Thursday, June 19, 2008

Those days with "nothing to do"

Usually, when people ask, "what on earth does a woman - especially with no children - do at home all day long?", the answer is pretty much obvious. Even though the typical homemaker's day isn't as hectic-paced as it is considered "normal" in our crazy modern world (who would want it to be, anyway?), her hours are usually filled with organizing her home, cleaning, laundry, cooking, baking, scheduling, menu planning, shopping, running errands for her family and a myriad chores that pop up.

The opportunity to do all that needs to be done during the day leaves the evening free for relaxed, unhurried time spent together with our dear husbands, who need it more than anything when they come home from work.

Usually, I'm busy during the day with my routine works. However, yesterday was one of those rare days when laundry was caught up, cleaning was done as well, and there were plenty of leftovers so I didn't have to cook either. So what was I to do, after a quick pick-up around the house and washing the dishes from last night?

First, I took my homemaking journal and opened it at the back section: less-than-urgent things I have been planning to do for a long time, but never had the chance to approach. One of them was sorting through all our papers - old bills, old magazines, ads we received by mail, newsletters etc. It took a long time, because I haven't done that in a while, and I ended up throwing a large pile of junk. I also found a few unopened letters we have been looking for, and couldn't find because they were buried in a mess of papers.

After having lunch, I gladly took up the opportunity to settle down on the couch with my needlework for the rest of the afternoon. I'm currently teaching myself how to sew, and since we don't have a sewing machine yet, I'm practising hand-stitches in the meantime. I also made progress on my knitting, crochet and cross-stitch projects that I had abandoned for a while. I'm good at beginning projects but it takes me a long, long time to complete them. I'm looking forward to having a photo of one of my completed creations to share, as simple as they might be compared to what some of you are doing. After all, the first time I held knitting needles in my hands was when I was about 20 or so.

Today I have many more pressing things on schedule. I have to plan Shabbat's menu and compile a shopping list, and preferably cook something for Shabbat today already. I also have some baking to do, my husband's shirts to iron, and some cleaning. My husband went out to work about 20 minutes ago, and I decided to pop in for a quick hello before beginning today's chores. You have a lovely day!

20 comments:

Kim said...

Hi Anna,
I Agree with you,when you are a SAHW there is never NOTHING to do. I've just given up work and am always busy. Sometimes I wonder how I ever had time to go to work!
My friends and Employer said that I would go senile staying at home all day but I haven't (yet)!
It is so good to be able to do things at a good pace & properly rather that quickly or not at all and to spend evenings with my husband instead of ironing or cleaning etc as I used to do when I was working & David loves having his meal waiting for him when he gets home.
Like you I have a list of other jobs to do when I get caught up on everything, but it's nowhere near as long as it was when I was working.
What does your husband think of your blog? I know many people read it and find it so helpful.
Have a good day .
Shalom

Kim Hereford UK

tales_from_the_crib said...

thanks again for explaining to everyone else what on earth we could possibly do all day. Good post!

Kacie said...

I agree! I've been a homemaker for almost a year now, and really, there isn't a dull moment in the day. Sure, it's a slower pace, but after the hectic schedule I maintained during college, this is welcome!

We're expecting our first baby this December (yay!) and I am so thankful that I have this time now to prepare.

I've been able to get my home better organized and learn new skills.

Plus, this first trimester has worn me out! It's great that I can take a quick nap any time I need.

Ewokgirl said...

Ah, yes. I remember that "What do you do all day?!" question from back when I first became a SAHW (9 years ago!). It was usually asked with a snarky tone, which would raise my hackles.

I've never understood that question. There's always something to do in the home! Whether it's the typical cleaning and cooking or just working on hobbies, there's always something!

I'm also learning to sew. We have a ton of weddings this summer, so I'm sewing dish towels as part of bridal gifts. It's pretty easy for me as a beginner, and it will help pad some otherwise inexpensive gifts and make them look nicer. It's stuff like this that makes being a SAHW more financially feasible.

I'll also be baking some biscotti in the next couple of days to give to a friend as a birthday gift. That's something I wouldn't have time for if I worked outside the home, but again, it's something I can give as a gift but doesn't cost much besides time.

In fact, I'm kind of overwhelmed right now with projects. How can some people not find things to do at home?!

Ways of Zion said...

how nice to have some time to do those extra tasks! I am currently sewing bonnets for the 2 girls as this is the only type of hat they will keep on in the summer.

You've motivated me to get on task again!

Thanks again for a lovely post

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,
It's always a pleasure to read your blogg. I have 5 children, 10 and under and we just celebrated our 12 year anniversary. I have been decluttering and organizing for years and disciplining myself with different routines and styles as our living situations changed. God gave me a great gift of a major edition to our house. For 1 1/4 years we lived in the house as it was being added. It didn't disturb us as it was attached to the side and not on top. However, I was pregnant with #5 and we lived in our living room, 2bedrooms and a tiny bathroom for all that time. Too many details to describe but it really was the best teaching on mothering and homemaking I could have had. I really learned what was necessary and what was just clutter. Thank you for writing your blogg. It really is a source of encouragement for me. I hope to email you directly one day. for now I wouldn't want to take your time from the blogg. God bless you.

Stefanie said...

Great post! I'm so glad you are showing the example of taking quiet moments for yourself when things are caught up. Sometimes that is hard for me to do because I have trouble pausing during the weekdays sometimes.
What gets me about other's attitudes to this question/idea is when they say things that imply that you don't do anything - which in reality is the complete opposite. My day starts earlier and ends later than my husbands most days.
And don't forget all the fun and relaxation that we are able to participate in on the weekends and weekdays because the home is kept well and there is homemade food waiting in the fridge.
And last but most important, I'm not a stressed out luny bin when my husband comes home because I'm not trying to work two full time jobs in addition to his.
Keep up the good work Mrs. T! And if you ever have sewing questions let me know.

Katie said...

Hello Anna,

Thank you so much for taking time to share your days with us. I've recently gone from a rather hectic lifestyle to one of simple days and peaceful pleasures, and I've been so happy. Your blog is truly inspirational...your perspective isn't one that is common where I am, so it's nice to see that there's someone out there who isn't bored simply because she isn't overbooked.

Katie

lady jane said...

The paperwork pinnacle. Mine is quite high. sigh.

You're wise to keep a homemakers journal/notebook. I don't recall that you've shared about it before, maybe you could feature your ideas on a future post? :o)

As my sweet Lizzie approached the two-year age mark I wanted to make her a dress for her birthday. My sewing machine was a 1948 Singer with 'issues'. So, I made the dress entirely by hand. Entirely. Very small stitches. While she played with other wee ones at the park, I visited with a few sweet SAHM's and stitched. The dress turned out nicely and it now rests in her memory box. I hope she'll use the dress for her wee one should she be so blessed one day.

Have a wonderful Shabbat, MrsT. May God bless you in amazing ways.

Kelleigh said...

It's good to hear how other young married women occupy their time. My schedule sounds similar yours, some day's I am completely caught up with housework and have time to be creative!

It's preparation day for me too. I'll be preparing food and getting the house ready for Sabbath. I have grown up in a Christian faith that worships the Lord on the seventh day. Coincidently my mother visited a synagogue in Melbourne, Australia with a friend last Sabbath for the first time. The service was a Bar Mitzvah. She said she enjoyed it very much.

Have a lovely Shabbat,

Kelleigh

Herbs and Me said...

Hello!

My husband have been married for 17 years now. We were married for three years before we had children. I worked for two years than decided to quit and have our children. During those years before my daughters I ran my home just as I do now. After my daughters things were a little harder to do but now they are 14 years old and 10 and I am back to doing my sewing, housework, cooking on regular basis.

I ask you to enjoy this time with your husband and enjoy this time by yourself. Before long God will bless you with a family that will need your full attention:)

God Bless you Anna,

Renee

Blessedmama said...

Anna,
I recently found your blog and find your writing to be truly delightful and I think you have wisdom beyond your years! I have been married for 15 years and have 4 (soon to be 5!) children, and I am still learning about being a homemaker and wife and mother every single day. After our first child was born, I went back to work full time, after the 2nd came along, we decided I would stay home. I absolutely love being home to care for my family and wouldnt trade it for anything!
God bless!

H and S said...

Now that I have children, I often wonder what on earth I used to do with my time before. To my shame, the answer is that most of my time was squandered. Well done Anna, on using your time (pre-children) very wisely.

To wives without children (who are anticipating children eventually), my advice, in retrospect, would be:

1. learn to sew. Especially clothes.

2. learn to bake cakes and cookies.

3. practice and memorize 5 or 6 healthy, cheap, easy recipes. When you have a busy family, it is PRICELESS being able to throw together a big healthy meal with very little money and without having to concentrate too hard.

4. Practice sticking to routine and budget.

5. Collect useful, long-lasting items for the house, especially utilitarian furniture - then learn how to make beautiful things to decorate the home.

6. Learn how to listen to your husband, and how to enjoy life.

Thanks for your blog!!!!

Rose said...

Hello Anna,

An interesting posr as usual.

I am impressed that you are teaching yourself how to sew. I would love to sew but I have very little knowledge. Can you explain what you are doing to teach yourself?

Rose

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

While I didn't read the whole way down yet, I had to offer my thoughts thus far: when someone asks that question, they're displaying their ignorance-end of story. I don't know about your place, but I could find PLENTY to do at mine! Whether it's cleaning, washing clothes, doing dishes, or making meals for lunch, I could find plenty to do.

In the unlikely event there was nothing to do at my bachelor pad (and it LOOKS like one, so there's ALWAYS something to be done here-LOL!), I could find plenty to do with my motorcycle. When I have time, I'm sanding off surface rust on the fender's undersides (the part that faces the tire, and is thus out of view); I changed the oil last week; I could stand to give the thing a wash; plus, I need to shine up the chrome.

If I ever got done with all that, I could review some electronics for my job; review some mathematics; learn a new computer language, or review one I know; I could do lots of things. The problem is finding enough TIME & ENERGY to do them all...

So, whenever someone makes that ignorant comment, then you know that they don't have a brain. Anyone who has a brain and knows how to use it; for anyone having an imagination; there is ALWAYS plenty to do...

MarkyMark

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

When you talked about the pile of old papers, bills, etc. you went through, I just had to LAUGH! I have the same problem on my end too. However, the big thing holding me back from going through them and trashing what I can is the lack of a shredder. With identity theft being such a huge problem, I don't like to throw out anything that I haven't torn up first for obvious reasons.

Other than that, you sound like you're of like mind on this. There's ALWAYS something to do if you look for it; the problem is finding the time & energy to do it all...

MarkyMark

Lillian the Ponderer said...

Oh how I long for those days that I can get caught up with housework and have time over to do the extras. I have a few special things that I will do when that day comes including making our wedding & honeymoon scrap book, learning to knit properly (I can make scarves - very, very long ones, but nothing else). I am purposly saving these fun things till I become a stay at home wife. For now I would never have the time for it, I really don't know how anyone could think it would be possible to get bored at home, I am sure there will never be enough time to do everything - even with no children, and every day at home. You are a very wise young woman, practising the skills you will need throughout your life already now while still allowing yourself to not hurry but rather enjoy each task.

Michelle Potter said...

Anna, I am sure that when you have children you will be so grateful for this time you are spending now getting used to your household routines. When I came home I already had two children, and was extremely pregnant with the third, and no domestic training or experience whatsoever. (Hardly even the experience of being a working mom, since I only did that for a few months between adopting my oldest two and giving birth to the third.) Talk about lots of responsibility all of the sudden with no training whatsoever! I'm STILL catching up almost 7 years later!

What you are doing now is so important, and is not only a benefit to your family now but far into the future.

Persuaded said...

i think of you so often as you are beginning on your marriage journey, and am praying for you and your dear hubby:)

you have a wonderful evening as well m'dear!

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful! The idea of a homemaker having "nothing to do" is ... a bit strange, I think. Although, as a daughter-at-home, I get asked, "What do you DO all day?" I always want to reply with another question and ask, "What do I NOT do?!?" :) I love reading about your peaceful and productive days! :)