Self appraisal

27 May 2008

I love having the choice to stay at home rather than go out to work.

Staying at home requires plenty of creativity just to get the bills paid.

You can't just spend money to fix every thing; teenage boredom, peeling paint, clothes that need mending.

You have to remember to use your own resources to get things done; you have to work out what matters and what doesn't ; what you have to spend money on and what you can live without.

Sometimes when you look at how others spend their time and money you can feel a little jaded, perhaps a little guilty.

If I worked outside the home we could fly off for holidays, entertain ourselves with spending sprees.

Its my decision , and mine alone , that I choose not to work and so force this life of less consumerism on my family.

I have never worked full time since I became a mother but I have been the sole breadwinner, I have worked part time while Stephen worked part time and I've worked part time while he worked full time.

The times I have managed our lives and our money the best were when I was the sole breadwinner and felt the responsibility keenly and now as a full time homemaker when my family's survival depends on my good management of my home. I feel good and lucky that we manage when so many don't.

My children are 10, 15 and 18. They can manage without me at home if they have to.

I'm at home because that is where I want to be.

I came home because I wanted to experience just being a homemaker without having to be at all concerned about a job.

Stephen works hard, he takes his work seriously and always gives his best.

If I was working too I would have to be responsible to my work place, for some of the time I would have to put my work first.
As a well paid professional I would have to take part in professional development, courses and workshops all taking time from my family.

Two parents putting work first, what happens to the family.

For me the only answer was to be at home.

When I worked I always put family first and often felt guilty that I didn't give enough of myself to my job.

I felt pressure from my employers and clients to give more.

I couldn't and I wouldn't.

I had to walk away.

I had to make being at home work.

I've been feeling unsettled lately, that maybe I should be earning a wage.

I feel as though I've been floating a little lately, not taking the work I do at home seriously, that perhaps I have just been pretending to be a good home manager.

I have been feeling lately that perhaps I'm not really pulling my weight by not contributing financially.

So there has been a lot of restlessness and thinking and considering and thinking.
I'm feeling more settled now;
at the end of a good productive happy weekend I was feeling more settled.

I know that right now I can't be anywhere else.

I know I don't want to give my time and energy to solve other people's problems.

I want to keep giving the best of myself to my family and home.

I want to keep learning to be peaceful with myself.

I want to be right where I am and honestly , through all the trials and joys and difficulties and surprises this life of mine just keeps getting better.

I've done my self appraisal and I'm doing just fine.

ps. If you have the time please go and read this wonderful post.

28 Responses to “Self appraisal”

  1. Absolutely beautiful post Jenny.

  2. Thank you so much for this post...
    I have been struggling with thinking that I should get a job outside the home but have been reluctant because I do love being at home!

  3. Oh Luvvie! I'm glad you're finding a sense of peace. I think we all go through it...the weight of expectation, self-expectation and the expectations of others...there's no hiding from the idea that we should be doing "more" and doing "better". And, when I was working full-time I was split in two by the expectations of my profession and my of ideas of sound mothering. It does take courage to swim against the tide of popular opinion. Our value is in our personhood and not in our pay cheques...whether we earn a pay cheque or not...moreover, there is real value in our role as nurturer and mentor to the next generation. You know where I am if you need to talk.

  4. I work school hours, from home. It works well for me. I remember our doctor telling us that he was moving to very part-time work because his children were entering their teen years and needed his presence more than ever. I think having a parent's strong ego-presence holding the home is so important. Everybody figures out their own way and everybody re-considers. This reconsideration can be enlivening. My decision to work the way I do remains, but my reasons have changed and grown with my family over the years.

  5. Jenny,
    I am a stay at home mom too. Have been since my daughter was born 25 years ago and now I am home with our 4 year old. I have felt as you do in the past as well. The financial considerations are real for sure but the benefits of healthy well adjusted children who have a good relationship with their parents is worth is all. Believe me.

  6. Thank you for this post Jenny - I too have doubts about the income thing. I feel very guilty about not working outside the home. Your post made sense and made me feel better. I have chosen the right path.

  7. Jenny,

    I'm a stay home mom too! I feel unsettled at times too. In the past I have run out and found a part time job. Every time I've regretted it and my family has suffered. Thankfully I've learned that the feeling will pass.
    Thank you for sharing!


  8. How nice you can be so honest - in saying that staying at home, however lovely, can still have it's challenges. Glad you have made your peace.

  9. My children are 29, 27 and 20 and when my youngest turned 6 I gave up my part time job and stayed home full time. My middle dd had just turned 13 and I could see there were going to be some rough years ahead(unfortunately I was right) and I knew in my heart I was needed at home more than ever. Teenage years can be frought with danger and our kids need a guiding hand there that is available 24/7
    During the 12 years I stayed at home I often felt pangs of guilt about not contributing financially and sometimes felt uncomfortable when asked "what do you do?"
    But I can say unequivocally that it was the right choice to stay home. My kids have all grown into happy, successful adults and are a source of constant joy and pride.
    My youngest still lives at home and I now work part time and really enjoy it.
    Enjoy these years with your babes for they pass far too quickly.

  10. So well put and exactly how I feel. Clarice

  11. I think us SAHM's will always have days or periods of time where we feel as you have been Jenny ~ because we live in a time and a society where being at home is at best undervalued and at worst scoffed upon.

    I have only recently come to the point where if I was offered a job at my children's school I would consider taking it. But otherwise, all other paid work is completely out of the question. I can't and won't split myself and my loyalties between my family's needs and earning money. And I know that I am very fortunate to be in a position where I am able to make that choice, and to have a husband that supports my desire to be with our children.

    I'm glad you've re-evaluated for yourself and been through that process. And I'm sure you and your family will continue to enjoy your commitment to them.

  12. Dear Jenny,

    Please don't feel guilty about staying at home - I think you're doing the most wonderful job there is! Your home sounds like such a warm, friendly, supporting and giving environment, there's no money in the world that could *ever* buy such a thing!

    I'm very glad you're feeling more settled again.


  13. Seems like we all go through these phases of wondering if we should go out and work. My kids are 18 and 15 and I think they need me at home now more than ever. My hubby says he's glad I'm at home, he calls me his "port in a storm". I cling to these thoughts when I feel like I'm not pulling my weight. Thanks for this post and the link. They are a great encouragement.

    Love, Tina :)

  14. Hi Jenny
    Once again a post you have written echoes how I've been feeling as well.
    It is rarely questioned why a parent with young children stays at home but as the children get older the assumption is that working hours increase. As others have commented, I think the teenager years are just as important.
    I will continue to work in my very part-time job for the next couple of years. This is an unsettled time for the boys as they try to decided what to do after the exams and me spending time at home means more stability than having two stressed parents. I am lucky that we can afford to do this, though I am also aware that my husband is working in a job which he doesn't always enjoy and which he finds very stressful to enable us to live like this. There is no easy answer.
    I am glad you are feeling more settled now.

    Also, good luck to Louis with the job. My eldest has finished school now and we just have the exams to get through! He has no idea what to do next, its a difficult time for young people.

  15. You are very fortunate to be in a position where you have a choice. Good on you!!

  16. Wonderful post, and I can relate. But this morning I walked the dog, and I saw a father walking with his baby in his arms. The baby had obviously just woken up, and they were going to the daycare center around the corner here. When I saw that, I just felt so happy my kids can take their time to wake up and just do whatever they enjoy doing, without having to be rushed. I accept not having much money when I realize things like that, and I know my husband does too when he can drink a beer after work with his collegues, instead of having to rush to the daycare to pick up the kids.
    Christine from the NL

  17. It sound to me that you are in the right place- home. My hubby and I decided when we had children that I would stay at home with them, and I do. They are only young, but I love being homemaker and a mother that is within arms reach when needed. Its funny that we are made to feel guilty for not contributing to the family income, yet you cant put a price on loving family relationships. Thanks for this heartfelt post.

  18. I think the more concerned one is with living a simple, sustainable life the more critical it is to have someone at home. Bringing the money in is only one part of the household economy. Using and sharing it wisely is another.

    Last night we had new peas and asparagus for supper. I made blender hollandaise to add heft and protein. It took 3 egg yolks. What to do with the 3 whites languishing in the fridge? Add 'em to this morning's pancakes.

    There are people who can keep thrifty household details in mind while working outside the home. I'm not one of them.

  19. What a comforting post. I too am a stay at home mom even though my children are already grown. Now I'm here to be the grandmother I want to be. It's wonderful to have your grandchildren be able to stay in the middle of the week if they choose. I too have struggled with that thing of wondering if I'm contributing anything important to the world by staying home, but I have finally come to realize that my husband and I have made the best choice in me staying home. Someone must keep the home fires burning, lest the home fizzles out.

  20. Jenny,

    I have been thinking about this lately too and I know I *can't do it all*. I can't work two jobs - inside and outside the home - and do them both well, and take care of my husband, and keep my sanity.

    I'm so fortunate to have a husband who wants me at home. It wouldn't have been possible without him.

  21. I can´t beleive that there are so many Stay at home mums. We made this conscious decision before our children were born, based on my experiences as a social worker and my husband´s having his mother at home all the time. There are tough times, but then again I´m thankfull I don´t have to stress myself and my family out with the pressure to have to get myself ready for work as well as the family for their obligations. My husband says that this stress is worth all the money in the world to get rid of.

    I need more than being at home. my solution is to study. People say that I will be the best qualified housewife, but my children benefit in the long run from all my knowledge. Plus, I have been lucky to get a few well paid hours teaching english in the kindergarten. But as always, the money is secondary to maintain a happy, well balance household, with happy, well developed children.

    We support the economy directly by hopefully bringing children who will be an asset, rather than ones who will need help from support services like health due to bad diet, or allied health by psychiatric help, or reduce the need for police officers and jails (Ok maybe getting a bit idealistic, but statistics support this).

  22. Hi Jenny,
    I am a little behind on reading posts due to my daughter being home with tonsillitis and the fact I had to drop everything and pick up my injured son from school. If I was at 'work', who would have picked him up and who would have been at home with my sick daughter? I am sure my 'boss' would not have liked it if I had just left to take care of my children. I get quite frustrated with current affair programs when they go on about women returning to the work force, the benefits they should receive, the child care etc. What about those of us who do sacrifice a lot to want to bring children into the world and bring them up with us at home??? I want to be there for my children, husband and home. Women have a choice to work or to be at home working. I choose to be at home. I run the Edwards Empire and am proud to do it.

  23. Hi. Just came upon this post -- I have been so busy in the vegetable garden that I haven't had time to be on the computer. Being in the garden is something I can do since I am not sitting in an office somewhere doing some job I am not really all that interested in!

    I, too, struggle with some guilt over being at home. I have some anger about it too -- there was a time I desperately wanted to be at home, when my children were small. But, I was a divorced mom, and I needed to work to pay the bills. By the time I remarried, my youngest child was in her first year of college. Thanks to my husband's job, and our efforts at simpler living, I am able to stay at home, but my children are not little and here with me.

    But, they do still benefit from my being at home. They are in their early 20s, sharing a rental house and working at jobs, and when they have little worries and crises, they call me for advice, knowing I am likely to be available. They come by sometimes to use the washing machine, and grab a bite of something out of the fridge.

    I hated it when I had to work when they were little, and now I feel a little embarrassed that they see me puttering around the house, rather than being a successful career woman. But, on the other hand, they also see that I am well loved by their step-dad, who knows the stress I went through as a struggling single mom. It makes him feel good to be able to support us and thus give me a break from going off to a job.

    He also loves how our home is so much more pleasant and inviting when I am at home all day -- and it's not necessarily because I keep the place spotless and orderly. Sometimes it's pretty messy around here. But, with me here all day, the place just seems inhabited and busy with something going on all day long! It isn't a lonely, empty place most of the day. He is able to come home every day for lunch because we live so close to his office, and I am able to have a nice lunch for him, he can scratch the dog's head, look at what's blooming in the yard, and he is refreshed for the afternoon's work. It's an atmosphere that we could NEVER buy with the money I would make at a job.

    Thanks for your inspirational posts, and thanks to all of the other women who have shared also.

  24. I came home to an empty house all during my school years. It was lonely and unsafe, even in later years. Lots of teens with their pick of empty houses..
    When my mother retired she made many comments about how it didn't make sense to be home in an empty house. She was bored and lonely but she hadn't invested in anything but her job for years.
    I am home, raising my large family on one income. I pray for the blessing to always be home.

  25. Keep up the good work Miss Jenny. I am almost 60 years old, a wife, mom, and grandmom of 9 little ones. I was home most of the time with my children and worked part time when my husband was home with the children some years. I am working full time now as my hubby had to retire early with bad health. I still long to be the keeper of my home everyday. Stay home with your family, you will never regret it and they won't either. I love your blog and think you are doing a wonderful job!
    Granny of many!

  26. I stayed at home when my older children were young. We were such a close happy family. We had little materially--even living in an apartment in their preschool years just to keep it simple. I am so so glad we did it that way.

    Years later I had a baby when the others were 18,16,14 and I was working by then. It is my biggest regret. We should have kept it simple but didn't and so I had to work my youngest ones childhood. I have been able to cut back the last few years but still it is too much.

    I loved your thoughts. They remined me of what is improtant. And I applaud you and all the stay at home Mom's. You have focused on the most important things.


  27. I think it is very important being at home and I sense your home is a warm, nurturing place from what I have read.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.