Photo by meknits
Many of us grew up without a lot of basic survival skills.
I never learned to sew, can, knit, or even really cook. With easy access to cheap stuff whichever way you turned, there was simply no need.
Until five years ago, I never missed or noticed my lack of self-sufficiency. It wasn't important. It didn't seem to be an issue.
But then I became a mama.
I began to recognize how I applauded, enjoyed, and encouraged my children's growing independence. They're learning to walk, talk, eat! Just yesterday I watched my daughter sail away for the first time on her bike with no training wheels.
You know that amazing feeling you get when you witness such a milestone? That surge of joy and pride?
I wanted to feel that way about myself.
It was mostly through cooking that I began my quest for a bit of self-reliance. Learning about whole foods was like trying to decipher a foreign language.
It feels that way when you're getting started--uncomfortable. That's why many people don't attempt anything new. But through the willingness to face discomfort we have the chance to discover fresh sources of joy.
Here are a few reasons to develop your self-sufficiency.
1. It shows you what you're capable of.
I'm a homeschooling, work-at-home mother of three. I don't have time to make everything in my life from scratch. I don't have the desire to do so either.
But I do want to know that I could make do if I needed to. Through a few attempts at a new skill I'm able to learn a bit, to see what I'm capable of, and to tell whether or not I want to integrate this skill into my daily life.
2. It gives you spending options.
If you can make a meal, or a sweater, or a bar of soap yourself, you have options. You can decide to spend money on a dinner out, clothing, toiletries--or not. It's up to you.
You have choices; you're empowered. But if you don't have those skills, you're fully dependent on stores and spending to get what you need. That's not necessarily bad, but it's better to have a choice.
3. You develop your creativity in ways that bless your family.
It's awesome to be artistic and learn to draw, for example, but as Cortney recently wrote, certain skills allow us continue our education and develop our creativity in areas that also equip us more professionally as a mother.
What an amazing combination! It's a win-win for everyone.
Looking to try out a new skill? Here are a few resources that I've found helpful:
Photo by thebittenword.com
* Homestead Blessings - I heart this series of DVDs, each one designed to help you learn a specific skill. I've watched the ones on canning, gardening, dairy, and have more on my wish list. My kids love these, too!
* Deodorant - I've attempted making my own via this recipe in the past, though I'm not currently using it. It worked great, and I may go back to it later--worth a try! (Tip: I use less coconut oil than she mentions here because I found it too greasy otherwise. And use refined coconut oil if you don't want the scent.)
* Soap & Body Care - My friend Renee at FIMBY shares a collection of helpful soap and lotion tutorials.
* Organized Simplicity - My friend Tsh (How blessed am I to have all these talented friends?!) includes an entire appendix in her book with recipes for everything from natural cleaning products to toothpaste and more.
Each month I'm inviting you to take a baby step toward spending in a more ethical way. Here's a recap:
* Baby Step #3 - Find a resource mentioned above and try making something new for yourself, even if it's just a new recipe. (I love this one for granola!)
*Did you grow up learning some of the above-mentioned skills? Or has your journey been more like mine? I'd love to hear!*