6. Let the house get messy. It seems in our modern-day world we have too much stuff that accumulates and makes our homes cluttered — not to mention they also tend to be (although not always) so much bigger than that of our ancestors, and thus need so much more cleaning. Depending on your children’s age, cleaning up after them might be an all day ritual that they still need help with. If you have older children, set weekly or daily tasks for each person to help with the home making. I don’t like the word chore; chores can meet resistance. If you can create a rhythm in home making so everyone in the house actually wants to make the home a better place to live in, that’s all the better.
7. Meal plan rather than having a chaotic struggle and realization at 5 pm that you haven’t started dinner. Most homesteading moms save money by making food from scratch, but it can take up lots more of your time as a result. Meal planning for the week (or longer) really helps, as food prep can be done earlier in the day or even made in the morning to put in the oven later. Make friends with your crock pot; there are endless recipes online.
8. Embrace the off season. If you live somewhere where winters are cold and snowy, embrace the slowness of the season and take it easy. Yes, you still have animals to tend to but take this time to get more sleep, more rest, read more books, do more knitting or whatever crafting or artistic creation that keeps you balanced.
9. Sleep & eat consistently. HA. I can’t say much for sleep since I have babies that don’t sleep, but it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?! Really, though, sleep is essential, and most of you mamas with babies or little children will not be getting enough. If you have a friend or family member that can come over here and there so you can nap, be brave enough to ask. Making sure you’re eating meals (they’re easy to skip when you’re busy) consistently to prevent low blood sugar and crankiness which will help escalate the burn out. TRY to ease back on the coffee, too; it will fatigue your adrenal glands.
10. Evaluate your homestead. I’m mentioning this last because this is the hardest question to ask yourself. Has the homestead become too large for you to handle? Does your husband work away from home for extended periods of time and you’re left with all the animals to tend to and the kids? Are you pregnant and not able to lift heavy things? Do you have a baby and a toddler and you needed that livestock pup but are now struggling? There is a time and place to expand the homestead, but I feel like it often happens too fast for most new homesteaders to handle. If you’re truly, utterly burnt out ALL the time and have no one else to turn to for help, really consider downsizing.
What I hope you homesteading mamas out there get out of this is that you need to take care of yourself. I’ve made the mistake so many times of not doing this, and the burn-out can turn into depression if you let it. You feel like a failure with everything you’re trying to do because you ARE overdoing it. Focus on yourself and the family first, homesteading second. Homesteading is a lifestyle choice, but if it’s overriding your daily life to the point of not functioning at all, then you’re not really living healthily anymore.
Have you dealt with homestead mama burnout before? What helped you get through it all?