“Is being an earth-mama a true passion or simply a need for a label?”
I really wanted to be an earth mama! I felt I was already an earth-mama when I had my son; I loved nature and organic food. I was against land development. I mean honestly, I was the perfect candidate for joining the flowy skirt earth mama trend that was circulating within the church I attended. So, with great excitement, I went out and bought cloth diapers, chickens, planted a big garden and bought a few hippie skirts. Yes! I finally was the image of an earth mama!
Yet, things did not turn out the way I expected. First of all, I hated the cloth diapers. I did not feel like a pioneer woman when I used them; I felt like “I hate doing all this extra laundry” woman. I adored my chickens and duck, but felt awful keeping them caged, even in a spacious area; so I let them go free-range in my suburban backyard. My days were then filled with hosing down my poop-caked patio, chasing the duck out of my house, and apologizing to my neighbors because the chickens flew into their yard…again.Then my garden…alas my poor garden! I had spent so much money on and worked so many hours to keep my little plants alive. FAILED!!!
One day near tears, I spoke to a bona fide earth mamawho also happens to be a sister, friend, and dynamite counselor. At first I was hesitant to confide my failings to her, feeling like less of a woman for not being able to do all these things while she had a bounteous garden, several kids, rabbits, chickens and (drum roll) canned her own jams and jellies. I was a disgrace to female domestic achievement by comparison, and certainly not a good mom since I couldn’t can a single jar.
Well this wise woman, after hearing my sorrowful complaints, asked me a poignant question, “Lindsey, do these things make you happy or do you feel they should make you happy so that you have the title of being an earth mama? Is being an earth mama a true passion or simply a need for a label?”
Her words struck a core. I could not discern what I liked and what I wanted people to think I liked. If no one could hear about my day, if no one witnessed my life, would I still buy cloth diapers?
Often we have these images in our head of what we think we should like. When, in truth, those things do not make us happy. Maybe we feel that we should be that ambitious career woman, or the gym-rat, or the perfect mom, the writer, the artist…so many titles and labels to choose from. Yet one of the hardest discoveries is finding out what makes me happy and what my passions are?
I have to write. It is a passion. Playing the piano sometimes makes me happy, shopping at hole-in-the-wall thrift stores always makes me happy, and being a mother a grand passion. I don’t need chickens or cloth diapers to prove my worth. So now I proudly buy my diapers at Costco. I still eat organic when I can, and I still go camping and hiking whenever I can, but I am now content with my fat cat while my chickens and duck are happily thriving at a nearby 300-acre farm.
I still have a few of those long hippie skirts, but they are slowly being given away because I am a sucker for a vintage pencil skirt….and there is no shame in that!!! If I could give every woman a challenge it would be to decipher what she truly loves, what she truly needs, as oppose to what she thinks she should love and what she thinks she should be.
While you’re here, check out my new book Beneath the Heavens @ www.beneaththeheavens.com