I’m Beth Berry, writer, mother of four daughters and born idealist living the real life. I’ve wanted to save the world since I was nine years old, but after determining a few years back that my goal was a tad lofty (and my schedule a little tight for such undertakings), I’ve since settled for the creation of a revolution.
It started off as a personal revolt, against limiting beliefs, self-doubt, fear and unexplored thoughts; as my claim to, and proclamation of personal responsibility for my own happiness and peace of mind.
But the longer I live — as a parent, a participant in and product of US culture and a balance-seeking, earth-loving humanist — the more distinctly I am aware of the need for a cultural revolution in our country, starting not with policy reform or corporate accountability (though both are essential) but from and in protection of the very foundation of any healthy society: starting from home.
More about the revolution.
This awareness began for me at the age of 17 when my first daughter was born. Led by my intuition, inspired and encouraged by my amazing parents and pleased to have found a purpose for my previously-reckless passion, I fully embraced my role as a young mother. I nursed my girl proudly, adorned her in cloth diapers, made most of our clothes and thrifted the rest. I spent the next few years studying sustainable agriculture, experimenting in food, fiber and farming and falling in love not only with my daughter but with the hugely satisfying work of mothering and homemaking. It suited me. It still does.
My husband and I met in college when my daughter was two years old. A classic story of attracting opposites, we agreed on the basics (if little else): we both wanted to be farmers, we both intended to pursue our dreams and we both preferred a life lived real. We’ve managed to accomplish all these things and then some.
Over the past 14 years, we have…
- Managed an organic chicken ranch and biointensive market gardens
- Built and lived in earthships (and plan to do so again)
- Converted a 240-square-foot tool shed into our three-year home (outdoor kitchen, bucket-variety compost toilets and no hot water)
- Had three babies at home (one in the shed) for a grand total of four girls (now 6,8,12 and 18)
- Nearly killed ourselves trying to maintain our ideals of homesteading and Waldorf-schooling (on one income and while commuting – never. commuting. again.)
- Moved to southern Mexico for a taste of life abroad (been here three years and counting)
- Been solid B-average parents (“A” parenting means “C” personal balance in my book. Thanks, but no thanks.)
During that time, I have…
- Been a (voluntary, educated) stay-home mom
- Made money doing whatever it took to be able to to stay home with my kids (sewing, cooking, cleaning, teaching, writing, knitting, gardening)
- Taught knitting, sewing and other fiber arts from a home studio
- Dabbled in permaculture, Waldorf teaching and homeschooling
- Raised a teenager as headstrong and passionate as I was (serious bragging rights)
- Maintained a yoga practice (though usually with kids in the room), a standard of health (though I need to quit the coffee) and thriving household (which does not mean tidy)
- Nursed babies for nine of those fourteen years
- Found my “village” of amazing families with whom to enjoy the chaos and share the burden of raising small children (how else does anyone manage?)
We’re still in Mexico and soaking up as much of it as we can (while we can). The pace is slow here, we have no need for a car and local businesses and farmers still dominate the economy. It’s one of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever received–a peek into a society not-yet-overtaken by big box chains and superhighways. One that values family above all else and where stress is not the norm. The hunches I’ve had all these years have proven true: local, walkable culture helps you feel whole, accessibility to affordable food from small farmers feeds your soul and the wealth of a people has less to do with money than it does thriving, connected community, tight-knit families and quality of everyday life.
Though I write about what speaks to me in whatever moment I’m living, you won’t find politics here (not my thing), nor religion (though spirituality is fair game) and no Ferber (as you might have guessed). I’d love to include you in the dialogue. You can subscribe here to be informed whenever I post — and the more comments, the better. I’m a sucker for compelling conversation, just so long as your views aren’t rooted in anger, which I try to avoid like bologna, bigots and head lice.
Saludos (y besos to my favorite folks),
“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” – Sarah Breathnach