Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Miserly Moms (and SAHWs, too)

Even women without children can find encouragement at the Miserly Moms website on learrning to live on one income! Check out the Successful Coming Home Stories--women's experiences in leaving the workplace to work at home for their families. Also, the Work-At-Home Stories are interesting. Since I'm currently working on being better organized and disciplined, I am especially motivated by what this woman shares (long, but good, so I just posted the whole thing!):

Work-At-Home Story #6
Occupation Homemaker
Many SAHM (stay-at-home-moms) fall into a rut and feel bored, lonely, and/or insignificant. Sometimes the fear of these things even keeps women from staying at home in the first place. Often, the secular world paints a picture of a mom at home as very quaint; not glamorous like a city job, or rewarding like a passionate career, or entertaining like a hustle-bustle working lifestyle; only simplistic and cute. It doesn’t usually sound very attractive to young women. If it isn’t these things that deter a family from having mom at home then it’s the lie that they can’t afford life on one income alone.
I personally experienced some confusion when I first got married and began my life at home. I had the house organized and just as clean as any other house and yet I still felt bored a lot of the time and was somewhat discontented. It didn’t make sense to me. I had been an excellent student and an exemplary worker. Yet, here at home, I was continuously bored which led to feeling lonely. I kept wondering why I felt that way.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough to do. I had two children with one on the way, I was beginning to teach my 4 year old, I helped my husband run his carpentry business from home, I sang on the worship team, taught Children’s church, cooked and cleaned, etc. So I had plenty to do.
It also wasn’t that I was just unhappy at home, because I wasn’t. I was thrilled to be able to be at home with my kids when so many others I knew felt that they had to work to support their families. I was grateful for the time and opportunity to homeschool my kids and really be a helper to my husband.
One day, my mother finally pointed out to me that when I had been in school I was very regimented with my time. I kept an organized calendar/journal in which I planned and pre-planned the timing of assignments and events and all they entailed. Then, each day I would see what was in store and complete everything efficiently and often beforehand. When I worked, I had a clear and concise position and had the mind-set of being good at my job. I always completed tasks in a timely fashion and with a cheerful demeanor.
It was then that I realized that my attitude towards being at home wasn’t right. I was being too relaxed. I was treating my time at home everyday like I had previously done on the weekends when in school or at work. I decided to treat my life at home with the kids as my new career; with the kids as my subordinates and my husband as my boss.
I immediately got planning. I got out a new calendar/journal and allotted time for everything I sought to accomplish each day, week, month, etc. I scheduled everything: Housework, errands, cooking, schooling the children, special projects, paperwork, shopping.... I even put reminders to give the kids their baths and change the bed sheets and the fish’s water. I PLANNED EVERYTHING!
Now every morning I wake up with an agenda. I have the drive of being able to cross off the things on my list each day. That helps me conquer the feelings of unimportance because I can see on paper that I am getting so much done.
I don’t get terribly stringent on WHEN things get accomplished in the day. I know that life with small children doesn’t necessarily fit into strict time slots. And the purpose of the schedule was not to stress me out or rush us all day. It is a guideline to keep me on track.
I have discovered that I actually have a lot of time to do almost anything I want. Being at home with the kids is no longer the reason I can’t do the things I desire to do, (read my Bible, pray, exercise, write, etc.) rather, it’s what enables me to do them. I had completely eliminated the dull gaps in my day where I would just sit and think about how I had “nothing to do”.
This was such a refreshing change that I decided to carry the concept over to other areas of my life. For example: I have a calendar on the wall on which I write out all the suppers that I’m going to fix. I spend one afternoon going through my recipe books and cook books and I plan all the suppers out ahead of time. This way I know in advance that on the nights we go to church we’ll have something quick and easy to fix, and on the nights we have company we’ll have a larger meal, and on Sundays we’ll have a meal in the crock pot so it’s ready when we get home, etc. As I write out the meals I also begin to make my weekly grocery lists (while I have the recipes handy). That way I’m sure to have all the ingredients handy for each meal. Then, before I go shopping, all I have to do is add the items I need for breakfast and lunch throughout the week and whatever baking necessities I’ve run out of. I even coordinate them with my grocer’s weekly flyers so that I can save us the most money. (For one of several references regarding this topic, please see Matt. 25:21.)
Doing it this way may sound like an awful lot of work but it actually saves a lot of time and frustration. I never have to fret over what to fix for supper and I know we’re eating healthy and cost-effectively. Besides, I really enjoy the planning part. I like to go through my cookbooks and try new things.
I have found that having this well-organized approach to things helps me do my job with ease and efficiency making it easier to be content and cheerful. It also helps me get the kids involved. They work with me each day. In the morning, when they ask what we’re going to do that day all I have to do is check the book and say “Well, it’s dusting day and then we’ll vacuum and clean the basement”, or something to that effect. We know what we need to do so we’re able to do it with gladness. And we always make sure to leave plenty of time for romping, reading, catching frogs, and feeding bugs to the chickens, etc (all things three small boys love to do).
So that’s my secret of being a SAHM. I take my “job” seriously. With all my time and effort I take care of my home. My “boss” (husband) knows that his best worker (me) is capable and motivated to do the best job each day. Now, when I fill out forms that ask for occupation I always smile as I proudly pen my title: Homemaker – for references please see Titus 2:1-5.
By: Amanda


Blogger MrsAngelena said...

Wonderful post. Great blog too!
I too keep a schedule. It has helped me a great deal not to get sidetracked and lose track of time.


8:51 PM, July 15, 2006  
Blogger Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi There Erin,

I love your blog so much I've been linking to it from my own.

My all time favorite post of yours is "what is it about home", but this one really struck a chord as well. More and more I am realizing the tremendous importance of finding a daily "rhythm", and I jiust love how the success story you quoted puts that.

May God's blessing be upon you, and upon your incredibly inspiring blog!


8:12 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks for reading, Mrsangelena and Wendy birde! Your words are a big encouragement to me!

9:50 PM, July 17, 2006  
Blogger Leigh said...


Wow, I never would have thought of that! What a great approach for Amanda to take. It is a good way to put what I have learned in my career as a secretary to better use (someday, God willing :)

I love you blog!! How is the puppy?

Take care,

11:07 PM, July 17, 2006  
Blogger smarshmallow said...

I keep a schedule too, otherwise I find myself going from thing to thing without ever actually finishing anything. I have the attention span of a gnat, so it really helps me! :) I LOVED the part that said "fo references please see Titus 2:1-5". Brilliant! :)

2:23 PM, August 02, 2006  
Anonymous Sally said...

So THAT's what's wrong with me -- with the exception that I don't sleep in til noon anymore, I treat every day like a Saturday! You are right, being too relaxed makes one feel bored. Having no time limits makes me lazy. Unlike you, though, I have NEVER been a goal-oriented planner. The thing that bothers me about this is that I am raising four precious girls to be just like me! I am 43. Is there still hope??! (Please say Yes!) Thanks for the great post.

11:58 PM, August 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would a woman stay at home if she does not have children, and the couple has to live on a limited income?

11:16 PM, January 05, 2008  

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