Sunday morning reading: ‘The New Domestic’

For your Sunday morning reading pleasure, I beg you to check out ‘The New Domestic: A Contemporary Redefining and Legitimizing of Homemaking” from Her Circle magazine. Though I don’t plan on quitting my day job or popping out babies anytime soon, I am sort of in love with the discussion going on right now among what I would consider modern feminists on homemaking and the value of family and motherhood in our maxed out, consumerist, throw-away culture.

Some interesting quotes to chew on over your morning coffee:

Taking a wider-lens view, the loss of value for homemaking and the move of both domestic partners into the workforce has fostered a multitude of problems: most Americans are removed from the source of food production; the loss of self-sustaining domestic skills as a result of the commodification of everything of the household; the disconnect of the family as a result of the two-income household and a system that fosters sweeping and widespread economic inequity.

Work rather than home has become the center of life. We even choose where we live by the availability of work—hence the thriving “bedroom communities” in which many commuters reside. The contemporary work paradigm often does not promote the health and well-being of the family. And the good work of the home has been marginalized.

As Shannon Hayes asserts in Radical Homemaking: Reclaiming Domesticity From A Consumerist Culture, there are some who “choose to make family, community, social justice and the health of the planet the governing principles of their lives,” and “build security through frugal living, domestic skills and reduced material needs.” Demanding professional careers and upscale lifestyles come with the sacrifices of time away from home and children, nutritive meals and family cohesion. Some are instead choosing a life of slowing down, simplifying and building family around a center of home—honing an authentic definition of what it means to create a home. They are delving more deeply into a lifestyle—a different way of living. They are looking critically and thoughtfully at the normative paradigm, seeking its borders and edges and pushing beyond into new territory.

The move of these ideas into the collective consciousness indicates a shift—a consideration of the ways in which we have shaped our lives and the ways in which we can reshape them. There is a recognition of the political and practical significance to how we choose to live. In mindfully choosing, we can live the lives of our ideals—if not all, certainly some.

I’ve always known that I want my life to be more than just “my job.” That doesn’t mean I don’t want to work or make money — I do. And it doesn’t mean I’m ready to become a pampered stay-at-home housewife at the first sign of pregnancy (which is, TRUST ME dad, many years away). I mean, I am 25 — as Joel likes to say, “we’ve gots to makes the moneys” to pay off those student loans. But I think there’s more to life than organizing your lifestyle around the rat race that is our competitive, consumerist culture. I work in an upscale, wealthy suburb of Detroit and despite occassionally ogling the beautiful mansions where my readers live, I don’t want to be them.

That being said, I don’t really know who I want to be yet. But I’m loving this discussion, just as I love my homemaker blogs, Small Measure and The Pioneer Woman, penned by incredibly strong, brilliant women who have learned to make a living while also living. Not going to lie: I kind of want to be Small Measure’s Ashley English sometimes. Not only does she have a great little family in their North Carolina mountain home, she made pies for a year and wrote a book about it. Now there’s a woman who’s made clear choices about how she wants to live her life, and she at least seems happy. Very envious.

This does remind me how much I’ve been wanting to read The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking:

Some day. Maybe when life calms down this spring?…summer?…fall? After the wedding, yes, that’s when things calm down. Only five more months to craziness to go.

Now it’s on to the rest of Sunday. Joel is off to Illinois to look at a car (there are certain things I don’t question). I’m thinking of running to the bank to pick up some cash, then off to check out the kick-off of my town’s 2012 farmers market season. I’m “off” this weekend, so I’m hoping to enjoy it as a local and not a reporter (OK, maybe I’ll snap a quick photo). Then, it’s Krogering, cleaning and preparing stories for tomorrow before roller derby! Sundays around here: they are definitely anything but slow.

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