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Old 06-28-2016, 04:52 PM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Default Adjusting to homestead life

I have a question that is more about emotional/social adjustment, less technical.

Ever since before my husband and I married, we knew we wanted me to be home for the children and homeschool (when they reached school age). So we've followed this more-or-less traditional model: my husband goes to work every morning and comes home at night, often late at night, while I take care of the children, critters, house and garden.

Right now our family is facing some changes, among them my husband working towards becoming his own boss, which will enable him to work at home or at a small office near home, with a flexible schedule. He'll be around a lot more, and we'll be able to tackle some of the self-reliance projects we've wanted to do for a while (bigger, more productive garden, more chickens, perhaps getting into dairy animals again, etc).

I guess my question is this: having my husband around more is great for the whole family, and I feel an immense sense of satisfaction when we accomplish a project together, but I wonder whether this won't be too much of a good thing in the long run. Won't we tread on each other's toes after a while?

To give an example that's perhaps a bit extreme, think of families homesteading all alone out there in the wilderness (definitely not our case!). Away from other people entirely. Such as Ron Melchiore's Off Grid and Free - it was just him and his wife. I didn't read the book yet, just the reviews, and I'm wondering... don't people drive each other crazy in such situations?

I'd love to hear from/about people who made this transition, from the husband at work/wife at home model, to the whole family working together on a piece of land. What worked, what didn't? Would you do it all over again?
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:48 AM
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Interpersonal relationships. This is a pretty heavy subject for someone like me, who, way down deep, is really pretty shallow. The psychiatry/psychology literature is replete with research on the subject.

Everybody is different (something the socialists can't seem to grasp). What works for one couple may not be right for the next.

My wife and I, for instance are polar opposites, yet we still haven't actually killed each other after 35 yrs. We can't even agree on whether it's hot or cold out today. We rarely sit in the same room together, yet it's nice knowing she is in the next room.

Would I do it over again? Well, we were arguing the other day and she comes up with "You just married me for my money!"..."I did not!" I yelled back. "In fact, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't marry you for all the money in the world!"

That kept the nag quiet for an hour so.
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Old 06-29-2016, 10:15 AM
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I guess I have some recent experience in this subject.

Just for some history - I've always had a strong opinion about small children should be raised by their parents - not a day care. It drives me totally nuts to see people dropping of small children (even infants) to a day care facility every day. Someone else is raising your kids at that most impressionable age.

My wife stayed home with our daughter - she did end up getting a 40 hour per week job when my daughter was 10 years old (in public school) at a local grocery store.

Fast forward ~4 years my wife got hurt at work which turned out to be permanently disabling. While she was proclaimed disabled she qualified for no benefits from Social Security since she only had 4.5 years of work history in the past 15 years. Meanwhile I was working.

Then in 2010 I started to have some serious joint pain. I just kept working as that is what I have always done. In 2011 it got to the point of getting pretty serious so I went to a Rhuematologist as recommended by my regular doctor. I had a severe case of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It got so bad that I had to stop working in 2012.

Now to the your question - from 2012 to present (and the foreseeable future) my wife and I have been together 24/7. We live in a very remote area on our little homestead and only leave to do our grocery runs twice a month and to doctor visits which we do together. Any trip to any kind of store is a long haul so these trips are planned to make the most out of each - so we always go together.

It just seems natural in a way - we have always gotten along great and continue to do so. But we know to give each other space. She does that for me especially since I am really a loner at heart.

I think about this once in a while - how many couples are actually together 24/7 year after year? I have known a lot of people I have worked with over the years who were actually afraid to retire because they weren't sure if they could stand to be with their wives all day every day.

It has worked out fine for us - I think we get along great. Never any drama. If we get into a disagreement we both just leave each other alone for a while until the emotions pass then all is fine again. We have become more of a team. Since we are both "disabled" we have to do any/all chores together. I think one of the best things to keep us going is to have our place here which takes constant work to keep up with the buildings and grounds.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:51 PM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Doc and coaltrain, thank you for your replies. It is reassuring to know some couples do well being together more than common. I hope we find the proper balance for us.
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Old 07-01-2016, 04:17 AM
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SmallFlocksMom, my husband has been working from home since 2008. The Fortune 500 company he works for closed their office that hubby worked at for 25 years & rather than travel over an hour each way, for work, the company allows him to work from home.

If I had to name the biggest adjustment, for me, it would be that I had to come to the realization that my husband was "working from home" and not simply "home". When something came up that I needed him for, I would walk up to him at his desk & expect him to help me. Well, he couldn't... he was working!

I'm sure your husband's work situation will be better for him, as it sounds like he's working an awful lot of hours now. But the thing to remember is... he's still got to work & make a living for the family, no matter where he reports for work.... be it to a home office or an office nearby. He might not be as much physical help as you picture him to be. But what I enjoy most about my husband working from home is that I can walk up to him for advice on anything that comes up on the homestead during the day... and I can also bring him his breakfast & lunch at his desk, kiss him on the top of the head, and go back to the kitchen. On those rare occasions that he has to drive to the corporate office for a meeting or something, the house feels mighty lonely.

Good luck in whatever you folks decide to do.
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:21 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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EarthMama, thanks for sharing. I do realize my husband is still going to work, but it will be a major adjustment for us anyway. I am kind of excited, though! Eventually, working from home will enable us to move wherever we want, within our means of course. We'll be no longer tied up by being at convenient distance from his office.
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:06 PM
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MotherCharlotte MotherCharlotte is offline
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I think the feasibility of this idea would depend entirely on the individuals. My husband works away from our homestead, but he often dreams of the day he'll find a way to work from home so he could be more involved with the day-to-day workings of the homestead. If that ever happened, I think we would be okay because we are most really introverted people who crave a lot of alone time, so we always have given each other a lot of space (although we enjoy each others company too). If it was our habit to always be together though, when he was home, I think that might lead to some difficulty. We'd have to readjust.

There were also times in our past before we had our homestead when he was out of work and spent all his time at home, and we didn't drive each other crazy at all. We each did our own thing for the most part, but had many chances to chat over the course of the day that we wouldn't have had otherwise. In fact we were thankful for that time together, despite the obvious financial challenges.

So I think it can work great, if you get along well together.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:44 AM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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MotherCharlotte, thank you for sharing your insight. I do agree it's all about getting along, in general. However when my husband was unemployed and at home a lot, there was some friction. It isn't the same as home-based work and working together at a homestead, though.
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Old 04-08-2018, 07:02 PM
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It's been nearly 2 years since this thread started. How are things going for ya'all? Is hubby home now?
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