I need your help! I’m looking for some advice for those of us who are stay-at-home, homesteading, and/or are homeschooling parents. (Especially if you can offer it to somebody doing all three!) I have read a lot of books,articles, and stories about people who have grown up homesteading or farming, and who then proceed to homeschool/homestead with their children. I’ve read a lot about people who have begun homesteading when their kids were a little older, or they started to homestead as adults, but before children. What I have yet to read much of though, are the stories of people like me who are beginning this journey, new to homesteading, and have young children. We’ve been homeschooling for a few years now, and the homesteading label is only a year old for us at this point (though we’ve been transitioning for the past couple of years). Our kids are young, and we have 5 of them. Truth be told, I just don’t hear a lot about people like that.
I know that a lot of you out there won’t fit into that gap where I fit, but I know that there are a lot of you who do. Maybe you haven’t made that plunge into homesteading or homeschooling just yet, but you plan to. The fact of the matter is that we could use some solid advice, because it’s not easy. So, what I am seeking from you all is for you to pass this around, share with your family, friends, or acquaintances who might have good advice. I’d like to hear your success stories, sage advice, and reassurance that it can indeed be done.
Personally, the thing that I have been struggling the most with since we have moved is finding any kind of rhythm or routine. I knew life was going to be intense for quite awhile. I knew that we wouldn’t be “settled” until after the Christmas/New Year season that has just passed. But here we are, and I admit I feel a bit lost. I think most stay-at-home parents feel this way on occasion. Where do we begin? How do we bring order to the chaos?
So what am I up against? Well, we have five kids ages 8, 6, 5, 3, and 8 months. I know, it’s a lot, and it’s busy here. The noise that happens with that many young children in the house 24/7 can be quite…intense. The messes can be overwhelming.
As I said, we homeschool and homestead, so there’s plenty to be done, and that’s on top of the regular cooking and cleaning and maintenance that has to happen to keep a household running. In the spring time there are gardens to plant and tend, yard work to be done, and lots of time spent outdoors. We have to feed the family and and do our regular chores and do schoolwork. There is a toddler running around and a baby to take care of. We have been cooking from scratch, so that means there haven’t been a lot of easy meals to make. I’ve done freezer meals in the past, but can’t seem to find time to make more so that we can stay on track during the busy times or when people get sick. In fall it’s much the same, only we are busy preserving the harvest and butchering animals.
It wasn’t until more recently that I truly began to understand my role as manager in this house. It’s my job to keep things running as smoothly as possible from sun up to sun down (and sometimes in the middle of the night). Scott is happy to offer advice when he can, offer assistance when possible, and try to help find solutions to our household issues, but there’s only so much he can do, and there is a limit to the amount he is able to understand since this isn’t his full-time job.
That’s where you come in. Some of you have been there, done that. You’ve figured out ways to make life easier without sacrificing the things that you hold most dear. Some of you are in the midst of it, but maybe a little more comfortable and have found your rhythm. My goal is to get as much advice together as possible not only as inspiration for myself, but as things for others to think about who are, or will be, in my shoes.
There’s a lot to be done, and I know full well that life will always be busy. I know that it is and always be hard work. I know that life has different seasons and different challenges. But I need to find not to let that slow me down. I can’t go floundering around for two weeks after we’ve had a rush of craziness, because the house needs to be taken care of and so do the people in it. I admit to not being great at pacing myself. It’s something I have been working hard on, but sometimes find myself feeling like I am making no forward progress.
I don’t want anyone to think that I’m complaining or that I have too much going on (because believe me, I don’t…I find myself wasting a lot of time during the day). I’m not seeking extra help with the kids or “permission” to stop doing anything. I just seem to stink at time management 🙂 What I’m looking for here is ideas for how to keep on task, ideas for combating the hurdles that life throws at us without tripping and loosing that rhythm. I want to know how you made/make life easier for yourself during the hard seasons in life, what you did to make things run a little more smoothly. How do you find time to feed your family well, care for the house and care for people who are relying on you?
I’m guessing there will be answers I’ve heard before, and that’s okay. But I bet there’s stuff that I haven’t heard or thought of, so I still want to hear from you! And if you know of a good book or article that addresses these issues, please share. I am happy to hear answers from any of you, even if you do not fit into these categories, or if you grew up around this and have some insight. When I’ve received a good number of answers and responses, I want to put a post together to share with those of you who want to take on this kind of a lifestyle, or who are in a place similar to me, not knowing what your next step should be. Because if you are anything like me, you aren’t just doing this for you. You do it for your family, and it’s something we treasure.
Please, pass this on to your friends, feel free to link it in your blogs or vlogs, share on your Facebook page or other social media, email to a friend or family member. We don’t have a huge audience here, though it is growing, so I’ll need your help finding the people who will have good advice! Thank you all in advance for your help, and please remember to leave your comments below!