Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes
“[T]he major work of society needs to happen inside our homes, putting the homemaker at the vanguard of social change”
I came across this book completely by accident. I was in the library browsing for books on making cheese when I saw it. The title “Radical Homemakers” immediately caught my attention. “Wait, that’s me!”
So I checked the book out.
I am a homemaker by choice and desire. I have a bachelor’s degree in Music Education, but I have not taught in a school since student teaching. I never wanted to. I wanted to make a home, have a family. And I’ve loved it. But I’ve had little nagging thoughts, maybe I should be doing more. ‘Society’ sees me as a pariah, a freeloader. It’s hard to resist that, hard to stand up for myself and say “No, I’m not!” I never had the words to explain how what I do is important, not just for my family, but for everyone. Because of this book, now I do.
“The choice… to become homemakers is not an act of submission or family servitude. It is an act of social transformation.”
I read the preface and the introduction then wrote in my journal “I’m shaking all over and I feel like jumping up, waving my arms and yelling ‘I’ve found it!'”
I’m the kind of homemaker this book describes. The one who cooks dinner from scratch every night, who has a garden and wants a bigger one with fruit trees, chickens, bees, and maybe a goat. I love canning. I homeschool my kids. We have one car and my husband bikes to work most days. We have only one TV and it has tubes. But there is more I can do, and that is what I learned from this book; to value my work; to ignore those who say it isn’t important; and to do what I can to help others who want the same things I do.
“Working alone or with a partner to create a nurturing home is not antithetical to progress. Indeed,…it may be the only thing that saves us.”
I’ve taken copious notes while reading, and I frequently find myself thinking over those ideas as I go about my day. I’d like to read it again to really absorb the ideas. But the library wants their book back. I guess I’ll have to buy it….
There’s really not much else to say except what it says on the back cover: “If you ever considered quitting a job to plant tomatoes, read to a child, pursue creative work, can green beans and heal the planet, this is your book.”
What do you think?