Showing posts with label proverbs 31. Show all posts
Showing posts with label proverbs 31. Show all posts


The Greatest Balancing Act

The most difficult job of all that a mother has to do is balance her roles. I often say in a funny accent "Everyone wants a piece'a me!" And often times it is true.

I work outside the home, four days a week. I have every Monday off. I really love my stay at home day. I put my apron on and bake and organise and clean and get ahead with things and it gives me a wonderful sense of peace.

I used to be a school teacher.

After my first son was born I went back two days a week in a job share and it nearly killed me. I hated having to leave him, even though I had a really good 'Day Care Mum'.

 I agonised over whether to leave or not. In 2000 I started studying again externally and fell pregnant with my second son. That was all the persuading I needed. I resigned from my teaching position and cranked up my study. I studied full time waiting for the baby to come.

My son was born in May 2001 and I juggled two little ones and the study. It was then that I learnt the value of redeeming my time. I gave up television ( except Seachange on Sunday nights on the ABC) and started to get up really early, sometimes as early as 4am, to do my study without interuption.

To cut a long story short, I had about five years at home with the children. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to work three days a week in the area that I had done my second degree in. I started the three days and eventually it turned into four days.

The boys are in school now, but not a day goes by when I don't consider coming home again. It's just the little things. Number Two son sat doing his homework this week and I thought I need to be there with him when he does it. Hubby is home with the boys when they do their homework and he is very good with them, but it's not the same. He is a great cook as well and has a meal ready when I get home. but it's not the same. The difference is , that when I get home from a busy day I have very little left to 'give'. I would be happy just to lock myself in a room for an hour until I 'come down'.

So... it's the great balancing act. I enjoy my work. I like the stimulation. However, the stay at home mum is the most important job in the world in my books! It's not about the money. We have survived before on very little money. Sometimes we do better on a tighter budget because I manage it so much better - last time I budgetted really strictly when my first son was born, we ended up being able to carpet the house with the surplus !

So, if I don't need the money and I agonise over the stay at home role, I bet you are asking why do I stay ?

The answer is complicated. I really like my work and I am grateful for the opportunity to be getting the experience. I don't want to walk away and live with the regret of what I could have acheived. I also think that I can invest as much money as I can for the future of my boys. Goodness knows what it will cost to put them through university if that's what they choose.

One good thing at the moment is that I can work flexible hours. My aim this year is to start early and finish early, hoping to be home at 4.30pm. That way I can still have a little down time before I slip into my apron and enjoy my children!

Are you caught in the great balancing act ? How do you juggle work and family ? Does your financial situation pin you to a job you hate ? Email me or leave a comment. I would appreciate your feedback.


Savings or " Not Spendings"

We hear all the time about how much money we can save. We see it in shops - save $15, save 30% or we read about people cutting $25 a week off their groceries.

But are these really savings ? and if they are where does the money go ? I am quickly realising that most so called ' savings' should really be called ' not spending', in that unless you were actually intending to spend, for example, $100 on an item and you only had to spend $80 and invested the $20 - then that is a true 'saving'.

Lets look at it this way.

When doing our budgets we go through and 'reduce' our outgoings - $5 a month here, $2 a month there etc etc. - adding up to $400 saving a month and a whopping $5000 saving a year. But do we actually invest that saving and earn interest off it and add to it and make it grow ? Or is it simply money that we could have spent but didn't!

I am going to make sure that I 'scoop off' all the little 'savings' I find. For example, when I budget $150 for the weekly groceries but only spend $125 I will put some aside for weeks when I need to spend more to stock up and I will scoop off some and put in my 'never to be touched' savings account. I think in this category a 50/50 split with the leftovers will be good.

Are you frugal, do you work hard to save money .... do you channel that money into savings or into debt reduction ? Post your ideas here.


Modern Retro Housewives

Take this job and love it!
By Ami Thomas

Her alarm clock chimes before the sun rises. She's not only up and at 'em, she's dressed to the nines in heels and a full face, wearing perfume. Her apron is starched and matches her outfit, and breakfast is on the table. Her husband and children come to the table dressed and pressed: they've been raised that way, and she's done the ironing.

The year is not 1944, or even's 2004, and the modern retro housewife is keeping house like Grandma did. She’s starting early and staying up late. Her day begins just after daybreak, when she gets up and gets dressed. No sweats or boxer shorts and t-shirts for her, she's wearing silk pajamas and pin curls. She bathes, dresses, combs out her hair and does her face. She's a modern-day Donna Reed, and she doesn't wear Donna Karan.

Home-Cooked Meals

When her family leaves for school and work, after a hot breakfast, the kitchen is cleaned, beds made, house straightened. If it's Monday, it's wash day, but whatever the day, you can bet her home is in order. The cupboards are never bare and dinner is ready when Father comes home in the evening. Meals are simple and nourishing. Breakfast and lunch are served in the kitchen, dinner is served in the dining room, and little boys tuck in their shirts before coming to the table.

Once a week, she gets her hair done and a manicure. If the budget is tight that week, she does it herself, but "going without" or cultivating "bedhead" is no more an option than wearing a jogging suit to the grocery store or going to the mailbox without lipstick.

She may be just an old-fashioned gal, or a semi-retired bombshell. She’s mastered the art of cleaning the cat box in a pencil skirt and stockings. She can sweep, mop and clean the toilet without chipping a nail or losing a bobby pin. These dames can keep house and keep the home fires burning. And really, what's sexier than a woman who can cook and doesn't mind cleaning up afterwards?

Taking Pride in Pleasing Others

These retrophiles and their mates are happily living in their own little time warps, raising their families the old-fashioned way, with good manners and knowledge of some basic social graces. Their children know who Alfred Hitchcock is and can sing Cole Porter tunes in the bath.

The little ones look up to Daniel Boone and Amelia Earhardt, and when they say the Pledge of Allegiance in the neighborhood grade school, they understand it and it means something. The kids wear plaid skirts and saddle shoes and turned-up dungarees with striped t-shirts and Beaver Cleaver caps. They say "ma'am" and "sir" and know which fork to use.

I know, it all sounds so nice, so perfect. Well, it is nice. Maybe it isn't perfect for everyone, but for a few of us, it's heaven. We were born too late. We live in that fabulous era of the mid-20th Century, when we'd just won The War and the whole country was overflowing with optimism about things to come. Good had triumphed over Evil, just as it should, and all was right with the world. The guys in White Hats would keep on winning and we'd all be safe from those guys in the Black Hats. It was as simple as that. The Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. What could be more wholesome?

The Retro Housewife's Office

It just so happens that we don't think all things referred to as "progress" really are moving us forward. And it isn't just about the clothing that kids are wearing today (or, more accurately, not wearing these days). Looking at style trends is a good barometer for where we are as a society. When it just doesn’t matter to you how you look when you leave the house, it probably doesn't matter to you how you do your job. It probably doesn't matter to you how you drive or how you keep your lawn or anything else. If you can't take pride in yourself, then what can you take pride in?

For the modern retro housewife, our lifestyle is a show of respect—respect for ourselves and others. Housewives dress each morning just as if they're going to an outside job because keeping house and caring for their families is a job. It's a serious job and we respect that work. We show that respect by not showing up for work wearing velour sweats and un-brushed hair. (And for the record, flip-flops are not shoes, just in case you're on the fence about that one.)

Modern Conveniences

Sure, we take advantage of some modern conveniences: good dishwashers, advancements in vacuum cleaners, a good TV to watch those films noirs. A big refrigerator with water in the door definitely saves steps, and I can't live without my garbage disposal. I also really like the coffee maker…but I have a percolator and I know how to use it. We have cell phones and pink princess phones. We have CD players and Victrolas. We have new cars and old cars. We have DVDs of our favorite classics, because we like to preserve what's important to us.

Living this way every day is a real commitment. We have to mean it, because we are outnumbered exponentially and sometimes it feels like Us or Them, especially when we're trying to teach our children some values and morals. You know, simple things, like buy pants that fit and no one else wants to see your underwear.

Going to the grocery store is better at the local market, not the big chains, since most of the customers are dressed like I am. Granted, most of them are in their dotage, but they don't look at me like I'm wearing a costume. (It's easier in a bigger city, too, when you're likely to just be considered "eccentric", and since I live in the same town as John Waters, I figure I'm OK.)
'Granny Chic'?

If you've seen the August and September issues of Vogue magazine, you'll know that I am at the height of couture fashion this season. "Granny Chic" as it's called, is all the rage. (This outraged me and some of my friends at first, because all the "good stuff" we’ve loved all our lives is going to be outrageously priced and hard to find.)

Looking like I care what is going on at Fashion Week is anathema. I don't want to be trendy. I don't believe in trendy. The upside (my fellow retrophiles decided) is that in a few months, all those designer retro suits are going to be in the thrift stores and all over eBay. We can wait.

You know, the whole thing really comes down to how you want to live and what you want out of living. Frank Sinatra said, "You only live once, but if you live like me, once is enough." We believe that, in theory, though most of us can't live like the Chairman of the Board. Mostly, we try to live like we mean it, like it matters, not like we're just killing time or getting through one thing and onto the next. Every day matters when you live simply and honestly and know what's important to you. We look at our children and we're proud of them. When we're old, we can look back at our lives and be proud also—proud that we were modern retro housewives.


New Planner

Here is this years cover for my Home Management Binder. It's a bit "pretty" this year. I have really taken to dusty pinks and greens at the moment.

One of the things I love about the New Year is when you take some time to get on top of everything. You finally get to do the jobs that you have been putting off, you know the ones - where you just hang on until the end of the year passes and then you can finally breath out and start afresh.

Harnessing Old Wisdom for a Fulfilling Modern Life

If you have been around here for a while, you know that I love to look to the old ways to find wisdom to apply to a modern world.   I ...