When my parents were kids, my mother grew up knowing she had to learn everything involved in managing a home and raising children.  That’s what good girls did in the 50’s.  Learn homemaking skills, take care of your appearance and marry a man with a good job after high school graduation.  So that’s what Mom did.  Cooking, sewing, cleaning, shopping, hair & makeup were mastered and then she met Dickie Thibault who was a carpenter, a good job back then.  My grandparents grilled Dad’s role into him too.  You get a trade, join the union and make good money to support your family.  Find a woman who can handle a house & kids.  So that’s what they did.

While I was growing up, my parents drilled the idea of college into our heads.  Go to college, get a good education, and then get a job with a company that gives you good benefits.  Oh, and get married and give us grandchildren.  The paradigm had changed.  Not only were women expected to have careers, but they were still expected to manage the household and take responsibility for the children.  When I got married, one of us had to leave our job in the military if we ever wanted to live in the same zip code.  Since I’d be the one taking care of our future children, I did.  I went to college to become a teacher so I could get a job wherever my husband was stationed.  I discovered that there were laws affecting teachers that would also affect the safety of the children in their classrooms and I simply couldn’t operate within those parameters.  Teaching wasn’t for me.  So I did what Mom had done, only within the paradigm I’d been programmed with – I was a WORK-AT-HOME Mom.

When my marriage became unbearable, it took a great deal of nerve to step out of the paradigm altogether.  (I won’t bore you with the details.)  So I work at home, receive no government benefits, and I home-school my children.  The government doesn’t like that.  They think I should have a J-O-B, so they created a special tax just for people like me who figure out how to NOT work for “The Man”: The Self-Employment Tax.  Yay, me!

But what is Uncle Sam doing for me?  Not much.  I don’t have health care benefits, retirement benefits, or paid vacations.  I think police & fire departments are awesome, but I don’t think any of my tax dollars – or even my self-employment tax dollars are actually going to them.

So this government shutdown, where a bunch of overpaid, pompous, windbags are holding the U.S. economy hostage while simultaneously putting nearly a million Americans out of work has got me thinking…

Let’s put this into perspective:

A member of Congress makes over $170,000 a year for the rest of their life.

I live off $10,000 a year.  One year of their earnings would last me 17.  And they represent ME?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think I’m the only American who feels this way either.

Given the ever-changing paradigms, failing economies and rampant unemployment, self-sufficient, off-grid living might be the only secure future Americans can have.  Maybe those urban homesteaders growing their own organic produce, retrofitting their homes with solar & wind power, and keeping chickens in their backyard have the right idea?

I’m not interested in a political debate between right and left, neither party holds any appeal for me anymore.  What I would love to discuss is how to plan a proper victory garden, food preservation, how much money I might save on meat every year if I were to participate in hunting season, how to fit a wind turbine to my air conditioning unit, and how to inexpensively put solar panels on my roof and feed that power into my home.

What are some outside-the-box options that Americans can start implementing to ensure their families are more secure in this time of ever-shifting paradigms?