The first time I see it is in a Facebook message from a friend in Alabama. She writes to tell me she’s getting off Facebook and entering a “new phase.” Her “Little House on the Prairie” phase. She says she wants to focus on her family and..here it is. "Get back to the basics."
Later that month, I’m interviewing a working mom in Frontenac who decided to start a website. She reads books to kids online. That’s it. No fancy editing. It’s just her with her two dogs sitting in her basement reading. She says she thinks kids need that. That she wants to help them “get back to the basics.”
Then a couple weeks later I’m at lunch with a girlfriend who tells me about this coffee shop in Webster and the woman who owns it is helping people “get back to the basics.” People go there because it’s like a throwback to the 60’s where people from the neighborhood go to hang out. And when you go you leave feeling like you just made new friends.
So what is this? This “going back to the basics.”
I’m used to wanting to know how to make life easier and how to simplify everything. Like quick and easy recipes or shortcuts for losing weight but I think what these women are talking about is simplifying life as a whole. Cutting out the technology, the pressures from society…to just do what we’re here to do. Love. I mean really. We say our family.. children, spouse, friends…we say that’s “what life is all about” we SAY that. But is that how we live?
My day starts in a rush..gotta make sure I’m in the car no later than 6:30AM. Kid gets thrown in the backseat then dumped at daycare. Once I hit the door at work..the race is on and when I’m back home I might get a couple hours with my son before bedtime..but why do I want to turn the tv on or check facebook then!!??? Why is it so hard to just be? To just be with my child and my husband? Or just be at all?
I ask a psychologist who is a regular on Great Day if he’s heard of this trend. Of this “going back to the basics.” He says it’s a girl thing. No really. It’s the way we were raised. Think about it. In the last ten years or so we girls began feeling the pressure to not only be good girls…polite, pretty and nurturing..but also to be like boys. Competitive, driven, athletic, aggressive…but we can’t be too aggressive because that’s not nice. And we feel like we must put careers first..family waits. And once we get that family we are to be perfect moms, perfect wives, perfect career women and hot!
So I’m supposed to have a kick ass body, a botoxed wrinkle free face, be the perfect employee with the latest hair style and outifits, who gets home with nothing but a smile and energy to cook a delicious made from scratch, healthy meal, then spend time with the toddler but make sure I am not ignoring the texts and facebook messages blowing up my phone, clean the house and then have hot sex with my husband…oh and make sure I am taking care of all the social events for the weekend, babysitter and any upcoming birthdays…I mean that’s what society says right?
I can’t do it. No one can. That’s the point. That’s why this craving for some Charles, Caroline and Walnut Grove is raging.
Those little girls are grown up . And they are over it. But what are we really going to do about it?
Can we just decide not to be perfect? Can we cut out the minutia and really go back to the basics? Forget about having to keep up with the Jones’ and just get to know the Jones’? Can we stop comparing ourselves? Downsize our homes, our wardrobes, our junk so we don’t have to work as much so we have more time to be with the ones who need more of us and whom we want more of? Can we unplug from Facebook and tv and actually have quiet time? What would that feel like if we actually slowed down and stopped rushing around like life is one big emergency?
And what about those young girls following in our footsteps? How do we tell them they don’t have to be perfect and teach them how to cope with all the pressures and insecurities so they don’t grow up empty? How do we make sure they unplug long enough for them to just communicate with themselves so they understand their feelings? They address them. They don’t push them down until they resurface as unhealthy habits..drugs, eating disorders, depression.
Little House on the Prairie was all about love, family and faith. The basics. That’s what I want.