Sunday, July 4, 2010

Quiet Mornings

My favorite time of the day is morning, before the kids are up, when it's cool enough to have the windows open. Even without furniture, it's nice to sit around drinking coffee and looking up things on the internets.

There is just so much going on here. Right now I can hear bugs and birds in the trees. We went on a walk yesterday and saw ducks (of course), but also lots of turtles and a huge bullfrog. At Flat Rock Park I saw some little lizards running around on the rocks. It's nice for a nature junkie who doesn't really like being too far from the city. I like it for the kids too. Even though I don't think I would ever live in the country, I still like visiting, know what I mean?

There's a part of me that is jealous of people who do that, live in the country on a little homestead, growing all their own food and just living very simply. I feel the need to slow down, to enjoy life and what I have. I wish I could set up a clothesline in the breezeway. Could I have become one of those Radical Homemakers without even realizing it? In case you don't know what that is, there's a book about it (that I haven't read...need library card badly), and the basic idea is taking back domesticity, taking back a more simple life, rejecting a consumerist culture. It seems to involve things like cooking from scratch, canning, hanging clothes out to dry, etc. If you go searching around on the internets you'll find more information too.

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about the whole Radical Homemakers thing. I don't do what I do because there's some list somewhere, so I can tick things off and give myself a label. I do what I do for our family because it feels right. Labels are so tricky, especially because so many people get caught up in the list of Must Dos that seems to come with a label. I found this with attachment parenting. I don't think attachment parenting is all about following the list, and I've always thought that the people who cling to the list are missing the point. I see this kind of thing with vegans sometimes too, that it's more about the do's and don'ts than it is about the real reasons for choosing not to eat or use animal products. I can see this happening with the Radical Homemakers movement too. People like to fit in, they like to identify with others. I suppose having a list is a fast way to do that. Don't get me wrong, the characteristics of a label can be useful if you're trying to learn about a different lifestyle than you're used to. But can't we take what is pertinent to our families and leave the rest behind without feeling like we're doing something wrong? Can't we be allowed to make small yet meaningful changes without being chastised for not following the list?

Me? I like to do what feels right and what makes sense. And if I save a little money in the process, heck, that's good too. So I will go on with my cloth trainers and my cloth pads and my family cloth, but I don't really care if you do it too. I'll tell you about it if you like, and even help you get started. And maybe you can share something you do with me, and if it feels right maybe we'll do it. If not, no big deal.

I didn't always feel this way. Life is a learning process. I've become a lot more chill in the past couple years. Are there some things out there that I would like to not see and hear about? Um, YES. Are there things that seem very wrong to me and that I don't understand? Of course. But is it my place to be all judgey and tell others they are doing it wrong? I don't think so. I've been told that I'm doing it wrong, and it hurts, especially when it comes to things that I do for my children, like homeschooling. I think the best we can do is lead by example. If you're in public wearing your baby or breastfeeding, people are going to observe you. If you're homeschooling and are happy and your children are happy and thriving, people are going to observe that. I could go on and on with examples of how everyday moms and dads can affect the world around them in a positive way. It might make them think, and they might be pleasantly surprised that there's a viable alternative to what they've always known.

So yeah. I'll still read the Radical Homemakers book because I'd like to see if there are more things I can do to enhance our lives. I'll probably read a lot of books about different points of view. I'll keep on keepin' on with the things we do, no matter how crazy or silly others may think it is. If I find something that makes sense, I might do it. I'd encourage you all to do the same.

Enjoy your Fourth of July!!!

1 comment:

  1. Nicely said, Sherry! I think I've been slowly discovering this for myself.