I just read a sweet little book called, Living on His Income by Mrs. Sharon White. She has a delightful blog http://thelegacyofhome.blogspot.com/. I have really been enjoying all these new blogs by housewives lately.
Being a housewife is a rare thing these days and can feel a bit isolating…that is until you find all these other women doing the same thing.
I know not every woman can have this choice and that saddens me because it is a truly wonderful job and there are mothers out there that would love to stay home. I know that not every woman wants to be a housewife and I get this too. It can be mundane, lonely, exhausting, boring…
Then there are all the women who could make this choice and don’t for all sorts of reasons. Some ladies are wanting to have more money, nicer things, a second car, a bigger castle. Maybe it is fear of stepping out of the career field and losing your edge or skills and one day not being able to get back in. Or they love their career immensely. Maybe the thought of cleaning and changing diapers all day sounds hideous. So many reasons.
For me, and others like Mrs. Sharon White, it was a choice made the minute we married. I knew that if I had children I would stay home and become that homemaker and mother that was home with her babies and husband. I knew I would cook and keep a nice home and love on and cuddle my little ones until pubescents came upon us and they wanted to be left alone to sulk in their teenage rooms.
I knew that I couldn’t wait to stay home and leave the rat race, the long commutes, the office drama, and stress. I watched women at the park during the working hours with their babies and I envied them. I spent more than two decades working at least two jobs at a time and having some sort of commute. It was time for a career change.
I had no idea just how much I would love my life, how much I would really get into it and go beyond just the daily routine of spiffing up the house and tending to a child, maybe cooking a frozen lasagna. I had no idea that I would also create a writing career while at home burping babies and sweeping kitchen floors.
I had no idea I would become so obsessed (in a good way) with backyard farming and even have my own hens and winter garden. Or that the frozen lasagna would become a luxury item and I would make everything from scratch, even yogurt and tortillas.
My life is beyond dreamy. This isn’t to say that I don’t have days I envy others or want more. Sometimes I want a different house, bigger yard, prettier things, a better wardrobe. Sometimes I pass office workers on their lunch breaks sitting and chatting with their cafe purchased lunch and I miss it. Sometimes I wish we had much more money and we could eat out and buy cafe lattes daily. I hear of people going out to nice dinners and leaving the children with babysitters. What a fancy life!
Then I snap out of it!
This morning I woke up with the hens. I turned on my coffee pot and went out to throw some crumble and chat with the girls. With my coffee mug in one hand and bowl of soaked bean seeds, I went out to my new garden and planted the last few hills and watered all the seeds and beds we planted yesterday. I’m now sitting here blogging and I have two children and their dinosaur books and toys around my feet. I will be showering and heading off to JoAnne’s Fabrics today for the big Labor Day sale.
Today will be a day of cooking a big pot of beans and sauteing veggies for burritos later. I will sit in my office at some point and work on my next fictional book. There will be dishes to wash, some sweeping, Joette listening to her Patsy Cline in the kitchen while she cooks with cook books spread out on the counter and piles of veggies on the chopping board. There will be afternoon coffee, some chicken coop cleaning. The boys will chatter and play all day…have a tangle or two.
How is this a hard life?
I have an elder living with us and Joette and I play, play, and play. The boys play, play, and play. Yes, there is a lot of cleaning, tidying, cooking, organizing, decorating, gardening, chicken care, studying about backyard farming because we have a lot going on here with 9 fruit trees and berry patches, 3 raised beds, containers of things, two compost, 5 hens. Lordy!
Then there are 5 mouths to feed, two children that need constant care, one that is beginning his homeschooling journey (actually, he started the minute he could sit up on his own). There is an elder (our adopted grannie) that contributes a lot but still needs some assistance and extra support. There is a husband that works hard and needs good meals and tending to as well. Oh, and dogs, hen, plus Maggie the cat. These pets have needs, such as attention and snacks. That kitchen opens up early in the morning and is busy all day.
But gardening is fun and healing. Chickens are smart and I adore them. I love raising little children, their toys everywhere, their little voices and cute laughs, the bizarre conversations they have as they figure out life and their emotions, the tents and cities they build and that constant imagination. My dogs don’t do much but lay about but Babu likes to lay at my feet and it makes me feel like a queen. Maggie loves on anyone that sits next to her or she sits on my desk and watches me with that loving, lazy look that is between nap time and snack time and wondering how I can make her life even better.
We have sacrificed. I guess some would call it that. We live in a small two bedroom, one bathroom cottage and we have my husband, two boys, two dogs, and myself in one bedroom and Joette has her own luxury suite. We don’t have many issues with the bathroom except weekends when Bali is home and wants to park it on the throne for an hour while reading the Punjab news. He has learned quickly that this is a long gone thing and now gets up before all of us or makes his “moments” quick. I have informed him that there are many places to relax and read the news, the bathroom is no longer an option for having a personal holiday.
We have many of us crammed in here and yet it seems to be more than enough room. Joette’s sewing station was even moved into the dining room today and it all fits. It is now the dining room/sewing room. My office is in the laundry room.
And the back yard! We have fruit trees galore, gardens, patches, chickens…all in 5,000 square feet. Did I mention a detached garage takes up some of that? But who needs space, right? As you can see, our home is adorable and cheerful. Between Joette and I, the house is kept clean and tidy so it never seems crowded. Bali works all the time, one less body, and when he is here he works outside building things.
I hear people talk about needing a bigger house or bigger car because they have a child or two. I want to laugh. You really don’t need that much space unless you can’t stand each other and need separate wings.
I read articles about how it cost over a $100K a year to raise a family of 3 to 4. I want to laugh again. We probably make between $35K and $43K a year. That means we bring home about $2800 to $3000 a month to pay bills, mortgage, feed 5 humans and 8 animals. And it always seems like more than enough.
Sure we have chosen a very simple and old fashioned lifestyle. We hand make almost every food in that kitchen. This means we need lots of eggs, oil, salt, and seasonings because it is all made from scratch. I had to make our sandwich bread yesterday and I’m running out of store bought tortillas (my small treat a couple weeks ago) so I’ll be back to Senora’s Cantina tomorrow rolling out my own tortillas. We barely even buy cereal, it’s pancakes or oatmeal and steel cut not the quick kind.
We are learning to grow our own food and raise our own eggs. We will one day have more avocados and apples than we will know what to do with (of course we will share with the neighbors).
We use cloth towels and washable dish rags and mop rags. Paper towels are only to be used for the worst of the worst. Or grease drippings.
To make it sound even more intense, I’ll add that I have no dish washer or wood floor vacuum. I wash by hand and I sweep. Thank the Lord my area rug vacuum is still with us. I also just cut my cable down to nothing and if the darn antenna worked here in this town I’d never have cable.
But I love it like this. My life is so easy and filled with love and grace today. We are all happy and healthy. We spend our time busy making a home, making food that nourishes us, doing crafts, studying and reading what we love. We are never lonely. We are never bored.
My life at home is so pleasurable I would never go back to work unless I had to out of dire need. I am very careful with the budget so as to not ever have this occur. I do work in the home, besides the house work and raising little humans, I am a care giver to Joette and I’m a writer and both jobs pay. I do my part but I’m here with my boys so that they always feel that safe, warm, coziness that comes with mom at home cooking and bustling about.
While many homes sit quiet and lonely during the day ours is full of music, chatter, laughing, coffee brewing, stews simmering, breads baking, hens clucking and cackling (that would be mostly Joette and myself), and a husband who can’t wait to get home to his full house and delicious home cooked meal.