The cleaning! Now keeping a house clean is a job that is completed by home makers as well as the parents who work outside the home. However, when you are a home maker the biggest challenges come from the fact that you stay home 24-7 to raise your children. A family in which both parents work while their children must spend their day in daycare has to deal with cleaning, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, etc just like the home makers. But if you consider that the bulk of their day is spent outside of the home, that would create a lot less mess. There are two categories of home makers 1) home makers with young children (0-5) and 2) home makers without children at home all day or none at all. I would fall in the #1 type of home maker. Kids = MESS! If I decided to go back to work my kids would spend most of their week in daycare. Which means the daycare would be messy instead of my home! My baby has 14 hours in a day to make messes, but if she were in daycare her productive mess time would be reduced to 4-6 hours. Obviously a lot less damage can be done in 4-6 hours vs. 14 hours.
The first definition of WORK is – exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil. Do you consider washing hundreds (or thousands depending on family size) of laundry items an “effort directed to produce or accomplish something”? I sure do! In my home I do laundry for 5 people and that means I do a minimum of 10 large loads/week. I change my toddler 2-3 times a day; this doesn’t include the amount of cloth diapers I change also. Once your laundry is clean you must fold/hang and put the items away. And let’s not forget the steaming and ironing that needs to be done also!
Cooking healthy home made meals is definitely a job. Millions of families sit down every day in a restaurant and pay a chef to prepare meals for them. Home makers don’t get paid in the same ways a chef would, however I consider a healthy family to be a form of compensation. Your health isn’t always granted to you; it’s something that you earn through healthy eating and exercise. Healthy meals don’t have to be hard to make, but they do take more prep time. All the processed food available now means that you can open a can or box and have a meal in 5-10 minutes, but it’s never a healthy option when compared to a home made meal with healthy ingredients. I am not against canned or boxed food, but like everything in life there must be moderation. Nothing beats the nutritional content that fresh fruits and vegetables provide your body. When my husband gets home, dinner is usually cooked and ready to eat or being prepared. Grocery shopping is also a HUGE part of being able to cook healthy meals. Healthy meals mean fresh ingredients. Fruits and vegetables need to be purchased 1-3 times/week. I am not a fan of the grocery grind. I find it really draining, especially when you have you little kiddos to tote around with you. My 1 year old makes any trip outside the house 100 times more difficult.
It seems like a lot of articles about home makers have comments that basically said “But home makers and stay at home moms aren’t professionals so they don’t do professional work.” GASP! Really!? My dad is an inventor,engineer,and entrepreneur and I learned from him that if you want something done right you probably have to do it yourself. The people who said these things were basically saying “since you aren’t a professional your children are better off being raised by someone who is!” There is NO ONE on earth that could clean my home, chauffeur my kids, wash our clothes, cook our meals, and care for my children better than myself. Hired professionals are hired, so they do efficient jobs. My husband and I would rather stay home for a meal than go out because I am an excellent cook and I do care what goes into my body.
Most importantly it’s the sacrifice. Having children is a blessing, but they are and should be a huge commitment. I think everyone sacrifices for their kids in different ways. My sacrifice would be putting my life and interests on hold so I can stay home to help my child grow. And being able to be 100% a part of their baby a toddler years is special. Children don’t want to be nurtured by anyone but their mommies and daddies. A lot of families just can’t afford to have a parent stay home and that is understandable. There are also a lot of parents that can’t handle what being a stay at home parent entails; I’m referring to the lack of a personal life. I know first hand that it is very very hard. You really don’t have any “ME” time when your kids are at home. I have no disrespect for these types of situations. My frustration is directed at people who think home makers have taken the easy road. If you don’t want to raise your children don’t have any! For me personally, choosing to stay home with my babies is definitely the harder route. I would much rather be out having adult interaction and working outside of the home for the day. But I think it’s more important to spend these precious moments with my babies while they are young and getting to know the world. I would be devastated if I just let these precious, short baby years slip by without being there every second.
When my babies are older I will start by putting them in school part time so they can socialize. When they are at school I can use that time to enter the world of adults again. I don’t plan on staying home once my children are in school full time. My time is definitely most valuable staying at home while they are too young for school. I would get very bored if I stayed home all by myself every day. I will probably go back to work and enjoy my new freedom. But as I’m sitting her typing this, I’m watching my 14 month old pull every book off the book shelf while trying to run a comb through her curly hair and I think to myself that these moments are too special to miss.