As The Feminine Gift grows and changes, we will be welcoming new writers to our little community. The following is a post written by Dr. Christine Schingten, a Catholic wife and mother of three who teaches literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry's Bay, Ontario.
This morning as I was hanging clothes on the line in our backyard, I was struck by the fact that what I was doing was environmentally friendly work. These days I don’t always get the clothes on the line to dry (something to do with son #1 who insists on wearing the same black outfit, which he calls his cassock, every day, which necessitates my doing laundry in the evening when he’s no longer wearing it), but when I do, I know I’m saving our home a lot of money, and the earth a lot of energy. That got me thinking about how many things homemakers do that are good for the environment.
It’s funny, really, that environmentalists don’t sing the praises of homemakers more often. So I thought I’d mention a few things that they—we—do that help the earth. I don’t have an agenda against women who work outside the home; in fact, I work another job halftime myself. The point is that however we manage to find time to do the work that needs to be done at home, it’s a worthwhile thing to do.
#1 – Grow a garden, so food doesn’t have to be transported all the way across the continent in big gas-guzzling trucks.
#2 – Clean the house using environmentally-friendly products such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice
#3 – Use cloth diapers (I don’t but a lot of my homemaker friends do)
#4 – Dry laundry on the line (as mentioned above)
#5 – Mend clothing so that it doesn’t have to be thrown away. Sure, I could pay someone else to do this, but the point is that someone has to do it, and it’s environmentally friendly work.
Add to all this that working in the home often means that you don’t need a second car and can cut down on gas, and homemaking really does present green advantages. With Pope Francis’s Laudato si putting us all in a crunchy frame of mind, maybe it’s time to revive an appreciation for the gentle, and green, art of homemaking.