Creative home-based living

I have to issue a proviso here. I’m not really young. I’m mid-life, so have had some years to get some things right. I made a decision 7 years ago to leave an institutional job so that I could live more freely and yet also more closely to my family. I like working from home, with my partner and child involved in what I do. We eat three meals a day together. My daughter is home schooled and my partner is an artist who works from home too. We bicker a little bit and sometimes I wish for a little more separation from my work and domestic tasks. But, generally, it works quite well. If we feel unwell or sad, we’re there for each other. We can eat healthy food that we like. We can organise our day and our space as we like.

Some people ask why we only have one child. It doesn’t seem normal. But, I feel it’s responsible in a crowded planet to have no more than one (or maybe two) children. And I’m glad that it’s more acceptable to choose to be childless too. I’m happier with the one child than my partner and daughter are, but I think they see the benefits.

I get a little frustrated with the conventional media assuming that there are women’s roles and men’s roles, and clearly delineated issues associated with those roles. Apart from the actual bearing of a child, everything else is interchangeable. My (male) partner has always played an active nurturing role, with childcare and home. All the tasks of making a thriving life are equal. It happens that some of the tasks I do bring in more money but the money doesn’t assign more value to those tasks. In theory and most of the time, in reality. Sometimes, when we rub up against conventional thinking it doesn’t feel so equal.

When I was growing up, my mum was the main full time worker outside the home, as well as the main domestic worker. My dad was an artist and involved in politics so he did have an active life outside the home, but it wasn’t so much contributing to financial stability of the home. However, it did contribute to our education and social connections. It did have value. Sometimes, when we rubbed up against conventional thinking, it didn’t feel so valuable.

The key task of making a thriving home life is to disregard conventional thinking and to innovate, to find new ways of arranging your living space, your daily routine and your collaborations with your family members. Because my mum now has dementia, we’re continually adjusting her care and routine as her condition changes. As the world becomes more changeable, we will all have to continually adjust and shuffle how we express our care for each other and our daily routines. We have to be open to change and try not to judge other people for their choices.

Beautiful as always

As always, Bridget, you have the gift for describing in a simple, matter-of-fact way stuff that is really quite amazing. This stuff of combining care with work (an old teacher of mine, feminist, used to speak of production and reproduction) is famously difficult; the modernised West and traditional societies alike have failed to get it right, and made quite a lot of drama about it. So it is refreshing and hopeful that you have found a not-quite-perfect but satisfactory solution.

I prefer to work from home too. This year I took up a temporary 9-to-5 job; it has its charms, but I still prefer wotking from home. And you are absolutely right about the healthy food!

Production and reproduction

Thank you for your appreciative comment. I’m intrigued by this duality of production and reproduction, and I wonder if this needs to be updated to a more ecological mindset. Maybe we no longer need quite so much to either produce and reproduce, but to restore and nurture. The reaction of the Left to the collapsing ‘house of cards’ of financial markets is to assert that we need to ‘get back to making things’, and that thinking often goes hand in hand with a fairly traditional idea of a separation of work from home. The workplace is the place where things are made. The home is where people recuperate from and prepare for work. Work is dominant. The worker is more valued. The crucial question now about making things is ‘how can we make things in a way that restores the biosphere and generates biosphere capital?’ My hunch is that part of this answer is by making home a workplace, making work more relevant to where and how we live in ecosystems and making home a place for children to learn how to do this work. Dougald Hine had a brainwave response to Illich’s call to ‘deschool society’ by renaming it ‘rehoming society’. I’d go along with that.

The benefits of multigenerational families… and dog too!

I am convinced that your way of life must bring you much joy and peace of mind!

It’s really nice to read your report, because judgment tends to easily fall upon from all sides. Relatives can often be the most cruel. Infuriated looks from relatives, or ‘friends’ who believe themselves better because they live by the standards, I try to get used to them. But it still gives me a pinch in the heart. Some seriously think that if they shun me for years, this will make me change my lifestyle.

My life has some similarities to yours. I also prefer working from home. However, I have no spouse, and I do not teach my child at home. But however, I also feel that they have created a special, stronger bond with my child.

The dog brings us much joy and unconditional love. I prefer to be greeted by a dog leaping frantically in the air for 5 minutes because he’s happy to see me, than endure the constant taunts of a frustrated spouse.

I also take care of my mother, my grandmother and my uncle, who are both 91 years old.

Multigenerational families are not yet considered the norm. However, they provide many benefits for children.

There are certainties in life, which cannot be explained. When you look at your child’s eyes, you know if he/she is happy, or not. My child has an air of bliss happiness, since he was born. Even if I have to endure the sneers of many people around me, just watching him a few seconds, feeling that his inner being is so rich and wonderful, reassures me about my life choices. I guess that you must feel like that, too.

An hypothesis

BEHAVIOR: I have been very lucky, because my son almost never cried when he was a baby, and he doesn’t know what grumpy behaviour means yet. He’s in 1st grade, and I see that in school, he learns bad attitude conduct and that displeases me. Six years of effort of paying attention to my mood, which evaporate in a just few months by imitation of others.

There has never been a ‘bacon crisis (the child wriggles on the floor while screaming). Thank God! I do not know what I would do in such circumstances. My eyes would come out of their sockets.

MULTIGENERATIONAL FAMILIES, among others, allow children to receive attention, when the parents are not available. Older relatives also have different values​​, which are transmitted to children. They take the time to tell a story, or just be with the child. They offer their time and affection. They often are slower, they can be more available.

Older relatives love to talk about their past experience. They are there to speak of another epoch. To bring out the past is another way of living and loving. Our predecessors have built much of what we are today, and I feel it is important that children know what that they must pay attention to every of their actions, in order to take care of the environment, etc., if they want tomorrow to still be peaceful and a nice place to live in.

THE DNA OF HAPPINESS. I’m currently working on a hypothesis. It is scientifically proven that abuse leaves a biological trace in DNA, and many generations carry this trace. (ref “Des chercheurs de l’Unige ont découvert que les abus laissent une trace biologique dans l’ADN des victimes”)

I know there is a biological process that transforms the brain and body, and confers bliss.

Can happiness be transferred in the DNA? I think so. This is why I recently joined the Institute for Consciousness Research. We are currently building an open database to collect DNA samples of people who have reached a physical state of bliss, so that scientists can conduct research in this area.

In my case, the peak of happiness occurred three years after the birth of the child. But it’s really strange, my son looks like he already profited from if, from birth. I must think more deeply about these issues, and perhaps merge time relativity components in my hypothesis. Which would mean that I was already carrying genetic dispositions? Uh, it’s getting complicated!I will not be able to solve this alone, but by joining a community of mystics, sages and scientists focusing on these issues, I am more likely to find answers to my questions. And prove my hypothesis!


it’s so refreshing to hear encouragement as a man to perform roles that we are conventionally excluded from and i couldn’t agree more. the difference between societies in this respect is huge though isn’t it? north european convention is far less restrictive than other regions (norwegian paternity leave for example.)

the description of your family life is inspiring and i think very brave. it makes me curious now beyond the family context because i think a huge challenge for home schooling is socialisation. do you feel there is a need to find school environment replacement mechanisms for your daughter’s learning?