Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Putting together a homekeeping journal

I had a homekeeping journal once but I ended up not using it much. I now realize though that I just can't remember all the details that go through cleaning each room, so I am slowly putting one together.

I would also like to have my own homemaking desk where I would put a calender, my journal, daily lists and homemaking books.

Right now, I am testing a schedule to see if it works for me:

-I have an evening and a morning routine;
-I dust, sweep and mop the floors on Mondays and Fridays;
-Monday is traditionally laundry day, so even though I do a daily wash, I do more laundry on Mondays like sheets, curtains, blankets, etc. and I also clean the bathroom;
-Tuesdays are for cleaning the kitchen;
-Wednesdays are for the living room/dining room combo and front entrance;
-Thursdays are for the master bedroom;
-Fridays for the office & laundry room.

I mostly do my shopping on Thursdays and clean the fridge beforehand. Really though, this is just my basic cleaning schedule. I want to add more advice for each room and more homemaking tips to be more organized, while staying flexible and spontaneous!

On another note, if any of you wants to email me, my email can be found through my profile! :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A pleasant life

We women have a need for rest, pleasure and relaxation. The outside world wants us to work like a horse. Their definition of success comes from work and money.

Homemaking should be a relaxing activity, not one of drudgery, stress, rush and negativity. At home, we have a shelter which needs to be taken care of, but in a loving and slow way. Soon, you'll realize that slowing down is much healthier for you.

The nay sayers want us homemakers to be miserable: they want us to feel discouraged about our noble position. They are intent on tearing us down, our marriage, our families, our friendships, our personalities and outlook on life. When you let them affect you, you become unhappy at home and stressed.

I believe in gentle and regular exercise such as a lovely walk, slowing down to eat real, delicious homemade food and viewing housework as part of blessing your family, not slavery.

Some people believe the lie that "the home is a comfortable concentration camp". If you believe something, you will act on it.

Gentle work mixed with rest is good for your health. There is a whole alternative to working out at the gym that works very well.

Of course we work hard at home and are busy! Just remember to slow down, smile and take some time to rest. It is important and leads to better moods, energy levels and happiness. Take pleasure in your life!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feminism where I live

I live in an area where women are very aggressive and men are very confused. Even though I chose to take my husband's name when we got married elsewhere, I cannot go by it here because the law says all women have to keep their maiden names. Crazy, isn't it?

Feminism has taught us that the 50's were horrible and that college and career will make us happy. They taught us that men will never make us happy and that they will leave us, cheat on us and abuse us at any chance they get. They want us to be a part of their sisterhood, which continues to divide women from men.

If you only think of feminism as of the bra burning women in the 70's, think again: it might be subtle, but it is absolutely everywhere: in schools, commercials depicting clueless men, government, organizations and TV shows.

We have been constantly told that being feminine is being weak, which is far from true. We compliment our husbands by being our unique selves. I don't understand why being masculine is better.

Again, if you have a great job or brilliant career and it was entirely your choice, great! My problem comes from the fact that other women are trying to take away my choice of being a homemaker. How is making money better than caring for our families full time I will never know: for me, both are equal choices.

I am curious to see if our generation or the next one will rebel against the way society has turned: perhaps it has already begun with so many homemaking blogs appearing! Society needs stronger marriages, ties and children. It is time we stop the battle of the sexes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Washing my hair with baking soda: it works!!

I have been reading for a while through several bloggers that washing your hair with a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water, then rinsed with water or vinegar works very well. I didn't rinse with vinegar, but water worked just fine! I was amazed at the results: nice, clean and healthy hair!!

I then went back to using my shampoo since I have a lot of supply of it and was quickly disappointed that I cannot seem to go one day without my hair turning all greasy. I am now going to completely switch to baking soda as it is not only cheap, but it is healthier on my hair and is environmental friendly!

When we don't depend so much on products that have been sold to us through advertising that we can't live without them when in fact, we can, we feel so much more in control of our lives. Deciding what goes into our foods by making it, as well as making other homemade items really is fun, frugal, green and creative!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Yes, I am happy! No, I'm not crazy!"

A working mother recently engaged in a debate with me about the fact that I choose to be a homemaker. She says I am wasting my gifts and talents by being "just a housewife" and that I can't possibly be happy. She remained polite though as I have experienced quite some nastiness in the past from feminists!!

I reassured her that I am happy and gave her a list of everything I do, but she just would not accept it. She believes every woman should work unless they have a young baby.

I am more free than I ever was before. When I was single and in college, all I wanted to be was a wife and a mother, the rest didn't matter and it still doesn't. I know who I am and what I am capable of. Yes, a health issue originally brought me home when we were first married and that is how I got home. Now that my health is stable, people expect me to go back to work. But you know what? I was in a lot of pain, yes. It was hard, yes, but not just that! Because of societal expectations, I became depressed and felt useless since I did not work.

So instead of doing physical work, I took over our finances and very well at that. I made grocery lists even though I could not get groceries myself (sometimes I would order them). I was there emotionally for my husband and still am. The list goes on and on. Am I a perfect person? No, far from it: I don't claim to have all the answers and am not a perfect housewife. But I am here to say: it is a CHOICE! It is between me and my husband, period! I am an adult and I can take care of myself! Being a wife and homemaker IS enough. I am happy and glad to be able to do my homemaking now that I feel better and have no intention of joining the rat race.

It makes me so upset not just for women without children at home like me but for stay at home moms who are continually depressed from comment after comment from nosy people, making them feel worthless because they don't earn income. Enough is enough! Women have been homemakers for thousands of years and it is something that I find great reward in. I don't care if people disrespect me for this as it is none of their business.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Do-it-yourself vs. getting served

Our fast paced society has become so busy working outside the house for long hours that people have lost their energy and desire to do things themselves.

Wants have become needs and I see a shift of thinking from old fashioned DIY to spending for goods. For examples:

-Weekly manicures and pedicures when you can do them at home;
-Expensive department store make up and beauty products when you can do very well on cheaper brands and homemade beauty items (women used to wash their hair once a week!);
-Designer clothes when you can make them or shop around sales and thrift stores;
-Going out to eat, ordering take out and buying prepared foods at supermarkets instead of growing and making your own food, shopping at farmers' markets, getting an organic produce box, shopping in ethnic food stores & bulk stores etc.;
-Making your own coffee instead of spending a fortune at coffee shops;
-Repairing your car(s) instead of paying someone else to do it;
-Exercising at home instead of paying for a gym;
-Repairing and mending furniture & clothing instead of buying new or paying for labor;
-DIY home renovation projects instead of hiring people;
-Having people over for dinner instead of going out to eat;
-Cutting your kids' hair instead of going to the salon;
-Making your own natural cleaning products instead of buying them;
-Baking your own bread instead of buying it;
-Making your own curtains, pillows, home decorations, etc. instead of buying them;
-Making your own laundry soap, lotions and soaps;
-Mowing your own lawn and doing your own gardening;
-Repairing your computer;
-Dying your own hair;
-Cleaning your own home instead of hiring maids;
-Being at home with your kids instead of paying someone else to do it;
-Making your own gifts instead of spending a lot on them;
-Homeschooling your kids (if you have the patience and desire!) instead of paying for private school;
-Taking books, magazines, newspapers, CDs and DVDs out at the library instead of buying them;

Etc.! I realize not everyone is skilled in all of these areas, but almost everyone did those things back in the old days. Now, people say that you need to be rich in order to be a housewife and it couldn't be further from the truth. Housewives would DIY, not pay a bunch of people. Nowadays, it just seems like people prefer to be served than to do it themselves. Too many people rack up their credit cards in order to appear richer than they are and live a completely unnecessary lifestyle. If I can do it myself, be healthier, greener and even have fun doing it, why should I spend money? The middle class back then did not have big houses, several cars, huge clothing closets, big screen TVs and credit card debt. I long to see more people embrace the simple life and enjoy saving more than spending.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How much is a homemaker worth?

Here is an interesting recent article from Yahoo:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/much-homemaker-worth-182358580.html

I hope it encourages at home mothers in what they do! I feel though that too often times, couples look at the financial aspect of whether to stay home or not (day care, wardrobe, lunches out etc.) and not the spiritual aspect and the importance of it. I think society needs at home mothers and needs to encourage them a lot more, for their price is "far above rubies"!

I find some of the comments hilarious! Some men and working mothers put down SAHMs saying they have no worth while saying how much they pay for their nannies or day care, yet they don't see the irony of it!!

"The life of a homemaker is one that includes an endless amount of demands and to-dos. Depending on the size of the home and family, the position of homemaker can go well beyond the usual nine to five. We examined some of the tasks that a homemaker might do to find out how much his or her services would net as individual professional careers. We only take into consideration tasks which have monetary values and use the lowest value for each calculation.

Private Chef
Meal preparation is one of the major tasks of most homemakers. From breakfast to dinner, there is plenty of meal planning and cooking to be done. The American Personal Chef Association reports that its personal chefs make $200 to $500 a day. Grocery shopping is another chore that needs to be factored in. A homemaker must drive to the supermarket, purchase the food and deliver it to the home. Grocery delivery services charge a delivery fee of $5 to $10.

Total cost for services: $1,005 per five day work week x 52 weeks = $52,260 per year.

House Cleaner
A clean and tidy home is the foundation of an efficient household. Typical cleaning duties include vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, scrubbing sinks as well as loading the dishwasher and making beds. Professional maids or house cleaning service providers will charge by the hour, number of rooms or square footage of the home. For example, bi-weekly cleaning of a 900-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment with five rooms, costs $59-$124 . A 1,300 square-foot, single-story home with seven rooms runs $79-$150 . A 2,200 two-story, three-bedroom home with nine rooms averages $104-$180 . Additional tasks such as oven or refrigerator cleaning and dusting mini blinds can run an extra $20-$25.

Total cost for services: $118 per week X 52 Weeks = $6,136 per year.

Child Care
Homemakers provide full-time, live-in child care. This type of service from a professional provider would usually come with a host of perks including health insurance, paid vacation and sick days, federal holidays off, dental and vision coverage, and bonuses. The International Nanny Association's 2011 survey found that nannies make $600 to $950 per week in gross wages, on average.

Total cost for services: $600 a week plus perks/benefits x 52 Weeks = $31,200 per year.

Driver
A private car service might seem like a high-end luxury to most, but the beneficiaries of a homemaker get this service on a daily basis. Companies like Red Cap, which provides personal drivers that use the client's own car as the means of transportation, offer a glimpse into the cost of this homemaker task. An elite membership which includes 365 days of unlimited, round-trip service is $1,000 a year plus 33 cents - $2.03 per minute.

Total cost for services: $1,000 per year + [(estimated miles driven 8000 miles / 50 MPH) x 60 min/hr x $0.33 per minute] = $4,168 total per year.

Laundry Service
Clean clothes come at a cost when you have to pay for the service that most homemakers do for free. Professional laundry services charge by the pound. For instance, Susie's Suds Home Laundry Service, Inc. in Texas charges 90 cents to $1.00 a pound to wash, dry, fold, hang and steam your clothes. Items that take longer to dry such as comforters, blankets, rugs and winter clothes are assessed at a price of $12-$15 each.

Total cost for services: $0.90 per pound x 4 pounds of clothes per day x 5 days per weeks x 52 weeks = $936 total per year.

Lawn Maintenance
Basic maintenance of the exterior property is a less common, but possible duty of a homemaker. This could include things such as mowing, debris removal, edging and trimming the lawn. These services cost about $30 a week on average.

Total cost for services: $30 per week x 52 weeks = $1,560 total per year.

The Bottom Line
Total for a year of all services is: $52,260 + $6,137 + $31,200 + $4,168 + $936 + $1,560 = $96,261 per year.

The daily work of a homemaker can sometimes be taken for granted by his or her family members. However, these services could earn a homemaker a considerable wage if he or she took those skills to the marketplace. Homemakers in general contribute a lot more to the home in addition to these tasks, and no amount of money can fill those needs."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Living on one income in a two-income world

I have been thinking lately of buying a home further away as the suburb where I grew up not far from here and even our current suburb's home prices are geared toward two-income families.

As I have been home for several years now, I have learned how to manage on one income. We don't need much: a safe, comfortable home and good food. When you learn to make each dollar stretch and buy only what you really need, life can be very pleasant indeed! Living without consumer debt and the desire to keep up with the Joneses can be very liberating. If you really want to come back home or continue staying home, you will learn what is really important in life. You may not live in a magazine decorated house, but you can learn to decorate frugally.

Here, we could only rent or buy a 2-bedroom condo. If we live further away, we could own a detached house in the country with land for the same price, saving over $100 000. The biggest downsides would be to be further away from my favorite grocery stores (unless they build them closer by!), the wear and tear on our vehicle and gas, which is expensive here in Canada.

However: in a house, we could grow a vegetable garden during the warmer months, can, preserve and stock up on meats to freeze and household items since we would have the room to do so. We are homebodies so we don't need to go out, except for the occasional cultural evening.

It isn't easy to go against the grain, but in the end, we become more creative, free, peaceful and ecologically friendly!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Embracing your femininity

When I was a little girl, I loved to wear dresses, play the mother to my dolls and clean the dishes. I was naturally very girly and upbeat! What happened next? Influence. Societal influence and school teachings that taught that being driven and making lots of money equals strong and that being a feminine housewife equals weak. Since my mother stayed home, it always was my belief that I too wanted to be home with my future kids. Sadly, even she became quite influenced by societal trends.

And the worst of it happens in college when it should be the time to expand your knowledge. Imagine saying you want to get married and stay home, the looks of others!

Now, I am fighting back and un-learning everything that's been taught to me. I am tired of wearing ugly clothes and will finally buy a sewing machine and learn how to sew my own feminine dresses, which I can't find in stores.

Is being progressive better? Or are we tired of fighting against nature?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Designing our own house

I dream of designing our own house with the help of an architect. I am frustrated with the online house plans I find as they don't offer what I want. They each have tiny kitchens but two or three huge living rooms and the laundry room never seems to be on the same floor as the bedrooms.

I am really a modern vintage gal who would love to buy some land in the country not too far from conveniences as well as build an old fashioned house with modern conveniences.

My all time favorite type of house is a Victorian one, as it includes so many beautiful details and a front porch. I want neither a tiny nor a huge house: the right balance of beauty, practicality, affordability, formality and informality. I would prefer to build a house than to renovate one.

As a homemaker, I spend most of my time at home and would like it to be an expression of who I am. So I am dreaming of a two-level house with:

-a traditional foyer that includes a closet, bench, coat & hat hanger, shoe rack
-a straight staircase
-a separate formal living room with a piano, books and a fireplace
-a separate formal dining room
-a big country black and white kitchen with tall freezer & pantry
-powder room on the first floor
-3 bedrooms upstairs, full bathroom and a real laundry room with a sink and a sewing area
-full basement with office

That is the minimum I wish to have someday! :) For now, I plan and I dream.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pin money

In times of need, housewives used to barter goods and start home based businesses. It is amazing though how fun it is to make things at home! You never know when your homemaking skills could come into play, such as sewing, knitting, catering, baking, teaching, writing, baby sitting, taking care of the elderly, selling homemade goods and items, etc. Homemaking is already a full time job as it is, but pin money is also a good way to have balance at home without having the burden of being the breadwinner. What is important anyway in life? Buying a big house or appreciating the simple things in life? Frugality doesn't mean misery: it can in fact be a lot of fun!

There is also the importance of rest, hobbies and charity work in order to be a well rounded person. I myself am not and have never been cut out for the tough, competitive world. I'd rather have a home business should the need arise that won't take all of my time either. I feel very old fashioned in this day and age!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To end with the Stepford Wife stereotype

Stereotypes have unfortunately always existed throughout history. People tend to lump everyone into a group and label them a certain way without consideration of the individual. It is easier for them to feel right about their own lives by being judgemental.

A lot of women who don't know me personally have labeled me a stepford wife just because I say I am a housewife. As far as I am concerned, stepford wives do not exist: they were part of a movie and a message that says that every housewife who enjoys housework and child rearing must be programmed like a robot because no woman could possibly enjoy being at home of course!

I say no more of that. I did not leave my brain at my past job when I decided to become a housewife: in fact, it takes organizational skills and a set of talents that can be fulfilling and rewarding! There are ways to continue your education by reading, learning new skills and challenging your brain in other ways.

It is very difficult to be a housewife in this day and age because of the way the feminists and baby boomers changed society. I struggle with it every day believe me even though my husband cherishes what I do! I did well in school for the most part and believe I could do very well at a job if I wanted to.

So why am I at home then? I cook, clean, run errands, pay bills, declutter, do some volunteering work, take care of our cat, cherish my friendships, my husband and my chronic pain. I have so much to do during the day that sometimes I just don't get everything done! And when I'll have kids, I'll have even more to do!

So why is it that we don't bat an eye when we encounter professional chefs, nannies, daycare providers, house cleaners, butlers, decorators, financial advisors etc. but we have a hard time with homemakers because they don't personally earn an income? I am not at home because of religious convictions as I believe that every woman should choose for herself what she wants to do. I am at home because I actually *gasp* enjoy it! I am not a deadbeat, stupid or lazy person: I am a strong, mature, devoted and musically gifted wife and woman. My value as a person does not reside with how much money I should make.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Self discipline at home

It is easy to get sidetracked with entertainment and resting at home! Homemaking really needs a little self discipline in order to do it well.

Here are a few tips:

-Write down a daily cleaning schedule and see what works for you;
-Write your meal menus down when you write your grocery lists;
-Read! Read homemaking books, web sites and magazines: any tips you can find really!
-Learn from other women if you can;
-Write down daily to-do lists;
-Organize your files, your closets, get rid of stuff you don't need...Being organized will de-stress you!
-Have someone over for tea or dinner: it is amazing how much I let go of sometimes but deep clean more when we expect guests! That will motivate you to clean deeper more often in case of last minute guests!
-Change it up! Having a routine is nice but can become a bit boring after a while. See if you can make cleaning more fun by putting on music and singing!
-Best of all: do take the time to rest, read and do other hobbies as we are not machines and we work hard at what we do!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thoughts on living together before marriage

Growing up, it never occurred to me to think differently from the crowd. We women have been warned so many times about the dangers of men and marriage that we just had to go to college, get an education, date and marry much later. This mentality has invaded parenting and schools.

Now that I am older and more mature, I realize after much thought and research that girls are being fed lies. After I dated, I realized I was wasting my time and preferred to concentrate on my studies while looking for a potential husband, not an immature boyfriend. I realized I needed to focus on who I was and what I wanted out of a life partner.

I think our behaviors and attitudes do impact the kind of man we attract and I see a perpetuated adolescence in today's 20 and 30 something crowd that are being fed the lie that marriage is only optional. It is indeed optional in a sense, but I feel that it is young women who are being hurt the most by serial dating and living together: if she doesn't feel like he is the one yet falls pregnant, what happens? What if he doesn't want a child and leaves? He does not have much obligation under the Law for child support since they are not married. It is also a potential nightmare when they both buy a house unmarried and separate.

Stability and security are what most mature women want nowadays, yet we don't allow men to take their responsibilities in the spirit of being scared of marriage. I really think that parenting doesn't stop once the child is 18: I think parents need to explain what marriage is, what to look for in a spouse and encourage them to focus on growing more mature. It was only sixty or so years ago that the term "teenager" didn't even exist! Youngsters were expected to be mature, responsible, get married and start a family. I don't understand what is so bad in this and if you look closer, this is what most women still want anyway.

Now that we have changed from an agricultural setting to a post-industrial revolution one, we think nothing of spending and living a life of pleasure, fun and material goods. I don't know many 20 somethings who save their money for their future families: most go out and get in debt.

So in conclusion, I have a problem with today's shattering of family life and I am tired of feminists such as Gloria Steinem, Patricia Ireland and Linda Hirshmann go on the media and speak in the name of ALL women. There has always been single women throughout history: we are not all called for marriage and children! But to speak for all of us when they say it is better to have power and prestige in a career when many women would prefer to stay home or work fewer hours in order to see their children more is absurd.

Young women are being sold that early marriage is not good, that it's better to have a good time instead of being married and that "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle". Meanwhile, who is telling them how wonderful marriage can be? How many nice men there are out there? How many women were actually happy in the 50's and are still happily married to the same men? I don't talk much about politics or religion on my blog as these are heated topics and I prefer not to. But from a legal and well being standpoint, I just wonder why we let our daughters live a wild life that may well enough eventually hurt them in the long run...

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Here, it snowed just in time for Christmas and we have been nesting at home.

What are your new year resolutions if you make them? I wish to lose weight, save more money, learn more homemaking skills and practice music more.

May you all have a blessed and happy new year!