That was the good old-fashioned word that they used way back when I was in high school. It covered cooking and sewing, of course, but I also remember other things like entertaining, budgeting and parenting. Basically, most of the things that I cover on this blog. It is a real shame that word like homemaker has fallen out of popularity. Because the truth is that it is highly accurate.
Caring for a home takes every bit as much time, effort and skill as managing a multi-million dollar account.
I know because I have done both.
You must manage not just finances, but time and people too. In addition to all that cooking, cleaning and sewing.
I got to thinking about all this today as I did something I rarely do…because I hate it so much. I ironed.
I just bought an ironing board a couple of weeks ago for my sewing…until then it had been towel on the table stuff. But along with dishes it’s one 1950’s chore that this girl can do without. But today after my sewing I decided to do some ironing…and like a good 50’s homemaker I ironed the table cloth, placemats and napkins.
I chuckled as I ironed thinking that now I really had lost it. That PanKwake’s accusation that I was ‘obsessed with cleaning’ just might be right.
But being an avid fan of reality television including Channel 4’s Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, I know I am far from it. Yes, Cookie Monster may kid me about ‘drinking bleach’ every time it appears on his shopping list. But I go through a bottle a week on average…far from what some of the people on that show do. And honestly, a bottle a week on a house this size with a large kitchen, three bathrooms, recycle bins and a cat box? Hmmm… maybe I do need to be using more bleach?
That is the thing though…where is the line? What is clean enough? Organized enough? Is ironing napkins a bit over the top?
Which brings us back to economics…and the Law of Diminishing Returns…
…the point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.
In other words, you are spending more time or money on something than it is worth.
That is though one difference between business and home. When I managed that $6,000,000 fundraising campaign, it was strictly bottom line. The highest return on the cheapest and most timely budget. I’ll be honest…I micromanaged my team to do it…and our printers probably cussed every time he saw another phone message or email from me. That was business.
But the bottom line in home economics is happiness not profitability. That means that some times you spend both time and money making and doing things that do not make sense from a bottom line stand point.
Like the sewing that got my ironing board out to begin with. I was actually sewing napkins and placemats for Thanksgiving. I did Halloween ones already. I spend hours and MUCH more money on material than they are worth. Heck, I could get some from PoundLand in fact.
But it just would not be the same. Not just in terms of quality of the product…but HANDMADE and HOMEMADE say something. They say love and care went into every stitch, every cookie, every clean toilet.
And that is something that money cannot buy.
So no, I do not plan to spend hours ironing every week. I do not re-clean rooms that I cleaned just that morning…unless PanKwake got into something major that is. Always a good possibility. And shhh, don’t tell no one but I use Uncle Ben’s Microwave Rice too.
But knowing when to cut corners and when to invest your time, money and soul into something is a key skill of any HOMEMAKER.
And if I did not answer your question about where exactly that point of diminishing returns is…that is because…that is different for each person, each family, each home. Only you can decided if you have really lost it this time…
That is just one of the reasons that being a HOMEMAKER is just as challenging…and more rewarding (for me anyway)…than managing a multi-million dollar account.