Married to the Empire

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Income 101: What Do I Do All Day?

While I don't receive the question much anymore, when I first became a SAHW, people often asked, "What do you do all day?" The question only bothered me when it was accompanied by a venomous tone, but for the honestly curious, I never really minded being asked. I realize that stay-at-home moms have a huge portion of their days simply filled by childcare, so it seems as if a woman without children wouldn't have much to do at home. That's not the case at all. For those who claim it's boring, I say they simply need to be more creative.

First, I have The Schedule. I like having specific tasks assigned to certain days. It keeps me accountable, and it gives me the structure that my personality craves.

Because I am at home, I am responsible for tasks that we might otherwise assign to outside help or pay extra for convenience. For example, in taking care of the laundry, I've found ways to extend the life of our clothes, while also trimming the electric bill. I do all of our ironing. Admittedly, I hate to iron, but if pop in a DVD and watch while I iron, it's not so bad.

When I worked, we ate out a lot. Being with students all day, then having piles of essays to grade and lessons to plan left me with little energy for making meals. Staying home has afforded me the time to get creative in the kitchen, and I've discovered that I really like to cook. I make dinner most nights, then Steven and I eat the leftovers for lunch or on the weekends. Steven's taking leftovers to work with him saves us a ton of money on his lunches, in addition to the money we save by eating dinner at home.

Other ways I save in the kitchen is to buy things in bulk or on sale, then cooking and freezing them. I've done this with such things as meats, breads, even beans. Sometimes I make large meals, then freeze half of it for later use. This especially comes in handy when I'm sick or just really tired. Buying fruits and veggies in whole form, then cutting them up myself is a huge savings, too.

Oh, and I have a little trick for making kitchen tasks always enjoyable: audio books. I turn on a book, then set about my work. I can work hours in the kitchen when I'm listening to a good book!

Having a spouse at home is helpful when it comes to repairs that have to be made. Granted, I don't do them myself, but someone has to be here to let service people in. If you've been reading here for a while, you are aware of the unbelievable number of repairs we've had to make on our house in the past several months. That would have been a lot of time off from work for us if I weren't at home!

Because I'm at home and have the time, I spend time learning. My latest stack of informational and inspirational library books:

I learn new ways to do things, new craft techniques (very handy for making gifts, home decor, and practical items!), and even the occasional do-it-yourself task. When I needed something for the dining room, I bought a cheap, ugly dresser at a thrift store, then read up on how to refinish it. For a bit of time and effort, I had a beautiful new piece of furniture. I've even taken to washing my own wool items.

Being at home also allows me to handle all errands, taking the cars in for maintenance, finances (contrary to popular belief, being at home doesn't mean the hubby hands me an allowance--I set the budget!), scheduling of appointments, taking the cats to the vet (which I've done a lot of lately since Calvin's diagnosis), cooking, cleaning, etc. As a result of all this, Steven can focus on his career, and we both can relax together in the evenings. It also frees up more of our time for being with our youth group or indulging in hobbies, such as Steven's stormtrooper stuff.

Believe me, I'm never bored or without things to do!

Next: Hobbies and Entertainment


Anonymous said...

Love this post! Your days sound a lot like mine. I always say that if you are bored at home it is your own fault. We just love this lifestyle.

I am glad to discover your blog through Crystal's. :)


Kacie said...

I'm really enjoying this series! Living on one income doesn't have to be as hard as some people think.

With a little creativity and some dedication, you can really thrive!

Trish said...

Hello. I just stumbled onto your blog from I love listening to audiobooks! Unfortunately I don't have much time since my son talks constantly... In case you have not heard of it, I wanted to make sure you knew about - you can download free audiobooks. All are public domain books, so they are not new, but there are tons of classics.
I bookmarked your blog, I'm looking forward to checking back often. Have a great day!

lizzykristine @ Uplifted Eyes said...

One of my jobs as SAHW is chief researcher! I'm the one reading a dozen books on organic gardening and another dozen on first-time home ownership. There's always something we need to find out, and finding it out thoroughly is my job. :)

Ewokgirl said...

Trish, thanks for that link to audio books! Hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to get some on my iPod! I haven't had any luck with the mp3-and-iPod-ready audio CDs from my library, so I'm totally grateful for any other sources!

Vader's Mom said...

I love your schedule. I'm like you and love to have that schedule so I know what I'm doing and that everything gets done on time and correctly.