets back to 'normal' (a changed normal!). Enjoy your baby, it passes so quick, and before you know it you'll have time to bake bread and make quilts ;-)

    Alex - I also struggle with what I 'do'. I usually mumble about being at home, but from now on I'm going to say proudly that I stay at home! I had a joke only yesterday about watching daytime tv all day which I just laughed off but I agree the eternal question of 'what do you do?' is a difficult one. The more of us that stand up and say proudly that we look after our home and kids the easier it'll become. I've been childminding a friend's son for one day a week whilst her mum is away, and yesterday when I turned up he hadn't been fed, he had a dirty nappy and the fridge was empty. But it's ok as she has a high powered job and earns lots of money. It did/does annoy me but as my hubby says I just need to see it as how not to live my life.

  56. It's even more important to live a simple life when you have a large family, setting an example of, who you are rather that what you have. Imagine a house full of demanding children, Wanting all the latest brands! Nasty! Also the more in the family the more help you will have. Everyone can do something to lend a hand.

  57. I am so glad I found you (thank you Ann for the link on your blog) I think that more and more women are starting to realise that making a home is a lifetime career and one of the most fulfilling ones possible. It has more variety than any other job I can possibly imagine, no day is ever the same and there is always something I am longing to do. I don't remember ever feeling like that when I was young and single and sitting in an office!!

  58. I find fulfillment in homemaking tasks and would love to have more time for it. But the whole concept of living off one income as a couple scares me, because the partner who stays at home becomes dependent. If the couple splits up at some point, the working partner could to to some extend replace the benefits that come from good housekeeping with the convenience products society offers. The partner who stays at home though would probably have difficulties to find a decently paid job again because of being away from the job for to long.
    Probably you are busy cuddling a baby at the moment, but when and if you have time I would love to read your thoughts on this.
    Many thanks,

  59. Dear Rhonda
    Wow loved this post and Just think by the time we see you next you will be grand parents to quote you...
    “We need to raise givers and doers, not takers and layabouts, our countries depend on it".
    However I have a bit of a dilemma regarding housework I am a full time carer and house wife and I have been feeling overwhelmed for a while I would love to have someone in to help me not skivvy after me,any pointers about how I can reconcile myself that this is OK?
    think is I dont want to let my family down.

    Hope all went well with you new addition.
    Much kind regards
    Rachel uk

  60. Dear Rhonda,

    Thank you very much for this post. As a 24 year old who loves gardening and knitting, I get made fun of quite often by friends and colleagues. Your post gives me the courage to stand proud in what I enjoy and continue to take pleasure from the simple, fulfilling things in life.


  61. I live in the UK. Until I started home schooling my son (which has been a great experience:-) and joined the home school community, my way of life as a baking, crafting, home cooking, gardening, recycling SAHM was an oddity to people I met. The home school community is full of moms- and sometimes dads- who not only take joy in leading their child's learning, but providing them with a Home full of baking, crafts, and so on. Many feel that SIMPLE LIVING in a mindful way is the best way to raise their children, providing learning experiences along the way. I'm inspired by seeing parents with sometimes up to 6 children (or more) who provide their children with home baked bread and home cooked meals, home school, knit or make clothes, make homemade gifts, recycle as much as possible, garden and basically live life in a more 'traditional' way.
    Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that happy homemakers are around, if you know where to find them... In the blog world- easy, in real life not so easy because we are busily involved in providing home comforts to our loved ones. It's not like we have a Happy Homemakers Meeting to go to regularly in person. That's why this blog and so many others are invaluable to the 'non-conformist' homemakers of the world.

  62. You know it wasn't the career women who started the great reform movements of the C19. It was stay at homers. We have them to thank for universal suffrage, free education for all, health improvements and improvements in slums at that time. Maybe we need a few more for our current problems.
    Jill from Laidley

  63. What a great post-loved reading all the comments too. I was at home full time until my children were teenagers and I loved being home. I loved hunting for bargains, getting great stuff at church sales and thrift shops. When you are free to spend your time as you wish you have the luxury of shopping like that. I am now working full time outside the home and look forward to the time I can stop working and stay home to do as I please when I please. Living a simple life with less stuff looks mighty good to me! I am currently reading Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes-I highly recommend this book to all of you.
    Rhonda-have a wonderful day waiting for your little one-blessings to you and your family. Karen from CT

  64. What a lovely post - so helpful and encouraging and I am sure that "Kate" will soon have the confidence to live life as she chooses, making her lifestyle choices and ditching those "friends" who gainsay her.

    As for you, WHAT an exciting time. Your first grandchild will be putting in an appearance soon - I am SO happy for you and your family. I can't wait for the photos! Much joy to you all.

  65. Congrats on the excitement! Can't wait for the update!

    It seems I may have phrased something in a way that was misunderstood. My question was not with people who are asking "What do you do?" which would be a question from someone who does not know me. In that my answer is "I'm a homemaker". But with people I already know, have known for years, when I'm asked "what have you been up to? What have you been doing?" That question that is most commonly answered by my husband with comments about work or general daily life.
    Thank you Becca, I think that is a helpful perspective to take, instead of assuming that they will be dismissive I should share with joy and perhaps spark some interest that wasn't there before. :)

    Blessings, Alex

  66. Well said...i love being at home with my family...i love feeding them well,growing our own food and teaching them on how to live..i have had the greatest privilege of being at home for 25 yrs ,i have worked part-time but my family and home come first...the most important thing in my life is my family and their happiness,well being and teaching them is my pleasure...some of my so-called friends have laughed at me but i ignore them now..my children are well balanced and sensible and most impotantly they know how to cook,sew,manage money etc..that to me is very rewarding..
    Hope your a grandma by the time you read this..i love being a gran..
    take care

  67. Your reader should also take a look at heavenly homemaker's blog. She has a house full of boys and bakes double and triple batches of everything to keep up. She also assigns chores to the boys to make the housework doable.

    They won't be small forever so treasure these times, even if the house is not perfect.

  68. Congrats on the baby!!
    Kate, there is a book here in the US called Large Family Logistics. It was super helpful to me and so many other mothers I know with larger families. Rhonda, I love the way you look at things. Off to go make our bed, and continue to teach the 2 and 4 year old to do theirs.

  69. We are a family of eight, though my son doesn't live with us anymore, his girlfriend and their daughter (my granddaughter) do live with us.

    I cook from scratch, my daughters have learned to cook this way, we bake bread and cookies, cakes, pies.

    I sew, not all of our clothes but I do sew skirts, dresses and some bedding items. We love to knit.

    We have a garden, it gets bigger every year, chickens, dogs and two horses.

    The key to all of this is that we work together. I don't do all of the cleaning, laundry, animal care etc. The kids (who know range in age from 19 - 5) have been working alongside of my husband and I for many years. They know how to grow food and preserve it. They have confidence that they can care for their own homes and families one day.

    We are a family we all work together.

    It is a joy to live this way and I believe that we have prepared our children to live well, on one income, and to be able to live during hard times.

    Hope this is helpful.

  70. Oh my gosh, that egg cup with yummy toast strips looks exactly like the daily breakfast of my youth. Nostalgia. I'm running downstairs to make that right now! Your wonderful blog constantly makes me want to make soap, cookies, preserves and occasionally the bed.

  71. I am so excited for you, Rhonda. I'm keeping Sunny and the new baby in my thoughts and prayers!

  72. Fabulously put, Rhonda! I am a SAHM of 5 and have always sewn, gardened, home canned, quilted and made my own bread. One of our children is autistic and when he was young we had additional therapist appts for him in addition to cub scouts, church callings, school meetings and everything else. SAHM's are not loafers! I have found that a daily/weekly planner works wonders for me in getting the most of my days. If you plan well, you can accomplish so much! Setting the example of thrift, industry, economy and frugality will help our children differentiate between needs and wants. That is so needed today.

  73. Thank you for the wonderful posts about homemaking! Growing up all I wanted to be was a stay at home mom and wife. Unfortunately life has twists and turns and I am now a single parent of 2 children who has to work a full time job to make ends meet. I do my best to fulfill both the role of homemaker and breadwinner. Some days its tough but with help and inspiration from people like you I find it a bit easier.

    Sending best wishes for the birth..wishing Mama and Papa and the new wee one God's blessings during this time! :)

  74. Oh how exciting!!! Looking forward to seeing your newest addition :)

    Your post was very uplifting and encouraging. I will need to keep that in mind whenever I feel down about doing the 'Ministry of the Mundane' at home.

  75. We are all looking forward for news from you that grand baby two is here! I remember waiting out the time for each of ours to get here. Such wonderful times and memories!! Congratulate the parents of each for us!! Sarah

  76. What a wonderful post, Rhonda! I have received many insults for being a homemaker, but it helps to read posts like this and brush them off. You are a true inspiration, love your blog!

  77. This is a good day to be born! We are celebrating my daughter's 34th birthday today. Good luck! :-)

  78. Thanks for you words as always. Well said, very well said.

  79. There is a saying in our home that goes like this: " My husband makes the money first, and I make it last." Sounds hokey, but it is true. I pride myself on saving as much money as possible. I am NOT perfect in this endeavor, but I do try to make the almighty dollar stretch as far as it will go. I hang all my laundry on drying racks, I cook large portions and freeze them in smaller family size portions. There are five of us living here with another family of two staying here with us from Feb till June. It is working out fine. Just by hanging our laundry has saved over $50 bucks per month on my electricity bill. I also budget very carefully and manage to save about $400 bucks per month. I am hopeful that I can ramp up the saving part so that I can save an even $500 per month. I feel blessed to have been able to have cut many of the unnecessary expenditures from our budget so that our family can save what we do. You CAN do it. I know. And this is coming from someone who used to spend ALL that came in on shopping, clothes, makeup etc. Not anymore. I am free and I am happy. Try it. You will love it !


    I am pretty speechless (notice I didn't say totally, lol)

    This is a very inspiring post...

    I am a SAHM of three children 7 years old and under. I shocked all my teachers when I left high school because I wanted to work a job to pay my way until I met the man I would have a family with, and then become a full-time SAHM. I was apparently 'wasting all my intelligence', 'you could be anything you could dream of - the first female prime minister of Australia!' - and one of my favourites - 'you have so much potential!'. Some women became offended when they found out that I had my first child (planned) at 19 turning 20, and all I wanted was to be a full-time SAHM and care for my family the best I could. As far as they were concerned, I was ignorant and apathetic white trash who was popping out babies so I could collect benefits, be lazy and stay home all day to eat chocolate and watch Oprah - while my children ran feral and would probably have never learned to read if it wasn't for the public school system. It was also explained or inferred to me by a few of these same women that many brave ladies who came before us fought so that women could go into the workforce and get their own real career, and that by being a SAHM, I didn't appreciate (or understand) the magnitude of their sacrifice. I was setting back 'womankind' by decades in being 'chained' to the kitchen sink with a baby strapped to my chest - 'barefoot and pregnant' so to speak. I give modern women a 'bad rep'. I thought that those many brave ladies that did truly fight and sacrifice - did it so that women could have the choice.

    Now I struggle. I have always wanted to throw myself fully into being a 'homemaker', someone who does more than maintain a house - I wanted to be a wife and mother who makes our house a home, whose career was what I call the feminine arts of working at home by gardening, cooking from scratch, sewing, crocheting, knitting, quilting, preserving, baking, being frugal, creative and much more (I hope I haven't offended anyone with my term of 'the feminine arts', it is something that came to me during the last few months as I started to take stock of my life and homemaking skills, such as they are)

    These (and more) are skills that our grandmothers, great-grandmothers and their mothers had, as they led their family through many seasons of life. However, I have not seen these skills used much in my life, I haven't learnt all of the ins and outs, all the intricacies of living simply - things that you can't always learn from a book.

    I find myself wanting this simple and self-sustaining life for me and my family, yet I do not have these skills and as much as I yearn for this simplified yet fully rich way of living, I am finding it difficult. Depression, anxiety, chronic (but improving!) back pain - and the resulting morphine-based meds, nerve meds and anti-depressents I take - causes me to struggle to have the motivation, strength, energy, consistency and clear thinking that I need, to find ways to change our life to one that is simplified, self-sustaining - and to implement them.

    I am glad I have found your blog after my many many long nights of reading, as I reconcile who I am, how I am, and who I really want to be. I hope to learn much from you, and I already kind of look up to you as a mentor - and also the many others who are sharing this traditional wisdom that I fear may one day be lost. I hope to become to my children, the kind of person I am needing to learn from (at the very late age of 27).

    Thank you for sharing your skills, knowledge and your personal insights - I feel really blessed to have found your blog.

    Warmest regards,
    Angela @ www.purposefulwomanhood.net



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