Today I have been doing normal stuff. Cleaning and tidying @ home sweet home. There is a lot to do. Sometimes I feel pretty overwhelmed. It is way harder than all that doll house play as a kid,. However I do like taking care of my home. Today I have washed the cushion covers off the sofa (it was high time). I also removed some junk from the patio, and then I put away some things from a suitcase used on a trip. I also tidied the kitchen and noticed that there’s some stuff that needs to be put in the dishwasher. I filled up the chickens feeder tube and water. I saw the the patio really needs sweeping again, and the recycling rubbish needs taking out.
You know. An average day in the life of anyone who has a home. And my kids aren’t even small mess-bombs anymore😝!I seem to need at least 20 hours a week to manage the cooking, shopping, tidying, checking on the bills, a bit of gardening, car maintenance, etc etc etc etc. This doesn’t count running my youngest daughter around. Or the time I spend connecting with our 3 older kids, or checking in on elderly parents. 20 hours is just for doing the house care management. And, my husband also does his share too, at least 10 hours a week. I do more as I work less outside the home than he does and he is often pretty exhausted from his teaching job.
So together we put in minimum 30 hours a week just keeping the home running. To keep everyone eating, clean, and able to find their socks. Keeping the house somewhat clean, the bills paid on time, the plants alive, and the cars running.
How about you? Have you listed tasks and added it up?
I am even lazy in some ways. I almost never dust and I try to only buy clothes that don’t need ironing. I try to ignore the weeds in the garden and I think up hacks all the time to make the housework uber-efficient. And, I only go to the supermarket every 10 days.
So when I say we spend 30 hours a week in total on running our home and caring for it, that has to be less than the average family who might iron and dust and have younger kids still (who make mess every hour). And they would go to the supermarket much more often than me. If they are average.
Since my blog is for women then I will say that you dear reader – woman of your home (single or married) spend probably 20 hours minimum per week on your home. But you know what? It is a beautiful and honourable and extremely important job.
A home is a hub of life. It is our haven from the world. Our special place to come back to and our place to live and create and do life with our family or house mates. It is our place to breathe and recharge. Our kids grow up here, visitors come and go, meals are cooked and eaten, character is built, and we relax here too. We can only do all these things in our home if someone is keeping it clean and functioning and even a bit pretty.
Running a home is a kind of sacred job. It should be a role held up with awe, like brain surgery.
Yet these days no one ever talks about the actual job of housework or running a home. It’s like breathing. We don’t acknowledge it or discuss it. It is just expected to magically happen at the same time as everything else we have crammed into our week!
So how about we start talking about home management and home making as a serious real thing, an important thing, that really does need at least 20 hours a week.
Then we also need to factor that in to our calendars. Thats better than hanging up clothes at 5am before work, or going to a 24/7 supermarket at 10pm to get food. That is better than being tired and cranky from trying to do too much. Trying fit in homemaking and home management around everything else we do. Better than going into burnout. It doesn’t actually happen magically. It needs dedicated time slots and we need to communicate this clearly, first to our selves and then to our spouses and kids and society. It does mean saying no to other things and even scheduling home-care time into our diaries.
The reason housework and home care is invisible because it doesn’t earn money.
Every time I meet people they ask what I do. Well, actually my main job is putting valuable skills and effort into making my sweet little house a home, and managing it so everyone can function, and so even visitors can come over. I run a home and that is my priority. Secondly, I work outside the home 3 days a week to earn money to make ends meet.
If I had said I work as an assistant helping families run their home then it would be more credible because I would earn money (doing it for someone else who paid me). But running your own home does not count as it does not have a monetary value. (Thanks Marx ). Here’s a thought provoking article if you want to ponder the history of the degradation of the value of taking care of your own home. It is from a socialist website which is explaining the history of women being freed from the ‘slavery’ of the home.
Personally I think home can be an oasis for the heart, and our workplace could be the place of slavery…! (I do like my job, but if any of us go the chance to quit work, we would right? If we won lotto. So the truth is, 98% of us would actually prefer to have more time at home and less at work.
When people ask me what I do, I sometimes say ‘I run my home and do my mum job, and I also work at a school’. But more often I forget to say that, and I answer it in the way my society has conditioned me to answer- describing myself by the role that earns money.
New aquantiance: ‘What do you work with?’
Me: ‘I work at a school as an education assistant 3 days a week.’
New aquaintance: ‘ Wow that must be amazing!’
At that exact moment I always feel annoyed at myself as in my heart I feel that my job at home as a home maker and home manager is much more important and amazing, but I don’t say it.
Let’s face it, is my boss going to be at my beside crying when I die? no. Are my kids going to be there. yes. My boss won’t even remember my name. For my family, I will always be a central figure and I will impact them forever too. So I count my role working for them as way more important than for my boss, even if my boss pays me and my family don’t.
Our beautiful real jobs in making a house a home are so important to ourselves, our families, ur visitors, and also our country and society and our culture. If you can’t fathom that then imagine if everyone just lived in mass dormitories? What would go missing from our families and our cultures?