Friday, October 15, 2010

Radical (the book) Homemaker (me)

After reading about the book Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes in several different blogs I finally just had to have it. I was hesitating a bit because of the word 'Radical' which so often leads to 'alienating' I feel. And the book is a quite black and white, us and them, which I don't like. But there is lot in it that is just empowering. 

This is how the publisher describes the book: 
Radical Homemakers uncovers a hidden revolution quietly taking hold across the United States.  It is the story of pioneering men and women who are redefining feminism and the good life by adhering to simple principles of ecological sustainability, social justice, community engagement and family well-being.  (for more see source

The book is divided in two parts, the why and the how. The twenty-year-old me would be in shock, but I don't care about the why. Not in the way Hays is exploring it, the academic way. I have studied feminism and all that and I just think I'm done with it. It doesn't interest me any more.  

But the how! So powerful! 

ME, the not-so-radical HOMEMAKER
When I was a serious worried little girl I decided that I needed to save the planet. So that would be what I would do when I grow up. When I got older the task ahead started to look a bit too challenging and alienating (radical activism and all that stuff was not for me). Finally the cynicism of the university world killed the last sparkles and I was left wonder career wise. Otherwise life was getting sweeter by the day. 

About a year ago I decided I need to do something about my career and now we get back to the Radical Homemakers and some of my favourite pieces of it. 

Because it is not about the career. It is about identifying my true source of contentment (page 46). It is about the discovery that a home-centered life is the way for me to feel connected (page 121). 

The book put so many pieces of the puzzle into its place. To name few, I realised that community-building is a skill that can be learned and while establishing limits may be necessary, passing judgement is not (yay!). That there is a method how to be self-learner:  "think independently, embrace general knowledge, work with what you have, make mistakes, find your own teachers and muster the courage to start from where you are" (p. 215). 

Changing or adjusting your lifestyle can be overwhelming,  but this powerful book gives the key to it:
"...a key to keeping pace with the lifestyle is to limit the amount of time spent doing it" (p. 224). Take baby  steps and be okay with that (p. 226). Develop a tolerance for imperfection and have adequate rest (p. 228-229).  

To come back to my career, according to Hayes "Those homemakers who seemed most satisfied...entered a 'rebuilding face'. In this period they took on genuine creative challenges tended toward engagement with their communities" (p. 47). And that is what my company is all about. 


Rachel Hauser said...

Mari, I commend you for writing from your heart. I am so glad that you gained something from reading the book, as did I! I especially loved the passage you quoted about how to adjust your lifestyle gradually without becoming overwhelmed. It is a book I'm sure to reread. Blessings on your new business!

Heather Plett said...

What a important message to remember and to proclaim - women can change the world, even from inside their own kitchens! I applaud you. And I'm glad my little poem could serve as an inspiration for you.

Missy said...

Thanks for sharing this. You have sparked my curiosity here. I'm going to have to add this book to my wish list now.