As a single mom, my journey into homesteading has been nothing short of an adventure. When you think of homesteading, images of serene country life and slow, deliberate living often come to mind. However, the reality I’ve come to understand is that homesteading, when done without support, can feel like anything but slow living. In fact, it often resembles the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps capitalist hustle mentality more than the idyllic, tranquil slow living we might imagine.
Don’t get me wrong; I cherish the connected, immersed in nature, lifestyle that comes with homesteading. But the idea that this lifestyle inherently represents a slower pace of life can be misleading. In my experience, true slow living through homesteading only becomes attainable when it’s done in community.
1. The Never-Ending To-Do List: Homesteading involves a laundry list of tasks, from tending to livestock and gardens to maintaining infrastructure like fences and buildings. When you’re doing it alone, there’s no one to share the workload. It can feel like a 24/7 job, leaving little room for relaxation or downtime.
2. Emotional Exhaustion:
Homesteading can be emotionally exhausting. Between the long to-do lists and the care for the animals, it’s easy to feel drained. While caring for the animals and spending time with them brought me energy, I struggled with losing animals I had loved. Losing a chick, a duck, and animals getting sick, it was heart breaking. Homesteading, having livestock, inherently comes with animals getting ill and even loss.
3. Learning Curve:
Homesteading demands a broad range of skills, from animal husbandry to carpentry and food preservation. When you’re on your own, the learning curve can be steep, requiring countless hours of research and hands-on experience. While I’ve loved the learning experience, and all the new skills I’ve gained, from baking from scratch to canning to gardening, there are some skills that I didn’t enjoy, but still had to regularly do because it was needed to maintain the homestead. For example, putting up fencing and repairing fencing, was absolutely exhausting and not a skill I had any interest in continuing to do.
So, what’s the solution?
In my experience, true slow living through homesteading comes when you’re part of a supportive community. Here’s why community matters:
1. Shared Responsibilities: In a homesteading community, tasks are distributed among members, lightening the load for everyone. Whether it’s caring for animals or harvesting crops, the work becomes manageable, allowing you to enjoy a more balanced life.
2. Resource Sharing:
Community means shared resources. From tools and equipment to knowledge and experience, a supportive network can provide invaluable help, reducing costs and stress.
3. Emotional Support:
Homesteading can be emotionally taxing. Being part of a community provides a safety net of emotional support and camaraderie, ensuring that you don’t feel isolated in your endeavors and don’t need to process the weight of homesteading alone.
In conclusion, while homesteading can be a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle choice, the idea of it being synonymous with slow living can be misleading, especially when you’re doing it without community. To truly embrace the principles of slow living, I’ve found that it’s essential to build a community of like-minded individuals who share the journey and responsibilities. Only through support and community can we experience the balance, tranquility, and fulfillment that slow living through homesteading promises.