Friday, December 10, 2021

*What* the *actual*...

 Okay.  I was doing some half-hearted research, today, looking into tools that would make sewing easier (got one--but not just for sewing: I got a travel iron that I'm more likely to use than the huge, heavy full-sized one that I can barely manage on a good day).  Ran across a woman who blogged and ran an Etsy store, making little things on a vintage (not like mine, but still) sewing machine.  By preference.  She had modern sewing machines, but preferred to use her older ones (she had several, some treadle, some hand crank, some hand crank adapted to run on electricity with an external motor).  She was ranting about being called a "non-working spouse" on her other half's work paperwork.  

On the one hand...yeah, her hobbies aren't paying for themselves.  Not the least because of fees and how much shipping costs.  

On the other hand...I get where she's coming from.  I don't work outside the home, but I (and other housewives) work my (our) ass(es) off, for the benefit of our families, if not for income.*

Let me give you an example.  

On a standard day, the first alarm goes off around 5:50.  I take my thyroid pill, and go back to bed.  The alarm goes off again, and I get up around 6:30.  I drag my 13 year old imp out of bed and put on the scratched record of "get the dog out.  get the dog out.  get the dog let out.  She needs to pee, imp, and she's hungry; let her out and feed her.  Thank you.  Okay.  Take your breakfast.  Get your bowl and your glass and go sit down.  Take your breakfast and sit down at the table.  Thank you.  Eat.  Put a bite in your mouth.  Chew the bite you just put in your mouth.  Chew.  Chew.  Stop talking and eat.  Take your focus pill and..."  You get the picture.  I spend half an hour chivvying one child through eating breakfast (the other does for herself, and yes, I've let her know exactly how much I appreciate her initiative).  And then reminding him every two minutes of his check list...while I fix lunches, unload the dishwasher, clean the cats' box, and look into what I need to do for the day.  

Then I sit down for about ten to twenty minutes with coffee.  At which point my computer alarm lets me know it's time to get my offspring loaded into the car and shuffled off to school...which can take anywhere from two to ten minutes, depending.  

Most mornings, I come home and make myself a second cup of coffee.  I need that before I can face the rest of the day.  I've been up for an hour and a half, by that point, but it feels (at the same time) like much longer, and not nearly that long.  

Ten minutes and internet fuckery (I had no idea quilting was so involved, people!), and then I get up.  I go clean up from breakfast, look at my daily checklist and Flylady zones, and start a load of laundry.  I straighten up and do light cleaning in my daily room and weekly zone, then I go sit down...and stare at the computer screen.  Some days I write, other days, I try.  On days I can't write new stuff, I try to edit older, nearly finished stuff.  Or I just do administrative paperwork for the household (what, you thought households lacked such?  Oh, no, my friend.  Not at all).  

By this point, my morning meds alarm goes off.  With the thyroid meds I take, I have to take everything else--supplements included--with a four hour separation window between thyroid meds and everything else.  I get up and take stuff, straighten flat surfaces a bit (I really do try to control clutter buildup).  At this point, I go get water (or a third cup of coffee.  Often that), check the dinner plans I have written on the dry-erase calendar in the kitchen, and pull stuff out of the freezer.  I putter around, straightening up a bit more in the kitchen (usually while coffee is brewing), and then go sit down and take a break.  Decide what's next.  That's usually determined by my physical state.  Sometimes I feel up to a little more activity (like moving the wash to the dryer), and sometimes I don't.  

If I don't, I go back to writing and/or planning.  Takes a lot of planning to figure out how to do the most amount of needed stuff with the least amount of wasted energy.  Maybe eat lunch (if I'm hungry...and my nerves let me...and I don't forget).  And then I get back to writing.  Sometimes it's a slog.  Sometimes the "go get the kids" alarm (2:40) startles the utter hell out of me and I've gotten anywhere from 2K to 5K words written (once, I managed a lot more, but I don't type that fast, even if my brain does move that fast).  

After I get the kids, I stuff snacks down them, chivvy them through homework, instrument practice (imp plays trumpet; pixie's taking piano lessons).  Thyroid alarm goes off (4:00), and then it's time to start supper.  I try to do a family meal once a week or so, whether everybody wants it or not (usually, somebody--and who it is varies--would rather read).  And after that, any homework that isn't done gets finished.  I clean up from supper (if I have the energy), and then I remind the kids of their after-supper checklists.  

The kids are abed by 7:30, and I'm...not fucking done, yet.  I may be physically done, but there's the next day's schedule to check, the next day's lunch on the school menu to check (do they take lunch, or eat at school?), the last bits of clean up...

I can usually sit down with a strong drink (and a substantial enough snack that I can take a dose of Aleve) at about 9:00 or so.  

Honestly, I do a lot more as a housewife/stay at home mom than I ever managed while working for money outside the house.  It's at the speed of the mighty sloth, but I really do get more done.  And on a near-daily basis.  

*Funny thing: most two income households?  Unless both are working really well-paid white-collar jobs, Mom's likely to only barely break even when childcare is taken into account.  Working outside the home for an income?  Not necessarily what's best for the family's finances.  Do the math. 


  1. The amount of 'work' you and other stay at home moms do is...amazing, just to break 'even' as it were.

    1. Think about it: Part time work brought in around $13.5K/year a few years ago. Subsidized child care still cost something like $500/month scaled to our income level for two kids. Figure in another three or four fast-food dinners per week, and suddenly, Mom's income is gone just paying for child care and food. If she'd simply stayed home, she wouldn't have had the income, but also wouldn't have had the expenses.

      I would not have been able to afford to keep teaching when the kids were small if I hadn't been able to do it online.


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