I had a rather stunning revelation the other day.
I realized that I can’t do it all. For real.
And to be honest, I don’t really like saying that out loud…. But it’s true.
It was during a moment of stressful frustration the other day that a lightbulb came on. I mean, yeah, we all say “I know I can’t do it all,” but secretly, I still thought I could. And that thought was causing me to get very grouchy…
I had to laugh at myself when I took a step back and looked at the demands I was placing on myself…
I was expecting myself to:
- Have perfectly home-cooked meals every single day,
- Milk a cow every day and then make all our own dairy products with the extra milk,
- Can and preserve everything in sight,
- Have a perfectly manicured yard and garden,
- Ride my horses on a daily basis,
- Run a very busy blog and essential oil team,
- Keep a super clean and perfectly decorated house,
- And, oh yeah, keep my family (which includes 2 very small children) in one piece in the process.
That’s crazy talk folks!
As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I came to the (very obvious) realization that it’s pretty much impossible for one person to do all of those things. No wonder I was feeling stressed!
I’m making some changes this summer, and I want to share them with you, since I know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed in their homesteading adventures.
5 Tips to Help You Homestead Without Going Crazy
1. Make a List
I know, this one seems so obvious– but it’s soooo important! It’s so easy to feel crazy and overwhelmed when you have a million “to-dos” swirling around in your head. I can feel the pressure lift instantly as soon as I write things down. There is just something about seeing the tasks in a nice little row that makes them more attainable, I think. (And, you get the added pleasure of crossing them off!)
Make a daily list, make a weekly list, make a seasonal list, and make a yearly list. Or, pick and choose what fits your style best… But regardless, make a list!
This one goes hand-in-hand with the list… I often let less-important projects stress me out, when they really don’t need to. Yeah, I might *think* I neeeeed to get my new DIY project finished so it can adorn the walls of my living room, but honestly– does it really *have* to be done this week? Probably not.
Pick the projects or tasks that are most-pressing in the current season, and don’t sweat the rest. (And don’t forget– family always comes first!)
3. Cut it Out!
Feeling especially bogged down? Look at your list and get brutally honest– does that task REALLY need to be done right this second? If the answer is no, then get rid of it!
Now– this was a tough one for me at first… I kept looking at my list and thinking, “Everything on there HAS to be done! I can’t drop anything!” But it was then that I realized that I was placing silly expectations on myself…
Homemade laundry detergent is nice, but when I’m already running around like a crazy person, it’s ok to buy some detergent at the store when I make a trip to town. (And that’s exactly what I’m doing this summer…)
You have to cut yourself some slack every once and a while. What would your kiddos rather have? Clothes washed in homemade detergent, or a happy mama with extra time to play?
(Yes, I realize that DIY laundry soap isn’t difficult to make– but it still feels good to have one less thing to do…)
Let me tell ya– I am a rabid DIY-er. I LOVE to do everything myself. Everything.
But you know what? After a certain point, that just doesn’t work. And it’s perfectly ok to outsource some of our tasks to qualified folks.
This has been especially true for me as this blog has grown… It started out as a just-for-fun hobby, but over the past year it has morphed into an actual business. I absolutely love working on the blog, but it takes a lot of time. And my time is better spent working on posts like this one, insteading of pulling my hair out trying to fix the HTML codes on my site. (Which is why I used the blog-helper services of Lisa Morosky at The Home Life and Me this week to help with some behind the scenes stuff. She tweaked code while I was outside working. And it was heavenly folks!)
This is hard for me to admit, but we just picked up our home-raised steer from the butcher shop. Yes, I really, really enjoy cutting up our own meat. But, this spring was insanely busy, and the steer needed to be taken care of right away. Hubby and I made the decision to send him to the butcher, and it was a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders.
Will we be butchering our other animals ourselves? You bet! But for this current season, the local butcher shop is a wonderful resource to have, and the butchering fee was worth every penny.
5. Let Go of Perfect
Hello, my name is Jill and I’m a recovering perfectionist.
Homesteading is slowly breaking me of my perfectionist tendencies, and I think it’s a good thing– because when you have as many irons in the fire as I do, it is absolutely impossible to have all aspects of your life be perfect.
I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my “lawn” and yard is NOT going to be perfectly manicured all the time, and my floors will always, ALWAYS have smudges and dog prints on them. And ya know what? That’s ok! (And who really cares anyway?!)
Let go of those “perfect” expectations. Perfect is over-rated anyway.
The Changes I’ve Made so Far
- I’m outsourcing as much as possible– this includes blog design work, as well as things like the butchering of our steer this spring.
- I’m simplifying my garden. As much as I would like to plant a billion different heirloom varieties, I’ve decided to stick with our tried-and-true favorites (potatoes, beans, onions, peas, pumpkins, etc). The fancy gardening can come later when the Prairie Kids are older.
- I’m skipping the DIY laundry soap and shampoo bars this summer and sticking with natural, store-bought alternatives. I’ll definitely make those things again in a different season, but not right now.
- I’m sticking with basic meals this summer– even if it means buying a loaf of store-bought bread every once and a while.
Will my entire summer be stress-free? Most certainly not. But I’m making steps in the right direction, and that feels good.
Share in the comments: How do you simplify your life as a homesteader?