It’s not every day you find a new description for what you do that sums it up so nicely.
I used to say that I am a stay-at-home mum, but it doesn’t sound very sexy, now does it? It describes where we are located, and very clearly that we aren’t drawing a salary, but very little else. For all you know, stay-at-home mum could mean that I sit in front of Oprah eating a whole packet of Tim Tams and never getting out of my pj’s, while my feral children play with the traffic on the road. Or, on the other hand, I could be involved in every local community organisation while I equally homeschool my children. I am neither of these.
Nor am I a domestic goddess (sad to say). I don’t have a pristine abode, my laundry is covered in lint, I abhor ironing, and I have no idea what we will be eating for dinner tonight. My house was clean yesterday, but today it looks like it always does…Jasmine just drags and drops things around the house, and I spend my time trying to put them back. I picked my infant up off the floor yesterday and judging from the amount of fluff and stuff stuck to her face, my floor needs a mop. I am working from home 2 days a week, and simultaneously busting up riffs between the 9 and 4 year old, breastfeeding and changing a 4.5 month old, and blogging when I get a spare moment (not to mention trying to do things from scratch), the word ‘goddess’ cannot be associated with how I manage to keep all of the plates spinning.
What I am clear on is that I care how my family’s health, how they are fed, and what I teach my children. I care that they learn to grow as responsible and independent adults, I care that they understand the need to live in the most sustainable way possible, and that they contribute to the world we live in, not just take. And I care about the world we are leaving to our children, after the last few generations have been partying so hard and consuming so much and our environment is showing the strains of this. And with children (and adults too) I believe the best way to convey this is by doing. I don’t even think the ‘why’ of living like this sinks in as to the reasoning behind all of this until you are perhaps older, but the confidence and skills and knowledge are there. And of course, what I would like to be doing, and what actually eventuates are two different things.
A few weeks back, I read an interesting post from a mother on the other side of the globe who has coined the label ‘Radical homemaker’ and has written a book about it. I think she sums up nicely what it is I believe I am trying to do. This is a role that is probably as old as time itself. A good thought provoking read! The Grassfarmer meets the Radical Homemaker.
I think the label ‘Radical homemaker’ is an apt one – it sums up the effort and energy being expended not just by me, but by many men and women who are committed to reducing, reusing, growing, recycling, making things from scratch. All of this effort takes education, discipline, time, elbow grease, money and so on. The reason all of this effort is so hard to define is because everyone does it in a different way, and everyone’s personal journey is different. I spent a pleasant morning with a new friend Sam the other day, who has left the workforce to have children, and is going to remain working at home for the benefit of her family. I can see her grappling with what her new role is…she is definitely not just a ‘stay at home mum’, and she is trying to define herself, just like I am.
So….what are you? I am a Radical Homemaker (with my ‘L’ plates on).