November 1st, 2013 Posted in Family, Introspection | No Comments »
I had a ‘light bulb’ moment recently while reading a book called “Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity” by Emily Matchar. I realized that I appear to have taken up a lifestyle many women younger than I are embracing as the new feminist rebellion against the balancing battles women wage with work, home, children, marriage and those all lumped together at times. I believe the author describes this as the third phase of feminism.
The author goes through topics such as women and work, education, crafting, slow food ie) canning, and parenthood. Interestingly, although my day to day routine may look very similar to some of the women she interviews I began from a very different ideology.
My mother felt that it was her higher calling to care for husband, house, and children from home. She canned, cooked, gardened, composted, kept house, sewed, baked, and helped with school homework in a relentless cycle. She recycled before it became a fad. Composting I believe was her hobby. She canned or froze the majority of our fruits and veggies annually. She sewed most of the girls’ dresses for church and graduations, and even a wedding dress. I was raised with this as an expectation for my life if God should bless me with husband, house, and children.
During my high school and college years I debated strongly within myself, and sometimes with peers, over the expectation that was to be my life. I had some other goals that I wanted to pursue. Some of those goals I reached despite moving directly into the role my mother foretold me about; other goals I will likely never achieve. I have to reconcile within myself whether or not those goals were ever achievable no matter the choices I made or goals I still care to achieve.
My choice to live the ‘New Domesticity’ was what I was supposed to do more than anything else. I wasn’t making an intentional, philosophical, political, or even religious argument. I really didn’t dream about being a stay-at-home mom with a husband and children to care for. I’m not even sure I was so thrilled to have children. I can’t look at hindsight over that one. Maybe I would have grown into the idea given the chance. I had career dreams so outside of the experience of my mom, my older relatives, and those who I was in community with growing up.
So, in a kind of fall-into-the-role way I am who I am. I married, had babies, and eventually we bought a house. Over the years I have grown into my work, my choices, and the role that I play in the greater scheme of things. I followed my Mom in a number of ways. I can fruits and veggies (some), cook from scratch daily, garden (herbs, lettuce, rhubarb, and maybe tomatoes), compost (green bins at the curb is a lovely idea), sew (quilts, not clothing), bake (I love baking!), and home school our four students in a relentless cycle. I am a keen reduce-reuse-recycler and shop secondhand foremost for the whole family.
Some of my choices are pure love though. I love baking, secondhand shopping, and quilting/crafting. I’m not always so keen on the idea to can everything that we may need for the year of meal preparation though. I am striving for Godly, healthy choices, with global awareness and creation care. I have a strong mission to raise the kind of family that is aware of what they eat, wear, buy, learn, and dispose of. To the best of my ability.
The criticism Emily Matchar, the author of “Homeward Bound” has against the ‘New Domesticity’ movement overall is not that these things are bad choices but so often they are done from an individualist motive. Meaning, I can safe-keep my family via food, clothing, education and the other areas of life better by myself than the alternatives. The community benefits of working together for justice in all arenas of life needs to be addressed. Cheap food, clothing, and poor education are something that everyone needs to work together on for the good of everyone. Something we can all be reminded of.
All the best as you make your choices.