I was completely inspired by the article I read recently: In the absence of ‘the village,’ mothers struggle most; by Beth Berry.
We must do this together, we must rebuild the village our hearts so desperately need.
Here are a few tangible steps you can take whenever you’re ready:
1. Get really clear on one thing.
The fact that you’re struggling is not a reflection of your inadequacies, but the unnatural cultural circumstances you’re living within.
2. Own + honor your needs.
Most mothers are walking around with several deeply unmet needs of their own while focusing almost exclusively on the needs of others. This is precisely the thing that keeps us from gaining traction and improving our circumstances, both individually and collectively.
3. Practice vulnerability.
Rich, safe, authentic connection is essential for thriving. Cultivating this quality of connection takes courage and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. What you want most exists on the other side of that initial awkward conversation or embarrassing introduction.
4. Own your strengths.
What makes you feel strong and fully alive? What lights you up and gives you energy just thinking about it? Who would you be to your village if you had one? Tapping into your strengths and engaging them is one of the greatest ways to attract the kinds of people you want into your life, bless and inspire others, and build a sense of community in ways that fill rather than drain you.
5. Become an integral part of something.
Whether it’s a knitting group, dance troupe, church, kayaking club or homeschool collective, commit to growing community around one area of your life that enlivens you or fills a need. Use the connections you cultivate within this community to practice showing up bravely and authentically and asking for what you need, whether that’s support, resources or encouragement.
6. Do your part + ONLY your part.
Though it’s tempting to fill our lives to the brim with commitments that make a difference, doing so only further disempowers us. Read Essentialism by Greg McKeown if you struggle with this one.
7. Learn self-love + self-compassion.
In a culture of “never enough” it is essential that we forge healthy relationships with ourselves in order to be able to fend off the many messages hitting us about who we’re meant to be and what makes us worthy of happiness and love. In fact, I see self-love in action as the greatest gift our generation of mothers could possibly give to the mothers of tomorrow.
8. Speak your truth.
Even when you’re terrified. Even if it makes you the bravest one in the room.
9. Imagine a new way.
Where we’re headed looks nothing like where we’ve come from. Creating the kind of future we want requires envisioning that future and believing a new way to be possible. Get specific and think big. What do you want?
One of the biggest complaints I hear is that it's "too expensive to eat healthy." This is a fallacy, what I like to call fake news. If you don't change anything and buy everything organic, then yes...I would agree. But a few simple changes in your buying, usage and prepping habits reap rewards that free up money in your shopping budget to buy the free range meats and organic labels where it matters most. Changes that reap rewards in your overall health now, and most importantly later, in life.
Here are three great tips to surely pay off in your grocery budget, courtesy of Kitchen Stewardship, who always offers up great, everyday and do-able health tips. I couldn't agree more with these tips, it will easily save you over $25 a week at the market.
1. Homemade Yogurt
I remain amazed at how much I save with this one little kitchen task! I’d never give it up!
A quart of organic yogurt is about $4 on sale in my part of the country, and Greek yogurt is even more. I make a quart of organic yogurt for $1.75. And I make 4-5 quarts per week.
Assuming I couldn’t always find yogurt on sale, let’s say $5 is a fair price. That means I save between $13-16.25 every week. Who wouldn’t want a savings of around $650-845 every year?! That’s a lot of wiggle room in the food budget – enough to buy lots of grass-fed beef and organic veggies.
Here’s a homemade yogurt tutorial with lots of pictures to make it totally simple. (Did I mention I only spend about 20 minutes a week making this? That means I “earn” over $40/hour making yogurt!)
2. Homemade Chicken Stock
It can’t get any cheaper than free, folks. Now that I’m actually saving ends of carrots, onions, and celery in the freezer and growing my own parsley in the summer, then freezing it too…AND reusing the bones a second and even third time…I am truly getting gallons of organic bone broth for the cost of my gas range and my time. I haven’t priced organic broth in a long time, but I’m willing to bet that I’m saving $20-50 each time I make stock, PLUS having plentiful broth on hand encourages me to make and consume more soup, which is definitely healthier for my family (and usually less expensive than other types of recipes!).
Many of my recipes include at least some broth, so I always keep some on hand in the fridge - here's real food recipes via pinterest. Y’all. If you’re not making stock yet, resolve to start NOW. Here’s how.
3. Cooking with Dry Beans
This is sort of a cheater, really, because I’m hitting two birds with one stone.
Particularly in the real food, traditional foods, well-sourced world that I live in, meat is the most expensive thing we eat (and maybe cheese). That means that cutting down on meat here and there really helps the budget. I use less meat when beans are either part of the meal (like making a double batch of chili but not doubling the meat) or the main attraction, like chickpea wraps, black bean soup, or veggie bean burritos.
And if I’m cooking my own beans from the 25-pound bags of dry beans that I have in the basement, the savings is pretty huge. (You caught me – drat – that’s actually 3-in-1 here isn’t it? Cutting meat, using dry beans, AND buying in bulk. Sorry about that – I always ask if ice cream places can put two flavors in one dish, too.)
Here’s how I cook dry beans in bulk and freeze in can-sized containers to make any recipe a cinch, and here's a video on youtube about how cooking beans in the Instant Pot actually makes them healthier!
Hi, I'm Teresa. I am a Holistic Health Coach who focuses on autoimmunity and building your best self.