My dentist has three chickens and I am so jealous. When I was in his chair last month, I couldn't wait to ask him how many fresh eggs he got that weekend. Three and a half dozen! If I had called him the night before, he would have brought me a dozen of his fresh eggs! I began to quiz him. "Where do they live? How many did you start with? Was it expensive to build a coop? Are they noisy? Do I need to fence in my yard? Will my yard smell like a barn? Can two city folk like me and Phil really raise a small group of chicken, just so we can have fresh eggs." He assured me that it was incredibly simple, and I could just come check out his chickens. I started to imagine myself in overalls and a straw hat, going out to my chicken coop every morning to get fresh eggs. Wouldn't my dogs love to run around the yard with chickens? This is going to be SO FUN!
Then the New York Times Sunday Magazine come out with an article entitled, "The Femivore's Dilemma". It seems as though "chicks-with-chicks" is the newest way for stay-at-home moms to find some sort legitimacy to their domestic lives. It is the same argument we have heard a million times before....today's soccer mom feels undervalued. If you have chosen to stay home with your kids, you may be 'prone to depression', some women lose a sense of financial independence and feel guilty for not 'contributing financially' to the household income anymore, or a general sense of 'purposelessness' takes over.
What is a highly educated, well-read, stay at home mom to do to boost her self worth?
Apparently, jump on the latest bandwagon and start building your backyard mini-barn. On the surface, it seemed like an admiral trend. Everyone likes to know where their food comes from these days. Home grown food is a million times better than anything you can get in your grocery store. Phil and I have had a vegetable and herb garden since we got married, and I look forward to the fruits of Phil's labor every summer. We also saved a few bucks each summer by growing our own herbs and vegetables.
"Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment that drove women into the workplace in the first place....it also confers instant legitimacy." says Peggy Orenstein, author of the NY Times article.
Ummm..so vegetable gardening and chicken farming is supposed to make the stay-at-home mom feel better about herself?
As always, some people are taking this idea to an extreme. There is a movement called the "Radical Homemaker". According to Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers, if you are giving up the rat race to stay at home, it is your duty, whether you live in a rural or suburban setting, to live by four common tenants: environmental sustainability, social justice, family and community. This means picking up a wide variety of domestic skills such as vegetable gardening, cooking, tending to cows and chickens, beekeeping, making your own soaps and toothpaste, canning, and composting. ("I am getting a headache!")
I have never felt bad about my decision to be a stay at home mom. If anything, I have always felt extremely lucky that I have been able to have the luxury of staying home, while my children are growing up. Were there times where I felt bad about not contributing money to the household income? Of course! Were there times that I couldn't watch another Disney movie, drive another preschool carpool, host another play date or even be in the same room as my kids? Yes. There were even times where the highlight of my day was getting dressed and going to the grocery store. Pathetic? Yes. Permanent? Of course not!
My kids are now 16 and 14, and I still enjoy being a stay-at-home mom. It makes me sad that there are still women who feel devalued by staying at home to be with their kids. If you lucky enough to be able to stay home with your kids, you are doing the most important job in the world.
I just wanted a few chickens so I could have fresh eggs to make my favorite Passover breakfast (which I actually love to eat anytime of the year!).