Has Anyone Read "Radical Homemakers"? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 79 Old 06-22-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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I actually think one of the premises of the book is empowering families to do things like question what an education really means, and why you might believe that you cannot provide that yourself. At least that's what I get from it.
And this is a premise that inclines me away from this book before I've even read it.

My kids go to school. Not because I believe that I can't provide them with an education myself. I absolutely could. But I don't want to. I have zero interest in homeschooling. I resent being told that I simply need "empowerment" to question my (well-thought-out, thankyouverymuch) decision to send my children to our local public school.
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#62 of 79 Old 06-25-2010, 08:17 AM
 
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I think that most SAHMs need to be told that their best is good enough, it's OK that all they did today was hold their baby who is fussy, and that it's fine to leave the kids with their dad one night a week to go do something they enjoy, like a book club or a yoga class.
See, despite the things I didn't like I actually felt quite affirmed by this book. I definitely felt that the work of mothering was valued
ITA with PPs - read it yourself before you post about it.

A lot of the health insurance (and other) stuff was completely irrelevant to me since I'm lucky enough to live in a country with a somewhat sensible healthcare system (it's gotten worse since I as a child and we now have to pay a gap fee above what the govt will pay for most doctor visits but all essential hospital stuff is still covered).

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#63 of 79 Old 06-25-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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See, despite the things I didn't like I actually felt quite affirmed by this book. I definitely felt that the work of mothering was valued
I think this is where I am standing after reading.

In the other book I am reading, there are also long lists of "shoulds" with values attached to them. Things like not buying a ton of stuff, not driving miles and miles each day, growing food in your own yard, improving energy efficiency of the home, learning skills to make and repair things instead of replacing, paying off the mortgage, homeschooling (or at least after-schooling, which is what we do), moving in together with loved ones, raising whatever livestock you can (large or small, independently or cooperatively). Values attached, yes, but not judgment. This author is putting these things in the context of a possible future where a lot of what we have available to us now will no longer be--foreign produce and cheap food, affordable fuels, and all the trickle-down effects of these two.
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#64 of 79 Old 06-25-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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I think that most SAHMs need to be told that their best is good enough, it's OK that all they did today was hold their baby who is fussy,...
I'm just reading the thread, and not commenting on the book. (I may read it, but maybe not - I'm very prone to feeling as though I should be doing a LOT more than I am.)

I just wanted to say "thank you". Yesterday, I really did nothing, except get my middle two fed, and hold a fussy baby. I was beating myself up for being so unproductive - your post helped.

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#65 of 79 Old 06-25-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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I'm just reading the thread, and not commenting on the book. (I may read it, but maybe not - I'm very prone to feeling as though I should be doing a LOT more than I am.)

I just wanted to say "thank you". Yesterday, I really did nothing, except get my middle two fed, and hold a fussy baby. I was beating myself up for being so unproductive - your post helped.
Your welcome.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#66 of 79 Old 06-25-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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How does the author reconcile making money from corporate America via this book?
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#67 of 79 Old 06-26-2010, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How does the author reconcile making money from corporate America via this book?
Huh? Who in corporate America do you think is buying her book? If she self-published and is making her money on her terms selling a message she believes in, I don't think she is part of the "extractive economy" (the term she uses a lot, if I'm remembering correctly) at all. (Well, I don't know where the book was published, where the pages/ink were made, etc., but unless she's going to chop down the trees herself in a sustainably-managed forest and make her own ink with squids she caught herself (sustainably, of course), there has to be some feeding into the economy and its problems somewhere.

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#68 of 79 Old 06-26-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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Wow. My husband makes an apparently dangerous amount of money in a corporate job, and I drive a kid to soccer in my minivan and drink lattes, and I still want to read this book. I don't think I'd make a huge jump to homesteading, but I still think I could probably make some changes in my life that could be inspired by this book. I am going to check it out.
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#69 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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Did anyone recommend Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk?

A wise and brilliant MDC mama lent it to me and I am about halfway through it. It is an engaging read that manages to speak in terms of moral values without condemning individuals. It's interspersed with steps everyone, regardless of where they life, should do now to prepare for the future that is coming.
I read this book and it completely changed our perspective on how to organize our life.

I have been a crunchy, organic, natural, gardening, hippy type pretty much my whole life. But this book really gave me the whole perspective.

When we got the book, DH was losing his job, and probably wasn't going to get another one soon. He was distraught, because you know, in the US, your only significance is what you do for a living. Sharon Astyk really opened my eyes to the idea that our value is NOT in what our paid profession is, that we get way to much of our identity from out 9 to 5 job, and it isn't really who we are.

The book convinced us that unless DH finds a dream job, we both like it better with him as a homemaker, and even though he is over educated and really could work any office job, he contributes so much to the home by not working outside the home.

Our income dropped 50% (I WOH) when he lost his job, and I really don't feel the pain, I am happy!

It isn't a book about homemaking, but more about lifestyle and values and how to manage the depleting resources we have access too (less oil, water, ect) in a non condescending way that I really enjoyed.
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#70 of 79 Old 07-22-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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I just finished reading Radical Homemakers. It's okay, but I have to agree that Depletion and Abundance takes it to another level. Depletion and Abundance has tons of practical, real-life suggestions- it's a little more down to earth, I thought.

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984
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#71 of 79 Old 08-16-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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I am not a SAHM, but I loved Radical Homemakers. I really appreciate the notion that being a mother and homemaker and being well educated and a feminist are not mutually exclusive. I think is the feminist paradigm shift that impressed me the most. We ladies need to stick together!


Check out my new blog naturalfamilysteading.blogspot.com!
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#72 of 79 Old 08-18-2011, 09:00 PM
 
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Some people who found this book snarky or judgmental have said that there is a list of "shoulds" and an understanding that if you don't achieve these "shoulds" that you are not a good person or worthwhile. I don't think that's the message at all. The message I got, pretty clearly, was that these are things that you CAN do to make your life better, not that you should do or you must do otherwise such and such. 

 

On another point, I grew up in poverty and my DH grew up in affluence. We both have abuse, neglect and addiction in our families. The system doesn't work for anyone. It doesn't work for the poor or the affluent. It doesn't work for the givers or for the takers. If you come from poverty like I do, please don't assume that people with money have it better, or that if you have money your life will improve. Most importantly, don't assume that because your children have the ability to have money that they will have it better. Money means nothing and that was a very, very hard lesson for me to learn.

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#73 of 79 Old 08-22-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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Thanks ladies, I just added a couple more books to my "hold' list with the library.

 

I haven't read all of the posts, but wanted to share.

 

When I was pregnant with DS, DH and I hadn't been together long but it didn't matter because we'd both finally found a partner for the dream we wanted.  We consider ourselves "homesteaders" though we have a long way to go.  From our first step with the clothesline our lifestyle rapidly grew.  We garden, have livestock and do things as frugally and back to basics as possible.  I preserve our food, line dry (yeah, still use the washer), make all our own soap and cleaners, sew as much of our things as possible (but sometimes second hand stores are more affordable and easier), homeschool, and cook everything from scratch.  I even make any gifts we give from scratch (luckily I love to sew, knit/crochet, make soap,etc.)  Compared to most we live primitively, LOL  I do my best not to rely on electrical applicances, but of course I use the stove, fridge and washing machine.  Though there are days I'm outside cooking on our wood stove.

 

DH still works but we're always open to ways to get him home, working on our few acres.  It would be his dream to stay home and finally grow ALL our food and do all the projects we want.

 

With the economy the way it is and with us still owing on our house I've suggested getting a part or even full-time job but DH won't hear of it.  He says I more than make up for any income lost with me not working.  Not to mention the money we save with my staying home (not buying convenience foods, new clothes, daycare, second car, etc.), the health and well being of my family dictate that I stay home.  I'm able to do so much for my family that I wouldn't otherwise be able to manage with an outside job.  He won't even discuss my getting a job, of which I'm thankful.

 

Not everyone is suited to every lifestyle but this sure works for us and we have great dreams of what this place and our family will be over time.


loving a small homestead with DH and DS (12/2005) keeping it natural, frugal and back to basics :
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#74 of 79 Old 08-28-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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looks interesting.  Radical is an odd name for the title.  Can't wait to read it. 

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#75 of 79 Old 08-28-2011, 07:56 AM
 
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this book sounds PERFECT! Exactly what i am looking for :) I feel in teh past two years I have embraced being a SAHM more than i ever have in the almost 6 years of being home. Making our own, less commerical crap. I feel so....valued. I might not bring home an income but I certainly save money by making things that I would never do if I had a 9-5 job outside of my home. Im so hooked to the idea of self sufficiency. We are hoping to have our homestead in 2 years, and its such a tease to sit back and plan it all out. But I feel like the next two years are "training"for me. Learning new things, baking new things, sewing, knitting etc. 

 

Im ordering this book today! Thank you :)


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#76 of 79 Old 09-03-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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I am reading this now and LOVE this book.

 

The first thing I really like is the sharp distinction she makes between the subordinate powerless housewife and the radical empowered homemaker. I also like how she doesn't relegate homemaker to females, she directs her writing to both sexes.

 

I also really like how she is able to describe homemaking as a challenging and rewarding lifestyle that looks different for everybody but can have profound social and even global impacts. It's not about making your SO look good or raising perfect kids or anything like that. It's about creating a lifestyle that is fulfilling for YOU and is in line with your own values, rather than simply working working working for more stuff and status. It really reminds me of the Simple Living Movement which has had a big influence on my life. I grew up with a nice family but both parents worked, worked and worked some more at careers they despised in order to get the big house, the nice cars, along with the right wardrobe in order to prove to everybody that they had "made it", were good upstanding citizens, ect. Yet despite the fact that they had achieved these things before I even left high school, they were both (and still are) unhappy, unhealthy and unfulfilled. I see my sister taking the same path they did and reaping the same consequences - massive debt, poor health, no time, depression, anxiety and the sinking feeling that there is more out there.

 

I quit my job to SAH. My sister thought I was INSANE. She was ready to go out and submit my resume to headhunters that she knew even though I hated my job and had NO time for family and the things I felt were important. I had apparently lost my mind because surely working 50+ hours a week and barely seeing my kids is what everybody has to do to "make it" right? Well here we are, I am still happily SAH. We sacrifice a lot of things to do it but we are so much happier and peaceful and living according to our values.

 

The sad thing is, my parents and my sister still can't even define what exactly the "it" is in "making it" when I ask them...greensad.gif

 

I guess that is kind of the heart of the matter, what that "it" is. We know what our "it" is. Many people don't know, have given up, or are falsely convinced that our train wreck economy is all there is and if they would only submit more of their time and values that they will reach " it".


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#77 of 79 Old 02-05-2012, 12:05 PM
 
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This book really helped me reaffirm what I have chosen to do with my life.  I can't help but see the comparison between my life and my grandmothers while reading. My grandmother did most of things the author talks about but her life seemed hard and joyless, whereas I love my life and take great pride in being a homemaker.  It's interesting to think about. 


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#78 of 79 Old 02-08-2012, 07:53 PM
 
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I can totally understand others finding the book uninteresting if they have already become accomplished at living this way, but for me, this book was a lifesaver.

 

I just started staying home this year.  I have pretty strong feminist ideals and lots of acquaintance-friends who stay home who I... well... don't want to be like.  Really, this isn't meant to be a judgement on their lives; if they are happy, good for them, but I knew that wasn't the life I wanted.  However, I had decided to quit my job, so I had no idea what I DID want.  Before I started staying home I already felt lonely and rather estranged from most of the people I am supposed to have 'relationships' with (i.e., fellow Christians at our church, for example) because of our 'radical' worldview (which, ironically, we draw from Jesus, so it seems like I should have some allies in there, but apparently, no.) 

 

Thank goodness I ran across this title while killing time at a bookstore!  It was all my values, but with real-life examples of how to do it, and how this lifestyle totally jived with my feminist perspective.   I read the whole thing in one day and went from second guessing my decision to totally stoked about it.  

 

Still stoked, by the way.  Only times I 'regret' quitting and embracing this simpler lifestyle is when I feel like I am cheating somehow, and someone is going to catch me and send me back to work. 

 

(I will add, there are some extreme positions in the text, esp. on health insurance and education.  For me, as a public school teacher in my former life, I struggled through the bit on education, but I am certainly free to disagree.  Despite differing opinions with some specific point of views, this book was a big self-esteem booster.)

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#79 of 79 Old 02-09-2012, 11:26 AM
 
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I couldn't agree with you more Jes.  I also feel estranged from fellow Christians and I feel like an outsider a lot of times.  I pick this book up and reread through it when I'm having doubts about being home and not out earning money.  Even though I don't agree with all of it, it has really helped me feel like I am on the right track in life. 

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Eating is an agricultural act.  -Wendell Berry

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