- Establishes a consistent and reliable baseline that suits your household.
- Helps train you, the SAHM, in the classic art of delegation. Delegating frees a SAHM up to do more complex organizational tasks and decorating to make the house more of a home. Modelling specialization is healthy and a sign of civilization.
- Makes it easier to teach the children basics of housecleaning because you aren’t worn out from constant maintenance/fire-putting-out cleaning. SAHMs who try to do it all have a much harder time raising children who have any experience with household chores. The kids just get used to watching Mamma drudge through everything.
- Provides employment and builds community relations by keeping money in the community and by not being as strict an employer/employee setup, but something more casual and with the opportunity to build acquaintance and properly ordered mingling of social classes.
- Shows the children there are many ways to make a living that are respectable and decent paying and strikes a tiny but noticeable blow at the modern cult of the makework desk job as only “real” job.
Ah, meal planning, a staple of the conservative-leaning frugal housewife. I could just make this post a link roundup of the various strategies out there, but that is not so practical for my target in this post, the young and/or new stay at home mother. Such SAHMs are ill-served by the defaults that are part of the typical meal planning post. I’ll list the necessary adjustments.
Firstly, go-to meals should be minimal. Not ten simple fallback recipes, not even five. Three. Three easy meals. That’s it. A lot of women who come home after the first child are not getting the benefit of being raised in traditionally conservative households. Expecting them to have ten or even twenty default meals is one of the reasons women are very reluctant to stay home.
Second, meals need to consider the reality of cooking in the 21st century. Many SAHMs are, as I’ve noted, not coming from home-cooked meals every night backgrounds. Many of them face massive learning curves. Advice that worked with that reality instead of the assumption that any SAHM can cook it all from scratch would be immensely helpful and prevent burnout and meltdowns over not being able to do three homecooked meals per day from, well, nothing.
Lastly, these are women having little babies. People need to be there for them, bringing already-cooked meals, helping out around the house and generally just supporting the woman at home with a new little baby by actually doing so and not just talking about it on television or before an election. They can learn the skills to have twenty go-to meals in a few years. Right now they just need someone coming by regularly and assurance that it is in fact fine to eat omelettes most days of the week if that’s what you can cook.
It could be more or less formalized, but training young women in the domestic, homemaking arts and giving them practical experience in childcare would be amazingly useful.
There are a number of avenues by which this could conceivably be enabled, not least as part of a general program of supporting women in their women’s work.
A model to start with would taking the system of the current international au pair program, and figuring out how to adapt it to the needs of young women who’d like to be keepers of hearth and home for their families and future husbands and families who could use the help of energetic girls in their late teens and early 20s.
Something that most people with conservative values and beliefs don’t really have knowledge of is that there is an extensive history of the domestic sphere and its evolution over the centuries as technology and economic developments shaped it into various forms. This extensive history is mostly recorded linearly in feminist narratives speaking against domesticity. Yet they are in fact the only ones preserving any trace of this traditional, culturally-specific knowledge.
So, to get quite practical, what would be useful is for some of the conservative homemaking bloggesses out there to use their leisure time they spend blogging in doing something far more helpful to women– reaching into those feminist texts and pulling out the threads of history and compiling a series of essays, ebooks or print books outlining the Anglo, Scandinavian, Germanic and other culture-specific domestic traditions and where they spread out into other cultures and where enclaves of transmission from older women to younger women remain.
Conservatives of all stripes talk about culture wars and values and such all the time, but live cut off from deep historical pools. Diving in and gathering those pearls would be a valuable tool, as it would offer women a connection to traditional ways of living and show that there is status and glory in maintaining the hestia as a center of traditionally oriented life. Instead of feeling beaten down and inadequate, women could be renewed by studying their ancestresses and bring that honesty and reality into their marriages, childrearing, homemaking and community life, lifting up so much instead of being pulled down into despair and anomie. Older women with the free time to blog could shift to this other path instead of building themselves up as de facto authorities without any obligations of responsibility to the desperate SAHMs reading them seeking any crumb of support in their journeys.
It is quite cruel to tell women to come home, lie about or deny the long history of the domestic sphere and its complexities, and then act surprised that not very many women want to sign on for a life of closely spaced pregnancies, zero community, relative or paid household support, and ridiculous, non-historical and physically impossible standards of “Christian SAHMness”. It is practical and reasonable to offer them a true connection to the threads of the past and the ways of their ancestresses and allow them to know that they are part of a vast, complex and extensive historical world. There would still not be vast waves of women rushing to SAHM, but you’d get more of the sweet nice types who currently end up 47 and unwed because they aren’t blind and would rather be “in ministry” than a crumbling wreck of health with a side order of spiritual and psychological abuse.
Also, accurate information would allow in a broader sphere for transition to a service economy that offered really sweet services instead of selling massages and poorly built townhomes to each other.