Monday, June 30, 2008

Leadership in the Shadows

After talking about what great leadership qualities we have, like resourcefulness and relationships, I think it is prudent to point out that these qualities are not exactly the favorites in our culture.  

What I mean is that as a society we tend to admire leaders who are bold and glamorous.  We tune our ear to the wealthy, the popular, the celebrity, and the talented.  Unfortunately we tend to tune out everyone else.  Nevermind that more often than not the most influential people in our lives are not these flashy types.  They are average people who have taken up the challenge to lead and set and example for others to follow.

I bring this up because I want to be popular.  Seriously.  When I think about the great potential women have to lead in our communities, and how the world really needs us, I start to get ahead of myself.  I picture headlines and public praise and lots of attention.  I suppose that it is natural to want to be noticed by others.  However, I usually end up giving myself a good dose of reality.  

The bottom line is that community leadership is rarely glamorous.  I love it when I hear a report of women taking creative action, or read an inspiring article in a magazine.  But those reports and articles are too few and far between in my opinion.  Much more common is attention paid elsewhere, like the tabloids.  

Should this dissuade me from promoting leadership?  Should it dissuade us from being proud of our potential and stepping into the leadership we're capable of?  Of course not.  It just might not come with a lot of goodies on the side.  And I can be okay with that.  Maybe even someday the culture will catch up....

On another note, I want to wish you a happy 4th tomorrow (if you're reading from another country, I suppose you aren't celebrating a three-day weekend...).  Keep checking in to read more about "rooted" leadership in the days to come.  And stay tuned for next week when the conversation shifts to economics.  (are you rolling your eyes already?  I promise--it won't be boring.)  Plus, look forward to some new resources coming soon.  I'll be posting links to them in the next several days.

Relationships--our Community's Greatest Asset

Another quality that gives women unique potential to be leaders in our communities today is our relationships.  Yes, the very same relationships that we are always being made fun of for.  You know--the ones with your girlfriends and your mom and your neighbors.  The people you spend hours talking on the phone with and hanging out with and sharing your life with (meanwhile, the men roll their eyes and wonder aloud what we could possibly have so much to talk about).  

The truth is that marketers and executives would pay premium dollars for our relational networks.  This is because they know that relationships are powerful, especially in this day and age when so much else is faceless and impersonal.

I once took a tour of one of the firehouses in my community.  To show us how they operate, the firemen split us into ranks and titles, and gave us walkie-talkies.  Then they demonstrated how they communicate when an emergency strikes.  The person at the top contacts the next tier of people, and so on down the list.  They were very efficient at it, and obviously needed to be.  

Women, I think, operate in the much the same way (minus the rank and strict formality).  Because we live our lives in close connection to other women, word can travel fast.  Having a network in place is often the most important thing when responding to crisis, or lending a hand to someone in need.  It is also very helpful when operating a small business, and circulating goods and services around in a community.  Furthermore, as every good leader knows, having a network in place is necessary for mobilizing people into action.  

The bottom line is that our friends and family--the connections that we keep--are probably our community's greatest resource.  Our network puts the "net" in "safety net."  And we naturally create these networks wherever we go, probably more effectively than government or business ever could.  

Of course, sometimes these qualities--being relational, being resourceful, being communal--are overlooked by our culture, and our leadership potential is dismissed.  Stay tuned for tomorrow when we'll talk more about that. 

Resourceful Lady

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the leadership qualities that we women can bring to our communities is resourcefulness.  

Certainly I'm not the only one talking about resourcefulness these days.  Being mindful of our resources is even trendy.  The culture is encouraging us to count our carbon footprint, to take short showers, to drive fuel efficient cars.  Of course, beyond its recent popularity, resourcefulness just makes sense.  There is a reason for the timeless adage, "waste not, want not."  In our age of plenty, we are quickly learning that some things can run out.  

I think that women have a special aptitude for resourcefulness.  I can remember working for an employer who grew up in the Depression era.  She knew how to stretch every last ingredient in her kitchen, and how to reuse items in new ways.  Her practices were both creative and practical.  

I remember feeling a little embarrassed sometimes when comparing myself to her.  I was always quick to buy something new, even when I didn't need it.  Even today I find things in my closets that I have forgotten about.  Perfectly good things that I should be using.  But don't.  

Still, I know that I have the potential to be as mindful as my former employer with a little practice and some discipline.  And it would be worth the trouble.  Not just for me, but for others, too.  Resourcefulness as an intentional lifestyle can strengthen communities.  When we take a step back from the onslaught of commercialism in our lives and maximize what we already have, good things happen.  Like getting out of debt, saving more, and working less.  Furthermore, resources we aren't monopolizing can be shared with and used by others.  

Will resourceful living cures all that ails us as a society?  No, of course not.  But the practice of utilizing and being thankful for what we own, and being thoughtful about what we acquire, can certainly help.  

Please send me your resourceful tips by posting comments or emailing me!  How do you keep from wasting things?  What successes have you had at using what you own.  What creative ideas do you have for repurposing items?  Please share!

"I'm Rooted"

I've been staring at my computer screen for at least half an hour, trying to figure out how to say what I want to say.  You see, I'm writing a short essay on community leadership for my website.  The plan is to add it as part of the "I'm Rooted" campaign.  Sort of a treatise on being a woman who wants to use her skills to lead in her neighborhood, town, or circle.  And though I haven't exactly figured out how to write the essay yet, I do know the attributes of this type of woman--a "rooted" woman.  

In my mind, a "rooted" woman has decided to anchor herself deep in her surroundings, be it her block, her apartment complex, her town, or beyond.  She feels that there are troubles in the world, and that the best place to dig in and rebuild is right where she's standing.  So, with that in mind, she is:

* mindful of her resources, meaning that she doesn't take them for granted, and uses them wisely.  She's smart with her money.  She tries not to waste.  She preserves and conserves and shares with others.  
* creative with the economy, meaning that she supports entrepreneurial endeavors, favors small and relational to big and impersonal, and partners with her friends and family to encourage a "living" that everyone benefits from.
* ready to help, meaning that she is prepared for the inevitable.  Prepared for sickness, emergencies, and discouragement.  She knows her neighbors and friends, and is willing to serve them when needed.  She understands that having a good "social safety net" starts with her.
* knowledgeable about the world around her, meaning that she is well-informed about local, national and global events.  She uses this knowledge to give her wisdom about how to act, and lives appropriately in the times based on what she learns.

This kind of woman is certainly not some exotic creature.  She lives among us even now, probably in great number.  Though I am not quite a "rooted" woman yet, I aim to be one, and get closer to it with each passing day.  It is one of the reasons that I quit working in corporate America--because for me (and this is not the case for everyone), to be rooted meant that I had to get out of the rat race and into my community.  

I'm going to be spending the rest of the week talking more about being "rooted," and hope that you'll come back to read more.  I also know that you might very well be one of the women I'm writing about, and invite you please to share your "rooted" story with me by emailing me at, or posting your comments on this blog.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Creativity and Community

Part of what was so dissatisfying to me as a busy worker-bee in the corporate world was that my job provided no outlet for creativity or community.  Yes, the company I was with had many "corporate stewardship" programs that were admirable for sure--opportunities to volunteer, etc.  But I was looking for something a little more grassroots.

So, when I decided to take the plunge and launch out on my own, creativity and community were definitely a focus.  Of course, as with most big transitions, it's taken me awhile to figure out just what that looks like for my new domestic lifestyle.  Six months later, I feel like I'm finally getting some ideas.  And they're ideas that I'd like to spend the next month or so talking about.

You see, I've always been on the lookout for people and lifestyles that have the potential to lead a community in a positive direction.  My ears perk up when I hear testimonies of women who have started their own non-profit organizations, or when businesses make an effort to invest in their market base.  I've always seen lots of potential in civil society--otherwise known as churches, volunteer organizations, and associations.  And just recently I've been excited to consider how women can influence a town (and beyond), and more specifically, how women can plant seeds of change from their homes.  

So, I'm in the process of writing down some of my thoughts, and creating downloadable resources to share with others.  Certainly I'm not inventing anything new.  Women are already doing what I'm preaching, and doing it very naturally and successfully.  All I want to do is affirm what's already being done.  

Please join me next week as I start talking about the attributes of women with a mission to lead.  For a preview of what's to come, visit my new website at and click under "check it out!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moms vs. Al Qaeda

Did you know that Al Qaeda released more than "450 statements, books, articles, magazines, audio recordings, short videos of attacks and longer films" to the world wide web in 2007?  Reading that stat from an opinion piece in today's New York Times had me thinking.  First--wow.  Talk about a productive network.  They are proliferate, are they not?  Sinister, but proliferate.

My immediate reaction was a bit of guilt.  I barely get five posts out a week, and certainly my to-do list grows exponentially faster than my "done" list.  But, I have to cut myself some slack.  Al Qaeda certainly has more manpower than I do--I couldn't compete if I tried.

Then I got to thinking about how powerful the internet is, and how connections are made, and networks built, and influence wielded.  What if, I considered, women could harness this same web-strategy as Al Qaeda, and just flood the internet with writings and statements and books and films?  Only instead of violence and hatred, our topics would be about nurturing our communities and raising our children and boosting the economy.  

And then I spent some time surfing online.  Visiting blogs and websites maintained by women mostly.  And I realized that if there really was a competition to flood the internet, moms would beat the pants off of Al Qaeda.  Hands down.  No contest.  Even more, these moms are organized, with their own networks and advertising and public relations companies.  And they are very popular.  More popular, I'm guessing, than Al Qaeda.  

For me, this is just one more confirmation to my firm belief that it is a great time to be a woman leading in her community--be it in her neighborhood, or online.  We're naturals at it.  The blogsphere is just one of many examples.  

Housewife.  Mom.  Stay-at-home-working-mom....  Leader.  Visionary.  Influencer.  
Al Qaeda doesn't stand a chance.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Multidimensional Mothers

I just finished posting on my other blog, Cigars in the Parlour (on current events), about the 17 teenage pregnancies from one high school in Massachusetts, and it got me thinking about motherhood.  Okay, that and the baby zone I'm currently living in among my family and friends (you know, where everyone around you is having babies).  

It is true that I am not a mother yet, but I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the kind of person I want to be when I become one.  I am relieved, for one, that I'm well past the age of the aforementioned teens.  Who wants such a huge responsibility at such a young age?  They didn't even have a chance to figure out who they want to be as adults, much less as moms.  I, on the other hand, have had some time to figure out who I want to be as a grown up.

Probably most of you have come to the same conclusions that I have.  I want to be a mother, but also more than that.  Though I'm sure I'll want to have playdates and will talk endlessly about my kids, I also want to have responsibilities and passions outside of my children.  I don't know many women who feel differently.  

Fortunately for us women, we have been gifted with the unique ability to juggle many identities at once.  Mother.  Wife.  Friend.  Employee.  Volunteer.  Activist.  Leader.  I'm not sure we could be solely defined by one role even if we wanted to (I make an exception for women who've just had babies--you're pretty much just "mom," even if you wanted to do more.).  

It is this multidimensional quality that also makes us women great community leaders (a subject I will be focusing a lot on in the months to come).  In fact, right now I'm in the process of developing tools for women who want to tap even more into their leadership--particularly mothers.  So, if you have any great stories--or maybe your own personal testimony--of how you've become a multidimensional mother leading in your town, please email me at  I'd love to hear from you!  Maybe you can become a great role model for those teenage moms in Massachusetts!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Working Women Left Out?

I spent the last several days revamping my website,  As I was adding things, and subtracting others, I always had the stay-at-home woman in the back of my mind.  Would she read this?  Would she find it useful?

Later, I showed my mom some of the improvements I'd made, and she said something that has caused me to pause and think.  She asked, "what are you going to do about women who don't have someone in their lives to financially provide for them?"  In other words, what about all of the women who aren't staying home?  Who are working full-time?  Who have no other choice?  Will they be left out?

Her question is fair.  I spend a lot of time addressing the women who--like me--stay home.  They are either home raising children or running their own businesses or being housewives.  But what about everyone else?  Do I have anything to say to them?  

The answer is yes.  Yes I do.  I say to them the same things I say to women who are staying home, which is "you can be a civic and economic leader in your community."  The tools I've created for my website (many of them are coming soon) are for women in all circumstances to use in their lives, with their friends, families and neighbors.  Granted, some of the tools are easier to implement if you are staying-home, mainly because the stay-at-home lifestyle is more flexible than the 9-5 grind.  But none of them require a stay-at-home life.

And I guess ultimately that is the point I would like to stress.  A call to leadership is a call to everyone.  Yes, I will consistently be an advocate for stay-at-home women, because so often I think that society overlooks their potential.  But I sincerely hope that by encouraging one group I don't discourage the other.  

The bottom line is that our communities need the skills that women bring, especially in these times.  We should be bringing those skills regardless of the lifestyle we are living--working from home or working out in the traditional workforce.    

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What does micro-business have to do with being home?

Note: New to Deviantly Domesticated?  Thanks for visiting!  We are right in the middle of a series on micro-business and why it could be a great fit for women.  Scroll below to read previous posts, or jump right in with today's discussion!

After reading several days worth of posts on micro-business, you might be asking yourself "what does this have to do with being domesticated?  Isn't this blog supposed to be about being a housewife or stay-at-home mom?"  It's a fair question indeed.  Allow me to respond...

Women who stay home are often expected by society to be concerned with two primary things: raising children and caring for the home.  The choice to be home-based is often perceived as a choice against work and earning money.  I would like to change this perception, because I think that most of use who choose to stay home would either like or need a little industry in our lives.  And micro-business, I think, could provide that industry.

The truth is that rather than disqualify us from the economy, being at home means that we have an opportunity to nurture viable economic work for our own benefit, and fitting with our own lifestyle.  Micro-business, which can be based out of the home, relational, flexible, and compatible with children, can give us a much needed outlet apart from our roles as mothers and wives,  and provide us with our own income and financial sense of accomplishment.

Being at home also means that we have the opportunity to support an alternative to the traditional economy--an opportunity even to lead in it.  On the surface we may not look like economic leaders, but an army of micro-businesses that support the community can have a great impact.  

I'm most likely preaching to the choir.  More and more I hear accounts of women who are living a home-based lifestyle and are finding innovative and creative ways to earn some income using their skills and interests.  These women are engaging the marketplace while still raising kids, investing in the community, and building their marriages.  The more we hear their testimonies, and the more we encourage each other to be leaders in a fruitful alternative economy, the more others will see our leadership and be encouraged to follow.

It's Relationships, Stupid!

Note:  New to Deviantly Domesticated?  Thanks for visiting!  We are right in the middle of a series on micro-business and why it could be a great fit for women.  Scroll below to read previous posts, or jump right in with today's discussion!

I posted last week about the "big-box-ification" of business these days, and how sometimes bigger really isn't better.  One of the negative side-effects of big business is that the larger it gets, the less personal it becomes.  You know what I'm talking about.  Take the automated answering service that spits out a menu when you call in for help with your new cell phone.  Or the glazed teenage clerk who doesn't even look you in the eye while you check out at a box store.  Or maybe you work for a large corporation, and know that you'll never meet the CEO, and that he/she wouldn't know your name if you did.  

The truth is that personalization is rare in our economy these days.  What we've reaped in profit we've lost in human contact.  But not every corner of commerce lacks the personal touch.  Personalization is in fact one of the primary characteristics of micro-business.  In fact, this relational quality is one of the main reasons I think micro-business could work so well for women.  After all, we tend to gravitate toward relationships, surrounding ourselves with friends and family naturally.  It makes sense, then, that we would flourish in an economic environment that nurtures relationships.  And this is the kind of environment micro-business flourishes in.

Take, for instance, my sister who just agreed to watch her friend's child during the week for some extra money.  Although it doesn't seem like a "formal" business, they are exchanging a service for money.  And both of them benefit from it.  This little micro-business evolved out of a relationship, and will nurture the relationship going into the future.  Therefore, one of the side effects of relational micro-business is that it connects us with others in our community.  This is in stark contrast to big business, which often isolates us by turning us into nameless, individual consumers.  

Of course, the economy at-large tends to frown upon small, personal connections.  They are too cumbersome, and slow down growth.  Eventually the business has to start sacrificing names for profit.  And though there is some truth to this, I want to encourage all of us who are looking for a better balance in our economy to consider the personalization of micro-business as a viable option.  Whether you decide to start a business of your own, or decide to support them through the income from more traditional work, investing in micro-business is an investment in relationships, and often an investment in female leadership in the economy.  Sounds like a good thing to me!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Some of you might have noticed a new feature on my blogs today: the etsy pics on the sidebar.  After months of procrastination, I finally got around to adding them.  

I bring this too your attention to 1) shamelessly plug my online store, and 2) (more importantly) highlight my personal attempts at micro-business in my own life.  

For those of you stopping in for the first time, I have been talking a bit this past week on micro-business, and how I think it just might have fantastic potential for those who would like to opt out of the traditional workforce (such as stay-at-home moms, housewives, artsy-types, entrepreneurs, and the like).  To read previous posts on what micro-business looks like, and why we need it to balance out our current economy, scroll down.  

There are a lot of reasons to be attracted to micro-business, certainly.  In this post, I thought I'd share my personal testimony of how I got to be such a fan.  It started years ago when, as a young woman (okay, "younger" being a relative term), I started to think about what kind of woman I wanted to be as an adult.  Since I was raised in an evangelical culture, there was a lot of emphasis placed on raising children and cultivating strong marriage and family relationships.  I admired that tradition, but was searching for more.  Yes, I wanted (and still want) to be a mother, but I wanted some labor outside of that as well.  Interestingly enough, I found a description of what I wanted to be like in an unlikely place: the Bible.  

Now, I won't preach to you, I promise.  But I will say that tucked somewhere in the middle of ancient proverbs and poetry, there is this woman who was praised for being a good mother, a faithful wife and a kind neighbor.  Incidentally, she's also an impressive entrepreneur.  So impressive that she has enough profits left over from her business (you guessed it--it was a micro-business) to invest it into real estate.  

As a young college graduate, I found myself wanting to emulate this woman.  I had always gravitated toward my creative skills, and figured that they could be taken to the market if I was willing.  Needless to say, it took me almost a decade to even get my feet wet with this plan.  Why?  For many of the same reasons that you might be afraid to pursue micro-business.  One, it's scary.  I'm terrified of failure, and usually have to give myself regular pep talks just to start the day.  Two, it's financially challenging.  Turning a profit takes awhile (I'll tell you when I've finally jumped that hurdle!), and until you do, it can seem like an exercise in futility.  Three, it is unconventional.  Going against the economic grain (like we discussed last Friday) can attract skepticism, and (even worse) criticism from others.  So, what got me to eventually take the plunge in spite of these obstacles?  Basically, the potent misery of daily working in a job I disliked.  

That brings me back to the new etsy sidebar.  I figure that in spite of slow beginnings and regular fear-induced pep talks, operating my own mini-business with its accompanying flexibility is better than what I was previously doing.  Better for me, and maybe even better for my community in the long run.  I hope that it is a success, because then I will be able offer even more encouragement for those of you contemplating the same.

Speaking of that, tune in this week as I talk more on this topic, specifically how micro-business can be good for your household and neighborhood.  And as always, please send me emails with feedback and/or stories of your mini-business.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nuts and Bolts

Hopefully you had an opportunity yesterday to read some stories about men and women who have successfully started their own micro-businesses.  If not, scroll down to read Wednesday's post.

I thought that now would be a good time to put some nuts and bolts to some of those personal stories by answering the questions, "what is micro-business" and "why is it necessary?"  Tomorrow we'll dig into why it could be a great fit for women in today's economic times.

So, what exactly is micro-business?  Well, it's smaller than small business.  Micro-businesses are tiny--usually employing 1-5 people.  They commonly operate out of the home, and they often provide goods and services for the local community (although they don't have to).  Because they are so small, they tend to be flexible, require little start-up capital, and generally fly under the radar.

If they fly under the radar, you might ask, why are micro-businesses important?  Well, I'm sure you are all familiar with the growing "big-box-ification" trend in our local towns.  You know--where goods and services are increasing provided to us by giant chain stores and franchises.  This trend has provided us with great one-stop-shops, low prices, and convenience.  But it has also created some negative consequences in our local economies, like loss of competition, lower quality goods, and impersonal service.  

Not to oversimplify, but it kind of reminds me of high school.  The big-box businesses are glamorous, like the prom king and queen.  They can throw their weight around, influencing the entire culture.  And they are so popular--city governments throw money at them to woe them into town (aka development incentives).  In contrast, smaller businesses (most of them locally owned) are left in the wake of the popular kids.  Though they may have great creativity, ingenuity, and high quality, they just aren't as cool.  And eventually they get crowded out.

What happens?  Well, many of the things we are witnessing today.  Our jobs are not as stable because global economic forces can put the squeeze on large corporations, sometimes squeezing us out of work (think outsourcing).  Small-time entrepreneurs have a challenging time competing, and often go out of business trying.  And the popular "kids" call all the shots--No money for local healthcare?  Too bad.  Don't want to commute an hour there and back?  Oh well--they'll find someone else who will.  All the decisions are made in far-away, fancy boardrooms, and we have little say in them.

This is not to say that big-box businesses are all bad.  They aren't.  In fact, in a lot of cases, they provide an inspiring example of the American Dream.  But, they need some competition, and we need an alternative.  You know the old adage, "don't put your eggs all in one basket"?  Well, we shouldn't put all of our dollars into big-box businesses.  As it is in the stock market, a little diversity can go a long way.

So, what does this have to do with stay-at-home moms, housewives, and young working women?  Well, we'll get more into that tomorrow, but let's just say that we might be the exact population to balance the scales a bit.  Tune in Friday for more!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Quit Your Day Job"

I'm not sure it was one specific thing that led me to quit my day job in corporate America five months ago.  I do know that my favorite part of the week was catching the tail end of happy hour with my co-workers on Friday evenings after the office closed, and that wasn't a good sign (at least for my career).  The truth is that while I was working the 9-5, I was dreaming about a different rhythm.  I was trying to cram creative activities into my free time, on the weekends and in the mornings before I headed to the office.  And after months of trying to make my "work" fit in with my work, I realized it wasn't working.

I am reminded of my turmoil this morning as I prepare to write about micro-business (see yesterday's post) for the remainder of this week.  I am confident that this wrestle between traditional work and creative labor is one of the main reasons men and women are compelled to pursue micro-business.  Trying to balance the work you are doing with the work you want to do can often prove to be a very draining endeavor.  Micro-business affords creative types (and entrepreneurial types) an opportunity to earn a profit doing what they love, or just an opportunity to work outside of the 9-5.

Of course, micro-business can be attractive for other reasons as well. I know enough new moms in my life right now to know that after that first, all-consuming season of motherhood (the hourly feedings and changings and extreme sleep deprivation) subsides, a search for fulfilling, wage-earning work starts to blossom.  Work that can accompany the ebb and flow of life with infants and small children.  Work that is rewarding but not too demanding.

So, besides me, who are these people starting their own mini-businesses?  Well, to search out their stories, I started in a familiar place: Etsy.  Etsy, the beloved hand-crafted-international-online-store, is currently running a series titled "Quit Your Day Job," where they highlight the testimonies of men and women who are making a living off of their micro-business.   I think that you will find the stories of these entrepreneurs encouraging, and familiar.  Many of them are just like you and I: people wanting to earn money, but who would prefer to do it outside of the traditional workforce.

Take a few minutes today to read their testimonies.  They are the living example of micro-business in action.  And join me tomorrow as I wax poetically (well, maybe not that poetically) about the larger benefits of a micro-economy, and how it might be the shoe that fits for housewives, stay-at-home moms, and those of you would like to join them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Utopia aside...

Undoubtedly the most challenging issue that I have encountered since leaving my job in corporate America is the green stuff.  That's right--money.  It seems that even if you decide to exit the traditional workforce, you still find yourself under the gun to prove your value in the marketplace.

Now, a part of me genuinely wishes that this weren't so.  I'd prefer for us to all live in a lovely utopia where what we earn and how we earn it has absolutely nothing to do with who we are as people.  And yes, money does grow on trees in this utopia.  Unfortunately, we do not live in such a place.  

Of course, another (more practical) part of me thinks that being successful in the marketplace isn't something to run from.  I mean, I know that no one expects housewives to earn an income, but why not?  We are living in modern times, where practically anyone can operate a micro-business from their own home.  And women are awfully creative and resourceful.

So, putting my utopian dreams aside (momentarily), I've decided to explore this area of micro-business a little more thoroughly.  (I know what you're thinking--here she goes with more research again.  I can't help myself.  I'm addicted.)  Why?  Because I think that maybe, just maybe, micro-business might be a boon for women like myself who want to earn some money, but in a less traditional way.  And maybe there are a lot of women who currently work in small, tight cubbies and would prefer to do something different, but just need some encouragement.  And maybe there are also women (like me) who are currently staying at home and would feel a whole lot better if they could put a little of their energy every day into something that might bear some financial fruit.

If you are one or many of the above, stay tuned this week as I dig a little deeper into the world of money and business.  


Thursday, June 5, 2008


I have been reflecting a lot this week on money.  Earning money, to be more specific.  After having lunch with an entrepreneurial friend, I realized with even greater conviction that earning money is an important issue for women to address in these times--even women who opt out of the traditional workforce to stay home.

The trouble with earning money these days (well, one of the troubles anyway) is that the predominant economic system is incompatible for those of us who are choosing a more home-centered lifestyle.  With its "bigger is better" mantra, and often heavy-handed culture, the prevailing economy is not very conducive to the flexibility and nimbleness that women might prefer.

Of course, our modern economy is very effective at what it does, and to attempt to reform it for stay-at-home types seems futile, if not foolish.  This is why I propose the establishment of an alternative e-conomy: a "she-conomy', if you will.  This economy can easily operate alongside the traditional cog-and-wheel system, but in a very different way.

In my mind, the "she-conomy" elevates a more...shall we say, feminine, approach to earning and selling.  And as such, it offers a counterbalance to the current system.  The following are qualities I envision in a "she-conomy":

1.  small and nimble (vs. big and bulky): the American Dream of building an empire out of rags might be well and fine if you don't have to get dinner on the table and give the kids a bath.  The trouble with empires, after all, is that they are difficult to lug around, and require too much time.  Women need an economic culture that offers opportunities for smaller, more portable businesses--ones they can carry with them while they multi-task with a million other things.
2.  flexible: kids get sick, babies need nursing, friends need comfort...and women need an economy that is flexible enough to go with the flow.  Making money can't always trump the needs of others, so there must be a way to make it in the process of everything else.
3.  community-centered:  yes, globalization is a boon for the market, but most women I know don't feel too comfortable when the community suffers at the hands of super-size corporations.  A she-conomy intentionally supports local women making a living and sharing resources with others, even if its means are global.  
4.  relational: women flourish among friends, neighbors and family--why can't our economy flourish here also?  Impersonal and distant (a common byproduct of big business) is too isolating.  A she-conomy is best built among the support and connections around us.

The million dollar question is can a "she-conomy" actually deliver?  I believe the answer is yes, and I think it is already flourishing in pockets around the globe.  I definitely will be talking more about the traits of a she-conomy in the future, and will be looking for stories of women who are making it happen in their own lives and in their communities.  If you have such a story, please share it with my by writing to me at  
Blog Widget by LinkWithin