I hope you've enjoyed the six steady moms we've gotten to know this summer. I feel that I've learned so much from their responses, and gathered many new ideas to choose from when I need a solution around these parts.
Today I'd like to introduce you to Shannon Hayes, author of the book Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture. Shannon first came to my attention because our books ended up paired together on Amazon.
What is one important, practical step you take that helps you maintain a
steady rhythm in your home and how does it make a difference to your
I write. I write to learn, to hear myself think, to note things my kids are discovering, to sort through my emotions, and to create pieces that share what I think with the world.
If I go too long without writing, I find I lose my bearings and begin to feel un-anchored and ill-equipped for dealing with the myriad elements in my life. But once I've done that simple thing, my peace and sense of creative fulfillment are renewed, and I find myself much more emotionally available to my family.
What is a personality weakness that motherhood has made more obvious to
you and how have you tried to overcome that weakness for the sake of
Just one? Well, if I must limit myself....I'd say that I get lost in the clouds. If there is something going on in my head, I can be staring right at my kids and not hear a word they are saying.
Writing, as I mentioned above, helps me to address this. When I get things out of my head and down on paper, then I am suddenly free once more to hear the world around me.
3. We all have those days--where all our good plans and intentions crumble around us, the children are miserable, and we are exhausted. On a really rough day, what techniques do you use to try and turn the mood around and redeem the day in your home?
This can happen pretty easily right around now, because we're so busy with our growing season. My remedy is a nice meal. It needn't be gourmet, and in a case like you've described, it is probably just some leftovers, or maybe just a salad.
Knowing this is a high likelihood around now, I keep lots of "fast foods" at the ready; like deviled eggs, or a big bowl of coleslaw, fresh vegetables that we can eat raw, or a few different cheeses.
But no matter what time it is, we set the table, sit down together, don't worry about bedtime, eat a light supper, and talk.
If we were snapping at each other, eating together somehow gets us to start apologizing, and re-playing the tough scenes to figure out how we all could've managed better (that includes Mommy and Daddy). Then my daughters Saoirse and Ula often start making us laugh with their antics.
4. In your wonderful, thought-provoking book, Radical Homemakers, you present the empowering image of intentional, sustainable homemaking as a profession that can impact and influence the world for good. What practical advice can you give to moms who love that image, but feel overwhelmed with how to get started?
If that seems too extreme, do something as seemingly minor as planting your own kitchen herbs in some pots. Make the commitment to a tiny simple thing, not to a radical transformation. And realize that with the commitment to something little, you are expressing your intention for something bigger.
Each small change often leads to something else, and makes the next transition seem more manageable when the time is right. Before you know it, you'll find that your life has transitioned.
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Jamie is founder of this spot called Steady Mom, editor of the blog Simple Homeschool, mama to three cute kids born on three different continents, and author of Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood.
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