After two hectic days of work at the Centre, I'm working at home today. Gone are the days when I would have looked forward to relaxing, shopping and going out to visit friends. Now, settling back into the routine of washing up, sweeping, making beds and baking brings me back to myself and reminds me that my home is the place where I am put right again.
I work in the welfare sector and it's a very tough job sometimes. I don't counsel anyone, I manage the Centre I work at, and I guess I act as a surrogate mother and dish out kindness with cups of tea and encouragement along with advice about getting a job or looking after the family.
I had never worked in welfare before - had never even been in a neighbourhood centre until I wandered in there to ask if they needed any help, but working here in my home prepared me for working there. I teach my The Frugal Home workshop and stretch the slim budget there until I hear those pennies scream, but my preparation for that job is more than those obvious practical things. Since I have have taken control of my home and made it the place I want it to be, I feel empowered to take on many more things.
If someone were to see me working here at home they might believe that I am "just a housewife". How many times have we all used that phrase to describe ourselves? Well I am "just a housewife" who has taken back control of my own life. No longer am I a slave to fashion and advertising, I am not just filling in time by doing my daily tasks. What I do here now is a part of me, it makes me who I am and enables me to do the things I do.
Never undersell yourself or your role of homemaker. Running a home is similar to running a business. You need to work to a budget, manage people, make hard decisions, work to a schedule, delegate tasks, work long hours and make sure those you work with are productive and content. In fact, while all those elements describe the running of both a home and a business, at home you have extras - your work never stops and you raise children. Raising the next generation is not only an important part of family life, it's important for the nation too.
Family photos. The first one is of my sons Shane and Kerry when they were about nine and ten, with their friend Gavin in the middle.
Taking control of the home, while sounding harsh, is, I think, the key to success. You need to take charge, delegate, have routines, get family members working for the good of the family and while that is happening, model the bahaviour you want to see in your children. A tough call, I know, but it pays off if you get it right. I know that we homemakers are looked down upon by many people but don't you ever believe they are right. What we do is the most important job; what we do makes the nation strong.
If you have to describe what you do, proudly name yourself "homemaker", or if you work outside the home as well - "homemaker/teacher", "homemaker/retail assistant" or whatever it is you do. Don't fall in with the rest of them and try to make us invisible. Let everyone know what we do, that we are an important part of our society and that we are proud of the work we do. I am an ordinary woman, there is nothing special about me, but because I have the attitude I have, people listen to me. I got the confidence to be the me I am now from my home - by taking control here and making it productive and alive.
You can do the same thing.
For those of you around Geelong, today I'll be interviewed on your local radio station at around 9.30am. Tomorrow I'll be on a few stations in northern Tasmania at 7.40am. Those are Queensland times, not local time, so you'll have to add an hour.
The headlines will read: Homemaker speaks, the nation listens. ; - )