The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. This is a REAL job.

Today is a pantry post about things I have been thinking about. Over time we have touched on this many times. Working in the home, caring for children, caring for the family, budgetting, cooking and nourishing a family, laundry, decorating and all the bits and pieces that go into building up and protcting your home... ALL of it is a REAL job.

It's so important and beyond anything else. Yet there can be a lot of opposition to this. When the girls were little I was constantly advised that my time could be better spent elsewhere... running a shop was the usual suggestion. While in some cases it was meant to be a compliment my reply was I would rather care for my children, thanks.

At school was the same. I don't think I ever actaully DARED tell the truth and say that really my hopes and goals were to have a family and care for them. I always knew that I could bring in income from sewing, flower arranging, embrodiery, cooking etc. but only as a way to support what I really wanted to do which was have children.
You could not say this. Well, I never felt I could.

When the girls were born I was in my element. I was really lucky with family support and it wasnt long and I found Laines Letters which really encouraged me in the belief that THIS was my job and to do it with all my efforts.

I also loved CS Lewis and kept his works close to my heart... "Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work."

Most people it seemed to me though of children as the distraction. Or worse.
In fact I soon noted that people were terribly fussy about who could drive their car. They would never let a stranger drive their car! But handing the kids over to strangers... no problem. (I found that one so bizarre.)

I had it in my head I had a limited time and I better make the most of it.

Not that I considered it but mathematically it never made sense to put the kids in day care. I had a friend who did and she only made about $2 an hour after expenses and all the problems it gave her life. I knew I could save or make more than that and still be with my children and still pcik them up from school and be there in shcool holidays and all of those things.

Mimi frequently talks about this. She has seen the same. On her blog she often will add up the dollar value of what she achieved during the week and it will amount to some enourmous number. I do it too sometimes. I know on Monday by having time to shop around I saved almost $100 in the moring on a necessary expense. I know my baking in the afternoon had a $80 value. Even not counting anything else I did I know this saved us almost $200. I would be hard pressed to earn that outside the home. Then I would have to pay tax out of it and cover expenses... 

I don't care really what other people think. I felt clear on my mission and still do. And I kept my mission statement on the fridge decorated with rose stickerss, no less. Now I keep it close to me and pretty much know it by heart.

(This printout is available from Keepers of the Faith blog, in her printables section)

This whole subject is always on my mind. I see Mothers picked on all the time for wanting to stay home. It infuriates me.

I have had letters too expressing this same thing. That you are wasitng your time at home, that surely you must be bored and need entertaining, that surely you must have so much free time on your hands you need to be given work to do for someone else and usually the person talking to you. That every committee and fund raiser assumes you lay on the lounge all day and surely would feel rescued by their offer to put you in charge. 

Well no! 

Actually I learned to think of this verse "her feet do not remain at home" from Proverbs where a not ideal woman is described. This is a bad thing!

Here are parts of two letters from Teri and Vicky recently (with their permission!)

I really think you could do a great post about how we are always busy and actually a homemaker is a JOB!!  I want to tell you a couple experiences I went through raising our kids. First off I was the "odd one out" by being a sahm.  My family, sisters-in-law, neighbors, etc. told me to my face "how could I stay home and raise my kids, you need to have a job!"  I always responded I have a job, just not a paycheck!!  :) You are so right about being asked to do stuff (like PTA mom/president, volunteer for EVERYTHING etc.) because I was always home doing "nothing"!  lol  Well, it took me years to learn to say no, but I finally did.  I was taking care of our home, children, sewing most of their clothes plus some of mine, cooking from scratch, learning new skills, gardening/canning, and making many crafts/gifts.  Yea, I was bored lol HAHA!!!

We didn't take trips to Disneyland, fancy cruises, etc., we went camping, took picnics, spent time with our kids.  We saved money to rent a few days away (places with kitchens in them), nothing fancy, just a small get-away.  I've never been to Disneyland nor do I want to go there.  It's ok that others do that, it's just not important to me.  I worked hard each summer to garden, can, stock up for winter, things like that.  My kids could tell lots of canning stories, picking bushels of peas and lots of walks around the neighborhood ( we always teased that our stroller logged 100,000 miles)! lol

One day, I read a newspaper article in the food section written by the food editor.  She made fun of moms that stayed home and "ate bon bons" and watched TV all day! That made me so mad and upset, I called and complained.  She apologized and asked if they could feature our family and share recipes in the newspaper, no less!.  She even retracted her statement about stay at home moms!  :)  Well, that was all years ago.  I did try to make a little money from time to time (selling my crafts, making gift baskets) but then I wasn't getting other important things done. 


Im happy to help people, but it was really getting out of hand. Because I do not work people were calling and asking me for favors all of the time "because they knew I had the time" and I was scrubbing other people's carpets, taking care of their kids and animals, cleaning, weeding flower beds and giving rides here and there with my gas. I was working hard for others with no return so I just got to the point where if it was the chronic can you do me a favorers calling I just said sure, but I will need this or that. They stopped asking for favors all the time if they thought a couple of bags of potatoes or having to give me gas money was asking too much. Gas is one of those things that I budget for the month and if I run out that is it until the next month. I try to do all of my errands in as little trips as possible. Vicky.

(Thank you Teri and Vicky once again.)

Haha! Boy do I relate! 
I remember one classic example. The girls were in primary school and I had just taken them to school so 9 am the door bell rang. A local lady had turned up at 9am! I must have looked surprised and she announced she had come "to keep me company for the day"  (THE DAY!) Luckily I had grown used to this kind of thing and I told her I was sorry but I had work today and a really busy day planned. I told her if she wold like to return at 2 pm I would have afternoon tea with her and take an hour off. I was by then through with this idea that you sat around for the day doing nothing. 

So how does all this relate to our pantries? 
Knowing our job and mission statement leaves no doubt that the Proverbs womam was not afraid of the winter as she was prepared!  It is part of the job. It is part of looking after the family. As Teri said this isn't achieved by laying on the lounge eating bon bons for the day. lol

Recently I was reading some sound advice. We have been discussing the fact that so many people now are building up their pantries and about wise and safe investments. So I ended up reading about King Solomon. He had investing totally worked out. 

His advice was "divide your portion to seven, or even eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth" (Ecclesiastes 11.2)

The opposite basically of the "don't put all your eggs in one basket" concept.

I am surprised even today of the number of people I know who have most of their eggs in one basket.

We have previously covered other scripture on this and on being like ants! We thought about King Solomon's advice and as usual this advice has not aged. It is exactly right today as it was then. I now consider my pantry and cellar to be one of our portions, one of the seven or eight. 
It is a tangible. It is not a bit of paper that might be worthless tomorrow! Solid things that are useful. This is a worthy investment.

So I hope someone else can relate. We are doing something important. Don't take any notice of anyone who tells you otherwise. Don't let anyone hijack your time or plans. Get on with your work with a happy heart and know that it is important. Have confidence in the value of what you are doing. Be diligent and prudent with your time and resources. You will not be sorry. xxx


  1. Long post, but so worth reading every word! Thank you for making me feel so good today about what I do. I constantly have people asking what I 'do' and asking when I will be going out to 'work'. I truly do not understand the modern idea that children are to be sent off as soon as possible so their mothers can get back to their 'real' lives, as though working at a paid job is somehow real life whereas looking after a home and family is not.
    So I agree with all you have said here and will always try not to get down when people seem to pass you over as not worthwhile as you do not do anything real.

    1. Dear Jayne,
      Thank you! It is all worth it and after a lot of sowing you will do a lot of reaping! Then you will have people tell you how "lucky" you are to have such good kids and such good relationships. lol
      There is a lot of silliness in the world. Stick to your guns, it really pays off. It all does count and you will be so surprised when the kids grow up what they remember and appreciate! They really will rise up and call you blessed.
      I am glad if I encouraged you.Thank you for telling me! WIth love,

  2. Wonderful post, true wisdom.

    1. Thanks Sarah and thanks for commenting! xxx

  3. I think Annabel that your post will resonate with so many of us. I too got the "when will you go back to work" question when I had my boys. Duh, I was at work. It was my life's work to make them into good honest valuable worthwhile members of society and I did that. I think you hit the nail on the head so I won't rabbit on, suffice to say I agree wholeheartedly and feel sad that being a full time mum is not valued like it should be. If we could have all children being cared for at home I think the world would be a better happier place. Of course not possible, but a wish I had.
    Love all your photos too, it's always a breath of fresh air coming on here. Fi xx

    1. Thank you Fiona. The best thing we can probably do for the world is add good kind productive new people to it! And you are right about the work load! It is a lot of work. I went to see Lucy today and Harper isnt 100% and grizzly, yep Lucy was in the thick of it. It isnt easy! But as usual Harper was still so much fun to see and play with!
      I hope you are having a great week, with love,

  4. Well done for sticking to your guns. I have never belittled those who chose the career of homemaking. I was not one who did this, I was not one who could afford this but I understand your choice.

    1. Dear Jane, Thank you! And we still make our homes strong and build up our nests even if we have to do all kinds of things to achieve it.
      Mums have to do a lot of things to provide and put a roof over heads too.
      With love,

  5. I SOOOO hear you Annabel. I was happy to be a SAHM for eight years until our youngest started prep. Yes we really could have used the extra money but looking after our girls was more important than a few extra dollars. We made do because we had to. Even now I only work 7 - 10 hours a week cleaning homes during school hours.

    I struggled with feeling worthy. Friends often asked what " I did " as if having a job was the only thing to do.. At times we lived below the poverty line in what the government called " The Poverty Trap " If either Darren or I earned a few extra dollars a week we would have been worse off with tax and Centrelink. We didn't eat out, didn't go to the movies or rent dvds / videos, rarely bought new clothes, no brand names of anything. Our home was neat and clean and we had home cooked food on the table each night We had good clothes for going out and we were always dressed well because we looked after our clothes. All because I had the time. Infact, nothing much has changed over the years.

    Society tells us we " need " a double income to survive. My family has proved that theory wrong. In 2010 we paid off our house and car and became completely debt free. All on a low income.

    Do I feel down about not having a career ? No, because I'm living the life God intended for me. I lived through those hard times so I can help others. I don't worry about money because I'm not living beyond my means like so many others.


    1. Dear Wendy,
      Isnt it funny that now your experience helps others and it has a great purpose. God has used you to inspire and help people trying to do the same thing or trying to manage generally. And you have the security of owning your own home. That is pretty fantastic.
      It is a terrible thing the world can make Mothers feel unimportant. Really that is a shocking thing. I am glad you were determined and stuck with it. I know you are reaping some rewards now.
      With love,

  6. Lovely post, Annabel and an encouragement for all those SAHMs out there. My husband hurt his back early in our marriage so we were on a pension so I was able to work at my children's school a couple of days a week and took them to and from school and could change my working days if they were sick. It worked out really well and gave us a little extra income on top of the pension. I had all the school holidays off with them so it was the perfect job. My girl is a SAHM and I don't really know how young mums are able to work full time when they have babies and toddlers. I was flat out keeping my eyes open at that stage of my life never mind going out to work. LOL!

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, What a good arrangement you had! that was so helpful for your family. I know what you are saying, when sleep deprived and flat out I dont know how it is done. Those that have to for survival are heros in my mind. But I cannot imagine I could have managed.
      I hope your daughter is still reading as young Mums seem to need to hear this as I certainly did. I was lucky I had a few sources of encouragement to tell me this when I needed it. It stuck with me then.
      With love

  7. Dear Annabel, you have spoken my heart ...

    1. Thank you Patsy. We need to let young Mums know they are doing important work. But it goes on as we get older. Titus 2! xxx

  8. Dear Annabel,

    This is a very important post. Thank you so much for writing it.

    I am always at a loss as to why some segments of society think that stay at home moms have less value than those who go out to work. It perplexes me greatly, as my viewpoint is that anyone can work outside the home, but only parents (or a parent) can raise up a child in the way they should go. There is no greater job on earth than to be a homemaker and care for one's family.

    When the farm was the primary form of income and the normal lifestyle, both parents were involved in a child's upbringing. As people gravitated more and more toward the urban settings and father's went off to work, mother was the primary care giver and CEO of the home. Then, women went to work and children went to someone else's home or business to spend their formative years in the care of others.

    I hear a lot of women make the statement they have to work because it takes two incomes to make ends meet. That is probably sadly true under certain circumstances. Everyone's situation, health situations, and expenses in life are different.

    Unfortunately, however, many women (or families) won't give up cable; the most expensive cell phone plan; they buy pre-made food; go out to eat regularly; have to have their children in every function (and this is very expensive); have the salon do their nails and hair regularly; drive expensive vehicles; they wear designer clothes, and won't give up their vacations at expensive locations; in short, if they truly wanted to stay home, they would figure out a way to do it. There has been a lot of brainwashing of society by women who feel their self-worth is determined by their paycheck.

    I stayed home the entire time our children were growing up and didn't pursue my own career until they were in college. Even then, because I ran my own office and set my own hours if an important family matter came up, it was family first.

    I must have been oblivious or, most likely, too busy working around the house to notice that people disapproved of SAHM's. Most of the women I knew and associated with were at home during the day caring for their homes and their children. It is a never ending job to take care of a home properly.

    Recently, I read an excellent article, written by a husband on behalf of his SAHM wife. He got very tired of women asking him when his wife was going back to work. He defended her work at home. His closing paragraph sums it up:
    "We get a lot of things wrong in our culture. But, when all is said and done, and our civilization crumbles into ashes, we are going to most regret the way we treated mothers and children."

    1. Dear Glenda, What a beautiful comment and helpful too. And thank you for this link! That was wonderful.
      Everything you say is true. Thank you so much! With lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  9. Thank you for this post. My daughter is entering fourth grade and her cousins, that I have babysat for last 6 years, are entering school this year. I will only have them for afterschool care. I keep getting asked what am I going to do with my time? Many assume I will get a part time job. No. We talked about it and hubby wants me home. (Which is where my heart is.) It is a huge relief for him to not have to worry about who cares for our daughter on holidays and if she is sick. Also having clean laundry and dinners prepared is a plus for him. It will be a sacrifice as our incomce will decrease from losing income from babysitting. I have more then enough to keep me busy during the day. I am actually looking forward to a few hours where I can clean and organize and it will stay that way for little bit!

    1. Dear Wendi,
      It is wonderful your husband supports you being at home and obviously values you very much. I am also sure with the little bit more time you have with not babysitting you will turn that to other things... I really believe that many things can "pay" and the savings are better than income since we are not taxed on savings. Some of mine are making my own gifts, cooking from scratch mostly, growing my own herbs, mending, baking a cake as a gift instead of buying one... they all amount to $$$ saved. It is amazing! But nothing is better than being there in school holidays, after school, home when children are sick. I have known people to send children to school sick sooner than take a day off. While there may be tragic reasons for this it is still terrible!
      Wendi be proud and firm and enjoy it! It passes too soon!
      With love,

  10. This is an incredibly accurate reality of the "assessment" and "assumptions" that have been made about the home-keeping women of the '60s and beyond. My younger daughter was recently offered yet another position where she works. "This will be another great promotion for you, Danielle," she was told. She had to set them straight... again. "When I put in my notice to go home and raise some little ones, THAT will be my ultimate promotion."

    Hugs and happy highways, Annabel,

    1. Dear Kelly that is a very good way of putting Motherhood! The ultimate promotion! I love that! Thank you! xxx

  11. Hi Annabel, Mimi suggested I have a look at your blog and I am so happy I did! I have five children, the oldest is seven, the youngest 14 months, and still I am asked regularly when I think I will go back to work. I have just taken to answering with 'no time soon'. I read pages like yours and Mimi's and really see the value of staying at home, even once they are older and it is 'expected' you would return to paid employment. This post has genuinely made me feel like I'm absolutely doing what I'm meant to be.

    I also just read your series of handmade presents posts and wow! I have a list of gifts I want to make, and after reading your words I am so inspired to make it happen. I'm most excited about the photo books I am making for my brothers of photos of our childhood, I have a box of my parents photos and some I had never even seen. I suspect I will not really save much on what I would have spent on them anyway, even using discount codes. But they are about as meaningful a gift as I could ever hope to make, so I think they will be worth every cent. I've also now set myself the challenge to figure out something to make for the people that I would never usually make for. I'm really looking forward to join in with you!

    Thanks so much, I'm feeling inspired!

    1. Dear Jen,
      Welcome! I am so glad to have you here!
      You are doing wheat you are meant to be and you must be extremely busy. It is 100% a full time job and exhausting! As Mimi often talks about I think you can save more than you can earn outside the home anyhow. However no one is going to take care of your children like you!
      Jen it all flies by but the investment you make now is building strong foundations. This is a huge thing. It is so worthwhile.
      The photos will become treasured by your children also later on and the history preserved so that is important too.
      Re my gift making posts... I am always willing to help with suggestions ie if you have a certain type of person to give to and a certain resource... as I live on pinterest and snoop home ware stores, foodie stores etc for ideas myself!
      Thank you so much for commenting. It is so nice to meet you, I must thank Mimi! Love

  12. A big AMEN to everything you said!

  13. I have been on all sides of the fence. The single mom working 2 jobs, the married mom working part time or full time and then finally the stay at home mom. I don't think any are "easy", but as I know many women don't have a choice due to finances or their own personal goals or desires I also know that there are many who would not even if they had the choice. They identify themselves with labels and what they have or just flat out are aggravated by motherhood and would rather be working than at home. I am by nature a mellow person, but there are times when someone will get my dander up and that is never a good thing! I spent years learning to control my temper darn it! When my oldest was in a sport another mother felt the need to pick because I didn't "do" anything, but stay home all day and her child has the best of everything because she's so smart and works so hard and blah, blah so I just told her what I had observed that although she works from what I can see your a lazy mother with the worst spoiled brats that at an older age shouldn't be throwing fits like a toddler. Needless to say we were separated for that game.

  14. Hello friend, you know I agree with this post 100%.

    The world just expects women to be employed. This happens all the time and twice this very week that people (the manicurist at the nail salon and the hygienist at the dentist office making small talk) asked me where I work. They both seem shocked that it is possible to be an unemployed married wife. People don't ask "do you work" but "where do you work?"

    Sigh----- our home life is much better, things just go smoother and our finances are fine, because I work at homekeeping and not for a paycheck.

    Preach on Sister!

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Thank you! I know you will stick to your guns. The world has gone mad! Imagine our lives if we listened to that stuff. As you say your life runs better and homekeeping really IS the paycheck as imagine the savings.
      thank you for commenting and encouraging others too! With love,

  15. Great post as usual Annabel. When both DD's were young DH and I worked shift work so that there was always one of us to look after them. They were ours and so our responsibility to rear them, not a childcare centre, though DD#1 did go to one occasionally for socialisation skills. DD#1 has 4 children, she would like more but ill health prevents having more, and this was always her goal in life. They are noisy, active children and are really happy with their weekend outings, going fishing, walking along the beach, picnics in the park and bush walking.

    1. Dear Maggie,
      That was a wonderful arrangement you had. I am so pleased your daughter got 4 children before ill health stopped her. How beautiful! She would be very busy but happy!
      Also I cant wait myself to have more Grandchildren. We have our first recently and she is just the joy of my life!
      Thank you so much for commenting! With love,

  16. Oh Annabel, your post is the story of my life, i have been a Mother for 32 years, my eldest is 31,28, 25 and almost 10 year twins.No one has said anything to me about going back to work or being idle with the twins but with my first three i was always accused and i will say it again accused of being selfish, lazy and sitting around watching TV and sponging off my Husband. We made do, used laybuys instead of credit, cut our own hair, ate simple but healthy made from scratch meals, we were mindful of what we spent our money on and used. When the kids were older i cleaned houses while they were at school and sold my sewing and craft on the odd weekend market(the kids came with me). Did my family go without cause i stayed home , NO!! they flourished and so too are our youngest and our 5 Grandchildren. I work now a few hours a week while the girls are at school, but i would not change how i have done things except standing up for my self when i was put down for being a full time mother. P.S we have only ever had one car and i don't drive and have at times lived in the country side, God watches out for us even if sometimes we don't think so. Great post Annabel and other ladies. So glad i found you.

    1. Dear Cassandra,
      I have just been putting up some wonderful new comments which I hope you also see as boy there is some encouragement and wisdom worth reading in them!
      I think the world is so hostile to Mothers and staying home for a reason, you would think it was valued and praised. But it is not the world we want to please! I am so happy to hear your story. You did so well!
      I am sure your twins have a great time with your Grandkids! What a wonderful family.
      Some of what you have said goes along with what Glenda has said above... we can live simply and afford much more.
      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing this. With love,

  17. Dear Annabel, You did a fantastic job on this post! The pictures are so beautiful! Thank you for letting me "speak" my mind! I'm so glad you are reaching young moms who can use this kind of encouragement!! I know I sure could have years ago! Love, Teri

    1. Thank you Teri! Your words were very helpful. Many of us have been through this.
      Thinking about it more today I realized I have never had a man be mean to me about being a stay home Mum, it was always women! Men have been more like REALLY? you mean you cook? lol rather taken with the idea.
      So isnt that interesting, you would think women would support each other. Some do of course but I had many be openly hostile to me if I said I thought what I was doing was important.
      When we are young this can really hurt and be a discouragement. Now days I know with more certainty and think to myself WHY is this person trying to puch me around. Its a form of bullying!
      Thank you so much for your help again. With love,

  18. You already know that you blessed a lot of women with your post. I wish more women were speaking out like you are. One of the things that a lot of ladies don't factor in when the kids are little and they are told they should have a job is the tax bracket! When our kids were small and I thought about going to work outside the home I did the research and between the child care and the tax hit, it would have cost me money in the long run to go back to work! Keep encouraging those young moms who are fighting even harder than I had to - to be who they are meant to be. Great post!

    1. Dear Kathy, Thank you so much. I have known several ladies that worked very hard at jobs and in shops and made a significant loss financially. So they missed out in both counts. Which I dont understand at all. It just makes no sense to me.
      So in my opinion you were very wise to do the maths and assess this. And as we always say we can save so much money, stretch a dollar and so many other things that build up the home.
      At least if the maths are done and everything is weighted up a sensible decision can be made.
      Thank you for your encouragement! With love

  19. Annabel what a wonderful timely post! Thank you!, so glad I popped by today

    1. Dear Karen, I am glad if it was timely for you! Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know! With love,

  20. Encouraging post! It is hard at times to go against the tide when family and friends do not understand, let alone those outside your close circle. But so good to find like minded ladies like you :)
    Heidi xx

    1. Dear Heidi,
      I am sorry you dont have supportive family or friends on this,that makes it even harder. I only had challenges in this from further removed people but my Mum and Dad especially were very supportive about this. I am very grateful for that.
      Read Laines Letters, she says it better than me and it is like a Bible study as you read them. These helped me so much when the kids were little.
      But you are doing a good job! Stick to your guns and cherish the moment. With love,

  21. Great post Annabel. Agree so much with everything that has been written or commented on. I think most people have given up on me after 25 years at home. They consider me unemployable, but I know I could do some home based things once homeschooling my youngest finishes. I have done various volunteer positions over the years while raising my family, but full time homemaking is the most satisfying to me. Learning to manage well, be debt free and enjoy mostly everything (like holidays) but within a budget is a definite edge in the days we live in now. I think we are all well equipped because of how resourceful we have been on limited income.

    1. Dear Kaye,
      You have done a good job. And homeschooling on top of the normal stuff is a lot! Well done!
      I have always found a lot of money makers from home... I sold embroidery and sewing, cooking etc and no we have e bay! There are a lot of little ways... but overall saving money is often the best way!
      Even today I am sewing... I will have to try and imagine the retail value at the end. I could not make that much money in a day at a job!
      Have a wonderful weekend! With love,

  22. Lovely post Annabel. I strive every day to emmulate the Proverbs 31 woman. I still have a ways to go, but I keep on trying. I love working, showing others how they can live a good life for less, but I love being a wife and mother more. All I wanted was to grow up and have lots of children and care for them, much like my mother cared for me. Well I grew up and fell in love and married a good man and we have three children (grown-up now) and I was blessed to be able to be a full-time wife and mother.

    I worked from home and still do. I taught creative tapestry in our lounge room of an evening when the children were in bed when times were tough to earn a little extra cash because I never, ever wanted to leave my babies with anyone else, they were my responsibility and I wanted to raise them with our morals and standards and beliefs. I am still a stay-at-home wife and mother, and I still work from home. I fit work in around my family's needs and it works for us. And if I had it all to do over, I wouldn't change a thing.

    We went from a two income (I worked part-time) family of 4 to a no income family of 4 with one on the way in the space of 3 days and it was almost 5 years before we had a regular income again.

    We lived for almost 5 years on and average of $287 a week, paying $190 a week off our mortgage, but we were able to make it work so I could stay home with our children.

    It wasn't easy and we didn't do a lot of things our friends and family did, but we had a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs, each other and happy, healthy children. God supplied our needs, and what more did we need - absolutely nothing :)

    Mothering is hard work, and I often wonder if that isn't why some mothers say they'd be bored at home (impossible, there is always something to do) and "need" to work, they've been brainwashed into thinking that all mothers should be perfect, with perfect children in perfect homes. Our home wasn't and isn't perfect, our children were children with all the associated grizzles and grumps and laughter and kisses and fun and as a mother, well I know I could've done better. It's sad that perhaps the illusion of the perfect family is setting a standard that some women believe they'll never reach, when they don't have to. All they need to do for the perfect family is what makes their family happy, not what makes other families happy. That was a real "aha" moment for me - when I realised we could ditch the stuff that wasn't important to us so we'd have the money, time and energy to enjoy the things that are my life as a wife and mother became so much easier.

    Goodness this is a ramble, sorry, but it's something I am passionate about and believe every wife and mother should at least have the opportunity to try before they decide it's not for them.

    1. Dear Cath, Thank you for sharing your story. You are right ... we dont have to have perfect homes, perfect anything, its about family.
      Many times I have wondered WHY am I doing this or that and had to reassess and work out my priorities. Many things just arent important and can go! A lot of money has been saved this way and a lot of stress. From time to time I need to do it again!
      You help many people work out how to live on less and more simply. I am sure that helps a lot of families have happier lives. What you say it so good as it comes from real experiences over the years.
      I really appreciate all the help you have given me and your countless tips and ideas. We keep learning! With love,

  23. Oh Annabel thank you so much for this post. I am a sahm to 3 boys. The youngest is 9 and I constantly get asked when I am going to get a job and go to work. I was asked by my brother and his wife who both work when am k going to get a job. I asked them why they both work as my brothers wage is more than enough to cover bills etc. I was told it was so they could afford holidays where they get to spend quality time together?!? My sister in law is constantly tired and meals are whatever she picks up from the supermarket on the way home. I explained that because I am home I'm not stressed, I get lots of quality time with the family, when my husband comes home because my work is done I can spend each evening with him talking, playing board games etc and that we were all getting good quality meals made from scratch for a fraction of the cost they are spending.

    We have our children for such a short time we should make the most of it.

    Over here in the UK there is free childcare schemes set up to get mothers back to work. I feel a lot of people don't want to but are made to believe they can't afford to stay home.

    Blessings to you xx

    1. Dear Laura,
      Thank you! Here in Australia there are all sorts of financial incentives from the government to put children in daycare. It is as if they believe this is good for children. I would sooner die that let my grand daughter go in one! I have seen soemthing of them too. There is a small one on the road to Lucys place. It is filthy, looks like a condemned house.In my old town there was a mentally disabled girl who lived in a filthy house and she was a government approved day carer and people left their kids with her. Now she was not a bad person or anything she just wasnt capable... which is very frightening. And this is how things are!
      You are so right, the children are only little for a short time. You dont get another chance to experience it. Enjoy every moment and keep life simple so you can both enjoy it time wise and afford it money wise.
      I did laugh about the idea of quality time together holidays after the bulk of the time spent unnecessarily stretched and stressed. My Dad says a funny thing... "if you stop hitting your head with a hammer it feels quite nice" I think your SIL needs this one!
      Stick to your convictions and I know you will greatly reap the rewards.
      Thank you so much for your comment and I am thrilled to have yo here from the UK! With love,

  24. Yes Annabel, I can so relate to this post. So wonderfully written and expressed.

    I often feel guilty about not going out to work and contributing to the family, money wise. Then I remind myself how much I save by being at home and all is well in my world again. Being at home has meant that I have been here for my four children, and have provided them with love and support, and good homemade meals etc. Yes they are grown now, and I am still as busy as ever. I continue to try my best to be resourceful and frugal, so we can have savings for retirement when that arrives.

    I am PROUD to say I RAISED my own children and they turned out to be the best human beings a mother could wish for.

    Lots of love,

    Tania xx

    1. Dear Tania,
      I see how much you save in a week! It would be hard to earn that much and be around for the family as well. I think you do a wonderful job!
      With love,

  25. What a beautiful and encouraging post. This spoke right to my heart. I am probably going to go back to work and teach part time, at the most 2 days. I cried at the thought of daycare and child care centres, I could not sleep at the thought of him ever going in one. I know people that work in child care can be very kind but they do not love my son like I do, nor can they teach him our values. This is priceless, not one dollar can be put on this. I'm very lucky, the grandparents will look after him each for one day and I know he will be very spoilt! I would never want to do more than this though. I brought him into the world and I just want to love him and appreciate him every day. I would rather camp than have expensive holidays. Cook instead of take away. And get one good present for birthdays and Christmas instead of lots! Lots of love, Bridge PS- thank you for being so encouraging to us.

    1. Dear Bridge,
      What a perfect balance and solution for you! I am so glad to hear this. Plus this extra time with Grandparents will be so good. No one loves a child (after the parents) like Grandparents! Plus H will develop such close relationships with them. This will surround him with love.
      I know you cherish every moment and see the point of it all. I am just so pleased you have wonderful family support. That is just lovely and makes a real world of difference. I was very lucky with this. The girls grew up so close with my Mum and Dad and still are. It is beautiful! And has many benefits.
      Thank you Bridge, With love,

  26. Thank you for this post! I now have 8 children so nobody tries to give me advice or "work"! ;) But years ago, I had women make suggestions. We have lived on my husband's income since our oldest (he's 17) was born. When times are lean I'm always tempted, and have even tried, to make money on the side, but God has never rewarded my efforts. He does seem to go before me when I buckle down and stretch our budget. Free produce has even turned-up on our doorstep and the amount we've been able to glean through the years has been amazing!

    And I'll tell you a secret. When kids see their mother work hard around the house, they respect her and her job more. I even have kids beg to help me! This am my 5 yr. old daughter wanted to make freezer jam with me. She pulled her stool over and stirred the pot and helped fill jars. She kept gushing, "Mommy, it looks so beautiful!"

    Keep up the encouraging words!

    1. Dear Leslie,
      Thank you! As I had two children I know the work of having eight would be enormous. Anyone thinking you need to work MORE needs their head read.
      It is a full time job x several!
      I am so glad you have just stuck to it and your children have thrived on you being there with them. And yes they learn everyday from the things we do. No wonder there are so many young ones who dont know how to cook or do basics. No one has shown them.
      Thank you for sharing this Leslie! With love,

    2. Leslie, I loved your comment! To hear your young daughter loves to help make jam brought back memories of my childhood, stirring big pots of jam, spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes, all of which went into the freezer for winter! :) Teri

  27. Dear Annabel, somehow I missed this post. It's true what you say.
    The comments were well worth reading. There was so much wisdom in them all.
    I was thinking of what Cath shared. Our income was $240 per week when we started and our mortgage repayment was $120. Glen sold wildlife photos to supplement our income. Every spare dollar that came in went towards our mortgage.
    Allowing for the difference between Glens wages now and the price of a small home in Brisbane......houses are more expensive.
    I think now that if we want our Mums to stay at home, grandparents need to do what they can to encourage them.
    Love Helen

  28. I have always been a homemaker and now that our children are grown and gone from home, I have even more time to can and preserve..Not too long ago, my brother and his lady friend were here for a visit. I opened the pantry door to give them a jar of my homemade jam when his lady friend exclaimed, "you need a job!", meaning I had too much time on my hands! I was amused by her statement! I should have said that IS my job, lol!

    1. I would love to see your pantry! It sounds wonderful to me! And yes it is your job and it sounds like you are doing very well at it!
      I bet they liked the jam too!
      To me shelves full of preserves are a beautiful sight! xxx


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