A while ago at my day job teaching junior high English Language Learners, we had a really eye-opening lesson about stay-at-home parents.
It was Women’s Day, so I was all over that and decided to talk to them about gender roles. Many of the students are from Syria, some are from Kenya, one is from Vietnam, and a few of them were born here in Canada. I knew there would be interesting discussions and that I would need to be careful in my approach, in order to be sure I was respecting their cultural beliefs.
I pulled up the Canadian government’s resource that discusses myths about gender equality and went through every image, discussing what the picture looked like and what the words meant. We talked about how lots of women like STEM and work in STEM, and I asked the class how many of them thought women should or should not be in the various industries or work environments shown in the images. We broke down their beliefs and asked why they thought what they did, and many girls expressed their frustration that the boys of the class didn’t think girls were smart enough, or that they thought they’d be too scared of blood to be doctors, for example. It was a very productive discussion.
The discussions that stick out the most in my mind were the ones about these images:
Once we had worked out what the images were saying, a few of the boys were shaking their heads. I asked them why, and a couple of them told me that they felt that women should stay home, and men should work. So I asked the boys to raise their hands if they felt women should stay at home, and only one didn’t raise his hand. There were six boys in my class at that time.
The girls erupted in frustration.
I proceeded with caution. I started by letting the class know that these discussions are sensitive and that we must respect everyone’s perspectives in order for our class to be a safe place. I told them that when people talk about these things they often experience different feelings, and that we would talk about them respectfully.
I asked the boys to raise their hands if they felt men should not be stay-at-home-parents. All but one raised their hands.
I asked the girls the same question, and none of them raised their hands.
At this point, one of the boys explained that his dad stayed home with him and he liked it because it meant he could spend more time with his dad. He said his mom worked and he didn’t have an issue with it because it just meant she could support his family financially. He said he didn’t care who worked and who stayed home.
I asked the girls to raise their hands if they felt that they were expected to be a stay-at-home parents when they grew up. All except one did, until one of the girls spoke Arabic in order to clarify. Then she raised her hand.
I asked the girls if they wanted to be stay-at-home parents when they grew up. One girl raised her hand.
I asked if the girls if they wanted to work, and have their own career. All of them raised their hands, including the one who said she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. (I clarified with her to make sure she understood the question, and she did. She wanted to work from home.)
I asked if any of the girls wanted to be doctors. Two raised their hands. I asked if anyone wanted to work in science, but didn’t know what yet. Three other girls raised their hands.
There are 8 girls in my class.
I explained that gender roles teach us how we think women and men “should” behave.
Then I asked the boys to raise their hands if they still thought girls should only stay at home.
Only one raised his hand.
The girls muttered about this, and so I let them know that it’s okay for him to believe what he believes as long as he respects what women choose. The student was not judgmental towards the girls who didn’t want to stay home, he just didn’t agree.
I explained that in Canada, anyone can be a stay-at-home parent, regardless of their gender. I explained that still these days, many stay-at-home dads experience negative reactions both at work and in their personal lives, because they chose to stay home.
I asked the class if they thought women would experience negative reactions if they stayed home, and no one raised their hands.
This made me think about the history of gender roles.
In the 50s, women were generally housewives… if they were white.
Second wave feminism fought for women’s right to work outside of the home, and while there were issues with that (women of colour had been working outside the home for a long time) it did point to the fact that generally, even the most privileged women around were still stuck at home even if they didn’t want to be.
It ended up that second wave feminists ended to look down on women who did stay at home.
Then third wave feminism was more about being okay with women’s choices. Women should be allowed to work if they want, or stay at home if they want. Which, in my opinion, is 100% the way it should be.
Now, society is more accepting of stay-at-home parents of any gender, though we are still struggling to truly accept dads who choose to stay at home. And instead of looking down on women who stay at home, we look down on women who don’t work AND women who stay home.
The funny thing is, the job of being a stay-at-home parent is severely undervalued.
Staying at home doesn’t produce money or wealth, so nobody seems to care about it. (Plus, it’s feminine. We know that jobs traditionally “meant for women” are paid less because they are undervalued, and stay-at-home parenting is no exception.)
But not only is it a completely valid choice — women are not “letting other women down” by choosing to stay at home — but it also actually saves a lot of money. When parents stay home, they aren’t bringing in literal cash, but they are saving the cost of childcare — which can be as much as about $5000 a month.
Despite that, our society now shames women for working because they aren’t staying at home with their children, but then doesn’t make women or men who do choose to stay home feel important or valued. How dare they stay home with their child, and not spend 8 hours a day at work instead, even if they don’t want to! Not to mention that if a parent wants to stay home, they usually can’t because the family is likely not financially able to even if staying home does save the cost for childcare. And if parents work at home, they’re considered to not have a “real” job.
Our society is practically forcing parents out of the house, regardless of if they want to or not.
How screwed up is it that we value work more than taking care of the baby humans in our lives?!
Being a stay-at-home parent is just as important and earning in income outside of the home.
It isn’t easy. Stay-at-home parents are pretty much earning $60,000 a year due to not having to pay for childcare, but are then doing way more than just childcare — they manage the house, often the finances, and then aren’t being valued for their work.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, I just want to say THANK YOU for being awesome.
I’m not a parent, but I know it’s no walk in the park to stay at home. I can barely take care of myself some days!
Homemaking is filled with mundane tasks that never end, but here’s the thing: do you want to spend more time overwhelmed by things you don’t enjoy?
Nope. I daresay you do not.
So what if you could find resources to help you become better at homemaking (and maybe even learn to love it)?
Well, look no further, because I found something that might be just what you need: The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.
As a child-free woman who works both from home and outside of the home, let me tell you: this thing is the COOLEST, even if you’re not a parent! (And in my humble opinion homemaking does not just mean “parenting.” It means making your home yours. If you have a home, you’re a homemaker — regardless of what kind of home it is!)
For six days only, everything you need to learn about adulting and homemaking (and then some) is in one fabulous package, for the most affordable price ever. (Seriously, just wait until I tell you the price.)
This year’s edition of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 50 ebooks, 21 eCourses, 14 printables, 2 videos, 2 audios, 2 summits, and 1 membership site.
These top-quality resources cover everything you need to make homemaking and parenting feel less stressful… quick & healthy recipes, homemaking printables, cleaning tips, sizzling date night ideas, parenting helps, and so much more.
For less than the cost of a meal out, you’ll get a complete library to help you:
- Cook up healthy recipes for you and your family
- Build stronger relationships with the kids in your life (even with teens)
- Discover speedy cleaning routines for the toughest messes
- Rekindle the romance in your romantic relationships
- Put self-care back into your life
- … and finally enjoy homemaking!
Plus, it comes with over $290 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love, like Orglamix who makes vegan, cruelty free cosmetics.
You sort of need to see it to believe it, but the package includes 106 digital products and it’s worth over $1980! (Mind blown, amirite?)
Besides being incredibly helpful, the absolute BEST thing about the bundle is the price. By offering it for a short time only, they’re able to give you access to over $1980 worth of amazing products for 97% off: $29.97!
It’s kind of ridiculous.
Here’s how it works:
- Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
- You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
- Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start your stress-less homemaking journey!
I’d like to add as well that if you are not a parent, there is still a TON of stuff in the bundle that you can use. I bought it myself and have downloaded every single one of the 12 recipe books (they save so much money — and between you and me, I do need to save!) and I’m also looking at several other resources about budgeting, home decorating (for an affordable price), relationships, and even organizing. Here are my top 7 resources:
- Don’t Wait, Decorate! by Chelsea Coulston — I’m loving this book! It emphasizes that you can decorate for incredibly cheap and it helped me realize that thinking, “I’ll decorate when we have a nicer place,” is a straight up lie, just like, “Decorating is too expensive.” I’m so excited to make my home more homey now!
- Real Life Money Plan: Designing a Money Plan to Fit Your Real Life by Jessi Fearon — Jessi is a budget blogger I actually know through Elite Blog Academy, and I love her. In this course she gives you a workbook to help you with your specific needs. She shows you how to create a budget no matter what your income is like, how to start saving, and how to pay off debt. My favourite part is that she even helps with irregular income, which is what my income is like as a substitute teacher and new grad!
- 31 Days to Living Well Spending Zero by Ruth Soukup — This is a book by the same woman who created Elite Blog Academy, and as you may know I kind of follow her like crazy. This book in particular is about challenging yourself to not spend any money for an entire month, in order to reset how you see your finances and encourage you to make do with what you already have. It walks you through step-by-step, including making a reasonable meal plan that you can stick to. I really want to try this, but I have to admit I’m not sure my partner Grady would be super into it! But I LOVE everything Ruth does, and I know it would be worth it.
- How to Coupon Effectively by Lauren Greutman — When I first learned about couponing, I got super into it and then kind of dropped it because I felt like it just took up way too much time. Lauren’s system is WAY easier to implement, with only 2 hours a week or less, based on your personal needs. I only recently read the book (like yesterday) but I’m definitely giving it a try… especially since she cut her budget down 80%!
- The DIY Art Journal by Kimberlee Stokes — Dude, there are COLOURING PAGES. Not that I need more on top of my two “adult” colouring books. There are also little prompts for journaling, drawing, and even inspirational quotes. All of it was designed by Kimberlee by hand, and it’s just gorgeous! I’ll likely print out the pages as I like and stick them into my bullet journal for a creative outlet.
- 52 Date Cards from the Dating Divas — I actually discovered the Dating Divas randomly on Pinterest one day so I was super excited when I found this! I love finding more date ideas, because Grady and I are on a tight budget and could always use an opportunity to change things up. Their website is full of useful ideas. This particular item is a way to keep memories in a cute little album — one card for each week! We’ll probably make a date of putting the album together, and it’s a great way for us to celebrate actually spending time together once a week.
- From Frustration to Functional: 14-Day Closet Makeover by Kelly Snyder — This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a course that will help you stop feeling like you have nothing to wear in just a couple of weeks 🙂 something I feel pretty much everyday… #sigh
You could also just download the TWELVE recipe books that include slow-cooker meals and make-ahead or freezer-based cooking. At less than $30, you’re not going to get that anywhere else. (Even for Canadians like me, that’s about $40 CAD — maybe a dinner out, or the cost of two good cookbooks!)
So if you look at nothing else in the bundle, look at the recipes and the finances section. You will be amazed at how much money you can save.
A quick note…
A lot of these resources are targeted towards moms and are written by moms from their homemaking perspectives. So I would like to add that some of the language in a few of the books does enforce gender roles, or tends to exclude other parents or even single people who could still find value from the material. With so many resources, this is bound to happen, unfortunately. I do find that even those materials are incredibly valuable though, and I find myself reflecting on how important it is to respect and be exposed to other perspectives. So if anything, the resources that have fantastic info but don’t always match my values are helping me be a better person. I still think it’s worth it!
The most important detail is that this bundle is available for only a few more days. After Monday night, May 1st, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.
I’d hate for you to miss out, so click here to learn more or buy the bundle.
It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s really right for you.
No one should have to feel overwhelmed by homemaking because it costs too much or they can’t get the help they need.
Becoming efficient as a parent is one thing. Fully embracing all the messy moments and hard times and loving it (most days) is another. But it’s not out of reach.
(Psst… the bundle goes away at 11:59pm Eastern on Monday, May 1st, so don’t wait!)