I love waiting in dental or doctors offices. I am the one person that has no problem when they are running late. If I have no children that is. I bring a book and enjoy that quiet time, amen!
The other day I waited my turn for a teeth cleaning and enjoyed some time reading Home Economics by Mrs. Sharon White. The entry was about a homemakers’ worth in dollars. We have read many articles on this and I have even discussed this before. We add up the salary of a driver, cook, maid, secretary, teacher, butler, nanny…or we calculate what it would cost to pay a gardener to mow the lawns, dog walker, daycare and part-time housecleaner.
Don’t forget to add up take out, delivery, restaurants, Starbucks, the deli down the block from work.
But I’ve got a new spin on this old topic. When others asked you what you do all day or tell you to get a job, put the kids in school and get on with it as if you may be lazing in fields of clover and letting the children run wild in the streets while others are actually being decent community members, you tell them you are a house manager and your boss would become hysterical at the loss of one of his (or her) most valuable employees.
After all, you are running that small world you call home and family.
No need to get up in arms. As Jesus said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Right? I’ve had rude people come on my YouTube channel and say to me that I need to put the kids in school and go back to work. Guess what I do with those people? I report them as either hate speech or harassment. Yessir, I ain’t messin’ around people!
Now, let’s get this straight. I’m no Martha Stewart or Queen of organization and I certainly can’t hold a candle to the home cooks out there making fancy jellies and stews…but I work on it daily.
I get lazy, I buy and bake premade foods, my house is shameful at times. I can’t fold worth a darn, even with all the Mari Kondo shows on how to fold my skill set makes my friends’ eyes roll and tell me it’s too painful to watch. Deep cleaning is a new thing for me. I have been known to do chores in my pj’s and find them quite suitable for day wear (only at home though). Not much about my home is Instagram worthy and few of my ideas are Pinterest ready.
Despite a list of faults and shortcomings, I am a wonderful mother and homemaker most of the time…a good portion of the time…frequently…
I am the House Manager! New title I gave myself today after a few days of pondering this whole topic. I should be earning a good and solid $50,000 a year with benefits, vacations, weekends off, holidays as well, etc, etc.
We know this is not realistic so I will forgo weekends and take my work with me (aka family) on holidays and vacations, but I insist on time off in the form of a movie alone in a dark theater with milk duds and popcorn. Especially when the next Star Wars movie comes out. This is non-negotiable.
I will also add to the list (since I don’t get evening or nights off) that a gym membership at my favorite Racquet Club is added and some extra cash now and then for thrifting.
Oh alright! Forget the $60,000 yearly salary but the gym membership, movie night and extra cash now and then are non-negotiable! Period!
Now that I’ve at least evaluated my worth, let’s see what I offer why don’t we?
I manage the house as the title suggest. This is administrative, maintenance, cleaning, organizing of the house and money affairs. I make appointments and make sure subjects arrive at those appointments be they medical, dental, Chiropractic, and so on. I sign children up for Independent study and an outdoor forest school, fill out, retrieve and submit needed paperwork and plan out classes, schedules, curriculum, and order proper materials. There is homeschooling where I’m responsible for the education and development of two humans so that when they go out into the world they are prepared on many levels and well mannered, compassionate, and become valuable community members.
As for the housework, there is daily cleaning, weekly all-over cleaning, seasonal deep cleaning, and the big chores I save for yearly self-torture. There are rooms that need organizing of clothes, kitchen tools, bathroom supplies, and gadget control. Cleaners need to be made or purchased. Sometimes repairs and maintenance need to be scheduled with professionals and I make those appointments and make sure things are done in a timely manner.
There are kitchen gardens, fruit, nut, and citrus trees that need planting, weeding, harvesting, and feeding on schedules. There is watering and mowing, pruning, and seasonal schedules to be followed. A lot of research goes into this as I’m new to the gardeners’ side of things.
The kitchen is where I spend a lot of my work hours. There are menus to look up and plan, inventory, and shopping to keep pantries full. I have a strict budget and have found ways to make it stretch with planting my own organic foods and learning the craft of canning and drying foods. Waste is down to almost nothing due to effective waste management with only buying what’s needed, composting scraps, and either freezing, drying, or preserving what is near expiration. Most food is made from scratch so there are recipes to look up and new dishes to learn all the time.
I am the house baker. There is no rising early to bake the loaves of the day, however, there are almost daily loaves of bread, crackers, muffins, tortillas, and sometimes cakes to mix, rise, knead and bake.
Then we have the finances. This one requires the writing up of budgets, strict buckling down and using envelopes and restraint. Utilities and resources must be used wisely to keep the cost down. A savings to built up through cutting out excessive needs and making do with what is at hand. Sometimes extensive research and investigation are needed to reduce interest rates on the house or new ideas incorporated such as solar panels and a clothesline. The bills must be paid in a timely manner and it is important that the funds are available at these times. Future retirement and education is also an investment to be worked toward so thrift and frugality is a high aspiration on all levels of running the home and tending to the family.
There are smaller jobs of baths for not just children but the dogs as well. Putting trash bins out on garbage night.
Thought we were done? Oh no, dear reader, we have a bit to go yet. The duties of a House Manage is a long list.
There is the family wardrobe. This includes knowing sizes, searching in thrift stores, garage sales and online at discount stores. It means excepting hand me downs with gratitude. There are the washing and organizing of all clothes. The storing of clothes that are not yet the right size or not for the season at hand. There are stains to wash out by hand, holes to be mended and the occasional ironing. Though the washer kindly washes the clothes, at times things need special washing in the sink or soaking in special solutions. In the warm seasons, clothes are hung outside on the garden clothesline. It is important that the family has the proper clothes for the weather so inventory is key here as well along with ordering the raincoats, snow boots, or whatever else to keep everyone warm or well ventilated.
Exercise is important. Children need park time, swimming time, hikes in nature, and trips to the beach. The sun provides vitamin D, the fresh air cleanses their lungs. The husband needs some coaxing at times and it is important the HM works out daily to keep her mood cheerful and her body strong for all the task and chores.
The house is to be made into a home and requires work to make it charming and cozy. This means more research in magazines, websites, and vlogs. Time and thought must be put into the decorating and a small budget is to be adhered to. A small budget means many visits perusing the local hospice, thrift or street yard sale for little treasures to fill the home with comfort and color.
Nutrition is important. Much studying and research must be done when it comes to illnesses, vaccines, proper food, organics, and how to feed the family in a way that will reduce sickness, disease, and future doctor bills. This is where growing and preserving food comes in. Knowledge in vitamins and how to cook delicious and nutritious foods that everyone will eat and enjoy is crucial.
The pets also need care, healthy food, vet appointments and sometimes it’s necessary to actually cook dog food from scratch or boil bone broth to ensure they stay healthy or recover from a mild doggie ailment.
The health and well being of each family member is crucial and it is up to me as House Manager to tend to all that ensures this.
Car maintenance, dog exercise, and heavy digging in the garden is left up to the Mister of the house along with working outside our humble abode to bring home the money I will then divide, save, and pay bills with.
The Mister is the provider, the protector and he is kind in doing all those little and large chores I set aside for him because the chores are either too strenuous or have to do with cars and that is far out of my job knowledge.
I’m also the house nurse and counselor. You wouldn’t think a 5 and 7-year-old would need therapy but those two are full of tiny world drama over stolen dinosaurs, a misplaced kick or some little person insult that ensures wrath. I wipe many tears and have to mediate many arguments and help a little person navigate through feelings about life, the world, and others. Dialy.
I have spent many nights up with sick ones and had to fuel myself with espressos to get through a 24-hour shift with little if no sleep. Comes with the territory.
I am also the house entertainment and activity director. I make sure we all have fun. I plan events to farms and apple picking during the fall, gathering friends for a Thanksgiving feast, and a full month of Christmas celebration, baking, decorating, and carols. Outside of holidays, we have the seasonal crafts and celebrations and outside of that we swim and hike in the summer, library trips weekly, parks, and scheduled playdates. This isn’t all the time but it has to be planned and kept up. When I’m tired I settle for reading the littlest one books, putting on music and encouraging them to play on their own outside.
The last thing I can think of that is a major duty; the decluttering, organizing, and care of our household items. This requires going through cupboards, closets, and drawers often to keep things updated and clean. Keeping the clutter cleared helps in keeping an orderly house.
I believe that I’ve covered all my task. I’m not sure…I will probably think of a few more in the middle of the night but the point has been made.
Show your mother in law or sister or neighbor this article when they suggest you go to “work” or get a “real job”. Show this to your friend or spouse when they ask “what do you do all day?” and then, if it’s a spouse, leave for the week on a family emergency (at the beach preferably) and let them figure out what to “do all day”.