The Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines housewife as "a woman whose main occupation is caring for her family and running the household."
In today's modern society, there are fewer domestic engineers than there were one or two generations ago. Even so, more individuals (men can do this too,) are eschewing the 9-5 job and returning to this noble profession.
Now, how one organizes and delegates the list of household duties is subject to each couple's understanding, their income level, the working spouses job demands, and the respective talents of each spouse.
Below is an overview of the general duties that a full time domestic engineer with children might face.
Things You'll Need
- basic repair skills
- basic first aid knowledge
- cooking skills
- bookkeeping and budgeting skills
- organizational skills
- social skills
- a sense of humor
- basic sewing skills
Lets start with food! Everyone has to eat and feeding the family is one of the main duties of the homemaker.
The first call to order is to plan the family meals for the week; that is breakfast, lunch and dinner, including snacks, and desserts.
When developing your menu, pay attention to nutrition, your family likes and dislikes, and what fresh foods are in season. Plan, too, for
"leftover" nights. They stretch the budget and save energy. Especially yours.
If you get stuck on what to plan for each day, pull out your favorite cookbook and work from it.
For variety and fun, you could have different ethnic food weeks where all the recipes you prepare are either Italian, Mexican, Greek...or whatever! Use your imagination!
Don't forget to plan on a meal out once in a while too!
Once you have your menu in hand, you can now do the grocery shopping. For while you are planning your menu, you are also noting the items you need to prepare all your meals.
This is also a good time to go through your food staples, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene products to see if you need to restock while you're at the store.
Be a coupon clipper and keep a file your coupons handy while you're making your shopping list.
Here's where you get to prepare those scrumptious, nutritious meals for your family!
Think you can't cook? Experiment with easy recipes. Enroll in a cooking class at your local community college or parks department.
Think about this too, food is central to all cultures and family life. As a homemaker you are not only taking care of your family, you are also creating traditions. Enter into this endeavor of feeding your family with the intention of not only providing nutrition for their bodies, but for their heart and souls.
Social Director. Yep, you get to make all the dinner plans, family outings, and other fun stuff for your family to do.
Get ideas from the weekend section of your local newspaper. Look for a local family fun book at your bookstore or library. Get online; see what's in your neighborhood that's not only fun but educational too!
Appointment scheduler! Doctor's appointments, (if you have kids, you'll be chauffeuring them back and forth too.)Appointments with contractors, school events, you name it, you'll be keeping track of all these details.
Be sure to have either a portable calendar, or a wall calendar on which you can write them down .
Small repairs around the house. Things happen, sinks and toilets clog, windows break. It's good to be somewhat handy with simple repairs. Get yourself a home repair and improvement book.
Even if you've never twisted a screwdriver before, you'll save the household budget money and yourself time, if you can learn how to take care of the easy stuff.
Mending. Basic sewing skills are a great thing to have, even if you're just sewing on a button! And with kids, there's always a button that goes missing, a tear in a favorite shirt; you can't go wrong if you know how to fix them. You're also their hero when you do.
Can't sew? Find those classes again!
Decorating the home. This is one of the more fun jobs of being a homemaker in my opinion. You get to paint, shop for furniture, make your house a home!
Basic sewing machine skills are handy for sewing up curtains in a jiffy which can save you a ton of money when you're decorating a room.
Feeling ambitious? Learn how to tile a counter or bathroom floor.
Remember that home repair and improvement book you bought earlier? It'll have instructions on how to attempt those more challenging projects.
Cleaning house. Not necessarily the most glamorous task for the homemaker, but definitely a requirement.
It works best to set up a schedule of chores. Monday is vacuuming day, Tuesday, you do the laundry, Wednesday is clean the bathroom, etc. By setting the chores to a rhythm and habit, they get done quickly and efficiently, so you have more time to do the things you like best.
Do make a point of cleaning with non-toxic cleaners. Toxic residues, and fumes do you and your family no good. White vinegar is an excellent all-purpose cleaner that is inexpensive and gets the job done.
Keeper of the household budget. This is where your bookkeeping skills come into play. You'll need to make a budget then spend accordingly. It is an art unto itself and if you're a thrifty minded person, you'll welcome the challenge.
Money saving tips:
energy - run your dishwasher, and washing machine on the shorter cycles if your wash loads are not heavily soiled. Use cold water in the washing machine too if the clothes are lightly soiled.
Clip those coupons for the grocery store.
Keep an eye on the Sunday ads for sales on just about anything you need, then cross check prices on the internet.
Buy second hand when possible.
Use your imagination. There are lots of ways to keep costs down without doing without.
The list of household duties can be long when you start to add clothes shopping for the family, keeping the garden and yard under control etc.
But one thing to keep in mind, is to schedule time for yourself. It's too easy to squirrel yourself away in your home, never having any social contact. When you have kids, it's easier to network socially with other parents. This is also a good thing to do because you can have backup when things go wrong and you need someone to pick up your child from school.
If you don't have children, then think about an interest you have and join a club. Take time to develop friendships so you have access to the outside world.
Homemaking is a fulfilling and worthwhile endeavor, with many an opportunity to stretch your knowledge on a variety of subjects. A can-do attitude will serve you well when you're entering unknown territory. Don't let it scare you. You'll do great.