Yes, that really is me featured in a Newsweek story published online recently. I thought my blog readers might be interested in hearing the back story.
I was contacted by Jessica Bennett, the Newsweek reporter, in August and did a short telephone interview with her. She seemed interested in what I had to say, but when she asked to meet me in person and possibly do a video of me and my family, I was very, very hesitant. First, because our home was undergoing a major renovation at that time. The only place to sit in the entire house was on the bed in our master bedroom, and the floors were stripped down to bare concrete. We were scarcely in the position of entertaining two reporters from a national news magazine. You can read about my trials and tribulations during this massive DIY project here and here.
Another reason I hesitated is because we have always kept our preparedness efforts low key. There are very few people we share this with in real life, so why would we want to tell the world about our food storage and where we live? On the other hand, if we really believe that families need to prepare themselves and their homes for some potentially very bad times, why wouldn’t we want to share what we have done and encourage them to do the same?
Finally, I worried how a young reporter from New York City, of all places, would portray preppers in general and me, specifically. Would I be made to look foolish or ridiculed? Let’s face it. The two of us could probably not be less alike, although after her visit we had one thing in common. We had both shot a gun for the first time using a .22 handgun!
Well, if you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably figured out that TheSurvivalMom is pretty damn fearless. I am very much the type to plunge directly into something and say, “Let’s just do it!” So, in late September, Jessica and a videographer, Jenn, flew into Phoenix. They interviewed me once, videotaped me in a (staged) shopping trip, and then came to our home. The last hour we spent together was at a shooting range where Jessica shot a gun for the first time. Both Jessica and Jenn were friendly, warm and non-judgmental, and I think you’ll see from their finished product they present a balanced view that actually encourages people to prep.
Was the report 100% accurate? Well, it states that I like to bake. Actually, I can’t stand to bake and only bake once a year, at Christmas. In fact, much to my family’s dismay, I really don’t even like to cook and only do it under duress. I’m referred to as a soccer mom, but neither of my kids have ever played soccer. I don’t like the term, “prepper,” all that much. I prefer to think of myself as simply someone who is smart, observant and can put two and two together, but I guess there’s not a catchy term for that. Other than those very minor quibbles, yes, it’s an accurate portrayal of me, my family, and our lifestyle.
It was a difficult decision to open our home and our lives to a national audience, but we decided to err on the side of sharing our experiences as a very typical suburban family in the hopes of reaching thousands of similar individuals and families around the country. Would I do it again? Yes, most likely. I believe the message of preparedness is an urgent one.
You see, years ago I was able to spend time in the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc Communist countries. I’ve never forgotten the empty shelves, stores that served no purpose other than to provide a roof for people trying to sell a bit of home-grown produce or a few handmade goods. I saw rusted out vehicles that were barely operational and lines of hopeless looking people waiting to buy whatever limited meat was available that day. I don’t know if scenes like these will become reality in our country. In fact, it’s hard to imagine, but we have a window of opportunity now to prepare our families financially, physically, mentally, and with stored goods for a future that is more uncertain than it’s ever been. As one old-time prepper said, “Preparedness buys you time and options.” That’s a message that needs to be heard by everyone.