I spent some time this morning reading this interesting essay over at Salon.com about radical homemaking. The author, Madeline Holler, describes her experience of going from a financially comfortable two income lifestyle to a one income lifestyle and of her ambivalence about going without.
I think about this quite a bit. Before the economy went bust our financial situation was quite secure. We weren't rich, but there was money for camp and cleaning ladies and coffee shops. About a year and half ago all that changed. Since then we have been on a pretty strict budget. I try to consider most of my purchases. Do I need it? Can I do with out it? Can I fix it? (Yes, I need my junk.)
Anyway, I've stopped using the dryer and I clip coupons. Most of what I buy is used.
Generally I enjoy the challenge of making it all work. I've had jobs in the past, but really all I have ever wanted was to be a housewife.
I never said that aloud growing up. I grew up in the 1980's when women were just starting to really make inroads in business. The message that little girls got was that we would go to college and have a career. I worried about this a lot. I wasn't really good at anything career worthy. When David and I got together I loved keeping house. I had a job, but it only got in the way of what I really wanted to be doing- tending our hearth.
Now all these years later there is a movement afoot. Women are dropping out of careers to take care of children and house. They are hanging laundry, baking bread and raising chickens.
I feel conflicted about these issues. I think about the role of women from a biological standpoint and from a social standpoint. What have women evolved to do? What drives me to want to have this kind of life? If I sent the kids to school I could get a job and we'd have money for all of those extras. I don't want to, not at all.
So here I am, darning socks. Is that a step backward? Or a step away from the disposable culture in which I had been living, but no longer inhabit. What should my role be? Is my role as a human animal to produce offspring and care for them? Is my role as a highly evolved human animal at odds with my biological role?
Have I just lost all of my readers?
I promise to never be this deep again.