Support and Encouragement

8 January 2014
Written in January 2010

Yesterday I wrote about one parent staying at home with the children and how that can help save money. Today I want to write about what often come up when that topic is featured - the lack of support for both SAHMs and working mums, or dads.

When I and my children were much younger, I worked. I was very fortunate in that I could always work from home as a writer. Hanno built an office at home and I would work there as a journalist, and alongside another women who I paid, we produced the town's newspaper and did various other writing jobs. I would start work early, then stop to make Hanno's breakfast and wake the kids for school. I'd do my housework, then return to work when the kids went off to school. They walked there, it was in the next street. I stopped work when they came home for lunch and we'd have lunch together, then worked again. I know I was a very lucky woman to have that working situation and I know it's not like that for most working women.

I am very rarely in groups of women where this subject is talked about but I've seen it featured on TV and it's usually portrayed in a very negative way. It's SAHMs versus working women, like it's a battle over who has the high ground. No one has the high ground, most of us are just doing what we have to do to get by. At that time, I had friends who worked and most of the time, they had to work. I also had friends who were SAHMs who wanted to work but couldn't find a job, as well as friends who were working who wanted to be at home.

You can never be sure of anyone else's circumstances. What looks black and white, often is not. None of us should stand in judgement and say what others are doing is wrong. What I would like to see is a return to the way women supported each other as I was growing up. In those days we all encouraged each other, we supported our friends and other women in their choices and if we could help them, we did. 

Raising children is not an isolated process, our children grow not only within their family but also within their neighbourhood. They will come across all manner of people, some will be like us, some won't be, but being tolerant of the beliefs of others, makes the neighbourhood stronger and more resilient. It shows young children that not everyone is the same, or like us, but they're still good people. That builds confidence and children feel they can rely on the people they are growing up alongside - it makes them feel secure.

Life is not about possessions - it's about living and finding pleasure and goodness in our days. All of us can do that without demeaning the choices others make. I hope the next time you have the opportunity to join in a conversation where you could criticise, you'll decide against it. I hope we all move closer to support and encouragement rather than closer to disapproval and judgment. I hope that all of us together show our friends that there is no one right way. We all have to choose what is right for our family situation. Life is tough enough without having people in our family or neighbourhood criticise our choices. Living a more simple life isn't just about the practicalities of life, it is also about raising a fine family and building a community you feel proud to be a part of. This is one small step towards that.


  1. So true Rhonda! None of my friends are living their lives exactly as I would chose, and I'm sure none of them would find my way the best. I try to encourage my children to be accepting of difference whether it be race, ability or life choices. It's hard not to judge sometimes but it's very important to strive not to. My poor ten year old had an older lady chatting away to her the other day. When she discovered my daughter was homeschooled she made a disapproving noise and walked away! Poor child received judgement for MY choices!!

  2. When I was young the women's network was alive and well. When we visited family we females would huddle in the kitchen while the men sat in the lounge. Discriminatory? Not a bit of it. We had lots to catch up on and how could we talk about the men when they were there? One young woman I know feels guilty because she is the bread winner. I can't see that it matters. Someone has to bring home the bacon and someone has to look after the children. Her children lead an idyllic life but don't know that yet. JillN

  3. Thanks for re-posting this. It really hit home for me. I totally agree that we women should drop the judgement of other women's choices. You are right, we are doing what we can to get by, and our decisions are underpinned by individual circumstances. I have worked, and I have been a SAHM, at different times for different reasons, most of which aren't immediately obvious to the casual observer. Yet, in both circumstances some women (hardly ever men, interestingly) feel free to judge my choices without knowing much about me. This is not helpful. It diminishes us, and divides us, when we really need to be united, and confident in our individual choices.

  4. In the US some jobs offer a pension for the man if he works quite a few years and a portion of that is given to the woman when he passes. But some jobs do not offer the pension. If he passes she would get enough of his social security to help her but not at all enough to live on if she did not work outside the home. Or, if the husband leaves her and she has not worked those years and possibly she is to old or simply unable for some reason to work she is left with near nothing and there is little help for widows or single woman outside these circumstance. I imagine that is why many women work.....not because they want to but they know if they have a husband who does not share the $, is leaving her no life insurance, or she can foresee one of the problems mentioned above. I have had some of these problems and it was good I found out just in time to go to school and get a job. I was older when all this came about and it has been hard. God has been good to keep me encouraged and going in the right directions. Feel free to comment if my thoughts are not on target. I am always willing to learn.

    1. True enough. The U.S. is backward to a lot of nations in a lot of ways.

  5. Wouldn't it be great it we would all just support each other! Most of is really are just trying to do our best. Hope you're having a nice break Rhonda!

  6. Very interesting topic and one that needs to be mentioned more and more. Thanks

  7. Love how you build encouragement and hope thru your blog. Thank you for being a blessing to many:)

  8. I CHOSE to be a SAHM when the kids were in primary. No money contribution from me during those years, but the investment in my children has certainly paid off. Three amazing independent adults; respectful to others and following and achieving their dreams. And most importantly - all are happy - and none of them have debt! Possessions have played a very small role in our family. Thank goodness.

  9. Hi, I am new here. I loved the blog and the post.

  10. I shared above about the US and now I can tell you I follow Rhonda all the time. Enjoy so much of your teachings Rhonda. I can sew and I am getting back at it since retirement, I am 63 years young. :) We fix our food from scratch and buy organic of all that we can. I mend, stay home often and enjoy this life so much. If it were possible this would have been the life for me from day one. So everyone out there that can. Try being at home and following Rhonda and see how it goes. I am never bored. Looking right now for a good bread machine to begin making my bread at home. Bless everyone who works for home.


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