Off Grid Living: A Woman’s Perspective

Categories: Life Stories

More words of wisdom and experience, this time in the voice of a woman that is living off the grid. A lot of you might identify with this article and some of you will find it inspiring, insightful and a great read.

These are my hiking boots.  I’ve worn them most every day for almost two years.  They were brand new when we moved off grid and now they are pretty worn.  Previously I had only worn hiking boots a few times in my life and I’ve certainly never worn any out.  My boots aren’t pretty, but I’m so proud of them because they have seen many many miles of walking and a lot of hard work.  I’ve come a long way from being a stay at home mom wearing lounge pants and slippers most of the day.  Living off grid has given me so much satisfaction in knowing what I can accomplish!

My life has changed so much in the past two years.  It has been an incredible journey.  I’m thinking about this journey because my husband and I have recently been watching the “Frontier House” show from PBS on youtube.  I resonate with so many of these people’s experiences, especially the women.  I don’t live in 1883, but I’m also not a modern housewife.  I keep my home without electricity and running water.  I’m also old-fashioned in the sense that I don’t “share” keeping our home with my husband.  I do all of the household chores necessary for our off grid life.  He has other work to do!

Living off grid can be a challenge for a modern woman.  I wasn’t raised in the 1800’s.  I was raised with electricity and running water.  I do have the advantage of being raised in a third world country where we did things like collect rain water for all of our water needs, hang clothes on the line and build a fire for hot water every day.  I’m thankful for these experiences because I grew up appreciating what we had.  But as a modern American adult, I had gotten very used to being a consumer and not a producer.  I think my old self would have trouble keeping up with me now!

My husband and I get a lot of email from people asking about how to live off grid.  A lot of times it is from men.  They would love to live an off grid lifestyle with their families.  My first question is always: “How does your wife feel about it?”  I ask this because I know something now that I didn’t know before living this lifestyle.  The wife is the one who makes off grid living possible.  Without her complete commitment, an off grid life will fail.

A woman’s home is her domain.  She is in charge of managing it and the children.  That is her job.  It has always been her job since the beginning of time.  Please don’t send me comments about women’s equality with men.  I know that I am my husband’s equal.  I simply have a different role than he does.  He is our provider, working out in the fields and raising the animals.  I take care of the needs of our home and children, so that he can focus on other things.  I have a college education.  I have held full-time jobs supporting myself.  I am fully capable, but everyone in a family unit needs to have different roles and responsibilities in order for that family to function.  I believe that men’s and women’s roles are different.

So if a woman’s role is to keep the home, what does that mean for an off grid home?  It means that she keeps her home off grid.  This is why my first question is always “How does your wife feel?”  The husband may be out in the field working with the animals, building, cutting firewood, etc.  But her tasks (for the most part) remain the same every day.  I know that modern wives and mothers feel the mundane of everyday household chores.  I have been there too and I’ve heard so many women complain about doing laundry, folding it and putting it away!  An off grid wife and mother also feels those things, but she works a million times harder to get things done.  It takes a lot of energy and worn out boots!  I’ve learned not to procrastinate with my chores.  I don’t leave laundry until tomorrow because there will be more and it will take me twice as long because I do it all with a washtub and wringer.  If I don’t pump water for the day or empty our humanure/potty bucket, we will not have basic things we need for that day.  A quote in the “Frontier House” caught my attention last night as I watched.  One of the wives said that in her most busy hard working day in her “normal” life she never worked as hard as she does every day on her homestead.  She falls into bed at night dead tired and wakes up the next morning to do it all again.  She paints kind of a bleak picture, doesn’t she?  But that’s how hard the original homestead women worked!

  Page Turn