Burnout. It’s a real thing…and not just when it hasn’t rained enough one summer and your garden is struggling. As a new homesteader, it’s tempting to get one of everything that sounds interesting…especially if it’s a good deal. I mean, if two feeder pigs is good, then a breeding pair is better! If a beehive is good, then two is better. If a few pet goats to nibble the brambles is good, then OF COURSE a pregnant dairy goat is better.
Believe me, none of those things, on their own, are bad or wrong. But taking them all on at once? Terrible idea.
At this year’s Country Living Workshop, I was fortunate to hear Stacy Lyn Harris talk about homesteading burnout and how to avoid it. It’s funny because I think her suggestions apply, of course to homesteading, but also to family, and life in general. I can apply the things she said to just about any area of my life: business, family, homesteading, homeschooling, friendship, you name it.
Have realistic expectations. We all think there will be no weeds or bugs in our garden and our children will skip out holding hands to weed, prune, and harvest. Rather, we need to be on the lookout. There will be bad with the good AND good with the bad every time. You just have to find it. There is no time, land, family, kids, or weather that will ever be perfect, and yet we move ahead and we find that good.
If kids or spouses are perfect, then they don’t need us. As a wife and mother, my role is to come up underneath someone who is struggling and be great, be their inspiration and model.
Expect unexpected interruptions. No two days are ever going to be the same. Schedule three times as much time to do something as you think you’ll need, pay people to help you if you can, and take the best of both worlds. Don’t live your whole life unplugged because you think you should. I love hanging laundry to dry on the clothesline in the summer. But believe me, I am quite anxious for my broken drier to be fixed. There’s a difference between choosing to line dry my clothes and having to.
Remember that you are FREE. You have independence and self-sufficiency as a homesteader. We are not meant to do life alone. It’s better with a community. But you know that you COULD do it if you had to. Keeping the knowledge of growing, cultivating and raising alive helps keep the world free.
Know WHY you are doing this. Your answer to this question gives you conviction and passion. You do things that matter.
Knowing that seasons come and go gives me the reminder that there’s time. In my excitement, I want to do it all NOW and have it all NOW and set it all up NOW. But winter and rest is coming, and then spring. There will be piglets again next year that I can add to my homestead and there will be another spring that I can add to my garden. Just focusing on what’s in front of me right now rather than pining for what I don’t have gives me room to enjoy what I have, learn as much as I can, and do well what’s in my charge.