I heard that phrase somewhere recently and it really struck home with me. I have in the past been a consumer extraodinaire, an addict of the thrill of the purchase, someone to whom shopping and just plain buying was second nature. I bought all my wants, ripped off the packaging and recycled it dutifully thinking I was doing my bit for the environment and still getting my goodies.
Did all this buying make me happy? Well I won't lie and say it made me sad, although I am sad now when I look back on it and remember my wastefulness. But that is the power of hindsight.
It wasn't until I left my fulltime job in the fashion industry and gave birth to baby number two that I began to really think about making more and buying less. Partially this was driven by the sudden reduction in income, a major life changing situation as many new SAHMs will know. Where I had prevously seen something I liked and just purchased it with barely a second thought, our new financial situation made me think through these decisions. Did I really 'want' it? Did I even 'need' it? These became much more important questions and they triggered a new awareness about how indulgent I had been in the past and a promise to never go back to that way of living. So at this point I decided to turn to the 'making'. Why buy something if I could make it myself! The weekly grocery list was the first to be revamped. I crossed off all the premade treats and scoured my cookbooks for cheap healthy alternatives. I came home from the supermarket laden down with bulk packs flour, pasta and sugar, determined to conquer a kid friendly muesli bar that didn't come individually wrapped in plastic and boxed as well.
I cooked more of our dinners from scratch, using as many fresh local ingredients as I could. I nagged my husband for a sewing machine so I could make the kids clothes. And as all this was happening I came to the realisation that I like 'making' in fact I love 'making'. The joy I get from finding an old sheet and turning it into a summer dress for my daughter or eating a salad made with peas grown fresh in our garden far outweighs the pleasure of shopping.
Added to this is a certain sense of duty that I want to pass on to my children. We are responsible for our actions, we are responsible for how we live and our imprint on this planet. It brings a smile to my face to see my kids jump up when they hear the washing machine click into a drain cycle so we can run out and divert the grey water onto our little vegie patch, or when we are at the shops looking for new shoes and Lottie pipes up with 'why can't we just make some mum'.
They already think differently to me. Whereas I had to make a huge shift in life to consume less they are learning the value and pleasure that comes from 'making' from a young age.
I still have a very long way to go. I have a terrible weakness for buying fabric that needs to be tackled next. This new way of life is a constant work in progress but it is a journey I am enjoying and one that I only wish I had started on a long time ago.