I came across this article on neo-domesticity in the Sunday, November 27th, edition of the Washington Post and I was inspired to make another post about the worth of “women’s” work. And I have “women’s” in quotes because society continues to deem any task that deals with nurturing, home-keeping, and child-rearing to be something only a woman can do when clearly men are just as capable of being the stay-at-home/main parent. In fact, we should all be calling it “domestic” work.
There is a quote in there that I feel illustrates why we, my husband and I, chose to have me focus on the domestic aspect of our family.
Their domesticity can be seen as an effort to repair on an individual level what isn’t being fixed at a governmental or societal one.
As well as the goal of knowing most of what I’m putting in my body and my kids’ bodies on the wake of the China toxins in the baby formula scare in 2009. It’s could also be considered a natural reaction to the push into the global market place – like a rubber band snapping back after it has been stretched.
Should everyone be a neo-domestic? No. I think one thing our generation is pretty clear on is that everyone has a choice as to their path. You want to make jam? Fine. You don’t? No problem. I will give you some at Christmas because I will have extra. I for one can’t knit but would love a knitted poncho, but that is a topic for another day. (BTW – I look good in red.)
And, as much as I hate her, I think Martha Stewart really started the homemaker revolution for my generation. What Julia Child did for French cuisine, Martha did for housekeeping. She made all of it seem doable and cool and helped the rest of the women in the US believe there is a certain cache to making your own jam, chicken stock, and napkins. And she introduced me to beekeeping which, along with having 2 or 3 chickens in the backyard, is my new pipe dream.
In a lot of ways the neo-domestics in my area are hearkening back to the pioneer days when we weren’t so much concerned with financial success, but more concerned with the survival of the family. I had to admit that when my brother, who is a farmer, talked about raising and butchering his own pork I was a little jealous. Also, he and my father both have enormous gardens during the summer. Dad raises hundreds of onions and potatoes that feed him and Mom all winter. Hundreds of pounds of tomatoes are made into tomato juice and spaghetti sauce by Mom. Their apple trees give us at least 8 pies plus gallons of apple sauce. My SIL put up 18 butternut squash that they will eat all winter and into the spring. There is no way that I could do that unless we moved out of the city to an acreage and we are currently unwilling to increase Mark’s commute from the hour it currently is. We have a garden and I got 6 butternut squash and about 50 tomatoes along with salad greens and strawberries, but that’s all my yard can do and still provide the kids with space to run around. So what can I do that will bring me satisfaction and ease the envy I feel about my farmer family’s ability to be somewhat self-sustaining?
Coming into 2012, exploring a deeper level of neo-domesticity as a New Year’s Resolution holds a certain appeal. Mark and I are already do-it-yourself-ers and have a garden. And we have both made the ubiquitous pledge to Eat Better/Be Healthier. (I even have Greek yogurt stocked in the fridge! And I’m not snacking after 8!) Maybe for the new year my blog will focus more on the successes and failures of being a Domestic Goddess. I’m going to try to keep a cleaner and tidier house and try to make the things we use in the home myself. Maybe I’ll be making more pants for H. I already made him purple corduroy pants as one of his Christmas gifts. (Story and pictures to come later.)
And I am totally going to be diving into more bag making as well as exploring more complex quilting patterns. My SIL Ellie bought me The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam for Christmas. I have been pouring though it since I opened it and already have a bag sketched out. It will, of course, be called The Ellie. And pictures will be following.
As always, all my sewing, cooking, home-keeping successes and failures will be here for your amusement – with pictures! Let me know what you are doing for the new year – be it domestically related or outside the home/professionally.
I hope 2012 is a prosperous and peaceful year for you and yours.