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Every home should have one!
Member Name: lellagrace
Advantages: A full time job if done properly with pride
Disadvantages: Hard work and long hours!
Before anyone gets upset about this review, let me emphasise that I realise a lot of people have no choice on whether they stay at home instead of having a job.
Some of us actually prefer being homemakers, but this should not happen if the government has to support us financially in this role.
The government are now saying that single parents should go out to work when their youngest child reaches 12 years of age. I don't think this is unreasonable. It is all about choice for the individual.
Unfortunately there will be the inevitable abusers of this system, who will keep breeding and they will be better off than those who work. These kinds of people prefer being "homemakers" for no other reason than that they are idle.
Like lots of young children I grew up with an idea of what I "wanted to be" when I grew up careerwise and I worked towards that goal.
My second ambition was to get married and have children. There was never any question that I would not achieve either and I did.
STAY AT HOME MUM
After my first baby was born it was the accepted thing that I would stay at home and stop working. The fact that we needed the extra wage never came into it, women gave up work if they had a baby, simple as that.
At that time this was a step forward from my mother's generation. As soon as my mum got married she stopped work and it was an understood thing that her husband would be able to support her financially. If a married woman had to go out to work it was almost insulting to her husband's ability to provide.
So we had made progress. I worked until a few weeks before the baby arrived. My husband's wage paid the mortgage and bills, my wages were used for "luxuries" or as savings. We knew the time would come when we had only one wage so had to make sure we would be able to manage on that alone.
So, after my first baby arrived, for years I had the perfect job. I was my own boss, I could work when I wanted and have a rest when I wanted. If I didn't feel like working and wanted to have a day off that was fine. Nobody else would have to be asked to cover for me, my work would wait until I was ready to do it.
Oh yes, it was hard work and the hours were long, but the work was varied and very rewarding. In fact, being a homemaker was my perfect job. I was blissfully happy being a housewife and mum. Watching my children thrive, witnessing their first steps, first words and all the other milestones was worth more than any amount of money.
There were financial downsides of course. New clothes and regular hairdos were a luxury. Social outings were those which included the family perhaps going for a walk in the countryside, taking a picnic. Expensive meals in restaurants were way beyond our means.
A second child followed the first and it was then that I was asked by my former boss if I would consider returning to work. I could leave the children in a creche he said.
The salary would have been very welcome but there was no way anyone was going to look after my children except me, until they were old enough to go to school. Money was less important than my family. Besides, the creche would have to be paid for and I would incur travel expenses.
By this time maternity leave was becoming almost the norm. I was surrounded by mums who were going back to work when their babies were only a few months old. They were the families with two cars, the latest household appliances, two or more holidays abroad a year plus numerous short breaks. Not to mention the nights out as a couple while they paid a babysitter.
Their weekends were spent having a couple of hours "quality time" with their children.
But what happened when the kids were ill? Who did they turn to then? Well me of course, the good neighbour who was "just a housewife."
"Will you look after little Sammy for me? I can't possibly take time off work today."
If it wasn't looking afte the kids, it was asking me to have a key so I could let the gasman in, or expecting me to take in any parcels that were delivered.
I didn't stay at home to be an unpaid helper for my neighbours. Did they offer to pay me? You bet they didn't! Not even a present at Christmas for my kids!
I am sure these people thought I was well off and that I had no need to work. I could have returned to my job after the second child was born, but I CHOSE to stay at home and look after my kids and my home. That meant I also chose to have a more meagre lifestyle than them, but we were happy with this. Don't get me wrong, we were not poor by any means, but our priorities were to spend time at home as a family, not thinking what we needed to buy next in order to keep up appearances.
"I don't know how you stay at home all day, I would be bored out of my mind", was a comment I often heard. Was I bored? Never!
I mastered the housework so that I wasn't a slave to it. I once read the following advice and followed it
If the beds are made, the bedrooms are tidy
If towels are folded, the bathroom is tidy,
If the floor and seats are clear, the lounge is tidy
If the washing up is out of sight, the kitchen is tidy.
Obviously, there was the cleaning to be done regularly but it was tidying up that made the difference. My family learnt to tidy up after themselves and if there was a bit of accumulated dust it would wait until the end of the week when a day was set aside for thorough cleaning.
I established a routine for the necessary chores that had to be done daily, but if they weren't completed by lunchtime, they were left until the next day. That way I had time to pursue my own interests and to spend time with the children as well.
FREE EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS
When my husband came home from work in the evenings we could sit and relax together. It was the same at weekends.
While my working neighbours were frantically rushing around doing the laundry or the shopping in the evenings and weekends, we were enjoying ourselves.
I stayed at home until the youngest started school and then I went back to work part time. The extra money was very helpful but I found it exhausting coping with the house and my job.
What amazes me is how people cope working full time, looking after a home and bringing up children. I am surrounded by people like this where I now live. They have big houses, new cars, fancy clothes, refurnish every couple of years or so, numerous holidays etc, but when are they actually at home to enjoy all this?
From 6.30am the cars start leaving, kids are woken up at some ungodly hour, then driven through busy traffic to be dropped off at the childminder. The parent then has to travel to work. What happens if there is a blip in the tight schedule? What if the child has a tantrum or the car won't start?
Then in the evenings the process starts again in reverse. The kids are sent to school and to an after school club, then put to bed almost as soon as they get home. Everyone is exhausted. Where is the enjoyment in all this?
I actually asked one neighbour how she managed to work full time and bring up her young family. Her reply astounded me - but shouldn't have surprised me! She stated that she actually prefers to go out to work as it is a lot easier than staying at home looking after the house and caring for her kids!!!
Another told me that she needed to "keep her own identity" and not just be known as "Zoe's mum". I am proud, even now my kids are older, to be known as "mum"!
Well, I may be old fashioned, but I would not have swapped my role as home maker for a high paid career when my children were small.
I enjoyed being at home, I took a pride in my house looking neat and tidy. My kids were well mannered and knew how to behave properly.
When the children had sports days or were in school plays, there was never any question about whether I would be able to go see them. I still feel sorry for kids who are in such events and spend time looking round to see if their parents have managed to snatch an hour off work to be there.
Every family needs a homemaker, whether this is the mum or dad, or part time from both, is irrelevant. We chose the traditional role for me to stay at home, but I know some women have better paid jobs than men, so it makes sense to reverse roles.
This actually happened to us when my husband was made redundant and I had to go out to work full time while he stayed at home.
It took a lot of adjustment for both of us. A man who had never been used to helping regularly with the housework because he had never needed to, my husband found it hard at first. I would moan if things were not as I had done them and occasionally I would upset him by remarking that I was going to give the house a good clean!!!! How was he to know that windows needed washing every few weeks and that furniture needed polishng occasionally?
Initially the kids thought it was a novelty having their father at home instead of me. But it has taught them that a homemaker can be a man or a woman.
The days when the person staying at home to look after the house and family was thought of as being "just a housewife" have long gone.
Nowadays there is a lot of pride in being the "homemaker". It is one of the most worthwhile careers there is and the rewards, although not financial, are great in that the family benefits from quality time all the time.
Summary: Financially independent and a happy family
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