Mom vs. Machine

It turns out you don't have to live in Vermont to eat like a Vermonter. We recently created an account with Farmers To You, a cooperative of small, mostly organic Vermont farms that offers weekly deliveries of fresh dairy products, pure honey and maple syrup, and lots of in-season produce to Boston-area residents. I had been investigating milk delivery for awhile, but what really hooked me on this company is the ability to get farm-fresh produce in addition to organic, small batch, non-homogenized milk. I'm not ready to take the plunge into raw milk yet, so this is a great alternative. And it's delicious.

I told my mom that we are now drinking whole, non-homogenized milk from a glass bottle, and it reminded her of the times when she was a child and my grandmother would serve the same milk from the milk man in the days before heavy processing and homogenization. My grandmother would skim some of the cream off the top for her coffee and shake the rest for the kids.

It got me to thinking. While I value so much of what technology has offered us moms--like dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and coffee makers to name a few of my favorites--many of the simple acts of motherhood that my grandmother performed, like shaking her kids' milk, have been replaced by machines.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about city homemaking, I think many of today's modern conveniences and cultural mores make it too easy for us to outsource our mothering and homemaking. It's easier to send our kids to school rather than teach them at home. It's easier to have an epidural than a natural birth. It's easier to buy a loaf of bread at the store rather than bake it at home. It's easier to buy a box of diapers rather than wash them at home. It's easier to buy herbs and vegetables rather than grow them at home.

But is it better?

Now, I am far from being a Neo-Luddite and I greatly value the role of technology in our homes and cities. And I do rely on machines to make my mothering easier, like when the kids watch a DVD or play computer games. But I am trying lately to be more mindful of technology's presence and invasiveness in our lives.

And I'm shaking my kids' milk.