10 People Who Will Struggle with Homesteading
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I wouldn’t give up my life as a homesteader for anything. It’s an amazing way to live a life, but it hasn’t been easy. The struggle with homesteading can be very real. In fact, looking back on our journey, I would say there are certain kinds of people who actually might have a bit harder time with homesteading than others. Check out these 10 types of people who may struggle with homesteading or have issues dealing with the homesteading life.
(Don’t want to read all the words? This blog post is also a podcast—just press the triangle play button on the little black bar at the top of this post!)
1. Control freaks
If there is one thing that you will very quickly learn on a homestead, it’s that you’re not in control. You can plan, you can have goals, you can have everything figured out to a T, and it can go the complete opposite way than what you thought it would. If you’re someone who can’t punt or be flexible, the struggle with homesteading will be a rough ride for you.
2. Clean freaks
Let me just come out and say it, homesteading is dirty. It’s messy. You’re gonna get your hands in something you don’t necessarily want to have them in. Between the mess of animals and the dirt of gardening, you’re gonna spend a lot of time in the shower!
Those snazzy chicken coops you see on Pinterest? They’re snazzy all right. If you want to put a chandelier or a love seat in your chicken coop, that’s your choice. Just know it’s going to be covered in dust and/or poop about 2 minutes after you snap that sweet picture for Instagram.
3. Can’t deal with death
Homesteading isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’ve got animals on the homestead, death will be part of your homesteading experience. This is a big part of the reason that some folks really struggle with homesteading.
Sometimes death is sad, like when your favorite goat dies from old age. Sometimes death makes you angry, like when the neighbor’s dog or a fox sneaks in to wipe out your entire flock of chickens. Sometimes death is what was planned to happen because it’s part of the process of filling your freezer.
No matter the reason, death is never pleasant to deal with. Some folks can handle it easier than others. If you already know that death is extremely difficult for you to handle, you may want to re-think homesteading (with animals).
4. Out-and-Abouters who are never home
There are many homesteaders who work outside the home—in fact for most homesteaders, it’s the only way they can afford to have the homestead. But you need to match your specific kind of homesteading with your real modern day life. If you work from home, you probably have a lot different options as a homesteader than someone who works a 9-5 with a two hour commute each way.
Also understand that deciding to leave for the weekend to go to the lake is a little more difficult unless you have someone you can trust to take care of your homestead while you’re gone. Part of your struggle with homesteading will be that your Ma Ingalls old-fashioned homesteading fantasy had one thing you don’t have – Ma Ingalls at home.
There will always be an argument about whether or not homesteading saves money. And really, it all depends on your perspective. For instance, some people will say that homesteading affords them quality food. Other people say it’s not really saving money, because if they weren’t on a homestead they just wouldn’t buy those foods. Another example is some folks look at the cost of homesteading as an investment in their health; for example: “have you compared homesteading with the cost of cancer?” Other folks will counteract that with, “yeah, I have. I still only have $35 left to get me through the week, though, so…”
What is worth pointing out is this: regardless of whether your perspective identifies homesteading as a money saver in the long run, homesteading will cost you money at various points, and it has to come from somewhere. Whether it’s for emergency tractor parts, feed prices that have gone through the roof, fence that needs to be repaired…Life happens on the homestead. If you don’t have some sort of financial sensibility or frugality to prepare for that, you will find yourself in a tough spot.
Boats and trips and luxury items are pretty ritzy. But so is a chicken coop that doesn’t leak and fencing that actually keeps the goats in.
I’ve never been afraid of hard work. I helped side a lot of houses as a teenager, and I worked as a roofer with my father when I first had kids. I actually sorta like physical labor. After moving to the farm, I have crawled into bed many nights exhausted (in a good way) knowing I’d used all my body could give. And you know what? There is something really satisfying about that.
Which is convenient, because it’s pretty much required if you’re going to take this homesteading thing to a certain level.
That’s not to say every day on the homestead is physically demanding. The actual level of how physically demanding your homestead is will completely depend on what your homesteading adventure entails. But if you find it’s hard to get motivated to get off the couch, there’s going to be a lot of homesteading work that doesn’t get done.
And you can’t run a homestead like that. No lie.
Can’t finish what you start? Or wait until the very last minute? That will bite you square on the butt as a homesteader.
It’s easy enough for homesteading work to snowball and get away from us. If you’re a procrastinator, it’s going to be twice as hard. Since homesteading follows the season—and Mother Nature cannot be controlled—you’re at the mercy of getting things done on her time schedule.
There is a lot of dreaming and planning and what-iffing that goes into homesteading. But if you tend to wait until the last minute with projects—or have a hard time starting them at all—you’re not going to get very far in your homesteading adventure. You will struggle with homesteading. A lot.
8. All or Nothing Overachievers
Many of us start homesteading and want to go whole hog. We are going to raise all the things! We will never have to go to the grocery store again! And while there are homesteaders out there who are operating with an amazing amount of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, that journey can have barriers that we don’t plan for or even know about before we set foot into our homesteading life.
Not everything you want to grow in your garden or on your property will grow in your garden or on your property. Not every animal you want to put in your barn is going to work out in your barn. Some things will work but will take way more work than you bargained for.
It’s great to have goals, it’s great to have dreams. But it’s also great to be realistic and understand that what works in Minnesota doesn’t work in Texas and that’s just the way it is. And it’s okay. If that makes you want to give up completely, then homesteading might be hard for you.
You will fail. It’s part of life and certainly part of why people struggle with homesteading. If you have a hard time accepting or mentally recovering from failures and mistakes, homesteading will probably be a challenge for you.
9. Absolute hermits
A lot of homesteaders I’ve talked to are self-proclaimed introverts who want nothing more than to just stay on their beautiful homestead and talk to their plants and their chickens. They don’t need people. They don’t want to go out and do things. They’re just fine doing it all themselves. They’re gonna move to the middle of nowhere, become a hermit, and live off the land.
I get that. Oh my word, do I get that.
But here’s the thing.
“Yes, being able to take care of your own is awesome. But what ever happened to being able to take care of others? And—before you freak out— I don’t mean in a why do I always have to support people who don’t do their share? sort of way, but more like Bob and Mary are down on their luck so I’m going to bring them some stew and see if they need help with chores.
We’re made for community. Even a self-sufficient introvert can be found researching online communities to join in order to discuss and learn and communicate with people who live and believe as they do.
Individualism has its place. It’s nice to know who you are and what you are capable of alone, but it’s also nice to know that someone has your back.
Or that you have someone else’s.
— Amy Dingmann, “The Gift of Community”
10. People obsessed with comparisons
If you’re constantly worrying about what your neighbor homesteader or your sister homesteader or your favorite blogger homesteader is doing and how it stacks up against what you’re doing, you’re going to get pretty tired. Constant comparisons is part of why people struggle with homesteading.
No two homesteads are the same. Not everyone is working with the same stuff. We’ve all got different amounts of time, money, and other resources to devote to this lifestyle—and we’re probably all homesteading for different reasons in the first place!
Talk to other people about their homesteads as it relates to learning—but also learn to keep your focus on your own homestead. Worry about its struggles. Celebrate its accomplishments. Work hard for the one you live on, not the one down the street you wish you had.
You will struggle with homesteading. But it can also be a great learning experience.
While it’s important to have some idea of what you’re getting into before you start your homesteading journey, being a homesteader can also help you to get over the above named issues or get better about those things. We don’t have to struggle with homesteading. See, homesteading teaches us many things, and sometimes we often assume it will be about animals, gardening, and cooking from scratch. It does teach us that…but it also teaches us so much more. Namely, many things about ourselves.
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