Today has been a challenging day, to say the least.  As I sit tonight, on the last day of 2015, and think about the day, and the past year, I began searching for balance.  Balance has been missing for me for awhile.  It has been a trying year, full of wonderful events (the marriage of our daughter to her best friend), and some not-so-wonderful events (Papa was hospitalized twice).  I considered telling the whole story of our summer, but decided that the events of the summer are really not relevant to where I find my mind on this winter night, as I wait for one year to end and another to begin.  Suffice it to say, Papa had some diabetic complications that lead to a partial amputation of his right foot, changing his life and the way he does things forever.  I include this only to explain why I have been looking for some information on Balance….balance between positive and negative, balance between needs and wants, balance between dreams and reality.   

I never knew there were so many definitions for “balance”.  When I looked it up, there were no less than 25 definitions of balance just as a noun.  These definitions were followed by many more with the term balance used as a verb.  No wonder balance is so hard to achieve.  There are so many aspects to that one simple word, that it seems as though it might be impossible to achieve it.

A Google search  “homesteading balance the inside with outside” lead to a post by Jill Winger over at The Prairie Homestead caught my eye.  I’ve been a follower of The Prairie Homestead for quite some time and the post, You Can’t Do It all, struck cord with the way I’ve been living and thinking since the early summer.  I would never hold the expectations I’ve had of myself for someone else.  Jill shared how she came to realize what she was doing to herself, and I could definitely relate.  I don’t know if it is just a “girl thing” or if it is an oldest child thing, or if it is simply a Nana thing.  Is it a thing inside of me that has somehow gotten twisted up and turned around and left dangling upside-down or do others share the same issue?  At least one does, and thank you Jill for sharing.  I am going to jump on the band wagon and share once again, in attempt to keep myself in check and perhaps help someone else that might be facing the same struggles.  Jill says, “You can’t do it all.”  I say, “It’s time for some slack.” 

Jill listed the things she expected of herself, and saw the list was crazy impossible, and followed with 5 tips to keep your sanity while homesteading. 

1.  make a list
2.  prioritize
3. cut it out!
4. out source
5. let go of perfectionism

I will share my list and my realizations, my tips for dealing with these unrealistic expectations and ways that I will try to hold myself accountable and break the old habits of trying to be perfect and trying to be everything to everyone. 

I have been expecting myself to:

1.    Do whatever needed to be done that Papa could no longer do on his own
2.    Maintain the yard by mowing and weed-eating regularly (with the neighbors yard this is probably close to an acre of mowed area.)
3.    Keep the gardens weeded and growing
4.    Can and process all that the garden produced
5.    Keep the flower beds cleaned out and mulched
6.    Keep enough chickens, rabbits, and pigs to produce our meat
7.    Organize and participate in all the butchering done on the farm
8.    Work a full time job (48-72 hours gone from home each week)
9.    Keep the house company ready
10.  Have guests over on a regular basis and serve from scratch meals, down to the desserts
11.  Never expect guests to help with prep, clear the table, put away food or wash dishes
12.  Keep the laundry done, folded and put away
13.  Cook meals at home to avoid the high cost of eating out
14.  Buy only the basics at the grocery store for healthier, budget friendly meals
15.  Make all cleaners, detergents, medications myself again, for a healthier, budget friendly life
16.  Be available to do my share when it is time to help friends and family with projects

I could go on, but I think that is enough to prove a point to myself that I am CRAZY! No one can live up to those expectations, at least not for very long without the stress eating them alive.  Some things are just a part of life, and I have to accept that there will be times that are stressful and chaotic.  But there are other things on this list, that are totally unnecessary. 

So….here’s the deal….I’m going through my list, and deciding now, how to eliminate some of the stress of this list.  Deciding what is realistic for ME, with what God has given me at this time in my life.  I can continue to be crazed with trying to maintain perfection or I can enjoy life.  While I will begin to learn to accept that I can cut myself some slack, I will also start to expect more of others.  I will allow others to feel the reward of giving….my guests can learn how good it feels to help with the dishes and leave me with a clean kitchen after a home-cooked meal. 

I have been  trying to decide what types of things to post in the coming weeks and months.  I have several ideas, and will be sharing some simple recipes, traditions, and modern ways of doing old-time things.  But perhaps the most important of all will be the 16 musings I will write as I decide exactly how to adjust my thinking on the above list. 

Jill suggests making a list prioritizing to help keep the tasks at hand manageable.  Perhaps my biggest task and the biggest priority of all is dealing with my list above, giving myself permission to have a little slack, and allowing others to pick up some of that slack.  After all being a Modern Missouri is supposed to be rewarding and enjoyable, not confining and stressful. 

And I have just given myself permission to have a whole blog post without a single picture.

Happy New Year everyone. 

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