3 Reasons Homemaking + Parenting is Easier Today Than Ever Before

posted by Andrea | 04/27/2016
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homemaking and pareting

Last week I shared a post about how parenting in the 21st century is so much different than parenting back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s (read the full post here).

After publishing that post, I got a comment that I’ve been thinking about ever since…

My mom was raised in the 60s… she described her mom seeing her occupation NOT as a stay-at-home parent but as a homemaker.

Her job was keeping house, not caring for kids. She did the same things before and after having kids at home as she did while they were at home.

But you know what? My mom also says she grew up wishing her mom would have spent more time with her instead of doing housework all the time!

For the last week, I’ve been thinking about the huge difference between being “a HOMEMAKER who takes care of their children” and being “a PARENT who takes care of their home” and I just can’t help but feel so completely blessed to live in the day and age where it’s “cool” to be a stay-at-home-parent, and where we are encouraged to put our families before our things. 

Although I greatly appreciate and value ‘neat’, ‘clean’, ‘simple’, and ‘organized’, I’m also fully aware that the people in my life are more valuable and more important than an organized closet, a made-from-scratch menu plan, a weed-free garden, or a zeroed-out Inbox.

However, this does not mean my house is totally chaotic and cluttered, that we eat fast food every day, or that we have piles of dirty laundry covering our bedroom floors.

No way!

For the most part, my home is neat and organized, my laundry is under control, I have a simple weekly menu plan, my email is manageable, and my garden is actually looking pretty nice these days — PLUS, I still have plenty of time to play with my kids, go on field trips with Nora, take bike rides to the park, build forts in the living room, and plan fun crafts and activities.

No, I’m not Wonder Woman, no I don’t have magical powers, no I am not that much “better” or more efficient than women of previous generations… I simply have a few things working in my favor!

homemakeing and parenting

In my opinion, there are 3 major differences between being a parent and a homemaker today versus previous generations… these 3 differences have made the combination of homemaking + parenting easier than ever before.

Please note I did NOT say “easy”… just “EASIER”!

Thanks to these 3 differences, we now have the luxury of putting our family first… AND still staying caught up on our various homemaking duties and responsibilities.

Let me explain…

1. We have more support and encouragement.

I know I’ve only been around for 30 years, but in my opinion, it seems that dads are more involved in family life than ever before. It is not only acceptable and expected, but also “cool” for dads to be very involved in home life, to spend time with their children, to help out with household chores, and to invest in their families’ lives.

Many employment places now offer paternity leave for dads to take off from work after a baby is born, and there are more options for dads (and moms) to work from home than ever before. We know a handful of stay-at-home dads, and I even know a couple of homeschooling dads — pretty cool!

Dave and I also have quite a bit of help and support from both sets of grandparents (which I KNOW was not common in past generations)… and thanks to Facebook, blogging, and other online groups, I have felt so much love, encouragement, and motivation as I find my way as a mother and a homemaker (and I know many other young moms and homemakers who feel the same way).

2. We have more modern conveniences.

I have heard MANY of my grandma’s stories about all the work she had to do just to keep food on the table and clean clothes in the closets. She worked from sun-up to sun-down (as did my Grandpa) just to do the basics. It’s no wonder no one had weight issues back then!

Nowadays, our homes are fully loaded with dishwashers, huge refrigerators, extra deep freezers, washers, dryers, top-of-the-line vacuums, automatic everything, a whole slew of helpful small appliances, and super effective cleaning agents (hello Oxiclean!)

This makes it possible for us to keep our homes neat and tidy in a FRACTION of the time our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers needed.

We can buy anything we need and have it shipped to our home in 2-3 business days — which means we don’t need to make our own, or spend countless hours running errands every week.

Our grocery stores and farmer’s markets are overflowing with delicious produce — which means we don’t need to grow and preserve all our own produce… and there are so many restaurants and semi-homemade food options at the grocery store that we could get away with not cooking for days and weeks on end.

We also have access to SO many services that we can simply hire to do the work for us — carpet cleaning, dry cleaning, window washing, meal planning, grocery delivering, house cleaning, lawn mowing, leaf raking, home repairing, etc. Our time is freed for other things like family, friends, and recreational activities.

And let’s not forget about all the amazing “gadgets” available to make parenting little ones SO much easier (and safer) — disposable diapers, monitors, bouncy seats, car seats, sippy cups, pre-portioned snacks, baby carriers, iPads, DVDs, etc. etc.

3. We have more information and resources.

Although it can be overwhelming to weed through the mountains of information and resources available to us these days, I have a hard time seeing the excess information as anything but positive and helpful.

I have personally learned SO many new skills thanks to YouTube, Google, various blogs, eBooks, and the internet in general.

If I need a new recipe, I can find one in seconds. If I’m looking for a fun activity for my kids, I scroll through Pinterest for 10 seconds and have a week’s-worth of fun activities planned.

If I need to know how to clean stained grout, I’ll have 500 different articles at my fingertips in seconds… and if I’m trying to fix my sewing machine (or just about anything else) YouTube usually saves the day.

There are fabulous eBooks and blogs on every topic under the sun, and it’s all available to us with a click of our mouse — everything from cleaning, organizing, and time management to menu planning, freezer cooking, canning, and preserving. And then there are ALLLLLLLLL the parenting tips, tricks, books, articles, websites, and resources. We could literally learn something new every single day without much effort!

.

Homemaking and parenting has never been (and will never be) “easy”, but with a little extra support, some helpful modern conveniences, and a boatload of useful resources, it is getting EASIER! 

What are YOUR thoughts on parenting and homemaking today, and in past generations?

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17 comments

  1. Jodi

    06/13/2016

    I’ve been chewing on this post for a little while and am having a hard time accepting that parenting is easier now than it used to be. I totally appreciate and get what you’re saying about more support, more readily available information, and more modern conveniences but I tend to believe that modern conveniences can make your life more complicated in other ways. At this point in my life, I don’t have a dishwasher. I thought it would be terrible to be dishwasher-less but I found that having to wash dishes by hand allowed me to slow down for 10 minutes to just stand there and look out the window and think. I would be lying to tell you that I don’t look forward to having a dishwasher when we move in a couple weeks but I’ve appreciated it’s simplistic reminder to slow down and do less.

    I also have three girls, from ages 1.5 to 4 years old and it is BUSY! I’m always carrying a baby, multiple bags, and herding two other kids by myself at church (my husband is a pastor) and people comment that I just need another arm. I used to agree but my response has changed to, “If I had another arm, I’d be even more busy.” Sometimes convenience opens us up to more work and more distraction.

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  2. Amy

    05/02/2016

    At the beginning of this year, my husband and I decided (for the third time!) that it was time for me to come home full time. We have experienced both, me working full time and me at home. Although both have challenges, my being at home is what works for our family. While we do have those modern conveniences that are discussed in the post, we do not have the convenience of extended family close by, which was what made both of us working full time difficult for us. I am lucky to have a husband that does not have to be asked to take out the trash or to mow the lawn, etc. He is a master at fix-it projects as well! Every family has to find what works for them; even if it takes some years of trial and error!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I think it’s awesome that you are constantly evaluating your working status and doing what you feel is best for your family at different stages of life. Things change so quickly so it’s great you’re adapting to those changes.

    I’m sure so many people have told you this already, but I don’t think you’ll regret taking a few years off from work to stay home! Thanks for your comment and sharing your perspectives!

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  3. Amanda

    05/01/2016

    Great post! I’m not a stay at home mom, but I also don’t know what I’d do without these things! My husband helps out more than his fair share around the house so that I can have the career I love! Glad to be parenting in an era where we have so many resources!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Amanda — this advice was not intended only for “stay at home parents”! It’s for ALL parents!

    In fact, I think one of the main reasons I am able to work from home, and so many other women are able to pursue careers they are passionate about, is because of the 3 things I mentioned in my post — the fact that the dads are more involved, that we have so many modern conveniences, and so many fabulous resources to help us keep our home in order, keep our family’s safe and allow extra time for working and other activities!

    I’m so glad you love your career and that you (and so many other women) and do what you love AND be a great mom!

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  4. Karen

    04/27/2016

    I am very happy that change is happening. I left the paid workforce to raise children just over twenty five years ago. Everyone else I knew returned to paid employment after their children were born. In most cases those were office jobs, like mine was.

    During that 25 years, along with homeschooling, I learned to finish drywall (not strong enough to install it) install ceramic tiles, do basic plumbing and electrical repairs, landscape and everything else involved in owning a house in need of upgrades. Interestingly none of that has ever been considered valid work. No regular paycheck.

    I did do the math. Had I returned to paid employment, after work related expenses like clothing and daycare until the kids were school aged, I would have netted less than $200 per month out of a very decent salary. By being home raising children and practicing frugality I was able to reduce our spending by more than that.

    However, I’m still the one who has “not worked” for over twenty five years. Do pass the bon-bons, please.

    Although conveniences are wonderful, they cost. I would have loved for your first and third points to have been a reality a couple decades ago. Hopefully, it won’t be long until actively raising a family will be considered as important a role as that of the guy who empties your garbage can into the back of the truck. I think this blog helps point the way. Thank you.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for your thoughts and perspectives Karen!
    Also, I do think that the jove of “raising a family” is becoming much more appreciated and commendable than ever before. Not that we should need recognition or acceptance, but you’re right — it is nice 🙂

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    Karen Reply:

    Yes, it is improving all the time and I’m thrilled that more men are really involved with their children. The wonderful thing about blogs like this is the way ideas that might be helpful in another person’s experience can be shared. I truly never could have imagined that in my thirties. I think it might be the distance we can maintain using online resources that frees us from “what the neighbours might think”, and then we realize there is a whole community working on ways to resolve the same issues. That’s awesome!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, blogs (and the internet in general) has really helped to ‘close the gap’ for so many people. In my experience, simply knowing that I’m not alone as I deal with a particular issue (parenting, homemaking, marriage, finances, etc.) makes all the difference!

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  5. CJ

    04/27/2016

    The modern conveniences and the internet definitely change the face of parenting today. I’m thankful as a working mother that I do not have to spend hours washing clothes and dishes by hand. I too have been connected to a lot of good information via the blogosphere from toddler picky eating to halloween costumes. I wish, however, that things were easier for working parents and families, that maternity leave was guaranteed and PAID. Many of the conveniences that you mention above (paternity leave, ability to stay home, ability to hire people for cleaning, leaf raking, etc.) are available to middle to upper class families, but not to those trying to make ends meet. Just my two cents….I’m a huge pinterest love!

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    tina Reply:

    I agree. While things as a whole are easier nowadays, there are a lot of these modern conveniences that are only available to those with higher paying jobs. Forget takeaway when you’re pinching pennies. Imagining life in the old days doesn’t seem too distant then sometimes.

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  6. Alyssa

    04/27/2016

    I really appreciate you positive look on this topic. I often hear women talk about how much harder it is because we have so many distractions, responcibilities, etc than previous generations. I have to agree with you on this one ☺ Thank you!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Alyssa!

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  7. Jennifer R.

    04/27/2016

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately too! We bought a high capacity washing machine last year and with a soon to be 3 boys under 3 I have been so thankful for the amount of loads it’s cut down on each week. Plus we cloth diaper most of the time, which with modern appliances is so easy! We just throw them in the washing machine every couple days. 70 years ago if you couldn’t afford a diaper service you had to wash and boil diapers plus hand wash all your clothes and that was just to clothe your family. There are certain aspects of life I wish we had from back then (like a slower pace of life), but I am definitely thankful for our modern conveniences and the extra time it allows with my kids!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes! I don’t mind household chores, but that’s because the appliances help so much! And yes, there are pros and cons to every generation — but I think there are usually more “pros” and “cons”!

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  8. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    04/27/2016

    The modern conveniences make life a lot different. Women used to be expected to stay home once they got married, not just when they had kids. When it takes all day to scrub clothes and wash clothes, there’s no time to work outside the home! Now we just have to start the washer and go back later to switch the loads. I’m sure I’d be exhausted if I had to do things the old fashioned way for a week!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I KNOW! I think the laundry alone would do me in after a week or two… I can’t even imagine washing and boiling the diapers. That must be why kids were potty trained so much earlier back then!

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