single parent homesteaders?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I am wondering, I have just recently become a single parent of an 8 and 10 year old. We had homeschooled, that's gone now, and are stuck for the moment in a townhouse rental with a small patio and garden plot. We have no extended family. I have always hoped and dreamed of getting beyond the sidewalks, and becoming self-sufficient. (My kids and I love to turn off the electricity and go back in years while we read, spin and knit.) Are my dreams gone? Are there any single parent homesteaders who've made it beyond the sidewalks successfully? I really need to hear from you if there are, discouragement is a daily occurrance, and I need to hang my hopes somewhere.......
-- Sandie Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999
Hi Sandie.. I'm not a single parent homesteader, but i'm a single sorta (could be self sufficient, and have been at times) homesteader.. trying anyway! I can imagine it would be hard as a single mom.. dont know what advice to give, but i guess, homesteading can take on many forms, and styles.. and to any degree of self reliance you want or can handle. So, i would just say.. dont get discouraged. Do as much as you feel comfortable with and take satisfaction in knowing you are doing what is best at this time for you. Take pride in your accomplishments Sandie. You say you are recently single? See how things are in a bit.. see how you feel about it all. Its a wonderful feelin to be independent, but from my experience, i think it would be much more fun and rewarding to have a partner. It can get a little lonely. Enthusiasm for the future and for plans and projects gain momentum when shared with like minds ..ya know? Anyway.. just wanted to say hi, and hope you keep your goals. Take care.. have a great weekend! have fun.. Rick
-- Rick (email@example.com), October 30, 1999.
I'm a SPH (single parenthomesteader) and I homeschooled last year. I was out on the farm before I turned single, which is a mixed blessing. If you need to stay in a city get involved in community gardening. I would advise that you try to find a rural but not remote place with about an acre. That's room for a huge garden and small stock, but small enough to be managed part-time. Choose a specialty area for a cash crop: herbs? flowers? baked goods? salsa? homesewing? Don't give up the dream because you can't have it all at once. In my experience trading labor has been more successful than partnering. I want to make all my own decisions, and I don't want the responsibility of making some one else's. SPH is hard and sometimes lonely, but so is homesteading, so is single parenting. Keep dreaming, but keep making steps to get closer to the future you want. Best wishes for your success.
-- Kendy Sawyer (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 30, 1999.
sandie- you have a great resource in your children! that they share your lifestyle desire is a big plus. although my boys are grown they still live at home and my daughter will graduate from h.s. in a few years. i am working toward a homesteading lifestyle- they are not. i have a market garden and very small herd of jerseys including my future milker, sheep, chickens, etc. they love to look but that is about all. keep the light on in your childrens eyes- and don't give up on your dream. and find a partner who shares the dream because the going is rough alone.
-- lauren c. (email@example.com), October 31, 1999.
Hi, I'm a single parent homesteader too. I agree with the advice about looking for an acre with zoning laws that allow small livestock or more. It can be overwhelming if you start too big or try to do too much at once. I think it is also easier if you make the move before your kids become teenagers-when moving out of town may not look too attractive to them. I, too, have no extended family in my area and you do miss the sharing with a partner--but I would never want to move back to the city! Good luck.
-- AZLynda (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 31, 1999.
I want to thank you all for your advice and support, I have actually made hard copies to re-read when things seem hopeless. Your words are inspirational, and can bolster an otherwise faltering commitment. I will keep you posted, and in the meantime- keep up the encouragement many need it but few actually ask.
-- Sandie Baker (email@example.com), November 01, 1999.
Hey Sandie, Just focus on the most important things. "Beyond the sidewalks" is a state of mind! I was FWS with 3 kids under the age of 6! Smack in the middle of suburbia, broke, we made venison jerky- fished and crabbed in the river-bought all of or clothes and such at thrift shops and flea markets. The kids thought the cable was "out" most of the time, the truth was, I couldn't pay the bill! They're teenagers now, and we've come very far, thank God! I'll just make this last point; when we do the "trip down memory lane" they never mention the expensive trip to Disney World that "Daddy" took them on, they relish the picnic's we had in the local park, the apple picking (free at a friends farm),the church suppers ($2.00 each all you can eat!) Being together! Good Luck Honey! You'll be fine!
-- kathy (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 04, 1999.
I did it, and so have other mommies. Rents are much cheaper in and around the little rural towns. Employment can be found, if you cannot live on child support. (very important) Homesteading is a state of mind. Homeschooling is also doable. Teaching your children how to garden and budget, entertain themselves. There are still caretaking jobs, for free rent and utilities and hard work. It's worth it. Remember to grow flowers to keep your heart happy. Remember what is important. God, family, community, giving and sharing. To anyone who wants to make the move from the sidewalks to the country, there is no better time than the present to go. Change your thinking. Next months rent, for your townhouse where you don't want to be or on a cute little country cottage with enough room for a pony. You'll need the fertilizer. Other single moms in the country whine about not having enough money. Without TV, beer drugs soda and junkfood, high heels, curling irons and exspensive "manhunts" you can do real fine with a good garden, chickens rabbits and a pony for the kids. Don't be in such a hurry to find the right partner, your kids can be great partners. When you are glad for the husbands you don't have, then you'll find the right one, in the country, not in town.
-- Laura Senderhauf (email@example.com), December 16, 1999.
For your consideration: We are a retired couple willing and able to share and provide instruction, hands-on experience and participation in the life style of a successful homestead operation of 20 years, in a country atmosphere with city conveniences. Ours is a refined, fully stocked, equipped and functioning homestead designed and developed to provide maximum comfort and convenience with minimum effort. The non-commercial production of organic food for home consumption is our primary function and our yields exceed our needs. No investment required. Routine chores do not preclude full time outside employment. We are located in the beautiful Texas hill country with clean air and mild climate. Housing and other considerations available and open to negotiation. This could become a permanent arrangement. If interested, additional information can be provided.
-- Clarence Ogle (CMGE@webtv.net), January 09, 2000.
I'm a single mother who homeschools two teenage boys. I live in the country, have chickens, a greenhouse, vegetable and herb gardens. I and moving towards a self-sufficent life-style and consider myself a homesteader. Although repairs and any task that requires lots of physical strength and skills I don't have are discouraging, it is still worth the effort. The boys and I are growing closer together. It is lonely though at times and I wish that I had nearby family or close friends. Keep the dream! It is possible and very worth it.
-- Cheryl Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 28, 2000.
Sandie, a couple of questions: why did you have to stop homeschooling? So you could work? Any way you could manage to live on the child support (as someone else suggested), even if it would be pretty slim pickings, and stay home with the children? I don't know where you are living, or what you have to pay for rent, but there are places where you could rent a house on a little bit of land for pretty reasonable prices (I was recently checking the on-line classifieds for eastern Oklahoma, and saw some very reasonable rentals there -- $400/month for a house on a couple of acres?). Anyplace that has low wages and low land prices should also have low rent. Check out the web sites on frugal living, and do some figuring to see how much you really need to live on, and see if you could do it -- if you don't have any family where you are, it couldn't hurt to move -- and the country is a much better place to raise children!! Plus you would be able to raise much of your food, and keep on homeschooling the children, which is really important. It would be pretty overwhelming at first if you haven't done that kind of thing before, or done anything on your own before, but keep your internet connection and stay on this forum, and you'll get all the good advice you need. Maybe even some physical help, if you are not too far from some of these folks. And moral support, which is the most necessary thing of all :-)
-- Kathleen Sanderson (email@example.com), April 29, 2000.
Sandie, I see that your original posting was in October -- how are things going?
-- Kathleen Sanderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 29, 2000.
Hi. I'm a single parent "gonnabe." I know the discouragement is there but so is the hope. I've got split custody (50/50 - every other week) so my biggest concern is what will happen to the custody when I move out of the big city. But I've been thinking about the possibility of setting up a homestead with another single Mom. That way we'd have each other to lean on. Hopefully on a piece of land big enough for two houses, eventually. I don't think two people have to share a bed to share a dream and a lifestyle.
-- Deborah (IL) (ActuaryMom@hotmail.com), May 01, 2000.
Trust the Lord and believe in yourself and you will make it. I am a single dad with 2 boys 12&13 living on our 120ac farm/homestead. I have been doing this by myself for over 5 years now and yes times can get pretty rough,lonely,deperssed and stressed. But if living this lifestyle is what you really want then somehow someway you will make it all work out. Even though things get hard I would not live in or to near the cities unless I had to for health reasons and even then maybe not. The good times, memories, and family values are all worth it. Keep your head up
-- monty dalrymple (email@example.com), October 26, 2000.