Monday, April 20, 2009

A Full Plate

Every now and then I hear a stay-at-home mom or wife say that some of her friends and family members with outside jobs think that she has nothing but time on her hands.

It's never that way around here. I'm never bored. I never find myself watching the clock in the middle of the afternoon, wishing the day would be over. I have plenty of work to do. I enjoy my work and wish I had more time to do it most days. Granted, there are days when I spend a little too much time on the computer, but other than that, I don't waste a lot of time here at home. I don't spend my hours watching TV, chatting on the phone, doing unnecessary shopping or reading (I wish!).

I spend my time keeping people, pets and things clean and organized, I cook, and I handle the household finances. Since I am home with Kat more than Shane is, I take on most of the day-to-day parenting duties. Because Shane has been working a lot of late days and Saturdays lately, I'll also be doing a good share of the mowing and lawn care this spring. Those are some of the things I need to do.

I cook from scratch, make some of our household cleaners, carefully plan our meals, keep stock of what foods and household consumables we have on hand, keep a very detailed budget and record of our spending habits, and track such things as our utilities usage. I also earn a (very) small income from mystery shopping and selling items on eBay. I both need and want to do these kinds of things. I do them in part because I enjoy doing them, but also because they help me to provide the kind of home environment Shane and I desire for ourselves and Kat. They help Shane and I move ahead toward a bigger goal -- to be able to live free and simple lifestyle, without the worries of debt, by the time we retire.

With what's left of my day, I enjoy spending my time reading, sewing, knitting or crocheting, and spending more time with Shane and Kat. I do these not because I must, or should, but because I can. These "downtime" activities are the payoff. But like most things in life, there's no payoff without work first. It's wrong (inaccurate) for the workaday world to assume that SAHs jump right to the reward without earning it.

We earn it. We just don't get a paycheck for it.


Cathy said...

We are busy, aren't we? I love not looking at the clock during the day waiting for the day to be over. I always wish it would slow down!

Leanne said...

The last time I clock watched was when I worked outside the home. The reason I was watching the clock was because there was no work to do whatsoever and I was getting antsy about the time I was wasting sitting in an office when I could be at home "getting things done".

Honestly, I can't imagine being able to spend 10 hours away from home everyday. I've taken on all the yard work this year too, it means the husband can actually enjoy what precious little down time he gets.

Annie Jones said...

Cathy: Me too. When the day is done I look forward to bedtime (it's my main reading time) but if it were physically possible, I wouldn't sleep at all.

Leanne: The reason I was watching the clock was because there was no work to do whatsoever and I was getting antsy about the time I was wasting sitting in an office when I could be at home "getting things done".I can't even begin to say how many times I felt exactly that way when I worked away from home. I HAD to work then (single mom), but I always knew the ideal "job" for me was taking care of my home and family.

Miranda said...

I really enjoyed this post! I'm experiencing the "she stays at home so she has the time" attitude with several people right now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts... very good.

Tug said...

I really think that a lot of people that diss SAH'ers are jealous...I'm single, so I have no choice, but would LOVE to, and don't think I'd be bored at ALL. Good for you for being able to BE at home!

Now...can I hire you since I have to watch the clock & yawn waiting for the day to be over? ;-)

Karen said...

Amen. I was a SAHM until my oldest was 5 years old. I can tell you I worked harder at that job than I have at any paid job I have held in the years since. Three children, two dogs, one husband, a 3 bedroom 2 bath house, and the work was endless. ENDLESS.