“RENOUNCING: In this first stage, the Radical Homemaker is increasingly aware of the illusory happiness of a consumer society. They recognize and question the pressures and compulsion to purchase goods and services that they begin to feel they could provide for themselves “if only…” This stage is marked by growing introspection, doubting the ultimate worth of their careers, identifying their true sources of contentment, and seeking better alignment of their pesonal values with their life’s trajectory.
RECLAIMING: In the second stage, the “reclaiming” period, Radical Homemakers were recovering the many skills that enabled them to build a life without a conventional income. This “phase” can take a few years or a lifetime, and homemakers will perpetually return to it as they build even more skills. Initially, this is an exciting and tremendously fulfilling period, as people regain their self-reliance. Interestingly, if the homemakers dwelled only in this realm for too long, they began to manifest some symptoms of Friedan’s housewife’s syndrome—maliase, feeling lost, aimless, or occasionally depressed, or wondering “what’s this all for?”
REBUILDING: Those homemakers who seemed most satisfied and committed to their life choices over the long haul had entered a “rebuilding phase.” In this period, they took on genuine creative challenges, tended toward engagement with their communities, and made significant contributions toward rebuilding a new society that reflected their vision of a better world either through artwork, writing, farming, fine craftwork, social reform, activism, teaching, or a small business.”
–Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes
Even though I don’t can, don’t farm, barely even grow a few herbs (it’s looking like I won’t be doing a garden this year, although all of the garlic I planted last year and mourned came back in triplicate this year), hell, I’m not even the cook in the family, but the more of Radical Homemakers I read, the more I realize it could be a good description of my life. Maybe there’s a little Radical Homemaker in all of us. Where are you on her trajectory?
(If Pickles gives me enough typing time tonight maybe I’ll even get around to writing some things about what each of these stages have been like for me. This quote provides a neat framework within which I could examine bits of the journey of my last seven years.)