I get asked a lot of questions about a lot of stuff, but in the top 10 is always: How do you get so much stuff done? Here’s my secret: I don’t do it all by myself.
If you didn’t catch it, both my husband and I are home all day. Which means two parents for two kids. Two adults for all meals. Two peeps for the indoor and the outdoor chores. Two supervisors/motivators/entertainers/beggars on our family walks.
My sister and brother in law live down the road and they often take my son for a couple hours to play with her 4 kids. Each of these children take turns teaching (and loving) our wee ones. My mom will come over and play and hold the baby for hours. She'll also take home my carcasses and deliver some sweet bone broth in mason jars. She's magical!
There are our program graduates who help with projects and answer emails for me. And I always get great emails with links to cool stuff sent from readers. I often post these contributions on our Facebook page with my thoughts and sometimes they'll inspire a blog post. I've got thousands of muses!
So while it seems like I’m doing a lot of stuff, keep in mind that you’re seeing the work of a community -- not one woman. I’m human. And I need to eat and sleep just like you do. Only I’ve been told that I eat (4,000 kcal) and sleep (8-9 hours) more than you probably do. But still, I’m just a regular person over here. A regular person who wants to send a Valentine to everyone in my community, which includes you.
Which reminds me of a nice conversation I had with a friend’s mother while I was on the road. She couldn’t believe how much her daughter had reverted to doing things her grandmother had to do -- grow her own food. And mill her own whatever. And create everything from scratch. How could this leave her daughter with any time for her to do other things she wanted to do?
It was an interesting perspective for sure. Pursuing this “natural” lifestyle, in terms of diet and movement and parenting for example, can be exhausting. One of the defining characteristics of society -- a group of people that no longer moves around, but is based in one location and growing enough food to feed everyone -- is free time. Time to create music and great works of art. Time to explore thoughts and philosophies and to come up with inventions that then create even more time to *create*.
Are these creations bad? How could they be? They are beautiful. What the science of this "natural" movement presents (or should present) is that time spent on biological non-essentials come with a biological tax. The less time we spend on biological essentials, the more our physical body can be out of sync with nature. The more out of sync with nature, the more illness we experience. Restoring some of our movement and diet habits to reflect those of previous generations takes a ton of work, but it aligns us better, biologically speaking.
This woman’s mother hit a nail on the head, though. In more natural-living times, it was not one person’s responsibility to do everything. People needed to walk great distances (and still do, in some places) carrying their kids. But ONE woman is not responsible for carrying this child miles and miles. This burden is shared by others who are child-free at that moment. One woman does not bear the responsibility of menu planning, food gathering and food preparation. Rather this burden is shared by multiple families, and multiple generations within a group.
I tease this out because perhaps we are missing one of the greatest variables in the natural/paleo movement: community.
If we are moving toward “natural” for our health, then let us not miss that it is, perhaps, chronic stress that is the greatest modern habit that needs addressing. You can change your diet and your exercise programming pretty easily and in a way that is clear to measure. Chronic stress is more sneaky. I’d just like to point out that the “I can do it all myself!” perspective is decidedly less natural one that recognizes that all-day contribution is necessary, even in very small children and older persons. Everyone plays a part.
I am, for sure, not a Wonder Woman. If you're feeling like you might be a Wonder-Person, consider this suggestion: Recruit a “Paleo Peeps” group -- that includes men, women and children. Meet once a month or better yet, once a week.
See if there is someone that loves making bone broth and wants to do it in bulk quantity for everyone. Same goes for shelling and soaking nuts, making flours, seed/nut milks, etc.
1. Is there a hunter who wants to share meat? Maybe there’s a paleo-lovin’ gradma who isn’t such a hot shot with her bow and arrow, but who would LOVE to come hold and exercise your baby for an hour while you go collect eggs or take a nap. You can trade her a flank steak.
2. This summer, a few local families here have planned on sharing dinner with each other FOUR nights a week. We eat outdoors and the kids get a chance to play hard with children of all ages (another aspect modern H-G living) of who are not their siblings. Bonus: We’re off the cooking clock for 3 nights of the week. I’d do this 7 nights a week but I don’t have that many friends. *sniff* It's true.
(Remind me to post about the sense-training game we are playing here.)
3. Is your kid tired of walking with you on the same route? Take your walks in a herd. Plan large group walks, where there are lots of happy adults and excited, screaming kids. Trying to get one or two kids to walk to the post office while you check your email on your iPhone is a huge effort. And, P.S., that last statement was directed at me. <---guilty.
The moral of this story is, community is just as important and necessary to natural living as aligned walking is to circulation. Don’t skip on this one. If you’re feeling alone and isolated in your new endeavors, just start inviting people over to your amazing meals and kick-ass obstacle course you’re building out back. Or let them hang from your indoor monkey bars. The message is out there and it’s spreading, faster than you know.
Who wants to come over for dinner next week?