A couple of months ago when I read Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes (August reading), I was intrigued by her thoughts on one thing that spurred on the feminist movement: the lack of creativity in the life of the homemaker.
Let me give you some background, to help you understand her line of thinking. Before the Industrial Revolution, many families produced out of their home. Whether they were soap makers, farmers, gardeners, weavers, you name it, the production happened inside the home and usually involved bartering and trading of services with other families that produced something different. Entire families helped and had a part in the family business.
When the Industrial Revolution took place, the men left the home to work. This changed the entire structure of the family. No longer was the home the center of production and of making money. While the money was being made elsewhere now, the home was still an important place, but that would soon change. The men leaving the home was the beginning of the gradual shift away from the home.
Then came along those wonderful machines that eased women’s work load. (Thank you!) Marketers targeted women more than anyone else during this time. Each new thing that made life easier, also meant women didn’t need to do it themselves. Obviously a wonderful thing. But the shift in the home being a center of creativity to the home being simply a place to stop off overnight cannot be overestimated in the sense of a woman’s fulfillment.
Women went from baking their own bread, making their soaps, sewing their clothes, gardening and preserving their own goods, bartering with neighbors who made other goods to, essentially, shopping. Now they could even buy a box to make their cake and not worry about the ratio of flour to sugar. When cars became common place, they no longer created at home, but spent their days driving around to pick up what they used to make themselves. This was exciting at first, but eventually this would lack fulfillment.
And rightly so.
Creativity is deeply embedded in the nature of every human being. This, I think, is biblical. We need only look at the vast variety in plant and animal life to know God loves variety and creativity. And we are made in His image. We need to be creative.
A benefit for us is that, thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the feminist movement that later followed, we get to have a choice in how we are creative. We don’t have to spend our days making things to keep our family alive, healthy, and warm. But we could if we want.
There are endless ways to be creative. We can, well, be creative in how we are creative! There are many ways to use our creative energies, but I think it is important that we do be creative.
- Cooking: Trying new recipes, making up recipes, trying a new-to-us vegetable, cooking from scratch instead of a box, etc. Many people love creating in the kitchen.
- Decorating: We can creatively express ourselves in our homes.
- DIY: Pinterest is loaded with DIY things. I think there is a sense of satisfaction that comes when we’ve made something ourselves instead of buying it.
- Writing: Maybe your dream is to write a novel someday. Spend fifteen minutes a day jotting down your ideas in a journal. You might be surprised what comes out of that. Maybe you just want to write in a journal. Not for others’ eyes, but just your own. Many wonderful works of poetry that we enjoy today were found after a person’s death. They had simply written to express themselves, only later did it benefit others.
- Working: Either working outside the home, or working from home is a great way to be creative.
- Crafts: Maybe you are the crafty sort. You can put some creative energy into making things.
- Sewing: maybe you enjoy making things out of fabric.
- Art: Do you love to paint or draw? When the kids paint, pull out your own paints and paint along with them.
- Music: playing an instrument or composing music.
There are endless ways to express creativity. I would love to hear your ideas in the comments.
But the point is that as a human being we need to be creative. As a mom of littles it is important that I make opportunities and find the time to create. It is when life gets monotonous that I tend to be unfulfilled. I love putting some creative juices to work in my kitchen, in my home, or writing for this blog.
This is for another post, but being creative with and in front of your children is also very important. They will benefit in amazing ways by seeing that you are a creative person. And all those Lego creations they are making? You might be surprised how much they are practicing the art of creativity.
I often have to be intentional about it. It doesn’t just happen. I have to make it happen. But I think it is important to use our God-given creativity in some way.
How do you find ways to be creative in your life? How does it benefit you to be creative?