Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Trifecta of Domesticity--the surprising Big Picture Principles of my domestic challenge

Originally when I set out on my domestic experiment, my intentions were simple: to get organized at home with the hopes that it might trickle into the other parts of my life.  What I didn't expect was the experiment to take on a deeper meaning for my life, but that is exactly what it did.

Without intending to, I found myself thinking about the larger role of domesticity while I was cooking and cleaning and budgeting.  Not the 1950's-women's-revolution-role, where aprons were perceived to be shackles that women were encouraged to throw-off, but Way before that.  The role that domesticity played in public health, community sustainability, and basic survival in earlier times, before the technologies of modern conveniences arrived.  And a few principles really impacted me.  They were:

1.  Stewardship.  To be a steward is sort of an old-fashioned concept for being responsible for something.  In the case of domestic life, the "something" is our resources, like food and money and health.  I discovered that many of my little domestic experiments were really challenging me to become a better steward--to waste less and conserve more and take better care of my health.  All things that build up my household as well as my neighborhood.

2.  Mindfulness.  This is a word I found myself using a lot while I was writing about budgeting.  Taking a closer look at my finances, and the way I manage them, forced me to be more intentional about how and where I spend.  I realized that a mindful investment of my money was often beneficial to me and my community, while a mindless investment (aka "impulsive spending") was often not.  Pretty soon I started thinking about the other areas I could practice mindfulness (as opposed to impulsiveness), like in my grocery shopping and
meal planning and purchases.  Eventually mindfulness became The Goal, rather than just "domestic fitness."

3.  Preparedness.  As I was retooling the way I cook and clean and spend, I noticed that I was more and more attracted to the idea of storing up supplies for the unexpected.  Maybe it was the result of thinking about the domestic chores of old (like canning), but I was impressed with the value of having supplies on-hand, whether they were essentials like food, or unessentials like hosting and party resources.  The idea of being ready to throw a party or help a neighbor or provide dinner for friends, all on short notice, became an appealing goal, not to mention being ready for emergencies.  And while I'm not as prepared as I'd like to
 be, I'm on my way.

I guess I would call these three principles the "trifecta of domesticity."  For me, they put purpose behind what were otherwise fairly routine and unglamorous chores.  And they are purposes that serve us well during these times of economic and political uncertainty.  

How's that for domestic depth!

Read more about the "trifecta of domesticity" below:

Share your thoughts with me on the "trifecta!"  Email me at  Also, stick around later today to read another "Election Exercise."  
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