Coldplay says it best:
“No one said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard.”
You expect challenges and hard days. You understand that you can’t move the world. But the degree to which all of the roles of mother, wife, and homesteader weigh on you all at once really can be heavy.
Sometimes I feel like I need to do it all, and perfectly. I need to have endless patience with my toddler. I need to make all meals from scratch using farm fresh ingredients. I need to hang all my laundry on the line, we’re trying to be off-grid after all. I need to have a weedless garden. A Pinterest – worthy chicken coop. Beautiful flower beds. No clutter.
But guess what. I have a few confessions to make…
I am a proud mama to a beautiful baby boy. Well, he’s not my tiny baby anymore. He wants things done his way or the highway and his favourite word is no. And don’t even think about giving him the red cup with lunch unless you want a screaming match. It’s the blue cup. At least until he changes his mind (again).
He’s fun though. And I love him to bits. But the toddler years are challenging. No more immobility and trusting them in a high chair or baby swing. It’s eyes on them at all times unless you’re prepared for a disaster.
Being a little crunchy too, I am choosing to parent in a way that might make others raise their eyebrows. But it works for us. Attachment parenting is very hands on, with extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, lots of skin-to-skin, baby wearing, gentle parenting, responsiveness, and the like. It’s an approach that we really appreciate and works well for our family. However, it is all-consuming.
Sometimes, I get major mom guilt. Why? Because every now and then I break. I lose my patience. There have been times I’ve yelled, and times I’ve thrown bigger tantrums than my son. There are times I turn on Paw Patrol, after vowing never to use cartoons to entertain my child because sometimes, just sometimes, I need to go to the bathroom in peace, or finish cooking dinner without little hands trying to turn the burners on and off. I confess. I’m not a perfect crunchy mom.
I stay at home with my son while my husband works days. As well, I babysit full-time during the day to bring in a little extra income. It’s nice because it allows us to afford a few extra things to help around here, like our tractor and the second bathroom we installed downstairs. But it’s busy. Oh boy is it busy.
Household tasks get done quickly, and with no sense of perfection. I do my best to keep things clean, keep up with the laundry, and make healthy meals from scratch. But the honest truth you guys? Sometimes things get neglected. I haven’t washed the sheets on our bed in a month. There is a pile of dust covering every inch of the spare bedroom. I’m pretty sure the houseplants haven’t been watered in a week either. Oh and confession: sometimes I don’t make a home made dinner! Sometimes we eat Kraft Dinner and Ichiban noodles.
But you know what? It’s okay. My family is happy and healthy and all the animals are alive. That’s a win right? Wait … I think I just spotted a sippy cup under the couch. How long has it been there? I hope it had water in it and not milk! Story.of.my.life.
We work hard to grow, raise, hunt and forage our food. You’ll often see deer and wild edibles on the dinner table, or maybe some of our home-raised pork and garden carrots. Eating clean, being healthy, aiming for sustainability and ethical livestock raising are things that are really important to us. We really feel the need to know where our food comes from.
There is however a tremendous amount of work involved in building and maintaining a homestead. Even a little one like ours. Chores need to be done AM and PM. This is the daily animal checks (feed and water). Extra projects and weekly tasks go on in-between the daily chores.
If you do a PM check, you might discover that the rabbits have knocked their waterer down and are begging for a drink. Or maybe a couple of chickens got out of the fenced-in area and can’t get back in (we don’t give them total free range, we’ve got a hunting bird-dog so that would be bad news for the chickens).
I often do the AM and PM checks with the kiddos, but bigger projects require teamwork. This could include tilling the garden, cleaning the chicken coop, hauling poop to the manure pile, fixing fences, equipment maintenance, list goes on. These are team projects my husband and I both do.
Chores with kids can be interesting.
Guaranteed it will take you more time than if you were by yourself. But you know, it’s so good for them. For kids to help take care of animals, play with bunnies, chase chickens. What a beautiful way to grow up!
I give the kids their own jobs to do. This allows me to get some things done, but it lets them know they are helping, and they love to help! My son takes pride in carrying the bunny waterers up to the hose and filling them up. That’s HIS job and he doesn’t let anyone else do it!
But here comes another confession: if I’m having a day where I’m running behind, or the weather is nasty, or I’m simply worn out, I just get those chores done as fast as possible. So this might mean strapping my son into his stroller with a snack, placing him in view, and running around doing chores quickly by myself. Sorry kiddo, no time for free play with the animals today, mama’s in a rush!
And let me tell you guys, this whole chores thing intensified when I found out I was pregnant again. Oh yeah, for those of you who don’t know, our newest arrival is coming February 2018! But with the good news comes the morning sickness, moodiness, extreme fatigue, and all the weird things that happen during pregnancy.
So here’s another confession: sometimes, when my son goes down for his nap… I sleep too. Laundry? Dishes? Dinner? pfffft. Sometimes a pregnant girl just needs her nap.
So there you have it. I’ll admit: I’m not a perfect crunchy mom, or farm wife. I often post beautiful photos of homemade meals, my happy farm animals, and beautiful produce. However, what you’re not seeing is the freezer pizzas, the dirty chicken coop, or the weeds in the garden. We all want to show each other our best, right? I’m no different.
But just in case you sometimes cheat, sometimes say no to housework, sometimes take a nap instead of cleaning the bathroom, or sometimes let your kids watch cartoons so you can get 22 minutes of peace – well, I’m with ya!
Perfection is a silly thing. I hope my confessions help you feel a little bit better about the MacDonalds take-out bag sitting on the counter and the two empty happy-meal boxes. Because guys, it’s all good.
Do you have any confessions you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and let me know!