The Old Things

I’m constantly amazed and inspired at how incredible women are these days. We raise children, hold jobs, run businesses, give service, volunteer, exercise and everything else in between, all while the main bulk of running a household, raising and growing children is still a vital part of our role. 
I’m proud of my gender’s progress, but sometimes, the lover of old things in me longs for a simpler lifestyle. I’m talking about the pioneer woman of the 1800’s. She knew her roles, worked hard and slept soundly at night knowing exactly what needed to happen the next day. She didn’t have a thousand errands to run, and soccer games to attend, or waste late night hours on Instragram! (I’m so guilty of this… I’m currently writing this at 1:00 in the morning!)  

No, her roles were vital. Skipping a chore could lead to serious consequences, even death! For example, failing to dust or wash my windows simply means things are just a little dustier that day… or month! I get my milk from the store, and clean my toilets once a week! And procrastination at those things doesn’t affect anyone too badly. But if the frontier’s woman didn’t pick the veggies before the storm she risked starvation for her family! If she didn’t milk the cow, it would stop giving milk… And not collecting water from the well just wasn’t an option. 

Do you ever wonder what their lives really were like? 

Maybe that’s why I love old things. Furniture and items that survived that time period connect us to the people that worked hard for their families. For their children, and their children’s children. 

For us! 

And I like to think that they watch over us. That they are our silent cheerleaders carrying us through the tough days, thrilling over the triumphs and hoping for our future! 

I love the Chinese proverb that says, “To forget one’s ancestors is to be a book without a source. A tree without a root.”

Russell M. Nelson said, “When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves.”
I kind of love the idea of being a part of something greater than myself! 

So I’m going to keep on hunting for old things! Because the antiques and treasures help me feel just a little closer to the amazing people that came before me. 

What old things make you feel connected to your ancestors? 


Finally, can you believe the amazing chippy goodness on this old table? I spotted it during a reunion at my aunt’s farm and begged to take a pic! It’s over 100 years old and has handmade nails! It belonged to my Uncle’s Grandmother! A truly strong, single mother who raised 4 amazing children on her own! Just Amazing!

My “Salary”

About 6 months before my youngest entered kindergarten, people started asking me a question that rocked me to the core:

“What are you going to do when all your kids are in school all day?”

Suddenly, saying that I was going to stay at home sounded lazy. What was I going to do with all that extra time? And would there actually be a lot of extra time?

The more they asked, the more I let it get to me, and I began feeling like I wasn’t contributing to my family because I didn’t have a job. I felt guilty every time I did something for me, or went to lunch with friends during the day, or actually enjoyed the silence. Soon I was feeling guilty all the time.

It was a serious downward spiral folks!

One morning my husband and I sat down and had a good talk. You know… the kind where there’s lots of tears, and self-discovery…

Basically, I told him that since everyone was in school, I didn’t feel like my part in the family was important because I wasn’t contributing financially.

And the wise man that I married stopped me dead in my tracks.

He said, “Jodi, if you were to die tomorrow, do you know how much it would cost me to pay for everything that you do?”

I countered, “If I died tomorrow, you wouldn’t do everything that I do.”

“You’re right,” he said. “But if I wanted our family to live the lifestyle we’ve been living, I’d have to pay people to do everything that you do.”

He then issued me a challenge:

“Keep track of everything you do, down to the minute. Then find out how much it would cost to pay for all of that.” He was sure that the amount of money I save our family would be incredibly high!

Now, I’m a numbers girl… I always have been… so this challenge made my accountant mind tick…

I started with babysitting.

I have 5 kids and a crazy dog, so we pay a babysitter $10/hour. Since my kids are still young, someone needs to be here when they’re here. So if I was just a babysitter and “sitting” with my kids 8 waking hours a day, more on the weekends. That would be $10/hour x 8hrs x 7 days/week x 52 weeks/year, or $29,120 a year we save our family by me being home. So you could easily argue that my “salary” could be $29,120.

That number was SOOOO depressing. And let’s face it… I do waaaay more than just babysit.

It was time for a spreadsheet!

Most of my hourly rates came through Google, but I did some research by checking with private tutors, cleaners etc. and I tracked almost everything!

When I cut my hubby’s hair, I counted $50. (Because let’s face it, if someone else cut his hair he’d spend at least that, and then give them a hefty tip. $50 is being lenient!

Each time I wash and detailed my car I counted $45.

Here’s a small part of the spreadsheet I created:

Mar 6 Mar 7 Mar 8 Mar 9 Mar 10 Mar 11
Cleaning 1.5 1.75 2.5 1 2 2
Fold
Laundry # loads 3 1 1 1 2
Pool Maintenance  1
Yard Work
Home Repair Projects 2 4 4
Shop for needed items 0.75 0.5 2 1.5 2.5
Cook 0.5 0.5 0.5
Get gas for car 0.1
Family History-Journaling 0.5
Car Repair Errands/Oil Change
Fix Bike 0.1
Finances/Bills/Accounting 0.2 5 1.5
Dog Training 0.25 0.25 0.25
Tutoring Kids/Homework 1 1 1 1.5 1 0.5
Piano Teaching 0.6 0.6 0 0.6 0.6
Talk/Council w/kids/hubby 0.25
Babysit for others 3
There at home for kids 8 8 8 8 8 17
Extra Kid Projects/Costumes 0.5
Hair Styles 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.2 0.25
Drive Kids to Practice/school 0.5 0.25 0.25 0.25 1.25 1.75
Cut Hair $50  1
Massage
Family Planning  .5
Doc/dentists

And some of the costs:

Costs: Hourly
Cleaning $25.00
Tutoring $85.00
Personal Shopper $65.00
Personal Asssitant $15.00
Pool maintenance $25.00
Bike Repair $12.00
HairDresser hrly $20.00
Personal Driver $12.00
Piano Teacher $40
Dog Training $100
Handyman Work $50.00
Day Care other children $10.00
Yard Work $105.00
Personal Chef $40
Personal Accountant $35
Therapist $150.00
Babysitter $10.00
Massage Therapist $50.00
Hair Cut $50.00
Load of Laundry $5.00

Sure, one could argue that you can find better or cheaper rates, but I’m not a cheap employee. I’m a hard worker! I’ve developed my craft and know how to get the job done! I have 11 years of on the job experience, and devote every waking minute to it! I rarely need vacation time, and would do this job for free because I value it that much.

As the month wore on it became incredibly fascinating to see where I spend my time.

For example, I don’t cook very much… in fact during the 30 day test period, I spent less than 9 hours cooking.

How sad is that?!

But if my husband paid a professional chef to cook, (my family would eat a lot better) and it would cost them roughly $40/hour. So by my cooking those 9 hours, I’ve saved my family $360.

I do our finances, and counted $35/hour for a personal accountant.

For every long counseling session that I spent with the kids I counted it at a therapist’s rate of $150/hour.

If I sent my kids to tutors instead of helping them myself I’d pay $85/hour.

A few numbers didn’t make it on here. My kids didn’t get sick, so I completely forgot about all the time I might’ve spent doctoring them up…

The grand total for the month was shocking.

$11,490.15 over 30 days. Since that was a fairly average month, we’ll multiply that number by 12.

And, if I were to get paid for every little thing I do, my annual salary would be:

$137,881.80

Ha! That’s my number folks! That’s how much I save my family every year by not working outside of the home.

So what does it all mean?

Basically, this made me realize that a marriage is a beautiful partnership. My husband works hard to provide the financial income for us, and I work hard to keep the home lights burning. Together we’re trying to raise 5 individuals to become hard-working, independent, confident people, and that’s no small feat. But when I stay home, I have time to get all of the work done, and still take a little time for myself. I even have a little extra time to run my tiny little hobby business! And while saying, “I’m a stay-at-home mom” doesn’t look good on a resume, and is often scoffed over among high-powered executives, it’s actually quite valuable.

For any single parent out there, you’re number should be double my number. Just like a more experienced employee gets a higher salary, your double-duty experience is incredible, and it matters!

To the working mom’s who have a full-time job… bravo! You’ve found a way to balance family and business! I would never try to discount the hard work you put in for your family! I’m amazed and impressed by you!

I no longer feel less of a person because I stay home. And the next time someone asks why I don’t have a job, I’ll proudly say that my family couldn’t afford it! Because they couldn’t.

Snow

My kids have been praying for snow ever since Thanksgiving! I told them that since we lived in Dallas, the chance for snow was highly unlikely.

I tried to decorate the house with things like this ball garland from Paul Michael Designs, but it wasn’t enough… they continued to pray.

Then, they got this weird idea that if you put ice down the toilet, it would snow the next day.

I said no way! That’s not how it works… look at the forecast! No snow!

But they kept begging, and begging until they broke me down. On Thursday night I let them put ice down the toilet.

And guess what?

It snowed the next day!!

So, I’ve got to apologize to anyone who didn’t want the little flurries of snow that came through… you can blame the 5 little crazies at my house!!

Little Successes

I’d like to show some beautiful restoration project today, or share a perfectly staged photo of my clean home…

But the truth is, my house is a disaster, I have dirty dishes in the sink, and a thousand legos covering my table.

But today was full of a few little successes that make the mess all worth it.

1. I cooked a delicious meal from scratch that my husband and kids actually ate! If you know how poorly I cook, you’ll know this was no small feat!

2. I got to speak with an amazing designer who gave me so much to think about in regards to Interior Design.

3. I played Legos, and cuddled with my kids while giggling over a silly TV show.

4. My husband and I found time to connect and laugh together during the 40 minutes that our schedules aligned.

I’d love to say that I’ve got life figured out and my home is perfection… but truth is, I don’t. My home is lived in, not an art museum. Tomorrow I’ll try to clean up today’s messes and tackle a DIY project or two… but today, I’m grateful for these few little successes.