Laissez-Faire Homemaking Will Rock Your (and his] World.

Laissez-faire, to let be, to let things take their own course.

It’s often applied to larger scale orders, like government policies. But it also makes some sense in the context of smaller orders, like family and home order.

In essence, however much the breadwinner is the owner of the house and the captain of the relationship, the homemaker is the manager of the home. And many homemakers become proper little tyrants, more often than not unintentionally. We’ll call them Domestic Dictators.

The characteristic befliefs and behaviours of a Domestic Dictator are:

  • there is a specific way to do everything which is the only valid way
  • perfect order, artistic beauty and spotlessness are requirements to make a home for the family
  • efficiency in maintaining order will make everyong happy
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it wasn’t worth doing
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it needs redoing from scratch
  • everyone wants and needs everything to be perfect
  • falling short of the ideal mark is equal to failure
  • if nobody else can do something perfectly, the homemaker must do everything
  • if someone is given a task they have to do it just as the homemaker would
  • disciplining someone for falling short of domestic expectations is appropriate
  • nobody needs praise or reward for meeting domestic expectations

This puts a lot of pressure on the home and the relationships within it, even though the Domestic Dictator does not see the source of the pressure and often believes what they are doing is beneficial to everyone under the roof! In the Domestic Dictator’s eyes, getting angry about the way the laundry was put out is justified because they believe that it needs to be hung a certain way to dry, that this drying method benefits everyone, and therefore that they need to “fix” the job someone else did. They believe that feeling anger is natural because time and energy was wasted and they believe that redoing the task is justified because their way is the only way that works. But what they neglect is that efficiency does not mean harmony, and that doing and redoing tasks is not efficiency either! Fretting over the perfect home can drive a family apart. And the cure to that mentality is laissez-faire homemaking.

Laissez-faire homemaking takes a different mentality. The beliefs and behaviours of a Laissez-Faire Homemaker are:

  • if something works, then it was done well
  • perfect order, artistic beauty and spotlessness are nice, but tidiness, prettiness and cleanliness are good targets
  • efficiency in maintaining order can be stressful
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, at least it was done
  • if a job isn’t done perfectly, it can be left for now
  • nobody else wants and needs everything to be perfect
  • falling short of the ideal mark is a far cry from failure
  • if things need to be delegated, the homemaker can let perfection slide
  • if someone is given a task then the homemaker embraces their hard work
  • disciplining someone for falling short of domestic expectations is abusive
  • everyone deserves praise or reward for meeting domestic expectations

The Laissez-Faire Homemaker takes a much more relaxed approach, taking pleasure in order without needing to force perfection on everyone. If the dishes are not properly cleaned the Laissez-Faire Homemaker may need to redo them and explain the situation, but if the laundry is hung out slightly differently to usual there is no need to tell the helper off or to redo the work from scratch. The Laissez-Faire Homemaker doesn’t only act like this, but internalizes the messages and embraces a more relaxed set of beliefs around homemaking, feeling calm and collected at the end of the day and doing their best not to let little annoyances get the better of them.

Some of my favourite laissez-faire homemaking mantras are:

1: “It doesn’t matter.”

Every time I feel annoyed about anything that has happened or been done which interferes with my plans, that’s the first thing I move to tell the other person. Often it’s hard, but fortunately with Jon it comes easily. Only once have I had to tell him “I want to say it doesn’t matter, but it kind of does.” Once in five years has my annoyance ultimately mattered. So remind yourself of it, and say it to your loved ones: “It doesn’t matter.”

2: “You can  have whatever you want.”

Food is a big source of arguments and I really can’t see why. Between women playing 20 questions about dinner venues and men not really being aware of what’s in the fridge, many couples argue over meal planning. What I do is simpler: I look at what we have, suggest two or three meals and Jon picks. And if he wants something else? Then he can have it. As long as we have it in the house or he’s willing to go out and get the ingredients, he can have whatever he wants. Leftovers can be reheated. Meals can be frozen. Ingredients can be repurposed. What matters is that everyone is fed and happy.

3: “There is always tomorrow.”

Some days the setbacks just pile up. My schedule is very tight most days: work, housework and downtime are all calculated into the day methodically. So if something takes too long or gets in the way, I can miss things. On Tuesday I missed several opportunities to write due to endless phone calls. On Friday we were out a lot and I couldn’t do the cleaning. So instead I did the cleaning and my extra work on Saturday. Sometimes things can wait, so prioritize, reschedule and calm down. There’s always tomorrow.

4: “Once done is good enough.”

When Jon does the dishes the stacking is almost always completely different from how I would do it. When he hangs the laundry out it’s wherever. When he makes dinner it is often simple, fast and may not fit my macros. But considering that he only does these things when I am too busy earning money, doing another job or having a minor meltdown, it would be cruel to complain he isn’t me, and stupid to redo it in the time I don’t have. Once done is good enough.

5: “What’s done is done.”

Sometimes your annoyance does matter. Sometimes work is an absolute mess, needs immediately redoing from scratch, never doing like that again, has completely thrown your schedule and the person needs to know. But, again, making it into a massive blow-out has no point. Take them aside, explain the problem, pour your energy into fixing it. But what’s done is done. You can’t undo their mistake with anger. So let it go.

If you are more of a Domestic Dictator, this approach may seem confusing, even lazy. But it works. You may wonder how people can be happy if a stew was made and all everyone wants to eat is eggs and waffles. You may wonder how a homemaker can settle for an improperly loaded dishwasher. You may wonder how a house can run if everything is not exactly to plan. But it still works.

There is happiness in harmony, and laissez-faire homemaking puts harmony first, allowing happiness to bloom.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
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How To… sit back and chill.

  1. Relax. Think of something nice.
  2. No, the turkey won’t be done after 30 minutes, just leave it.
  3. Phone calls. Breathe deep.
  4. Yes, you remembered to send everyone cards. If someone didn’t get one, insist it was lost in the post.
  5. No, the turkey still isn’t done.
  6. Write a schedule.
  7. Realize there’s no way that schedule is working now that other people are involved.
  8. Try and sit down for another five minutes.
  9. Tell someone not to look for or open their present yet.
  10. Pour yourself something to drink.
  11. Go and check on the turkey. Baste, feel proud.
  12. Fiddle with the decorations before guests arrive.
  13. Make sure the puddings are chilled or frozen well and that the snacks are laid out just so.
  14. Remember your drink.
  15. Light a scented candle to get rid of the strange smell in the entry (why is it the only place that doesn’t smell quite right?).
  16. Chase the dog/cat/child away from the ornaments again.
  17. Fetch your partner a drink. Try and drink yours.
  18. Panic over the roast vegetables and turkey again.
  19. Start making the pie to calm your nerves.
  20. Sit down for a few seconds. The turkey needs more basting.
  21. Put on some jolly music.
  22. Have the second sip of your drink.
  23. Get caught dancing to the jolly music by your recently-arrived guests.
  24. Continue making pie in silent shame.
  25. Will nobody else serve?
  26. Manage to convince someone else to serve.
  27. Say grace as nobody else wants to.
  28. Vow to opt-out for the next two hours.
  29. Find it impossible to relax and keep serving people, checking on the pie and humming along to the music.
  30. Shoo the dog/cat/child away from the very, very, very hot pie.
  31. Serve pudding. Feel proud.
  32. Clean up the awful mess that seems to have spontaneously appeared between bringing out pudding two and pudding three. (Nobody else knows how it got there.)
  33. Let everyone open ONE present.
  34. Now everyone is fed and watching TV, you can relax as it sort of feels like your work is done. It’s a satisfying feeling.
  35. And the dog/cat/child is in the tree. Oh dear…

Can’t win, but it’s all in good fun!

Merry Christmas!

10 Reasons You’re Told To Avoid Unmonetized Work.

Many people are unhappy to do unmonetized work. And that’s fine. It’s your choice to only do work you’re paid for and to pay others to do your unpaid work. But some people definitely get defensive and even hostile when you mention your own decision to do unmonetized work.

Whether you’re a home-maker or a community gardener, whether you’re making your own bread or building your own furniture, someone always emerges with a critical eye. Often they just feel the need to counter your points with comments about how they couldn’t possibly do unmonetized work. But sometimes when you defend your choices the critics become hostile. It becomes clear that they’re for some reason unhappy with the fact you’re doing something for yourself.

Which, on the surface, isn’t very sensible. After all, if you don’t care when they hire a gardener or buy a pie, why should they care when you trim the hedge or bake a pie?

Well here are ten reasons why various types of person may feel insulted, cheated or ostracized by your choice to be self-sufficient.

1: Greed.

The biggest one is a personal demon.

Some people are simply too greedy to do anything for free. They can’t see why anyone would or should do anything for free.

These people, deep down, see some benefits from self-sufficiency and know they have some time to put into unmonetized work. But they don’t want to.

And when they see someone work for free, it touches on a negative aspect of their own mentality. So they have to make you doubt yourself, make you admit that for them it would be impossible, anything to justify their own greed.

2: Import, value and sales taxes.

Governments have a vested interest in you not making anything on your own. When you start with simple goods the tax you pay on them is minimal. The real tax money is in luxuries.

When you make your own wine from foraged fruits, the government has no tax power over your drinks, they make no money on them. They would much rather you bought a bottle of wine at the store.

3: Power thirst.

Some people have an amount of control over you through the services they offer.

If the person presenting the critique is asking you to hire them, offering their services for cheap or for free, anything to stop you from doing the job yourself… then they enjoy having power over you.

4: Rat race.

For many everyday people, the concept of the rat race is a sort of comfort. The idea that everyone from the bottom to the top of the 99% is trapped. Nobody has a choice. Taxes are inevitable. You have no way out, even past retirement.

It can trigger a sort of envy and anxiety for some when they see that you can do your own work for free and cut costs that way.

5: Neediness and loneliness.

Similar to the power-hungry, the needy and lonely fear losing you. But they aren’t trying to manipulate you or control you. They simply fear that by changing your habits you are adopting a culture that’s too different to theirs.

These people want reassurance that they will be a part of your life even if you stop shopping for clothes and spend your evenings baking pies.

6: Products to sell.

Obviously, anyone with a finished product to sell doesn’t want you to make your own.

If someone is telling you about the dangers of home-canning or gardening, trying to dissuade you from cooking from scratch or ironing at home, then ask yourself whether they are selling the product you were trying to make.

7: Income taxes.

Of course, another way the government benefits from monetized work is income tax. When you earn money, you pay taxes on it. When you use that money to hire someone, they pay taxes on it. But if you do the work yourself then to tax money is paid on it.

8: Retirement.

Some friends and family may have concern for you if you choose to do unmonetized work. Whether it’s your only work or you also have another job, the fact that you’re dedicating hours to work that doesn’t involve money can make some people concerned for your retirement plans.

Sometimes this comes from a selfish place: they do not want to care for you. But often it just comes from confusion and concern.

9: Welfare.

If you’re doing unmonetized work then welfare becomes a hot topic.

On the one hand, if you’re not on welfare some people come to believe you are entitled to it and believe welfare would be a better option than self-sufficiency.

On the other hand, if you receive any welfare at all, other people will insist that you should spend your time working for money instead.

10: Crab bucket.

Ultimately, if you do unmonetized work you can’t be doing anything right.

We live in a culture where we are encouraged to use and consume, to earn and to spend. By stepping out of the money cycle in any aspect of your life you are defying our culture, our society.

And nobody wants their friends, their subordinates, their family or their coworkers to belong to a different society than them. Be it because of their job, their ideology or their personal demons, there are many crabs in the bucket that want to pull you back.

It’s up to you to decide what you will do.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Embrace Your Inner Tomboy to Be More Feminine?

Often in the West we tend to think of tomboys and feminine as a dichotomy. Either you’re a tomboy or a girly-girl. Whether you’re a child or an adult, those are your choices. If you’re lucky you can be “tomboyish” or “girlish”, rather than in one camp or another, but generally you’re stuck with those choices. Especially so in modern Western countries, but even in old Spanish texts do we find girls being called “Marimacho” (male Mary) and in Japan they call a less delicate girl “otemba” (from the Dutch for “untameable”). Whatever they used to mean and whoever they used to be assigned to, as Americanization advances, slowly these terms come to mean any woman who isn’t girly enough. Either you are feminine and virtuous or butch and unruly.

However, as I explored in “Should Femininity be a Primary Duty?“, femininity isn’t quite that simple. On the one hand, there does seem to be a form of pure Western femininity.

So femininity, in terms of dress, is “somewhere between pretty and beautiful”. I’d say that summary applies to most other aspects of femininity also. Not girlish, but not boyish. Mature, but not sexy. Well-kept, but not overdone. Attractive, delicate, coquette, coy, friendly, open, reserved and polite. Somewhere between a girl and a woman, miles away from a whore or a man.

I’d say that makes good sense, wouldn’t you?

When we look at images of conventionally feminine women, we see skirts and dresses from just above the knee downwards, maybe slightly higher if it’s obviously warm or she’s on a beach. We see long, well-groomed hair and long-ish, well-groomed nails. We see a splash of make-up; not attention-seeking, but pleasing to the eye. We see women who stand with their backs straight and their shoulders back, their chins not too high in the air, their hips and busts not tilted alluringly, no slouch; just a graceful, unabashed, non aggressive woman. We see women who write, who sew, who clean, who care, who cook and talk. We see mothers, secretaries, teachers, nurses and cooks. Examples abound in the pictures I have inserted between these paragraphs. That is what feminine looks like. That is what feminine is. If you seek to be purely, wholly feminine, be everything described, everything portrayed and nothing else.

But this femininity, whilst superficially perfect, is still incomplete. If you strive to be feminine, then you need to also strive for more. A porcelain doll, a Disney princess or a Stepford wife is perfectly feminine. But that sort of femininity is also empty. Porcelain dolls are fragile and purposeless, Disney princesses are infantile, Stepford wives are inhuman and loveless. Which is where the tomboy comes in. You see, tomboys are not, as is often and increasingly assumed, gender-challenging, masculine girl-beasts. A tomboy can be anything from butch to just a girl who’s a little rough around the edges, and the latter is more common than the former. Tomboys are still part of the spectrum of femininity and whilst a butch or masculine girl could learn a lot from porcelain dolls and princesses, princesses could also learn a lot from tomboys.

So what are the benefits of being a tomboy?

Well, the first one is physical and mental resilience. Tomboys grew up falling out of trees, almost drowning, getting bitten by animals and other children, being shoved around by larger, stronger boys, practicing martial arts. Tomboys grew up being called ugly or butch, being insulted for neglecting fashion and celebrity drama, being teased and sworn at by the boys they spent the day with. Everyone eventually builds up some resilience to life as they grow up, but a tomboy specifically builds up that physical toughness, pain endurance, internal fortitude and emotional coolness that so many dramatic princesses could use once in a while.

Secondly, all this rough and tumble has an effect on your body. If you love looking good, having curves and leanness and good skin and lustrous hair, then you may be surprised to know that under the dungarees, dusty hair and makeup-less face, the tomboy has it in spades. Humans are meant to be physically active. Otherwise in the wild we would starve or be eaten, die of cold or drown. We need endurance, muscle and lightness. So it’s not really surprising that the sort of figure we find most attractive in a woman, be we male or female, straight or gay, is a lean one with a bit of muscle for shape and a bit of fat for health. To boot, keeping active and healthy encourages the rest of your body to follow suit, leading to clearer skin, better hair and nails and brighter eyes. In short, playing football, going hiking, gardening or lifting weights is making tomboys primally sexy.

And you best start lifting weights, playing sports, taking apart engines or climbing trees, because all this love of or indifference to mess is beneficial in and of itself. If you plan to be kept by a man, then you need to add something more to the table than what he can get from a doll. If you plan to keep yourself, then you need to be ready to keep your own home and pull your weight at work. Whatever you do, some strength in the face of mud, rain, bleach, drool, dust, paint, oven cleaner, polish, ink, etc will improve your ability to be a functional human being.

And whether you plan on being kept by a man, keeping men, dating men, being one of the guys or just surviving work, some ability to relate also helps. Whilst not everyone fits into their designated “camp Mars” or “camp Venus”, some stereotypes are there because people are clichés. Most men like some sort of sport, either watching, playing or discussing. Most women have a vague idea of some sort of sport and know more athletes’ names than they do rules to any given sport. Most men keep clean and tidy and minimalist. Most women dress up and load down with makeup, jewels, house decoration and accessories. Whilst a tomboy could still dress like a woman and learn the names of famous athletes by heart, the formative years she spent around boys have given her a healthy appreciation for the things that most men like and a deeper understanding of male conversation. The tomboy can discuss the latest scores, throw some insults around, receive some insults with good grace and stay friendly or intimate with a man in a way the princesses can’t even understand.

Finally, where a tomboy’s character can often be too brash, loud or generally rude to attract many romantic partners, when used carefully it can be a lifesaver in everyday situations. Being able to take a parking space without worrying about it, to turn down a guy’s advances loudly and clearly, to eat her meal even if she forgot her fork and its a mess, to carry her own luggage, to get an annoying coworker to shut up… Being able to do all of this makes life much easier for the tomboy and those around her. Provided she knows when to use it and when not to.

As you have probably guessed from all the qualifiers, these tomboy traits have their pros and cons compared to the feminine alternative. In fact, they are actually best combined with more feminine traits. It’s better to be a woman who can relate to men, but still mother and nurture them, than to be a woman who is unreleable to men or who is harsh and masculine. It’s better to be a woman who looks after herself but is happy to get messy when it is vitally necessary, than to be a delicate doll or a scruffy, unwashed kid. However, and I hate to break this to you, but a lot of tomboys seem to naturally find that balance at some point before they hit 25. They learn to do just enough to please their partners, to get taken seriously at work and to have conversation with other women. Some may benefit from being a little more feminine, but there are far fewer tomboys without any feminine traits than there are feminine women without any tomboy traits.

And how does this balance actually work? Well, as mentioned, tomboys aren’t masculine. They’re often more a Farmer’s Wife and less a greasemonkey. Likewise, not all butch behaviours are tomboyish: some are just plain masculine. So this balance is found outside the masculine, but not quite into porcelain-doll-feminine. Expressed as a table, it would look something like this:

Soft Feminine. (Urban Wife.)

Rough Feminine. (Farmer’s Wife.)

Soft Masculine. (White Collar.)

Rough Masculine. (Blue Collar.)

Soft Feminine. (Urban Wife.)

Very feminine.

Mostly feminine.

Mostly feminine.

Sort of feminine.

Rough Feminine. (Farmer’s Wife.)

Mostly feminine.

Mostly of feminine.

Sort of feminine.

Sort of feminine.

Soft Masculine. (White Collar.)

Mostly feminine.

Sort of feminine.

Sort of feminine.

Not feminine.

Rough Masculine. (Blue Collar.)

Sort of feminine.

Sort of feminine.

Not feminine.

Not feminine.

Soft Feminine is dominant makeup, dress up, nurturing, pleasantness, very light activity and cleanliness. Stereotypical princess, kept wife, precious daughter, welfare queen.

Rough Feminine is dominant cleaning, washing, playing, mothering, harshness and straight-forwardness. Stereotypical farmer’s wife, professional athlete, working class woman, SAHM.

Soft Masculine is dominant professionalism, elegance, politeness, business, cleanliness and strength. Stereotypical secretary, accountant, programmer, lab tech.

Harsh Masculine is dominant manual labour, frankness, bluntness, strength, pride and honesty. Stereotypical lorry driver, manager, warehouse worker, working with animals.

Of course, there is some overlap of traits, but those are the positives generally found in that personality. Therefore, the girly tomboys lie in the green “Mostly Feminine”. If you seek to be feminine, these are actually the sort of girls you want to emulate. The “Very Feminine” soft girls may be more superficially feminine, but are less humanly feminine, less practical as people. In some situations being very feminine may help, but generally, if you plan on being feminine, it will lead you to hurdle after hurdle. The “Sort of Feminine” girls are the sort that pass as women, but are unrelateable to many other women and unattractive to most men. These are often immature tomboys or cliché tomboys. The “Not Feminine” girls are the only group that is actually properly butch.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each group, so of course it’s up to you which you wish to be. But if you wish to be feminine, confusingly, you actually reap more of the rewards of femininity if you add a touch of tomboy and try and keep in the green zones.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

And you? What are your goals in terms of femininity? What do you expect to get out of them? Where would you put yourself on the scale?

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

“So what is it you do all day?”

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

See Also:

Elspeth’s Week in the Life of a Suburban Housewife.

A Week in the Life of Hearthie.

Introduction.

Inspired by LGR’s extract from “A Lesser Life” and Elspeth’s counterpoint, I decided to actually document what I do over the course of two weeks. Now, I am under no illusions that I work more hours than Jon or that my work is harder. He is by far making the greater sacrifice to keep us in this house and guarantee our happiness. However, I don’t believe I spend all day messing around online either. I predict that this will show that either online time or art time is a bit excessive, if not both, but I am hoping it will be a realistic illustration into the life of a woman who works hard at home to improve the couple’s financial situation, leisure time and independence.

End of Fortnight Review.

[Seeing as the records below are a bit too much to expect anyone with a half-lively mind to read, I’d recommend at least going through one day so that this will make sense.]

So, as predicted I do actually spend most of the day on chores. I don’t whiz through the housework by half eight or nine and sit around blogging all day. But why is it that I kept so busy?

  1. Of course, my main tasks aren’t many more than a 50s housewife’s. And, having no children, they are lessened and made easier. But the more personal jobs and the little jobs around the sides really do add up. Every child, pet and square foot of garden, for example, mean something that needs attending to at least once per day. Having no children means that all I have is the garden and the pets. But that’s still time.
  2. Seeing as Jon is the main earner and has other things to do when he gets home, that means cooking and buying food in fall on me. Shopping economically, foraging, preserving and cooking all take a reasonable amount of time.
  3. Then we have the secretarial tasks. Even without my work, there would still be emails to send, eBay sales to manage, phonecalls to make and research to do. Things Jon doesn’t have the time or means to do when he’s at work. We also have the tasks that just build up, or happen. Tidying is a day-long job, especially  when many other tasks are being done or when it’s more than just yourself in the house. Cooked lunch? Time to tidy. Child/pet emptied a laundry hamper? Time to tidy. Lessons ended? Time to tidy. Putting things back in their right places keeps a house neat and comfortable and saves a whole weekend of organizing, but it does add up over the day. It’s like you’re playing a continual game of tug-o-war against mess and dirt, where letting your guard down for a day or so loses you a disproportionate amount of ground.
  4. And finally, the work doesn’t really end in the morning, or at lunch, or when we go to work or when hubby gets home. It only truly ends when we go to bed or go to sleep.

However none of this is bad. We seem to associate chores with the stress and pain of being forced to do them as a child, or having to do them after a long day of work, but these are not punishments: they’re jobs that need doing. There’s a reason that suffragette housewives going on strike actually had an effect. When the children aren’t dressed or fed properly, when they miss school or don’t do their homework, that’s abuse. When the house is dirty, moldy and damp, that’s unhygienic. When everything is out of place, that’s stressful. When the animals aren’t properly cared for, that’s cruelty. When the garden grows wild that’s a waste. Your house is where you recharge your batteries after a stressful day, hide from people and things you don’t want to see, raise your children, keep your more precious belongings. All this is what makes it a home to most people. A house in disarray provides no shelter or comfort. And maybe when it’s just the one person you can keep on top of the basics so that it’s at least accommodating after a day at work. But the more you add to a house the more needs taking care of, especially when you add more people. When you want a large home, an attractive garden, good meals, many children, dinner parties and plenty of spare time after work to relax and recharge for the next day, someone needs to keep everything tidy, every room clean, every living being fed and happy, so that everyone else can relax. When there are no housewives, everyone must pull more weight than before, either to pay for someone to do their work or to do their jobs in their own free time.

Of course, it sounds like the fairer option, but it’s arguably the least economically wise. When first thing after coming home you must do the laundry, set the table and feed the cat, you look forward to your home less and less, regardless of whether you’re a CEO or a schoolchild. People are less motivated to do well in their more stressful endeavors when they come home to even more stress. When you hire a nanny, a housekeeper and a gardener and eat out all the time you are costing yourself money, no matter how many extra hours you put in to pay for it. When the house degrades there is nothing pleasant to come home to, so the household dynamics degrade also and everyone spends more time outside the house, making almost everything under the roof unnecessary.

So a good housewife is neither a lazy parasite taking in someone’s hard-earned cash and playing bridge all day, nor an underpaid, overworked maid. A housewife is simply a different beast entirely to an employed or unemployed person. A housewife has more free time between 8 and 5 than an office-worker, but does by far more hours of work than someone who is unemployed. The work-day starts when the eyes open and ends when they close, but is nicely divided up with coffee-breaks, TV shows and bonding time with a healthy, happy family. Of course, a housewife’s work is not directly moneyed, however it can encourage the earners to put in more hours, not take days off for secretarial work and finish their work in good time, which results in more household money, which earns her keep. The results are similar to those of being employed in a well-paid job. A businessperson may earn a lot of money, but spend a large portion of it on house maintenance, travel, meals out, nannies and daycare with a comfortable remainder for leisure. The housewife earns the remainder by proxy, through the extra work the earner can put in, has all the jobs done and saves the money that would have been spent on labour. The only missing variable is tax. Likewise, a housewife’s work is not a back-breaking, dull job nobody would ever enjoy. Many people choose house maintenance, cookery, childcare, animal keeping or gardening as their moneyed jobs. Of course, housekeeping is a job that encompasses many small jobs and there are jobs that we don’t like, but the variety is welcome and every form of work has jobs you would rather not do. Housekeeping is just another job in most ways: you earn your quality of life, you are free to leave and find another job, you can fit in a second job, there are parts you like and dislike, you have work time and downtime. In fact, as a tutor working from home, it’s very similar to being self-employed: you work your own hours, your breaks are longer, you may work two or ten hours a day, you may have a quiet week or a busy one and finally, you’re completely at the mercy of your own prior choices, of other humans with no obligation to pay you, of sheer chance. But many people will likely view the tutoring work as a more noble and valuable pursuit than the housework. And the main reason is that the tutoring provides cold, hard cash. Even if it provides less for me, I am helping strangers to meet their goals for which I will receive nothing but monetary reward, where my earnings are inconsistent and dependent on people to whom it matters nothing whether or not I eat. But I guess money is more important than suck fickle things as stability, home, family, happiness or fulfillment.

My conclusion? Jon definitely does the lion’s share of the work. He puts up with a work environment he doesn’t enjoy, he can’t just cancel a week because he feels a bit unwell, he brings home the consistent and usually the largest paycheck. As such he is the master of the house, he gets more say in what happens over the weekend, he always gets asked about larger expenses before they happen and he even gets a say in whether or not I’m allowed to take time off my tutoring work. He is the financial pillar of the household and that earns him some respect. However I also work hard to pull my weight, not out of some desire to outcompete him, to balm my guilt or to feel like I’m smashing some magical social force. It’s because we’re a team. The work we do should complement each other, so as to better the quality of life shared by the household. He is our financial pillar. His time and energy is dedicated to work that means a stable income that is high enough to support us both even if I weren’t working at all. I am our leakage manager and financial bolster. My time and energy is dedicated to work that saves us money and makes some extra money on the side. Both improve our quality of life. It is not a zero-sum-game where someone wins and someone loses, but a self-regenerating cycle of brilliance: He brings home the paycheck so we can afford a large house with a garden. Having the space, I made a spare room into a classroom so I could work from home and earn us more money. As I can afford to work from home I have eliminated any travel costs and time associated with work. This means I earn more money per hour, which results in more time to invest into housework. This means Jon doesn’t have to do any housework at all. This means he has both more time to put into work and more time to put into leisure. Which means even more money for the household. Which gives me time to forage, tend to chickens, grow our own food, hunt for bargains and plan leisure time. Which allows us to live a very high quality life. We eat largely fresh meat and vegetables. We get home-baked bread, assorted fish, game, berries, nuts and cakes. We have a weights room equipped with barbells, dumbbells and stands as well as other assorted items and we make regular use of it. We have National Trust and RSPB memberships. We go to London from time to time. We have a well-kept, attractive garden that provides us with fruit, vegetables and eggs from our hens as well as a place to sit outside and enjoy a cider in the Summer. We go on long walks, we hold dinner parties, our house is nicely decorated and furnished with everything we need and desire, our wine stand is stocked as is our bookshelf. We’re planning for a child, for some job changes, for a smallholding. We further each other as well as ourselves. It’s a joint endeavour. And whilst that’s not what a housewife necessarily does, it’s what a housekeeper should do.

The Records.

Monday 15th September.

6:30- Alarm went off. Very tired from last night. Woke up, turned it off, dozed.

7:00- Got out of bed. Changed hens’ water, fed hens, opened the coop. Fed cat, put kettle on.

7:20- Returned to bed with Jon.

9:00- Woke up properly, responded to a few emails.

9:15- Blog, started writing this.

9:30- Got up, washed and dressed. Tidied house (make the bed, put away dirty and bed clothes, put some posters up, take cups downstairs, put cat toys away, take everything to its respective room, clean litter tray, put away food in pots), washed dishes, put away laundry, put new load of laundry through. Film in background (Dreamworks Short Stories and The Eye).

11:00- Sent students homework. Ate quick breakfast (2 pre-prepared hard boiled eggs, cream cheese and cucumber on home-made spiced bread) whilst working.

11:25- Prepped Jon’s supplement pillbox for the week. Changed the bins.

11:30- Making jam. Continue with film (The Eye).

12:50- Found spare car keys and WD-40 for Jon as his main set of keys got jammed in the lock. Made tea.

13:00- Heated curry for Jon’s lunch and stew for mine. Had lunch with Jon.

13:30- Continued making jam.

14:10- Ran out of jars for jam. Tidied up. Looking for more jars on eBay. Mess around online.

14:30- Hung up washed laundry. Changed hens’ bedding. Let hens range on lawn. Tidied house.
15:00- Messing around online.16:00- Checked hens. Collected peas and beans for dinner.

16:20- Checked tutoring sites for more potential students.

16:25- Started listing eBay items.

16:40- Washed dishes, sorted computer problem.

17:40- Herded hens back to coop.

17:50- Prepared dinner. Messing around online.

19:00- Started weights with Jon.

20:00- Put hens to bed. Had dinner. Watched TV with Jon.

22:30- Went to bed.

Tuesday 16th September.

7:00- Got up. Fed hens and cat. Cleaned litter-tray. Got breakfast ready and put kettle on.

7:10- Had breakfast.

7:45- Let hens out into garden. Saw Jon off. Showered. Cleaned bathroom.

8:05- Tidied bedroom, moved everything to its respective place, washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen surfaces. (Film: Dark Skies.)

9:00- Made stew, messing around online.

9:35- Blogged.

10:30- Tidied the garden.

12:30- Finished stew, blogged, made shopping list.

12:50- Made tea, had lunch.

13:30- Headed into town to do shopping, banking, etc. Gathered hazelnuts on the walk home.

17:25- Got home. Tidied the shopping away. Put the hens in the run.

17:45- Made jam.

19:30- Watching TV with Jon.

20:00- Made dinner. Started shelling hazelnuts.

22:00- To bed.

Wednesday 17th September.

7:00- Got up. Fed hens, fed cat, cleaned litter-tray, had breakfast, let hens out.

8:00- Relaxed a little.

9:00- Got dressed. Tidied laundry away. Tidied everything back into its place.

9:50- Working out lunch recipes.

10:10- Shelling hazelnuts.

11:00- Preparing lunch.

12:00- Lunch in oven, shelling hazelnuts.

12:50- Had lunch.

13:30- Shelling hazelnuts.

14:30- Messing around online.

15:00- Tidying kitchen and washing plates.

15:45- DIY jobs.

16:30- Blogging.

17:25- Put hens into coop, open gate.

17:30- Shave legs, tend to nails. Film in bg (Wilderness).

18:15- Walk dogs, collect pears.

19:00- Weights with Jon. Put hens to bed.

20:15- Dinner.

21:00- Relaxing.

22:30- Bedtime.

Thursday 18th September.

7:00- Woke up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray.

7:20- Back to bed. DOMS.

10:00- Got up. Washed patio, let hens out, washed dishes, tidied bedroom.

10:40- Blogging, making list of tasks.

11:10- Breakfast.

11:30- Making bread, pie, roasting hazelnuts.

12:50- Made lunch for Jon. Watched TV.

13:30- Tidying up after lunch.

14:00- Started chutney.

14:30- Tidied garden, put out bins.

14:45- Messing around online.

16:00- Finishing legs and nails.

17:00- Tidied beauty bag away, looking for pullets.

17:25- Tidied kitchen some more.

17:50- Put hens to bed.

18:00- Showered, made fish stew.

18:30- Messing around online.

19:00- Skype Dad.

20:00- Watch TV.

22:00- Bed.

Friday 19th September.

7:00- Got up, fed cat, cleaned litter tray. Got dressed.

7:30- Fed hens, let them out.

7:45- Prepared classroom.

8:10- Sorted emails, blog.

8:30- Lesson started.

10:30- Lesson ended. Coffee break.

10:45- Next lesson started.

11:30- Lesson ended.

11:45- Cleaning kitchen, washing dishes.

12:15- Messing around online.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Messing around online.

14:30- Emails.

15:00- Lesson starts.

17:00- Lesson ends. Tidying up classroom.

17:30- Feed cat. Have tea. Make shopping list.

18:00- Go shopping.

18:45- Walk dogs.

19:00- Mess around online.

20:00- Dinner.

21:00- Put cat and hens to bed. Watch TV,

22:00- Bed.

Saturday 20th September.

6:30- Get up, feed cat, feed hens, let hens out, clean litter tray. Back to bed.

9:15- Get up and dressed.

9:30- Prepare lesson.

10:00- Lesson starts.

12:00- Lesson ended. Tidying classroom.

12:15- Make and have a sandwich.

12:30- Go to post a letter with Jon.

13:00- Blogging.

13:25- Tidy kitchen, start stew and chutney.

13:40- Blogging.

14:30- Weights with Jon.

16:00- Emails and homework. Lesson plans.

18:30- Walk dogs.

19:00- Messing around online.

20:00- Made chutney. Tidied kitchen.

21:00- Blogging. Messing around online.

21:50- Tidying kitchen and living room, photographing selling things for eBay.

22:30- To bed.

Sunday 21st September:

7:15- Got up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray, put kettle on, put rubbish out, let hens into garden.

7:45- Back to bed.

9:00- Got up, got dressed, tidied bedroom, made Jon breakfast, had tea.

10:00- Went shopping and foraging.

12:30- Got home, unpacked, tidying kitchen.

13:30- Shelling hazelnuts.

14:30- Make Jon lunch. Shelling hazelnuts.

15:15- Messing around online.

15:30- Hoovering, laundry.

16:35- Put up sign on gate.

16:55- Making Jon tea, weights.

17:30- Dinner at Pat’s.

19:10- Home, drinks and a film.

21:00- Make tea, put the cat to bed.

22:00- Bed, drinks, TV.

Monday 22nd September:

6:45- Got up, started breakfast, fed cat and hens.

7:15- Sat with Jon.

8:00- Emails, eBay, messing around online.

9:00- Got dressed, tidied house.

9:20- Put laundry out.

9:30- Washed dishes, tidied kitchen.

9:50- Prepared lesson.

10:00- Lesson.

12:00- Lesson ended, tidied up.

12:10- Made lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Let hens out.

13:35- Getting changed. Tidied kitchen, did dishes.

14:10- Messing around online.

14:30- Change chicken coop.

15:00- Go to town. Drs, shop, hazelnuts.

18:00- Home. Made stew.

19:00- Shelling hazelnuts.

20:30- Had dinner. Messed around online.

21:20- To bed.

Tuesday 21st September.

7:00- Got up, fed cat and hens, showered, back to bed.

9:45- Got up and dressed, let hens into garden, collected herbs.

10:00- Baking.

12:00- Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Preparing for lessons.

14:00- Lessons.

18:00- Lessons over. Tidying classroom, sending homework. Fed cat.

19:00- Cooking.

19:30- Relaxing evening with Jon.

22:30- To bed.

Wednesday 24th September.

7:15- Got up, fed hens, fed cat, sorted breakfast and teas.

7:45- Prepared for lessons.

8:30- Lessons.

11:30- Lessons over. Sent homework, making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Planning next lesson. Blogging.

14:00- Lesson starts.

15:30- Lesson ends. Tidying classroom, sending homework, checking eBay.

16:00- Doing some research for Jon.

16:45- Relaxing, painting. Watching Goosebumps.

17:30- Make tea. Sit with Jon.

18:30- Painting. Watching Goosebumps.

20:00- Making dinner. Eating dinner.

22:00- Bed.

Thursday 25th September.

7:05- Fed cat, fed hens, put kettle on, made breakfast.

7:45- Got dressed, did laundry. Watching Goosebumps.

8:25- Did dishes, tidied kitchen, sorted emails.

9:15- Painting, watching Goosebumps.

10:30- Tidying, cooking.

11:47- Blogging, phone calls, cooking.

12:20- Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Preparing for lessons.

14:00- Lessons start.

17:45- Lessons end.

18:00- Blogging.

18:40- Laundry.

19:00- Relaxing, watching TV, blogging.

20:05- Heating dinner.

21:00- Attending to hens.

22:00- To bed.

23:00- Shower. Back to bed.

Friday 26th September.

6:45- Got up, fed hens, let hens out, treated injured hen, fed cat.

7:05- Packed Jon’s bag. Having coffee with Jon.

7:45- Let the car out. Blogging.

8:00- Messing around online.

9:00- Depressive peak. Forced crying so as to get it out of the way before work.

9:35- Preparing for lessons.

10:05- Lesson starts.

12:00- Lesson ended. Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Relaxing, messing around online.

14:00- Preparing for next lessons.

14:15- Lessons start.

17:10- Lessons over. Tidying up.

17:20- Put hens in coop, fed cat, prepared for shopping.

18:00- Shopping.

19:10- Weights with Jon.

20:30- Making tea and dinner.

21:00- Dinner.

22:00- Drinks, TV.

23:00- To bed.

Saturday 27th September.

7:55- Got up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray.

8:15- Measured Jon for weights records.

8:45: Got dressed, having breakfast and coffee.

9:15- Tidying house, did dishes, ready to go out.

9:55- Blogging.

10:20- Headed out to Derby. Opticians, shops, market.

13:45- Home. Unpacked, cooking food.

14:00- Had lunch. Tidied.

14:20- Blogging. TV.

16:00- Tidying kitchen, bins.

16:45- Sitting in with Jon’s weights..

17:30- Tidying house. Preparing for lesson.

18:00- Setting up. Watching TV.

19:00- Lesson started.

20:00- Lesson ended. Tidying up, emails, helped Jon with a form.

21:00- Made dinner. Had dinner with Jon.

22:00- To bed, watching TV

00:00- Very late night.

Sunday 28th September.

7:00- Got up, fed hens, checked injured hen (healing well), closed garden, let hens out.

7:15- Back to bed.

10:30- Got up showered.

11:00- Tidied, made breakfast.

12:00- Cleaned kitchen, did dishes.

12:20- Emails, student hunting, homework.

12:50- Getting ready to go out.

13:00- Setting off to Carsington Waters.

15:40- Home, unpacking shopping.

15:45- Making stew.

16:00- Blogging, relaxing, messing around online.

16:35- Making stew, having coffee and watching TV.

17:00- To Pat’s for dinner and dogs.

19:00- Home. Cleaning bathroom, finishing stew.

20:00- Sorting laundry, packing eBay sales, sending emails.

21:00- Read, watched TV.

22:00- To bed.