• My Real Job

    by  • March 9, 2011 • Home & Family, Writing • 12 Comments

    At one of the three conferences I attended in the last three weeks, I was chatting with someone. I admitted that what I do – growing, maintaining, harvesting, preserving, cooking, serving, and writing about food – takes a lot of time and isn’t for everyone. He muttered under his breath, “No kidding. I have a real job!”

    Like a plump green inchworm nestled deeply in a backyard broccoli floret, his words have been stuck in my thoughts ever since.

    My work, like the work of every Radical Homemaker, is every bit as real as anyone else’s. Today, for instance, I:

    • counseled a client (Lil) about wardrobe selection and hygiene
    • educated my client in math, history, and reading
    • provided food services for three meals
    • inspected short-term investments (seedlings)
    • collected interest (eggs) from long-term investments (chickens)
    • procured materials for a weekend event
    • followed a monthly budget and forecast for future expenses
    • communicated with cohorts (other parents including my husband) about challenges and successes in our industry
    • consulted with a specialist regarding my client’s health
    • created and marketed content for this website

    I wish I could go back in time and rebutt the person I met at that conference. The only difference between what homemakers do and a ‘real job’ is that our hours are longer and our income is not measured in dollars.

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. I often wear purple and never refuse a drink.


    12 Responses to My Real Job

    1. March 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

      How infuriating! Real job? What is more “real” than raising up the next generation, providing food for our families and friends, and in your case taking your knowledge and spreading it amongst the community in order that other families may utilize it for their benefit?
      What a short sighted person he was.

      I once asked my husband if it bothered him that I don’t work outside the home, he looked at me like I had two heads and said “NO, not at all! What you do here for our family and our future is worth far more than any dollar amount. If you want to work please feel free to, I would never hold you back, but we really need you here.”

    2. Kelly
      March 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Yowsers. How insulting. Yes, you have a real job. And this is what allows me to live with my “second best” homemaking efforts. If it were my vocation, I would want to do it as well as you do. But seeing as how my vocation is in a different field, I don’t beat myself up over not doing the cooking, gardening, chicken-keeping, etc. that you do.

      Had I been in your shoes, I would have wanted to kick that guy. I congratulate you on your restraint.

    3. March 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

      You know this already, but I would love to have a “real” job like yours. A job working in the digital arena, in pleasing unseens clients, in finding invisible problems, and fixing behind-the-scenes bugs–it feels unreal. I come home longing to feel those warm little bodies in my arms, to eat real food that I cooked, and to step out into the real world of smells, tastes, earth under my shoes, and real weather in my hair.

    4. March 9, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Ugh, how insulting. Sorry someone said that to you. I’d like to make a point also that many of the things you talk about can also be done while holding down a “real job” as the person called it. I work 45+ hours a week outside my home and still, somehow, have time to cook and bake from scratch, maintain an herb garden, and write a food blog, among other things. It’s all about what you make time for and what’s important to you.

    5. March 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

      I am convinced that the widespread nature of that horrible opinion is a part of the reason behind the obesity epidemic. If we do not value the work that must be done to raise our children and provide them with a nurturing, healthy, nutritious and sustainable environment, then we will have generations of children who want quick meals, quick fixes, quick pick-me-ups, quick money and quick values. Why anyone would denigrate the things that will ensure our future is beyond me, but we have a country full of that kind of denigration, along with policies in place to make sure that these opinions are entrenched. What a jerk.

    6. Kelly
      March 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      Laura, I wish I had the time and I only work 20 hours a week. But I will admit, there are just other things I prefer doing with the “leftover” time after working and parenting. Sometimes those things overlap with “homemaking” but more often than not, they don’t. Oddly, one of the things I prefer to do with my time than homemaking is reading homemaking blogs. Twisted.

      • March 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm

        Yes, I think we’re right on the same page! I make time for homemaking because that’s what I’d rather do with my time. Lord knows there are other constructive things I could be doing as well. :)

    7. CJonard
      March 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm

      :( What a jerk! You do have a REAL job…more real than his.

    8. March 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      That’s right!

    9. March 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Jerks are every where. Sorry you had to deal with this one. Should have kicked him in the shin!

    10. March 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      I sometimes use the expression real job or rather real life and I probably unintentionally insult people by doing it. I mean it as the job that takes comes first because it pays and I can’t abandon it. You use your blogging and homesteading as a way to get more opportunities to bring in income, so more of your efforts go into that, because it supports your life. It is your job and your real life.

      So I might say that I didn’t get something done because real life interfered and I had to go to work, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a real life, but that I don’t have a choice if I want to pay the bills and I have to do it this way. Not a reflection on you and your real life, but it’s something out of my control that I have to do and prevents me from doing something else I would rather be doing.

      Maybe it doesn’t help, but I’m trying.

    11. January 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      A real job is what one has in lieu of a real life. Having traded his away for money, he was trying to console himself by affirming his realness.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    CommentLuv badge