Balancing A Full Time Job and A Homestead
Balancing a thriving homestead with full time jobs can be tough. Worth it certainly, but tough. I would love to spend all my days bustling around the homestead, riding my horses and baking bread but there are bills to pay and we have fulfilling careers to work on. My husband and I both work full time outside the home and also have a thriving 5 acre homestead with horses, chickens, (soon) pigs, dogs, cats, garden and all the work that accompanies that. Not to mention, I have an etsy business and this blog. We are busy busy busy!
So why do we do it? Why do we keep our plates so full and work this hard? Because this is the life we chose and we truly couldn’t imagine doing anything different. The homestead life is absolutely the life for us. Homesteading is very important to us and because of that, we are willing to shape our life around that and fit in homestead tasks in the off-work hours.
What Homesteading Means to Us
Homesteading is an interesting term. The Oxford dictionary merely describes it as “life as a settler on a homestead.” I have found that homesteading has very different meanings to different people. To some, it evokes a memory of settling of the western United States through the Homestead Act of 1862. For others, it means a way of life detached from society relying only on your land or “off the grid”.
To my husband and I, homesteading means living a life close to the land and creating as many of the products we consume as possible. It means growing our own food, caring for our own animals and making the most of the piece of land we get to call our own. To us, it means making, creating and cultivating instead of simply consuming. It means a lot of hard work and long days outdoors that fill our souls. It means honoring old fashioned skills and traditions over every modern convenience. To us, homesteading means a full and complete life that we love.
Why We Homestead
Homesteading isn’t easy… in fact it is quite the opposite. Our homestead is larger than the average plot of land constituting home ownership and with that comes hours of upkeep. In order to produce our own food, we have animals and plants that require daily care and maintenance. It is a time and money intensive venture that seeps into every hour of every day. It is backbreaking labor under a hot summer sun and freezing cold outside chores during the deep winter.
So why do we do this? Simply put, because we enjoy it and feel that this is the way of life we are best suited to. Ever since we got together (at the age of 15), my husband and I have joked we were born decades too late. We both have a deep call in our souls to a simpler and more old fashioned way of life. We love to be outside, in the open space of our own land. It makes us happy to be surrounded by our animals at all times. We enjoy producing our own food; then we can ensure that our meat is ethically, humanely and sustainably raised and that our plants are nutritious and safe from chemicals. We love to create and produce as much as we can and limit our dependence on the commercial market.
When you feel a deep call to live this way, it’s hard to imagine ever being happy doing anything else. Each day we can go to sleep, often with sore muscles, knowing that we made the best of our day and the best of our land. That is worth every frustration and difficulty we encounter. We know this homesteading journey is the life we are meant to lead. So we spent our days applying old fashioned skills to our modern homestead for a more homegrown, self-sustaining lifestyle.
How we Balance it with Full Time Jobs
As much as we would love to do this homestead life full time, we both have full time jobs. Financially, we simply have to support ourselves through our careers. Thankfully we both have fulfilling jobs and bring home enough money to live the life we want to. I regularly get asked how we do it all- careers, side hustles, animals, garden, farm upkeep, projects…I admit, our plates are very very full. But we thrive on on this lifestyle. We both love to be busy and the work around our homestead fills us with joy. Below are some tips for how we have managed to establish a maintainable balance between our homestead and our full time jobs while still having time to sleep and relax.
1. Use modern convivences
I love the old fashioned lifestyle but I am also in favor of the usefulness of modern conveniences. I have a dishwasher and it saves me hours. We happily use all the power tools to make our projects go quickly and smoothly. We are not above picking up takeout about once a week to get a break from the kitchen. No person can truly do it all so take advantage of the technological advances of our modern world that can save you some time and labor. I promise it makes you no less of a homesteader!
2. Pick and choose what we do from scratch
In theory, I love the idea of doing things from scratch. This includes cooking and building and everything in between. But, we have a lot to do and something has to give. We take advantage or ready made items in many parts of our homestead. For example, theoretically we could make chicken feed from scratch but we don’t have time. Instead, we buy it at our local TSC. Another example is homestead structures. As much as we would love to build the structures from the ground up, we usually do not have time and turn to read made or quick build items to help us along. Our new chicken coop is being built from a kit. It will save us time and labor and will still serve our homestead purpose.
3. Ask for help
In order to complete everything we want to do, we rely on help from family and friends. We are blessed with a wonderful support system who pitch in to help us live out our homestead dream. My dad comes up and helps us build and care for the property. My mother in law regularly brings use meals to help us get through the busy days. These simple little things go so far to help us accomplish our homestead goals without killing ourselves in the after work hours. We pay back our helpers in farm fresh eggs and meat and the promise to jump in and help them when the need arises. Do not be too prideful- there is nothing wrong with asking for and receiving assistance from the people who want to support you. Not to mention, farm projects are always more fun with friends and family along for the adventure!
4. Thrive on productivity
This is more of a mindset tip. If you want to do it all, you have to learn to find joy in doing just that. For example, I thrive on being able to cross items off my to do list. It brings me so much joy. Thus, having a full plate with many things to do and accomplish allows me to find that joy daily as I accomplish my tasks. On a different note, we have learned we enjoy doing homestead tasks as much as lounging in front of the TV. That means that we can go full days without touching the TV and be just as happy as we would if it were the opposite. Loving your work makes it feel a lot less like work and you will find yourself craving the lazy/downtime less and less. We certainly still take our lazy time sometimes but it is far less than we did before our homestead.
Meet some Fellow Homesteaders
I am so happy to be publishing this post in collaboration with some other amazing homesteading bloggers! Check out their blogs and posts on what homesteading means to them below! Simply click each photo to visit their blog and collaboration post.
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