I adore a good book. I could write a bibliography of my life through books. I love the journey they take you on, the way they make you feel, the things you learn, the worlds you become immersed in, the characters you get to know. I recently shared with a friend that books for me are like the elders we don't really have anymore and this tale is an example of that.
This past year I've been more aware than ever of how what you consume is what you become not just in terms of food but also in terms of conversation, books and media. Since we've turned off the TV and I've instead spent most of my free time reading and making I'm aware that I've entered a beautiful bubble and it's been supremely soothing to my nervous system.
Living a bit out of the way on a farm and without much modern input I realise that the books I've immersed myself in and the friends I choose to surround myself with become my world. Without the news, TV, radio or many 'modern' friends I have noticed that I feel far less influenced by (though not completely immune from) the modern world and its many trappings. And much happier as a result.
A dear friend of mine leant me a copy of Anne of Green Gables a good long while ago and at the end of last year I finally picked it up. I was instantly hooked. A beautiful, funny, magical, kind and caring character and poster girl for the role healthy relationships with steady, loving people play in healing traumatic childhoods. I've devoured my way through the whole series and have emerged with a surprising shift in worldview.
Pride, purpose and contentment in my role as a homemaker.
In retrospect I now see that the first year of mothering for me was a battle to retain maidenhood and a whole heap of resentment. I resented that all of the housework fell to me, I resented that I was expected to earn whilst still waking hourly and feeding as often, there wasn't a lot of clarity over the roles and I felt split in two by the dual pressures of mothering and making money.
Year two everything changed. I slowed right down, I focused on mothering and housekeeping, we split the gender roles and things started to improve.
I've always been fascinated by how powerful our sense of identity can be and I've seen in my own healing how important it is to keep shedding and renewing as our life circumstances change. Fighting a renewal is often accompanied by a lot of stress, tension and uncertainty.
As I started to see myself as a full-time homemaker by choice I shifted from feeling resentful about the load of 'chores' I had to do each day to feeling purposeful pride about the women's work I was choosing to undertake in the name of taking care of my family.
One of my girlfriends recently hosted a 'vision boards' night at her home and before I arrived I said I'd probably just sit and knit unless anyone had a copy of 'Amish Weekly' for me to get my clippings from. I was particularly interested in a horse and cart image. I see it as a strong sign from the universe that my bestie found me a whole page of them!
I've always had an interest in an almost Amish way of life but I've never been able to get anywhere close. I was much too busy with modern living and it's associated continuous breakdowns and burnouts.
As I immersed myself in the world of early 1900s housewifedom through the Anne of Green Gables series, I began to absorb the pride, the focus, the skill, the work ethic. I became fascinated by the sheer mountains of work that each day required from the women in the house and how readily they rose to the task.
I started to experience the profound joy that comes from working hard all day with my hands and my body to finally settle into a restful evening with my family.
Bit by bit I've been introducing more traditional 'women's work' into my daily life, whether it's knitting a jumper for Dolores, baking for my family and community or mending clothes, and I have never felt more content. Far from feeling 'tied to the kitchen' I feel privileged to be able to produce homemade, nourishing meals for my family, I take pride in maintaining a clean and tidy home, I am excited to learn a new recipe. It has given meaning, purpose and deep contentment to my days and my life.
And it's important to mention that unlike the women before me I get to update mothering and womanhood to suit my unique temperament, I get to have bodily autonomy, I can say no, I have a husband who helps me out, I can work cyclically, take rest, ask for help and I can pursue creativity and work as I feel.
These days I'm busier than ever but my nervous system is the calmest it's ever been. Instead of being frazzled and exhausted by technology, stress and rushing about, I'm soothed and calmed by the rhythms of the home and family.
The soothing comes from rejecting as many of the trappings of modern motherhood as I can. The ones that exhaust and deplete and depress. And that means for me, no preschool/school rush, no alarm clocks, no TV, no Alexa, no 'having it all', very few child-centred activities, no continuous playing, as few toys as possible, no loud, colourful, stimulating ones for sure and yes to slow mornings, sink baths, lots of time outdoors, autonomous self-guided play, books, growing a garden, baking, making, mending, conversations, nourishing family meals, fires and as much community as possible.
If you're making this journey to reclaim the joys of mothering and homemaking too I'd LOVE to connect.
Join me over on my Patreon page: Wild Woman Club for more content like this as well as ancestral movement, great grandma skills, natural parenting blogs, menstrual cycle awareness practices, wild and cyclical yoga, wild meditations and nidras and more!