30 April 2012

Finding your value at home - Part 1

Last week I received an email from Joannie who said: "After listening to you on the radio and checking out your blog I then bought your book and as a result my family has named me the domestic godess!. Why? I have created a stockpile of groceries, made my own soap, baked my own sourdough bread, made muffins and slices instead of buying pre-packaged snacks, I have made my own cleaners and as of this afternoon I preserved my first ever jar of capsicums in fact that was my first preserved anything! ...  Another amazing positive has come out of this…..we have cut our grocery bill in half!!!!!! WOW truly something I never thought possible as I didn’t think I wasted money and always tried to buy things on sale, this demonstes the benefits of buying in bulk.

"The feeling this has given me is indescribable, I have always struggled with not being in the paid work force but being able to provide for my family and learning to live simply has given me empowerment, I can finally say, I am now so proud of what I do. My children are learning to make cleaners and preserve goods, bake from scratch and have a simple eye and ask themselves can we live without that? My daughter took it upon herself to make a lemon slice from scratch and take it to elderly neighbors and friends, my 12 year old son made his own bread and I overheard him reciting recipes to his 26 year old aunt who can’t yet cook. These small things make me proud of my job as I have two gorgeous offspring who are learning skills for life."

That is the kind of empowerment I hoped to relay through the pages of my book and I'm so pleased it reached out to at least one family.We've all heard the stories of friends and neighbours being unkind when they know a former paid worker has decided to stay at home to manage the home. That negativity can transfer to the new homemaker and be a small seed of self-doubt that can build into something destructive.

When I first started working in my home as a homemaker, after many years of being in the workforce, I felt no shame or that I was doing less than I should be doing. I'm intelligent, I have a degree, I've been successful in several areas and I knew when I came home, I'd made the right choice for me. None of my friends questioned my decision - they either understood I had decided to change for my own reasons or they realised that criticism would flow off me like water off a duck's back. For whatever reason, I heard nothing. However, I couldn't find any other women who were doing what I was doing and being satisfied by it.

During those first weeks, I wasn't sure what to expect. Either from myself, my home or from my own emotions. I knew this was where I wanted to be and I hoped I would enjoy being here. What I didn't expect was to feel powerful and more alive than I'd felt in years. To know that I could structure my day however I wanted it to be after years of fitting into a commercial environment and working to deadlines, well, that alone made me believe I could fly. I didn't have to do anything, and yet I wanted to do everything. There were so many possibilities in front of me! I felt like I'd really found my home. Over the months that followed, I taught myself as much as I could. I read about cleaning, brushes, microfibre, chemicals, preserving, nourishment, making cheese and bread, home maintenance, productive organic gardens and many other things. The more I read, the more I remembered from my upbringing when my grandma washed her dishes at a stone sink and my mother boiled sheets in a copper boiler. We are not so far from that past time; it happened in my lifetime in Sydney. Life has changed so fast.

It made me realise I had a rich heritage, not in money and possessions, but in how to build a strong family and how to look after them well. I came from a family of hard workers, prime homemaking stock, and that made me really proud. When my friends asked what I was doing, I proudly told them I'd made a new kind of bread or sewn some baby clothes or bought more chickens. I was doing important work and I wanted everyone to know it. This was not anything to feel ashamed of and I was not going to keep quiet about it. I searched for an Australian book on the subject and couldn't find any, so I wrote my own book. I felt that if others didn't know about the beauty that is lurking in every home, they should be made aware of it. I kept hearing that women who chose homemaking as a career were downtrodden and miserable but I had lived on both sides of the working track and I knew that working in my home opened up possibilities for me, it was my liberator. I wasn't disadvantaged and powerless at home, I was thriving.

What I had found was a way to bypass going to work to earn money by using the money we had available in a more sensible way. If I made my own products, not only did I have better quality, they were healthier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly. By working in my home I had the time to shop for bargains and to use everything I had to it's full value. By working at home as if it were my career, I'd opened up a different kind of future for myself - one where I felt valued and creative and where anything was possible.

When I looked around to assess after my first year at home I realised I was doing meaningful work, I was making a difference and the home where I used to rush in and out of had become a comfortable oasis in a sea of outside craziness. I read about women criticising other women for staying at home - bored housewives sitting in front of the computer or TV all day with nothing to do - none of that came close to what was actually happening in my home. I'm not sure why women criticise other women. Working life can be difficult for all of us and it's not right to attack others to make yourself feel better. That kind of behaviour is new to me. We didn't do that to each other when I was much younger. Back then, at least where I lived, other women were seen as friends, not competitors. We respected each other and the decisions we made.

This post is getting to be a long one and I still have a lot on my mind, so I'll continue this tomorrow when I talk about making that transition from work to home and self reliance. I know there are a lot of women and men out there that struggle with this. I successfully made that transition and I'm glad I did. I am happier now than I've ever been. Find out why tomorrow.



  1. Rhonda, you've jumped back 50 or 60 years to a time where home-making was a full-time, respected and valued occupation. If it wasn't for advertising and the "Superwoman Culture", many women would never have felt pressured to give it up. I'm single, so have to work outside the home, but have my own business and relatively modest needs, so I can be flexible with my time. Which is, in itself, a gift :-) BTW your cake looks delicious!

  2. Thank you! I've really enjoyed your site because it has made many of the things I've wanted to try accessible without a hint of snobbery or elitism.

    Today I made several pints of strawberry jam because the berries are so delicious right now. I have enough for quite some time now. Thanks for your inspiration!

  3. This wisdom is worth to be shared. I think it would be a wonderful, meaningful job for me/us homemaker(s) sharing this wisdom, these experiences, this real life's joy and power with the nowadays' young, often lonely and living in a 'sleeping' neighbourhood homemakers.
    Multiplying (happiness etc.) by sharing.



  4. What a great email you received, Rhonda...I know that in writing your book this is exactly what you aiming for ....just to change the world a little.I am also really glad, even though you have written this book and have achieved so much that you continue to write this blog and give homemaking advice.
    The funny thing is , it is almost as if there were a 'gap' in homemaking skills being passed on for anyone in their 40's and much of what I am doing has been passed on by my grandmother...so it is great to check with your blog and get advice.

  5. I am new to your blog, and I'm loving it. This post gives me so much reassurrance that I can take on the role of working in the home, transitioning from a successful career (I've been struggling with the transition for a couple of years now!). Thank you for pointing out the rich heritage and history we all have- how quickly we have let that fall by the wayside in preference to convenience and disposability! Thank you a million times xx

  6. Another strong and thought provoking post. And so right at this time in our lives. It`s just amazing how much joy and satisfaction we can get from being at home and working for the household. It`s such an important job to do. We should never feel undervalued. The best job there could be is to provide for the home and within the home.

  7. I value the work I do in my home very much. But, my husband does not feel the same way. While he does appreciate what I do to keep our home running, take care of him and the kids and the things I do to lessen expenses, he places more value on the paid work I do outside of the home. Any advice for situations like mine where the spouse doesn't share the same mindset about the value of homemaking?

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  8. Rhonda, I recently put in my two weeks to stay at home full time and your site has partially inspired this move. However, I also received an underhanded comment from a close friend about my choice and felt judged as though my decision were not sound. I appreciate your post today as it is just the friendly support I need right now. Good timing and thank you so much for speaking honestly.

  9. Mary Ellen, could you start keeping an account of what you save by working at home? Find out how much a housekeeper would charge to do the same work, and factor into that account what you would make at work, taking out the expenses you would be required to pay for travel, work clothes, convenience food, etc. Can you remember what you spent and brought in when you were working outside the home? Does that tally well against what is happening now? There is no way to change someone else. I got Hanno on board, he started out very sceptical, by showing him our savings and that we could live well without me working. That later progressed to him giving up work.

  10. All I want to say Rhonda is -thank you! You are saving our family.

  11. Very good post today thank you..sometimes i just need to read these things to know i am doing the right thing..

    8th child..hun you do what you want and do not listen to others..if you want and can do it then go for it..good luck

  12. Rhonda,
    (I'm not sure if I've told you before but it bears repeating) I've been reading your website from before I was married and had my children, and your constant inspiration was like a slow drip in my mind. You moulded me, over many years, and now I'm home and making home making and motherhood my career in this stage of life. It was completely your rolemodelling that has done it (I had no one else to lead me where I wanted to follow) and I cannot thank you enough for your inspiration. Posts like this really sum it all up for me. So wise, as always xox

  13. Thank you so much for this!
    We have a long way to go before our culture recognizes the value of having a homemaker - male or female. I have been home since my oldest was born 24 years ago. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with this role I had chosen, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

  14. Brilliant post cant wait for tomorrows post, my husband and i are talking earnestly on our way forward he realises now the only way forward for us is to be more self reliant, what an inspiring e-mail you recieved, just read it out to him we really could do with cutting down our food bill. Sue

  15. I read all of your blog posts, but I usually forget about leaving comments. Thanks for this post, I've been at home for a year, and it's easy to forget how empowering it can be. Your blog always inspires me when I'm having a rough time. I love those baby shoes too!!

  16. Great post Rhonda. I'd like to point out that when you left work to stay home after a degree etc and no-one q'd your decision, you were fortunate, and I feel it's because you had worked and been seen to do what is 'expected' of women now. But for someone in their twenties who leaves work to stay home and raise children, the general view seems to be that they are not pulling their weight in the world!!
    I've seen this first hand and while I rarely felt I needed to justify myself, it can hurt and make you feel a bit 'lower' in the hierarchy of women. My daughter has recently been q'd about her decision to stay home for good with her new baby.
    I wonder when did society lose the idea that homemaking/mothering is a worthwhile and important calling?? And why are we deemed as inferior for choosing to do this?

  17. I am in my 30's Rhonda and a lot of what you write still rings true. I was sure that I was going to stay at home until my babies went to school even though my freinds around me returned to the workforce early and put their bubs into care. Our family goals were very different and we drifted apart. They often use to make me feel like I was wasting my life when I could have been getting ahead but what they were missing was their child's first everything. Staying at home seemed to make them feel like bad mothers especially when I turned up to preschool with a plate of homemade cake for special party days and they turned up with something from the supermarket. I used to make all my kid's costumes for preschool plays whilest the other mums rocked their kids up in the same fairy or toy story costume as the next kid. They often were sarcastic about my efforts at home.Often suggesting that I needed to "get a life". So we moved in different directions but I didn't really miss them as I belived in what I was doing most of the time although those seeds of doubt did wreck some havac at times. Now here I am still at home with a teenager and a primary school aged child. Recently we have jumped ship yet again and decided to homeschool our youngest child. I think in time the decision will prove to be right but you still have to get through the tidal waves of outside negativity. I am not an earth mother who was always pro home schooling, very far from it. However the ability to step off wheel and decide what our day will look like has given us the chance to be set free from disabling anxiety. This is a new journey and we are only at the beginning of taking our power back.

  18. Thank you for writing such an encouraging post Rhonda. I loved what you said about your rich heritage, not in money and possessions but in building a strong family and looking after them well. I too have found my value at home in that very purpose. My husband and children are the direct beneficiaries but so is society. Strong families are the foundation of a strong nation yet the woman who chooses to stay home or only work part time for the sake of her family is still made to feel that she is not contributing to the economy. The push for more women to return to the workforce is only going to get stronger, particularly as the population ages so we really need to hear positive messages about the value of the work we do at home. I still believe the media profiles successful women as those who 'have risen to the top' in their field or set up empires and articles might refer to how they juggle home, family and work but mainly focus on their career achievements. It's not just on a national level. My local newspaper will devote a double page spread to local women in business and there are even annual awards for them (public recognition) but I have yet to see them do a significant feature on local homemakers and the work they do at home unless you count the mention of the value of mothers as Mother's Day approaches which is buried in ads encouraging people to spend.

  19. I really enjoyed this post Rhonda and agree wholeheartedly!

  20. I love your posts on reminding us of what we are doing home here...I am so lucky that this was what I wanted to do, I couldnt wait to stop paid work and be home in the garden, and starting a family, ten years at home now, I am still learning, I have three children and each has bought changes, mostly time, but I do what I can and provide fresh vegetables and home baking...I live in an area where most mothers work, so I love reading your blog, it inspires me as do many other mothers in blog land that I have contact with, that all I do home here is worthwhile, not only to my family but to me as well....

  21. What a wonderful post. When we started a family 23 years ago. We made the choice that I would stay at home. I would not have change that for anything. Then when my youngest was around 9 years old. I went back to work. Now after a illness we decided I would stay at home again. I can't go back to work full time and part time we would not be gaining anything. In fact we would save more having me home. My days are full with gardening, cleaning, cooking from scratch, sewing and knitting. My husband loves having home and he was the one how said we save more when I home. I love being home!
    I feel important doing these things.

  22. Good-morning Rhonda,

    I have appreciated the thoughts and ideas you share on this blog, and you have encouraged me in my own homemaking endeavours. Having been a homemaker now for close to 20 years, I have felt it all - down trodden and miserable, criticised and ignored, and also fully satisfied with myself and my work here at home. And I also really appreciate the 'Australian' flavour you bring to the topic. Thankyou.

    ""It made me realise I had a rich heritage, not in money and possessions, but in how to build a strong family and how to look after them well.""

    This is so wonderful, to be a small part of this heritage and hopefully I too can help pass some of this heritage on to my own children!

  23. Great post Rhonda
    I've also spent significant time reading about nutrition, gardening, cooking and so on. I feel a strong urge to begin treating my efforts as though they were my other job. Your post today touched on this - work hard and smart. For you, this seems to come naturally!!
    In beginning to treat my efforts like a job, I think to myself, I must get a return for my work & finish the job well so that I can be proud of it.
    Often in the past it has felt as though the labour is end in itself... for the pleasure of digging or baking or playing with mushroom spawn like last weekend :)... now I feel that it is important to 'obtain a yield' efficiently.
    Past efforts are yielding eggs, herbs, Jerusalem artichokes (yum) and fertiliser. My intention is to focus on the 'yield' and work with this in mind.
    The thing that I think is important to really increase yield is to work efficiently, setting up systems that work and keeping them ticking over.
    My lovely husband shows me how to do some things in the home, with an efficient mind. Today he set a beef roast going in the slow cooker before riding to his full time job! He also naturally falls into a weekly rhythm - for example, doing all our laundry on Saturday morning. Left to my own devices I would do a load here and there.
    I begin to see the benefits of this approach and want to adopt more of it throughout our lives.
    Congrats on your success in showing others how to do this homemaking job well and understand the full benefits of what they are doing for their families.
    I'm a regular reader now - on the train or at home in the mornings!

  24. Hi Rhonda,
    thanks for sharing Joannie's email, and for your comments - so inspiring.
    To Mary ellen - see if you can find a copy of the book The Smart Woman's Guide To Staying At Home. I read this many years ago, and at time I was fortunate enough to be earning $50 an hour. After reading the book I calculated my true hourly earnings at $1.89 - I'm not kidding. We had to buy a 2nd car for me to get to work, I had to dress well and cut corners at home, and we lost a lot of family tax benefit etc...We also paid for unsubsidised childcare because I couldn't bear the thought of day care.
    Needless to say I quit working ourside the home ( kept a few piano students at home) and was able to create a much healthier, happier home.
    Have a wonderful day everyone,Madeleine

  25. Thank you Rhonda for this post. I fondly remember things of my Grandmother...handmade clothes and fancy dresses for all the grand kids, handmade dolls and doll clothes, special quilts, REAL food, birthday cakes made with so much love, her laundry line, her orange grove started from seed, riding grandpas tractor...I want these fond memories for my family. My mother did not do these types of things and worked most of my childhood. I'm home with my three kids trying hard to make a beautiful, simple, productive home. It's HARD work(especially with little ones) but so worth it for us all. Your blog was one of the main sources of encouragement when I started on this journey. Thank you!

  26. Hi Rhonda,
    I have recently given up work to stay at home, to look after my family and our home.
    I have never been so busy and I love it. I have never found such as a rewarding job as this, with such hours to suit me and my family.

    Thank you so much Rhonda for being such an inspiration to me. To all the homemakers out there, you are all doing such amazing work and you should be so proud.

    With love

  27. Thank you Rhonda. And thank you Joannie! I have been a stay-at-home mum since my 2nd little boy was born 14months ago. My inner perfectionist convinced me that I was inadequate & bringing little value to my family since I was no longer contributing financially as I had previously done. This thinking & other negative thoughts sent me into a downward spiral culminating in a severe case of postnatal depression & anxiety. I was so ashamed of myself. A beautiful friend told me that all my family needed from me was ME. It has been a massive battle, but I am proud to say that my outlook is now very optimistic! I found your Down To Earth blog in the midst of my most difficult time, and dismissed it as 'too hard'. Little did I know that pondering the possibilities of a simple life would play a HUGE role in my recovery. I started to declutter my house & sell things on eBay. My husband cut back his hours to spend more time at home with us & to focus on the more important things. We have been more 'mindful' with our spending & without trying very hard our financial anxieties have diminished. I am now studying your book & scribbling down ideas that I would like to implement in our home. Inspired by Joannie, the Domestic Goddess, I am launching into a new lucrative career...Domestic Mummy! xx

  28. Hi Rhonda, another beutifull and inspiring post as always. I am currently working about 30hrs aweek give or take 4 or 5hrs and mostly I work at night. My hubby is inbetween jobs at the moment but were hopefull that he will get a job in the mines soon doing 2 wks on 2 off. Which will mean I can cut right down on the hours I work and concentrate on making our home more sustainable. Since I started reading your blog I've started a compost bin and noticed a massive reduction in the amount of waste that goes into our curb side bin. I've made laundry liquid, I clean with vinigar, bicarb and tea tree oil. I have made bread with my bread machine a few times but the family isn't too keen on it so will attemp to make it by hand and oven and hopefully it will be a hit. I have always mostly made our meals from scratch but I'm still trying to improve in that area. I usually try to mend things also to make them last longer. So I think I'm on the right path, I desperately want to get a veg garden up and running but am a bit discouraged as I've failed miserably in the past. I will get it right one day. Just finished reading your book and loved it, that's one book that won't be put away as I will be dipping into it regularly. Jodie from Adelaide

  29. Gosh, I never realised working in the home mothers copped such a beating. I find it so strange and horrible that you have had to deal with that. You probably know this but I can't help but think the women who say nasty things are jealous. I can't see any other reason for it.

    I have had to work since having children. My mother also had to work. Thankfully I like my work so it's okay but I can't imagine feeling negatively to a woman who wanted to and was able to work in the home. I love being at home also and do wish I had more time to do things properly - like making home made cakes at birthdays! I remember writing notes to myself and putting them in my lunch box, pretending they were from my Mom because my friend's mothers didn't work and wrote them notes. Those are wonderful things to do for your children and your family and you should be so proud you can do them.

    This is turning into a long post, really just wanted to say as a working out of home mother, I think you working in the home mothers are awesome!


  30. What a wonderful post. I am a SAHM to my nearly 2 year old and left work when 35 weeks pregnant with her in 2010. I love being at home and we manage on my husbands wage quite nicely.
    We are using a lot of your great inspirations to make our home more cost efficient and sustainable. As well as working toward being more self sufficient.
    So glad that there are still people who put value on women staying at home to raise their children and look after their home and family full time. Love it! Thanks x

  31. Thank you so much for this post. Rifht now, there is a big discussion here in Germany about child care for one- to three-year old children. The only vaguely conservative party we have left wants to pay a bonus to the parents who let their children stay at home, to aknowledge their educational work. All the others want the patents to send their children to the (free!) daycare, some even want to make it obligatory. They justify it by saying that the children cannot learn anything at home! And of cours they imply that a woman cannot be happy and productive at home, but only as part of the workforce, even with a stupid, low-paying job. I cannot tell you how glad I am that I´m old enough to be able to do what I like!

  32. Well Done Joannie. I am a firm believer in the "sisterhood" and holding each other up when life sometimes drags you down. Though a full time worker now (Accountant), after reading Rhonda's blog and book, I look forward to my future years of not working. I cant wait to get there. I've made my plans and already potted my lemon tree etc. I'm eyeing that backyard grass with the look of a fox at chickens. Its going to go.... Well Done Rhonda - you have really made an impact on so many women.

  33. I am only a few months older than you are Rhonda. I have always been at home and now that my children too are grown and in their own homes I am still here in the families home. Still loving it too!! I grew up with block after block of stay at home women who truly enjoyed their lives. they too made cleaners and cooked from scratch, gardening etc etc. It was not thought of anythings special..it was just life. Most families had another family member living with them too. Sometime after that more women starting going to work outside of their homes. I moved out of state and got married. Where I moved no one seemed to be at home but me. I wished for a mentor but had to rely on books mostly. That and home ec class at school earlier and teaching my grandparents and parents had given me. I began gathering all the used books on any home subject I could afford. Little by little I learned so many basic and extra things!! :) Life is always full of new wonders! today the internet is a big help to research things isn't it! I too was growing up in times when women did not put each other down but held each other up. It is such an inspiration to me to hear of all the women out there who write you saying they are or are planning to be home from now on. That their families are on board to live a more meaningful life too. That the clock may be turning back to a more sane way of life for many is a blessing to hear. As you said that way of life is different for each family and can change through the years too. I thought when I was growing up that the way of life with Mom home was going to stay forever...but it did not. Now that people are realizing they may need to slow down and enjoy life, a parent at home may become more and more common again. Families growing stronger and closer as they work together. That resign ates to communities too becoming better. A win win . Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Rhonda and Hanno!! We have already lived a life similar to yours but so enjoy reading about the kinship and learning even more! :) Sarah

  34. Thank you Rhonda...i have really enjoyed reading this post and all of the wonderful comments that followed!
    I still struggle with the mindset of staying at home with the twins now after having always worked full time. I know i am contributing in a different way now but sometimes i still feel as though I'm not pulling my weight or worthy...and a little embarassed when others ask when i am going back to work as the girls are nearly 2 now.
    But on the other hand i have never felt so whole... having time to play and learn with my girls, being at home as my teen enters her senior years of schooling & needs that extra support even though she would never admit it and having the time to get back to baking, cooking and sewing for the family although of course the time can still be hard to find.

    It really is a mindset that i need to challenge on a daily basis and your posts always prove so helpful with this...thank you xx

  35. Bonjour Ronda,
    quel merveilleux blog que je suis depuis plusieurs semaines merci pour tout ce merveilleux partage......

    Votre livre est il traduit en francais car on ne trouve pas de livre comme cela en france,.
    quand vous parlez de cuisine a partir de zéro que cela veut il dire????

    Il y a longtemps que je fais beaucoup de chôses moi même mais la cela me donne encore plus l'envie malgres que je travaille a l'exterieur pour le moment...
    Merci merci pour tout.
    Nadine depuis la france.

  36. This post and topic really hits home Rhonda. And your being the first to write about modern home-making in Australia has definitely inspired a generation of women to re-evaluate their values and way of life.

    As for myself, I've gone from a high flying career in technology to a home and community based lifestyle in a little over two years. It has been a life changing and fulfilling experience and I have to say that no paycheck in the world could make me happier!

    Looking forward to tomorrow's post :)

  37. I told another woman once that I was a 'housewife' and they were angry, saying that that was a derogatory term and I shouldn't use it. I was really shocked, as I saw it as being really valuable! I have found working in the garden and cooking to be my biggest sources of happiness, and like lots of things in life, you can choose to do the bare minimum and be bored, or you can challenge yourself and make it really rewarding. I made my first brioche today - it was so authentic and yummy, it's been the highlight of my day! I don't get that from my 9-5 job.

  38. You are ACE Rhonda! I've been reading your blog for years, but rarely comment. I've just bought your book, and am re-reading The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs(which you recommended) in tandem with it. It's helping me see that I'm making the right decision for my family to be at home full-time. It's ironic, as we've recently moved from the big city (Melb) to a country town, and it is definitely NOT the norm to be a SAHM here. I've been feeling like a bit of a freak, but reading all you like-minded people certainly makes me feel that I'm not alone :-)
    Thank you! Loretta

  39. Hi Rhonda, Thanks for another great post. I too cannot understand why so many people feel that they must compete with each other and devalue anothers choices so that they feel better about their own. Love your salt pig or in this case chook. We live by the ocean and collect our sea salt from the rocks and coves near us. It is delicious but only available twice a year. I used to collect the seaweed for the garden but not now.

  40. Thank you for this post Rhonda. As a young (ish) mother of two young children (aged 4 and 2) who left the paid workforce four and a half years ago I continue to struggle to adjust to life out of the workforce and to have pride in my choice to stay home to raise my children. I discovered your blog after reading about you in a magazine, and I'm so glad I did. It's not just your handy tips, it's your encouragement and pride in what you do that really helps me. I'll be buying your book very soon!

  41. Wendy from PerthApril 30, 2012 7:56 pm

    I enjoy reading your thoughtful blog very much. It has started me on a new journey, I hope to become more self sufficient as no-one knows what can happen in the future and it can be fun as well.

    Wendy from Perth.

  42. I'm in my early 30's, at home with a toddler and number 2 on the way.
    I love being at home. I loved my job too (primary teacher) but I know at this stage in my families life my husband and children come first. I like to do things well so work caused a lot of stress which I no longer have. (I used to grind my teeth and talk in my sleep).
    I have a close friend who has asked me "What do you do with your day?", "arent you bored?" My answers are "What ever I want," and "no".
    I hope it won't be long until she can take a year off as I can tell she wants a more relaxed life and more time with her almost 3 year old.

    To those who worry about contributing financially to the family: by managing the family budget I am contributing. I am making sure all my husbands hard earned money is not wasted and we are not going backwards and into debt whilst I am at home.

    Also he has clean clothes, a clean warm home to come home to and more importantly a relaxed and happy wife who has the time to do the things he doesn't have the time to do.

    I feel empowered to have the choice to stay home and ignore others who make comments as it is exactly what is right for my family at this time. I think sometimes those who make a comment would just love to have a day off work to do what ever they want.

    Can't wait until tomorrow's post.


  43. Rhonda, I am under the impression that when you made the work to home transition, you were already an experienced, and thus more confident woman. It can be so hard for some of us young women! Especially as it is difficult to present a lot of productivity, or to seem very put together, with little ones at home. The homes of women who send their children to daycare and spend their time outside tend to look nicer, because there aren't as many people to mess them up. I am not complaining; I love being at home, I'm just pointing out the pressure can be tremendous.

  44. Hi Rhonda, I love your book. Its been such an inspiration and an important reminder about the value of our role in the home.

  45. I too loved your post and I love that you got to write your book. I love the organic look of the book (even though I've posted about this before) I still want to say it's definately "down to earth", natural and organic. There are definately males out there that think women "do nothing" when they stay at home. It couldn't be further from the truth. Generally in our society the male earns the money and the women raise the kids and takes care of the home. That's a big contribution from both sides. The only thing is because the woman doesn't get a pay cheque for her work in the home and raising the kids that somehow the male is contribution 100% and the woman 0% because she is staying at home. This is true because if you did go out to work say minding someone else's family (ie nanny, daycare, babysitting) and brought home an income somehow that would seem like you are contributing all the while your own kids would be missing out and being minded by someone else. It doesn't make sense. The government wants you back in the workforce as soon as you kids go to school. What about home made afternoon tea, playing in the backyard and spending time as a family. Somehow after school care seems to be the norm not the exception. I personally value the family and those relationships and I know how important it is for my kids to have me at school supporting them on sports days, swimming carnivals and helping out with reading. Society is the one that doesn't seem to value families. We are moving so fast with technology and we are so lucky to have the world of internet and blogs however in order to keep it all balanced; the more that moves forward, the more we need to move backwards in the home ie back to basics of budgets, using cash (that is the only way to realize how much money you spend) family meal times, veggies in the garden and life's lessons. It's a very good topic and I look forward to more reading tomorrow.

  46. Hi Rhonda. This post you have written today really resonates with me. Both of my girls go to school and my husband works sometimes long hours so we made the decision for me to stay home, to take the stress off him and so I can provide my family with a simple homemade life. I really love my job, it keeps me busy but I often get asked what I'm doing, when am I going to work. I know that I am doing the right thing but these comments often have me feeling guilty for not being in paid employment, that for some reason they think that I do nothing and I often feel like I have to justify my role at home. Your blog and book are so inspiring and so are all the comments I have been reading. Isn't important to respect each person for their choice whether to stay at home or to go to work, I think so. And so I will hold my head high and remember just how important my job is to care for my family and make my house a home, thank you. Catherine

  47. Truly amazing post. Thank you for your inspiration x

  48. Thank you for the advice Rhonda! I find it difficult to accurately measure the "cost" of me working outside of the home. Even though I presently work outside of the home, I also work very hard to keep expenses down by cooking from scratch, gardening, shopping second hand for my work clothes, using homemade cleaners, canning. My mother also lives with us, so having her in our home has saved us a tremendous amount on childcare. You're right it's impossible to change another person - even if they are your beloved! I see immense value in the work I do at home. And in fact, it gives me purpose and fulfillment in a way nothing in the working world can. But my husband sees security in having two income. But I'm hopeful that when we pay off our mortgage (our only debt which we're paying off early), I'll be able to cut back to something that will allow me more time at home.

    Thank you once again!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  49. I feel that empowerment Rhonda! I worked as a chef for 13 years but when I got married I decided that I wanted to be around at home more and knew that when we had children I didn't want to send them into child care so that I could work. So, I decided to give up cooking (as a career, it gave me a lot of skills that I use at home now)and started up a business from home. By the time my children came along my business was established and I could stay at home with them and still bring in the extra money that we needed. I also do all that I can at home to save money so that it can go to really important things for my family like paying off our mortgage to be financially free as soon as possible. I grow our vegetables, make bread, cleaners, soap, etc and yes, I do feel a freedom that I never felt when I went off to work every day, I feel in control of my own destiny and future and know that I am providing a healthy environment for my kids. I am happier now than what I ever have been and like you often say Rhonda, I wish that I could bottle it and give it to others. I feel that I have learnt the secret to a happy life and want to let others in on it. You and your blog are doing this for others, you really are changing lives!

  50. Wow, Rhonda....I wish I'd had this post several years ago when I made the transition from working to home. To say I struggled would be a huge understatement. To be perfectly honest, I still struggle with it sometimes. I was raised constantly hearing that women can have it all. Well, I "had it all" and I was miserable. I didn't feel that my family was happy or healthy. I have up an amazing career where I made a very decent chunk of money. I was lauded regularly. Once I had a child though, the guilt and the stress was slowly killing me. While reading this post, I was trying not to cry. I KNOW there is a lot of value in what I do now but I think I'm the only one. And women these days are vicious. My husband works with several working mothers who constantly make comments like, "I like to use my brain, you know" or "solely raising my child wasn't intellectually stimulating". Ouch. I could write all day but I guess I just want to say how much I appreciate this post. I SO wish your book was more readily available here in the U.S. I'd love to read it. Maybe I'll save some rainy day funds to have it shipped here. I will be revisiting this post often and I look forward to tomorrow's follow-up. Thank you, Rhonda. Thank you.

  51. I didn't have to do anything, and yet I wanted to do everything.

    This describes my stay-at-home life to a T! :)

  52. Hi Rhonda
    I was interested to read that you hadn't managed to find any Australian books that covered the things you write about on this blog. I enjoy reading what you write as it is current. The books I know of which cover the same territory are now rather old but are still well worth the read. Your local library should be able to obtain for yuo on interlibrary loan, books such as Mary Moody's "The Good Life in the 90s", Toni Mackenzie's "A small place in the country", John Meredith's "The Householders' Compendium" and of course there is always "Grass Roots" and "Earth Garden". Other books By Mary Blackie and her husband Malcolm Blackie are also very itneresting but were written in NZ.

  53. See, I've been ranting about this to DH a lot recently. What has feminism really done for women? Instead of respecting the work of the housewife, we are now expected to have a career and reach the same heights as a man, AND ALSO be a domestic goddess! I think I read that women do 90% of the domestic work, even if both partners work outside the home. I really feel that there should be more acceptance of alternative ways of living. No, not everyone wants to or should live the same way! Some people want to stay at home and be the domestic partner, some want to go to work, we all have our reasons for choosing what we choose - who is to judge what is right? Surely we should not be judging the choices of others unless we have walked that mile in their shoes? I'll get off my (homemade!) soapbox now. I am getting judgemental of those who are judgemental!

  54. I wish I have had that kind of friends and other mothers in the neighbourhood. Even today, seven years after quiting my outdoors job, I still feel as if I am some kind of a looser. But you have to know that I am só glad I bumped in to your blog. Your book is a great hold-on for me, and I knoq I will survive in this one!

  55. Please tell me how I can make those amazing baby shoes that are pictured!

    1. HI Amy. It's a Purl Bee pattern:


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