Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An argument for a home manager

I found an interesting article over at the NY Times, Money Is Tight, and Junk Food Beckons by Tara Parker-Pope. It's about a couple who ran themselves an experiment, living on $1.00 worth of food a day in the US, for one month.

The standout quote:
One of the biggest changes was the time they had to spend in meal preparation.

“If you’re buying raw materials, you’re spending more time preparing things,” Mr. Greenslate said. “We’d come home after working 10 to 11 hours and have to roll out tortillas. If you’re already really hungry at that point, it’s tough.”

One of my favorite arguments for having someone manage at home is that it's healthier for the budget as well as the body. Having someone at home means home cooking the bulk of the time.

Think about it, most people work an 8 hour day. That doesn't count lunch, of course, or commute time, factor those in and you're gone usually 11 hours. You come in the door, and you're tired, and your hungry, and so are your kids who have been gone that much time as well, and no one wants to go cook for 30 min to an hour to get to food. And
no one wants to clean up the mess afterward. How much easier to pick up drive-through on the way home, eat, and toss the mess.

With a home manager or homemaker in the family, dinner is on the table around the time you get home. If they're doing their job much of the mess should be cleaned up (no one is perfect, I usually have a mess lingering, but that
is the ideal.) And at a minimum the kids have been home for a few hours and have had a chance to mellow out. Even if said kids have been pulled in every know direction, and you're eating take-out because of it, it's a conscious decision on your part to enroll them in soccer/ballet/piano/what all, no? You have the option to make healthy, home-cooked meals a priority if you want to.

According to the article the average American spends $7/day on food. The husband and I eat very well on roughly half that. That right there is a big part of my "income" as a homemaker.

I don't like to use the term "housewife" too much because some of the Religiously Righteous like to proclaim that only a woman can care for a home, and caring for a home is the only job for women. Horse hockey! A woman can do it, a man can do it, a group of people can come together collectively and have one person do it for a number of smaller families (admittedly rarer, but I've seen a couple of households run like this and they ran very well.) The point is the
someone does it. Otherwise you're all just working to like the corporate pockets, spending far too much on food prep and upkeep and fuel and who knows what else, all the while trying to buy happiness. It just doesn't work.

So, reason #2 why Home Managers are a valuable part of society: They save money and help make people healthier by cooking at home.

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