Did you all catch the article "The Femivore's Dilemma" in the New York Times Magazine last week?
In a nutshell, the article describes "stay-at-home moms, highly educated women who left the work force to care for kith and kin" and have transformed homemaking into a new form of feminism.
Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment that drove women into the work force in the first place. Given how conscious (not to say obsessive) everyone has become about the source of their food — who these days can’t wax poetic about compost? — it also confers instant legitimacy. Rather than embodying the limits of one movement, femivores expand those of another: feeding their families clean, flavorful food; reducing their carbon footprints; producing sustainably instead of consuming rampantly. What could be more vital, more gratifying, more morally defensible?I hate the label femivore, but overall I found the article very interesting. It definitely describes me.
My first job after college was with a private investigation firm. On paper, it sounds like a cool job, but in reality, it was long commutes, long workdays stuck in an uncomfortable office chair staring at a computer, lots of overtime without overtime pay. Two and a half years later, we moved to Maryland, and my very generous employer offered to let me keep my job working part time from home. Two years after that, they changed their minds, and I found myself in my new (and current) career as a full time stay at home mom.
At first, I was terrified to be completely unemployed. What would I do with all my time?...Turned out that there was plenty to do, and I loved it. Let me say this loud and clear: I love being a stay at home mom. I love being a homemaker. I love baking bread and I love being with my kids and I even get enjoyment out of cleaning my house. Most of all, I love the freedom of deciding when and what I do all day. The thought of ever having a boss again completely freaks me out.
But I also recognize that this career choice is not for everyone. Some women would go crazy spending their days on the floor with two preschoolers instead of in an office with other grown-ups, and some women might like to stay home with their children but financially don't have the option. This is the path that my life has taken, but that doesn't mean it's the right or only path.
Image by Sbocaj
The other day, someone said to me, "I keep following your blog, but...if I lived the way you do, I would go crazy."
My response is, "Why do you have to live the way I do?" This is the way that I choose to go green because this is what makes me happy. But there's more than one path to green.
If the mention of cooking from scratch and digging in the dirt and raising chickens makes you want to run screaming from the room, find a different path to green. If your financial circumstances limit what (if any) organics you can buy, don't sweat it - focus on the things you can do. If you're passionate about recycling but zone out when someone mentions water conservation, that's okay - we still need your energy and passion in whatever area you want to give it. If the circumstances of your life limit you to doing only the Baby Steps, well then, high five, my friend - thank you for doing what you can.
So whether you're an environmentalist, a conservationist, an activist, a femivore, a frugalista, an APLSOS, an NPSLE, or a person who hates labels, be proud of whatever path to green you've chosen to take. We can all use fewer limitations, less guilt, and a lot more acceptance.