Balancing life on the homestead is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. I’ll be the first to admit that I have struggled with balance almost my entire adult life. Once our family started to grow and we started to live out the lifestyle that our grandparents had taught us, the task of balancing became even harder. For the first part of my motherhood journey, I more often than not walked through it blindly. I was always on autopilot and I surely did not enjoy the time that was in front of me. I’ll admit, I struggled and I resented most of my responsibilities. I have learned some things along the way and I am so happy to report that we do not have to struggle with balancing life and feeling exhausted all the time.
10 Ways To Find Balance On The Homestead
Put God First
Seriously. Do this! You may have to sacrifice some sleep, which I know is precious, but this is the single most important part of getting everything else to fall in line. I can definitely tell when I skip morning quiet time with Him. I have a negative attitude and I’m quite grumpy. I find myself complaining about the weather, having to feed the chickens, moving brush, doing laundry, or any of the other million and one things on my to-do list. My whole day just feels off, but when I put God in His rightful place in all I do, I can do all I need to do with a better attitude.
Find a time that works best for you. It may be before the sun comes up and the roosters begin to crow. Or, you may be like me and have kiddos who get on the bus before the sun is even rising and you need to wait until they are off. Your time with God does not need to be hours and hours long. God has given us responsibilities we must attend to. If we are willing to take just a half hour to spend time with Him and commit to taking Him with us throughout the day, He’ll be faithful to be there with us through it all.
Create A Tentative Schedule or Routine
I say tentative because you need to leave room for flexibility. With a house full of kids and a growing homestead that has a never-ending list of to-do’s, flexibility is a must. What I do is draft out a daily schedule that works for me and my family (Get Your Own Free Printable Daily Schedule By Clicking Here). Our schedule and routine is different depending on the day of the week, the weather, what projects we have going on, and D’s work-schedule. When the kids are in school, our schedule is much different from during the summer when everyone is home. Also, during the summer we spend a lot more time outdoors working on projects than we do in the winter.
It’s really easy to get caught up in all the remodeling work and homestead projects, but at the end of the day, we need to know where everything is. Projects go so much easier and quicker when we aren’t searching for the tool or equipment that we need. Meal prep goes faster when we don’t have to search for the garlic powder and kids get off to school smoother when no one is searching for their shoes.
I have been using these colder and rainy days of winter to work on getting our home de-cluttered and organized. Not doing this when we first moved in and staying on top of it has proven to be a huge mistake. I am struggling to not just organize, but to also teach everyone in my family that everything has a place.
A personal note about the Homestead Homemaking Group:
*I’ve been on social media right from the start and I have to say that I have never found a group more welcoming and inviting than this group. All of the women in Homestead Homemaking are so helpful and encouraging. We all pray for each other and help one in another with whatever difficulty we are having at the time with our homestead. These women understand that managing it all is extremely difficult and they are all there to support us along the way.*
Create A Daily To-Do List
I’m not talking about creating a to-do list for each day of the week in advance and then trying to stick to that. A to-do list that is created that way doesn’t allow for much flexibility or change. I know many of us like to know what we are doing each day in advance, but for those of us who don’t, this system can be a blessing.
After we’ve spent a little time with the Lord and our perspective has been positioned, we can see clearly what needs to be done. Some tasks are daily tasks like washing dishes, doing laundry, and cooking meals. Adding pressing projects and tasks that need to be worked on or may have carried over from the previous day can be added too. But the idea is to sit down each morning and consider what you’d like to accomplish on that particular day. I don’t like to plan an entire week out, because sometimes I just don’t feel like doing the laundry on Wednesday and may want to work on an outside project instead. You can get a free planner to help you get organized by clicking here.
Do Chores and Projects Together
There isn’t much on a homestead that the whole family can’t be involved in helping with. When little people are able to use their little hands to help big people do big projects, they learn so much more. Including your little people in all you can, will create a bond between family members, teaches teamwork, important skills, how to get along, responsibility, and it is creating last memories. Which is my most favorite part of all of this. Just be sure to keep your little people safe. If you are working on a project that is too dangerous for little ones or isn’t age appropriate, find another task they can help you with later.
Our little people will one day look back and say, “Remember when?” We can’t even begin to teach our children the legacy of homesteading if we don’t first include them when they are young. Children will never learn how to grow their own food if they are not first given the opportunity to grow a garden themselves. They will never learn how to clean out the animal pen if they are not first given that opportunity when they are young. They won’t learn how to cook home cooked meals or the importance of having a pantry stocked if they don’t first learn from us, their most important teachers.
Schedule Time For Fun
It doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Sure, there are times when we all need to have our attention focused on the situation at hand, but we can still make time for fun when those serious projects have been dealt with. It isn’t all about chores, projects, schedules, routines, animals, gardens, and a fully stocked food supply. We need to be making happy, good, memories with our kids and spouses and if all we do is “work”, no one is going to enjoy it much.
Take time to watch a movie, play board games, color with your kids, go to the park, go fishing, go on a picnic. Taking the time to have fun with the kids can become the reward for all the hard work everyone has done together!
Schedule A Date Night Every Night
God has blessed me with an amazing husband and I would not be bringing glory to God if I willfully chose to neglect the relationship I have with Dan. D is my absolute best friend and our family and the homestead would not even be happening if it wasn’t for him. Now, I’m not saying you have to go out to a fancy dinner every night or even every month. What I am saying is, you have to make time to be alone with each other. D and I try to spend a half hour each night just connecting. Then once a week we take time away from the kids, the homestead, and all the stress of life to enjoy each other. We often drive over to the lake and just sit together watching the sunset. We have been known to pack up a lunch and go sit at the park. Or we go for a stroll around Home Depot or Lowes window shopping for our next project and discussing cheaper DIY ways to get a task done. Find what works great for you and your spouse. It may be some time in the morning together and that is absolutely okay. Whatever works. Do that!
Be Patient and Flexible
It is quite normal to walk on to any homestead and find several projects in various stages of progress. Our homestead is no different and I’m sure your’s isn’t either. Your homestead is going to look very different at the end of your 1st, 5th, and 10th year. Take the time to enjoy the process and try not to let the vision of the completed goal steal from you the joy of what is happening now.
On a personal note, this is exactly what happened to me when we first moved here to the midwest. I was so wrapped up in the completed look of our homestead that I tried to have it all complete yesterday. I missed out on creating some awesome memories with my kids, teaching my children valuable lessons and skills, saving some money, and experiencing a strong bond of unity with my husband all because I had no patience or flexibility when it came to projects.
Make Some Friends
Raising a family and homesteading can get a little lonely. We get tied up in all the work, that sometimes we forget that we have been created for relationship and created to enjoy the company of others. I’m surrounded by 7 of the most amazing people in the world. I talk to my oldest son almost every day. But, there are still days I feel a little lonely. By reaching out to those in the community who are like-minded, you will find that you are surrounded by neighbors who have interests just like you! Joining a local church and a Bible study group is a great place to start. Our closest friends here are part of our church family and they all enjoy the self-sufficient, homesteading lifestyle as we do.
Visit your local farmer’s market and chat with a few vendors. Go to the craft fair or to a quilting class. Just get out and chat with other people. I have been fortunate enough to have met some amazing people here in the mid-west. Our friends Kevin and Sarah from Living Traditions Homestead are just a few miles from us and so are our friends from Homestead In The Holler and they are building their dream homestead as well! It’s really exciting when you get out around others and start connecting with new friends!
Take Time For You
I know this may sound like a dirty word or at least some kind of joke, but there is no joke here. I remember when I was a young mom, someone told me that now that I was a mom, it was selfish of me to ever take any time for myself. As a result, for 16 years I felt guilty every single time I just wanted five minutes to myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the “best mom ever”, and eventually I broke under that pressure.
Things are much, much different now and I don’t feel guilty anymore. I take time to enjoy the things I like to enjoy. And you need to do this for yourself and your family too. Take the time to paint your nails, go to lunch with a friend, go to a women’s Bible study group, go out on a date with your husband, watch the sunrise alone, or take a bubble bath in silence. Do it! You will not regret taking time
Trust me when I say, if you don’t take time to refocus yourself, you are not going to be the “best mom ever”. Period.