What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: Housewife

A Day in the Life of this Housewife

I know most of you secretly suspect that us housewives do actually spend most of our days reading Mills and Boon and wondering if we should purchase an Elliptical Abiscizer, as advertised on sausage stuffing morning TV. So, for the negative, here’s how my day is going.

Awake at 6.15. Technically it’s the phone that wakes me up, softly playing Galadriel’s theme, but really it’s because the Horror is up and trying to get dressed quietly. He doesn’t have an alarm, he just wakes up that early. I take his lunch order (toasted garlic bread, not herb bread because his friends keep demanding bits of his lunch if it’s herb bread) and wake up the Moose by tripping over his drum set. I make the lunches and have a shower, wake the girls then take the boys to school. I make a detour to pick up the choir mail, then back home to pick up the girls. Muffet can’t find her flute or blazer, so she has to borrow my old flute and put up with being cold. I get them to school by eight.

Back home for some breakfast. I eat this in front of the computer while doing a bit of emailing and spreadsheeting for the three committees I’m on and the one I’m baking for at the moment. Then it’s time to take my newly freed foot for a walk. It’s complaining a lot less this week, so I take it up to the Hungry Grasshopper where I revel in being able to order a takeaway coffee. Ah, the joy of not being on crutches. You should try it some time.

Quest time. I don’t have a quest every day, but I do at least once a week. We were eating dinner the other night when the German billet remarked upon our eating implements. We were using Splayds. I keep forgetting that they are an Australian invention, and the German billet decided they were the perfect gift for her mother. She’s quite right, they will be. This quest I’m pretty sure of being fulfilled at David Jones, so I hie me thither.

While paying for the Splayds I receive a phone call from the Muffet asking if I could bring her pipes and drums uniform in to school by lunchtime. “What time is lunch?” I rather reasonably ask. She’s in her third year at this school. She doesn’t know. After a lot of shouting and giggling in the background we establish that it is at 12.29. I’ll be popping home then.

She’s only been in the pipes and drums band for a week, though she’s been taking drum lessons for a term. It has quite an elaborate uniform which we’ll eventually have to buy, but as they are performing tomorrow night and Saturday she’s having to make do with a cobbled together one. I manage to locate the shirt, the blazer, the kilt, the sash, the badges and the sporran (yes, really), but not the socks or tie. Well, it’s just a rehearsal today, and I make it up to the school with five minutes to spare.

I’m starving when I get home, but the children and husband consumed all the bread this morning. Looks like Thermomix to the rescue. I want to make more bread, so I do a batch of buttermilk and mess up a batch of fruit loaf before making my lunch. Don’t trust the Thermomix scales! Or rather, check that it isn’t sitting on its own cord before weighing your flour. I rescued the fruit loaf by adding more liquid and yeast, so it looks like we’ll have a loaf and a half of that.


Once they are done I make myself up a batch of hearty vegetable soup, an off piste version of the vegetable patties I made here.

I blame an interview I was listening to on the radio on the way home about how very very obese everyone is, and why can’t we all eat more vegetables. I’m impressionable.

After lunch I realise the Moose is out of school shirts (the Horror is experimenting with wearing the same shirt every day, reasoning that there’s less washing to put away), so put on a wash. Then I punch down the breads and put them back under the oven light to rise. Then I toss up between writing a blog about the vegetable soup or boring you with what kind of day I’m having, and decide you’ve had enough recipes and nobody’s making you read this.

Next on the list is knocking up a batch of oatmeal choc chip biscuits, as the cupboard is bare yet again and it’s the kids’ current favourite. Then I’ll wash up, then go pick up the Muffet and the billet from band practise and head due east to collect the Horror from his band practise. Once home I’ll be baking the bread and grilling a tray of sausages for the Horror and his father to have for dinner before they go to soccer training. Me and girls are going to go to the Moose’s school for a sausage sizzle before his house chapel service at which, I’m reliably informed, he’ll be singing a solo. That should be interesting, given that he was just dropped from alto to tenor in the choir a couple of weeks ago.

Then home to bed. But before bed I’m going to have to pin up the Muffet’s borrowed kilt which is big enough for two Muffets and do some emergency tacking so no one sees her undies if she does some violent drumming at tomorrow night’s concert. And bring in the washing, of course.

When does anyone find the time to hold down a job?


In defence of Housewifery

Society has started to raise its eyebrows at me and go “So. When are you going back to work?” And after a great deal of thought, hours on and LinkedIn and many coffees with the girls, I’m just not. Have you seen the kinds of jobs offered to people like me? People who would like to work part time, with a bit of flexibility around swimming carnival time, who have been out of the workforce for fifteen years? I’ll tell you so you don’t have to find out for yourself. Admin, reception, maybe sales. Back when I had a real job I was an IT manager. I have a PhD in statistical mechanics. In my most recent volunteer position I’ve become an expert on the not for profit sector, including the various legal entities they can take on, GST obligations, super obligations, reporting obligations, their relationship with various government departments and different acts of parliament that govern their behaviour. Ah, but I wasn’t getting paid for that, was I. So it doesn’t really count. I can get a job opening the mail and doing the filing. Or making phone calls to sales prospects, the thought of which actually brings me out in a blotchy rash. The message is that if you want a real job, girly, you’ll need to do real hours and show real commitment. Well, up yours, workforce. I don’t need you.

Of course it’s easy for me to say that, because I happen to have a workaholic husband with a brain the size of a planet, so we’re fairly tidily off financially. I’d be going back to work so I could have conversations with adults and have performance assessments and be useful to people I haven’t actually grown in my own body. It turns out that the easiest way to achieve those things is to get into volunteer work. Nudge up against anyone in a committee and they’ll grab you with both hands and before you know it you’ll be booking the Town Hall for a Verdi extravaganza, hiring a sixty piece orchestra and organising public liability insurance. Just speaking from my own experience there. Seriously, I have found that being on school and community committees has been extremely nourishing to my soul, exercised the atrophying brain and made me a lot of friends in many walks of life. So that’s taken care of.

The actual housework stuff isn’t so bad either. We got a cleaner very early on in our marriage, it saved us many a futile argument and I recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have OCD. So all I do is shop for food almost every day, wash clothes, go on quests for obscure musical instrument parts, prepare food and sew capes. The kids never take processed food to school except for bread, and I’m working on that. I also have the time to drive the kids to and from school when their timetables don’t clash and I highly recommend it. You have them captive for twenty minutes and there’s a lot you can learn in that time. I believe I’m the only mother of my acquaintance that has an almost fourteen year old son that still gives me a full and frank report of what he’s been up to at school every day. I can also go to school assemblies when an offspring is singing a song about a cloud or receiving a piece of paper for not biting anyone on the leg this week and sports carnivals, even though that isn’t my favourite thing in the world. Then when the kids are home I’ve done all my household administration and am free to shout at them for jumping on the lounge and answer difficult maths questions.

There’s nothing in the housewife book to say it is a female role. Or that it’s a role that must be present in each family. It works for us and I don’t think it makes me less of a modern woman. I just wish I didn’t blush when people ask me, inevitably, what I do and I answer straight up that I’m a housewife. I must work on that.