A few weeks ago I got contacted by Emily Matchar for a book she is working on based on what she calls “The New Domesticity”. You can read all of her blog posts on the subject and chime in with your views on her blog here. At first I thought she would eat me alive, for the lifestyle I have chosen for the moment, but the more I read her blog the more genuinely interested she sounded in what is causing women to sort of reclaim lost domestic skills over the past few years. A trend that doesn’t look like it is fading, but actually may be growing.
Why do we want to homestead, grow our own food, learn to knit, can, stay home with the kids, and even home school?
Since she first approached me, I really started to think about WHY. Why had I chosen this life over one outside the home rocketing to the top of a career in the non-profit world? Why had I chosen differently than my own Mom? Why DO I want to learn to knit? Why DO I want to grow my own food? What has led me to these choices.
It has been fascinating to think about. From the fact that I was a latch key kid, to not having any financial independence of my own if I ever needed it. From how I didn’t really want to get married and have kids, to having kids and homeschooling to boot! From being an outspoken activist, to returning home with my activism instead.
How did I get here?
Emily asked about my Mom and her feelings of my choices and whether they reflected on her. I asked her, her response was, “Of course, and we were the generation who discovered that we actually can’t have it all.” After all, the home was still her realm when she was in it. I often think about that too, some of my friends seem to balance it fine, I think I would be a nut case. But then again, many of us who stay home and are reclaiming domesticity also have careers we are creating from that. There are bloggers, published writers, crafters who make side money on Etsy, women who work part time at nights, women who are trying to create a ‘job’ that works more with their chosen lifestyles and not having their lifestyles be dictated by their jobs.
As I said to Emily, whenever we make one choice, another choice is not being made. That is all. I chose to stay home with my kids, so I am not rising up the corporate ladder. I am trying to create a job of my own as the kids grow with writing, but if I have knit something…a load of laundry hasn’t gotten done. If I have planted seeds, the kids have played on their own for a few hours. If I have gotten a blog post up successfully in the morning, the kids have made a mess out of my living room and the dishes from breakfast are still in the sink. I have chosen to home school, so I don’t get a plethora of ‘mommy time’. These are just choices. If I decide to go to work, it just means I will lose some time with my children. We all make choices based on our own experiences, and our own values as to what we deem most important at the moment.
We all choose. We all choose differently.
I love this new wave of domesticity. Whether it is for environmental reasons, political statement reasons, reclaiming our finances away form a purely corporate sustained society, just for fun, hobbies to remain sane, to creating jobs that fit more into the life we want to live, I find it fascinating and will be looking forward to reading Emily’s book to see what she finds.
The reason I post this is I am curious, as I am in a circle of people that have mostly made similar choices, what are your reasoning’s? Why do you knit, can, plant a garden with some semblance of success each year, are interested in beekeeping, sustainable living, homeschooling, blogging, etc. etc. etc.? What on your path led you to this sort of living? Or, what on your path led you to abhor this sort of homemaking? What on your path said, “No way I can have it all” and led you to keeping your position in the workforce while raising your children? And does your husband do equal housework while you both work?
Let’s open this dialogue cause one thing that drives me absolutely nutty in the mothering community is why one choice is better than another. They aren’t. Organic vs. non/Vaccinate vs. non/Homeschool vs. public/Stay at hom vs. go to work/Co-bed vs. cry it out…blah, blah, blah. They are just different choices, and I wish we could just support each other more and think we have the answers a little less.
What are your two cents here?
And afterthought: And what is with that, “having it all” we need to drop that like a ton of bricks as mothers. I think I have it all by staying home, others think they are having it all by doing both, I think this term needs to be put to rest.
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