Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Shannon Hayes - Radical Homemakers - & Why this book is so important to me

When I was a little girl I dream't of having a happy beautiful not necessarily big home with a few children scattered around the place, playing freely in the garden, all mucky but happy. In my head I was there with them looking after them, cooking for them, house keeping. The ultimate dream was a few hens and a garden plot.

I NEVER dreamt of being enslaved to a corporation, working 9-5, running around in a state of stress in the mornings to cart my children off to childcare. I've never wanted lots of shoes and handbags. I like pretty things as much as you (particularly if they happen to be of the old, vintage, hand made, hand me down variety). But I've always understood the concept of enough.  Having too much has always made me feel ill at ease. Too much has always seemed somehow repulsive to me. I've never had a lot of money but I remember even on birthdays when I had all this new stuff I felt a bit sad about it. It's hard to explain. I felt bad that people had spent so much money and time acquiring this stuff - and a lot of it I didn't really want or need. That sounds ungrateful somehow but I would have been happy with a big family meal and half of the things I got. 

Money never really mattered to me all that much - you buy 'stuff' with chunks of your life that you spend working in order to obtain this thing called money that gets you all the shit you don't need.The more you work the less time you have so the more products and services you have to buy. Because society tells you you need a bigger house, a better car, more things to be happy. But these things won't make me happy. 

I've always understood that wealth is more to do with having time to enjoy your life, having well nurtured happy relationships, nourishing home cooked food, good friends. 

I felt as though the typical high flying career woman would find me dull & unambitious. I felt they would presume me to be unintelligent because I am not business minded. I have nothing against anybody who chooses the high flying career route and understand that everybody is different, however I have no interest in working for a boss, slaving my days away in an unfulfilling career and missing time with my young children that I could never get back, in order to buy things I don't need. Until I read Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes I'd never really heard somebody putting into words all these thoughts that had existed inside me all these years but I had never really articulated. Never realised there are so many others who think like me. 

Only in the last 6 months or so and with the help of this book have I started to understand how and why society has been manipulated by corporations and the media to feel that they are lazy unambitious under-achievers if they have no desire to work 9-5 and go shopping at the weekend. But they just want us to be spending, that way the rich stay rich. And the rest of us remain trapped in debt and the misery of being brain washed to be always wanting more - never to say "hey you know what, I'm happy with what I have". 

To understand that there are lots of other people like me has given me an inner peace and confidence with my life choices. I work as a childminder term time school hours only and this provides the money I need to be happy. Not to have excess, but to have enough. 

I understand that some women and mothers want to work and enjoy their jobs, and that is fine. But if you ever find yourself wondering "what is this all for?" then I would urge you to read this book and see how life could look from another perspective. Better to do something you love and that can fit around your life for your living even if it means earning less... when you have more time and a more fulfilling life you find you need far less anyway.

As a final note, you need never feel lonely as a stay at home mother as society would have you believe. If all you do to fulfill yourself and fill your time is to shop and watch daytime tv then sure you will feel lonely. But not if you go out into the community and engage with friends and others like yourself, learning ways to live well for less and socialize with people who are on your wavelength. We just have to open our minds and question what has been drummed into our brains. We don't have to live the rat race, we can chose an alternative way. When you open your eyes to needing less, you can work less and be richer in the things that really matter... more time, more time to nurture relationships, learning to enjoy cooking nourishing food and taking an interest in environmental and social justice. That's all.

1 comment:

  1. I resonate with this so much. I enjoy working for myself but I'm absolutely a believer in 'enough'. I'll definitely add the book to my reading list. Thanks



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