Six months ago I intentionally left my full-time job as a Registered Nurse to stay home and raise our 3 children.
You see, for the past 10 years I have either been in school or working and sometimes I was doing both. That’s just how it was; it had to be that way! Or so I thought.
Our family had created a lifestyle that demanded 2 incomes. I can be honest with you and say that it was our reckless pursuit of affluence and our rugged individualism that lead to the expectation of the 2 earner household.
And with that, so began our decent.
I started finding my laundry growing mold in the washing machine because I forgot about it (okay…so I still do that, but whatever). We were spending money on take-out simply because no one was home to cook. Sleepless nights were all to frequent; my mind just wouldn’t stop going over all the routines necessary to maintain our insane pace. My whole existence seemed to revolve around finding ways to save time! There was no time to be thrifty (and that take time, a lot of time). There definitely wasn’t time to re-purpose, re-cycle, or up-cycle anything. In my mind, those things would have to be reserved for another lifetime.
I felt defeated and our quality of life was waining.
Our discontentment and unhappiness lead to even more frivolous spending.
We were caught in a vicious cycle. A never-ending cycle.
The beginning of an internal transformation.
I really couldn’t tell you the day my thoughts began to shift? At the time, I couldn’t even pin point why they were changing? You just gotta understand…I never wanted to be a “housewife”. The thought of it made me nauseous!
This short “Leave It To Beaver” clip, where we hear Ward discussing with his son, Wally about how a woman’s place is in the kitchen, pretty much sums up exactly why I never wanted to be labeled a stay-at-home mom. Even with the recent liberation of women over the past few decades, I still had it in my mind that this is what staying at home meant.
Pretty sad huh! I think I could write a post on this clip alone!
Nevertheless, something in me began screaming for freedom. I wondered how we could maintain our lifestyle living on one income? I finally realized that we couldn’t, and that was the point!
We began the painful process of looking at our budget objectively and we quickly discovered that my income was being demolished by the things that were “required” just so I could go to work. I was essentially working so that I could keep right on working.
That’s when I realized that by returning home I could actually make money! It meant discipline in sustainable practices and a commitment to frugality. But I’m happy to report, we are well on our way.
Discover these 6 ways to make money as a housewife:
1. Child Care. We had been paying extravagant amounts of money for in-home childcare. I was paying someone else to raise my children simply so that I could work? What about that makes sense? Not paying for childcare alone has made our family tons of money!
2. Eating Real Food. Eating real food at home, as apposed to eating out all the time, has been the second largest contributor to my income as a housewife. I now have the time to budget, plan, buy in bulk once a month, grow my own food, tend to my backyard flock of hens, etc. The daily “run to the store” or “Can you stop and pick-up x, y, z” are a thing of the past.
3. Education can be acquired. It doesn’t have to be purchased. At the time that I realized this, I was full blown into a master’s program. It was the Spring of ’11, when I abruptly stopped attending classes and dropped out of the program. I had just saved our family thousands of dollars! And, I had just saved myself from years of slavery in order to pay it off. I have since developed the ability to self-teach; and I am gathering more knowledge now than ever before.
4. Down-sizing the house, the cars, and the belongings. Thoreau said it best in his masterpiece Walden. He said, “Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly, poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have”. That not only applies to one’s home but also to our cars and our possessions; wouldn’t you agree? We have found the smallest workable living space for our family, we have (and continue to) minimize our belongings, and one day I pray we can transition to cars that are functional and paid off! Note: By selling our unnecessary household items, a car, and many other of our belongings we have made thousands dollars.
5. Start making your own clothes, medicine, household cleaners, etc. Handmade clothing in my mind is a luxury! I’m not really good at it yet, but I want to be. I do love re purposing and up-cycling vintage pieces. And now that I am at home, I have the time to mend and make! You all know from my many posts on herbal remedies that I am borderline obsessed with making my own medicine. But, I finally have a working herbal garden and we are saving big bucks in this area! Household cleaners are just another very simple way to make money by not spending it!
6. I’m doing what I love. I really loved being a nurse…when I was in school that is (smile). I’m here to tell ya, over the past few years health care has morphed into something I can barely even recognize, and there has been a growing disconnect in my spirit. I love teaching people how to prevent disease, live healthy lifestyles, and I love empowering people. I strongly believe that if I do what I love the provision will naturally follow.
Returning home and living frugally isn’t really that hard at all — in fact, it’s been an extremely enjoyable process! No, we didn’t implement all the things on my list all at once. That would have been to much of a dramatic change! My philosophy is that any change should be made gradually, with baby steps, over a long stretch of time, otherwise it’s simply not sustainable. And I’m all about the sustainable! I always compare it to losing weight (oh lord, here she goes). What’s the point of trying to drop 25 pounds in a month? Why not lose a pound or 2 each week, and then over the course of a year you may have reached your goal and lost a lot more than you set out to lose!
It’s the same principle here. Reject what society tells you a woman’s role is, cut out one small thing from your life at a time, adjust your spending habits slowly, and over time you’ll be in a totally different place. The beautiful thing is, we somehow get used to the changes, and after a while we don’t even notice that anything has changed at all. If your desire is to be at home, reviving your domestic skills, and to nurture your family I know you’ll find a way.
Bottom line, there really are countless ways to make money as a housewife. I can hear it now…”but Andrea what you’re talking about here are ways to save money“. Yes! I know! But, saving money in my crazy twisted mind equals making money. You know why? Because, I’m seeing it in action and it’s self-sufficiency at it’s finest.
I realize that many of my readers may read this and agree, but your current circumstance simply will not allow you to quit your job and return home full-time. My heart is genuine when I tell you “I know where you are, I’ve been there”. Commit to taking baby steps. Stop, or at least reduce, spending. Pay off debt! Find peace and contentment in the simple. You are someone great all in your own right.
Remember: Life is a journey, with no real destination. We are constantly striving to create and attain goals. Continue pursuing your passions and I promise you’ll discover your ultimate potential!
Okay, wow, I’ve said enough for today! Now it’s your turn…
Sources that I identify with and provided my inspiration for this article:
-Hayes, Shannon, Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture (Richmondville, New York: Left to Write Press) Chapter 6.