Weekend Meditation: A New Homemaking

Weekend Meditation: A New Homemaking

Dana Velden
Mar 22, 2009
Have you ever clicked on our mission statement over there to the left? Go ahead and do it. I'll wait...

So what did it say to you? For me, these statements are a homage to a new kind homemaking, one where home is appreciated, redefined, and brought back into the center of our lives. I say 'Hallelujah!'

As Maxwell points out, home is foundational. If we don't take care of it--physically, emotionally, spiritually-- we, and the societies we live in, weaken and crumble, becoming more vulnerable to the forces of greed, hatred and delusion.

Without the steadiness and identity that home can provide, there is little support for negotiating our way through the rough and tumble terrain of a human life. While home is always a work in progress and as subject to change as any other thing, it nonetheless also offers us the potential for stability and shelter.
And remember, home is not always just a place, it's also a state of mind, a way of relating to the world that is rooted in belonging. As adults, our homes reflect not just who we are, but who we've decided to be.

For a while there, home and homemaking took a real hit as we broke molds, discovered new roles and strode forth into a future laden with promotions, financial mobility, and lots and lots and lots of stuff. There's nothing wrong with wanting a career or providing materially for our families, except that we throw out the baby with the bathwater when we give these pursuits a higher value than the heath and well-being of our homelife and, consequentially, the planet we live on.

What I'm starting to see today, and what makes me happy and a little hopeful, is that people are rediscovering the value of homemaking, but in new and innovative ways. There are major changes: the new homemaking is no longer gender specific, it's not about the relentless pursuit of bigger spaces and more stuff, and it's not necessarily the classic nuclear family either.

And there are minor, more subtle hints, too, like the popularity of DIY projects and the renewed interest in the kitchen arts--especially making things from scratch like bread and butter and beer. We are learning how to balance a life centered around homemaking with creative approaches to the work day such as job-sharing and working from home.

Even as we blithely circle the planet in an instant via the internet and cram yet another app onto our latest smart phone, a new appreciation for the handmade is simultaneously emerging and growing: artisanal Brooklyn, etsy, Handmade Nation, canning and pickiling classes, craft fairs. As we discover how to weave our technical-driven lives with the Old Ways, we also create a world where both modalities can inform each other and be valued.

This is all good, and a good beginning, too. Indeed, we have our work cut out for us in the coming years but, to be honest, I think we're up to the task, especially if we continue to balance an energetic interest in the world with a deep respect for and attending to the home, child rearing and the simpler, quieter things in life. So I say: Vive la revolution! ...and, um, honey, I think it's your turn to clean the bathroom.

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Here in The Kitchn, it's an everyday occurrence for us to take up the mantle, dive in deep to offer ideas, recipes and inspiration to discover joy in the home, not to mention countless ways to 'get your hands dirty while you cook.' Here are a few other things I've read recently that have also influenced this post:

Sunset's One Block Feast which shows us the ecstasy and the agony of producing food in our back yards.

Keeping honeybees in the middle of London, in this video.

What is Householding? by Harriet Fasenfest

Nikki McClure, whose lovely papercuts illustrate this post. You can purchase her work here.

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