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Too Much Chaos

 
gardener
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Just had it up to the tip of my frizzy hair with the chaos elements. Ground hog got my squash in front. AFM got my peaches. Fruit fly got my grapes. Something else on my fall seedlings.  Things old enough to fruit aren't. Weather is either too wet or too dry.  The 1.5 yo enjoys throwing food and drink when he's done consuming it. There's not enough time to clean and organize the house or make sognificant progress in the yard. No one else seems to have the time either. Weeds are more out of hand than I would like. I can't seem to find enough time away from mitigating the chaos to harvest and make good use of the good crops. Mid season pruning never happened because I was too busy. Many small object dumping is a favorite activity for the 1.5 yo. Some critter in the house has either been sick or injured sometime in about every day this week.

I usually try to tell myself to just accept the happenings of life and not to hold onto control, but seriously thinking I'd have more fun playing a computer game than trying to deal with the daily insanity.  

It's not that I want all to be under my control, but it would be nice to have a little more say into my daily life here. The whole mitigating messes, comping and caring for the sick, and reaping very little garden reward is just wearing me out.

I know we all go through this. Anyone got good coping methods or other advice?
 
pollinator
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Hi Amit,

I'm not sure but it seems that this is "in the air" everywhere now. I feel it too, so does my partner. My neighbor, I talked to him today, wants to root everything up and start something else. Local politicians want to know about permaculture all of a sudden (well, that's a good thing for sure, but just as disruptive if you think about it).

I did a quick search for astrology for this month's full moon and they all say the same thing too. I'm not putting it here even though it's the ulcer factory, who wants to can do a search as well.

I think everything is moving. Not where we expected it to move, but we can now feel where it's going. Is it all chaos? I don't think so. But it seems we all need to adjust. I've seen quite a number of topics in the past few months reflecting this.

Not sure if it makes any sense to anybody. I just felt I had to reply...
 
master pollinator
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I think it is perspective that helps us cope, and I always felt it was the failing that really unites all of us. I say "all" in terms of homesteaders and full time farmers having the common bond of knowing how hard it is to do all this.

There is no guarantee in life that seed planted will grow, that livestock will never become deadstock, and that crops will bear fruit upon the ground.

The smart farmer or homesteader grows to appreciate the rather dismal knowledge that statistically, they will fail more often then succeed, and yes to appreciate that fact, is possible. Because the abundant years are few and far between (about once in 7 years), the prudent farmer or homesteader does not foolishly think such success will continue, but take the abundance of that year and invest in the long term endeavors that will help them go without in lean times. Like buying lime to sweeten the soil that gives increased yields for years down the road, in obtaining more breeding stock to increase production, and invest crop rotations. Those things will help a farmer or homesteader in the lean years, which averages about 3 years out of the 7.

This is called cycling, and it requires observation to see what year the farmer or homesteader is in. My own farm has been in a slump these last three years, but that just means a few decent years are approaching, and somehwre in there, a really good year.

Overall it is just perspective, A prudent farmer or homesteaders outlook should never be about the here and now, but be looking seven years out. I mean a farmer or homesteader has to realize it is what we do today that gets reaped 7 years from now. The real issue is not if there are set-backs today, but what will life be like in 7 years? What am I doing today that will put me in a better position 7 years from now?

Your son will not be throwing food because he will be 8-1/2 years old.

Your will have more time spent on harvesting and planting than you will on toddler parenting

Perhaps a few more homesteading goals will be implmented reducing your workload
 
master steward
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Those kind of years are SO HARD. Two years ago, I wrote The reality of homesteading has dissolved my "prepper"/homesteading fantasies. Life had thrown SO MANY curveballs, and there was just no way to juggle them all. And, it really showed me that when life gets chaotic, we don't magically gain super powers to overcome all obstacles. Instead, we just fumble around trying to not drop the important balls too hard. I mean, it's so crazy we're dropping balls left and right, even the important ones, but we just have to hope we don't do irreversible damage!

Even now, with things calmer and a relatively good growing season here (enough rain to keep the garden from dying, not too hot, typical weather for my area), I still didn't grow as much food as I thought. We got lots of berries and peas and potatoes. But our tomatoes got blight. The beans barely sprouted. I got like 5 ears of corn from our 10x10 patch of corn/beans/squash (and no beans in there actually grew). You'd think by year 7 of being here, I'd be growing more. Sure, we're finally getting enough apples to preserve, and I've figured out how to grow potatoes, and the kids aren't needing me every 2 seconds all day long. But, I'm still not growing enough food for 1 person, let alone 4! I went out to get some veggies to go along with our potatoes for our dinner, and came back with 6 small green beans, 5 tiny strawberries, and a 6 cherry tomatoes. That's not a picture worthy harvest AT ALL!

I don't have any easy answers. I'd like to say life will get better, but sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes life is just stinky. I just kept plowing ahead like the stubborn mule that I am, and tried to laugh and sing as much as I could through the insanity. Sometimes, I think that about all we can do except pray and cry.
 
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I know we all go through this. Anyone got good coping methods or other advice?



Yes, we all go through this...especially with young families and especially in our thirties and forties when, I think, we have have more strong feelings of urgency to make things work and more frustration accepting that some things are just beyond our control.  

My only advice comes in hind sight...just know that looking back on these years will give you the perspective to sort out what was really important and we usually wish we had not spent time worrying too much about the things that (in hindsight, of course) look inconsequential to the bigger picture.





 
gardener & bricolagier
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I have different stressors going on, but the same "I just want to SCREAM!!" because everything is failing or cascading or breaking or amok. I feel for you. I have no good answers, I don't think there are any. I'll trade you your kid for the day if you take my mower and fix it, I can tell you 6 things that are not the problem at this point, and there really are not other parts to replace that might do what it's doing.  I don't know that I'd do better with your kid, but maybe swapping problems would at least make us scream in a different tune :)

Seriously, I feel for you. Wish I had magic to offer.

This too, shall pass.

I don't like tattoos, but for years I have wanted that line tattooed on the inside of my left wrist, where I write myself notes, so I remember. Sometimes I write it on there. I think I'm going to do so today.
 
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Amit, you're doing great!

I'm writing this from "baby prison" (not a prison for babies, but run by babies). Anytime I try to do something that needs done, let alone doing anything for myself that's fun or I've been wanting to do, the baby-warden comes round. How does she know when I have just two bites left of my food? Every time!

I still haven't quite come to terms with my new life in baby prison. It has been the hardest adjustment of my life so far. Baby is two years old this month and I am feeling pressure to "have it together by now". Yeah, some things get easier, she is sleeping through the night pretty well. But other things get harder, she can throw stuff and she can reach stuff and she can refuse stuff and she only gets heavier!

She still demands most of my time and energy. It's hard to decide what I want to prioritize when I do have any free time. Do I want to feed myself, clean something, plant something, or do nothing...by the time I've decided to make an egg sandwich and cracked the egg into the pan...baby-warden is there! I feel helplessly under her control forever and that I will never reclaim the independent lifestyle I took for granted for so many years.

Aaaanyway....you asked for coping strategies....these are mine:

1) Well you are using a good one already! Turn to your peers on permies. Once I've put my stress into words, whether it's out loud or online, I feel better. It's a bonus that the nice members of permies respond with kind words. 

2) "Me time" is important! Whatever free time you have, it's ok to make it "me time". Even if there are loads of things that need doing, it's ok to do nothing or whatever you want during your free time. Maybe play that computer game! I ask myself, "What would I be doing if it was just me here on this planet right now?" and do that. 

3) "Well, now I know". Of course lots of stuff still needs doing, but does it really? In science, a negative result is still a very important result; you can still write your paper and graduate saying that it didn't work. I remember this whenever I can't get to something that I wanted to do. What actually happens if I don't do this? Let's find out!

So now, my inadequacy becomes a quest for knowledge. The things I haven't gotten to have become experiments. And when they fail, I think, "Well now I know!" And when nothing bad happens..awesome! I never have to do that thing again!

Some things I don't do anymore as a result of my scientific inquiry:
wash the egg pan
fold clothes
poke holes in potatoes before I microwave them
clean anything that doesn't smell bad 
leave any space between plantings
soak seeds before planting
etc.

4) Small, achievable goals! Be honest and realistic with what you hope to achieve and then aim for one tenth of that. With expectations so low, you can't help but be satisfied with your day's work! My goal today was literally just to look the garden over. Not only did I do that, but I also planted a piece of ginger that had sprouted in the fridge, so I came out ahead today.

5) Take stock and revel in your progress no matter how small! I take a lot of pictures to facilitate this. I might not remember on my own, but when I look at pictures from say a year ago, I can see the progress I have made. "Look at me still trying to do that thing I didn't need to do.." "Wow, the strawberries have spread so much." "I'm so glad baby is out of her stranger-danger phase." What progress are you proud of over the last year, month, week?

Sometimes none of this works and I'm left apathetically going through the motions of the day, reminding myself that it's not forever, in so many hours everyone will be asleep and I will be alone again for a bit. 

It's not forever. 








 
gardener
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Travis Johnson wrote:Overall it is just perspective, A prudent farmer or homesteaders outlook should never be about the here and now, but be looking seven years out. I mean a farmer or homesteader has to realize it is what we do today that gets reaped 7 years from now. The real issue is not if there are set-backs today, but what will life be like in 7 years? What am I doing today that will put me in a better position 7 years from now?

Your son will not be throwing food because he will be 8-1/2 years old.

Your will have more time spent on harvesting and planting than you will on toddler parenting

Perhaps a few more homesteading goals will be implmented reducing your workload



A MAJOR change there! Not only will your 1.5 yr old not be throwing/ wasting food, making messes you are stuck cleaning up, but will even be old enough to clean up his/ her own messes, and help in very meaningful ways, toward implementing those homesteading goals. Our kids are a ton of work, in the beginning, but as they grow, if we do it well, they become valuable assets, on the homestead. The Amish actually have a philosophy about training children up that (essentially) boils down to each year of their age, they should be less of a drain, and more of an asset, until by the tender age of 7, they are essential parts of the workings of the farm, responsible for much of the housekeeping, garden weeding, and daily animal chores, entirely unsupervised.

At 1.5 yrs old, they're exploring - after the food and toys are thrown, include the little peanut in the cleanup process - make it a fun game. It's not much - but it's a start. By 2, mine were all helping out by folding washcloths, picking up (most of) their own messes, and doing fetching-type little helps, for me. Not because I'm some militant, slave driving mama, but because as I saw any tiny little thing that they might be capable of (whether in the house, or outside) I made a game of it, and they actually wanted to play, because I made it fun, and participation came with the reward all kids want - positive attention.

Not trying to sound preachy, at all. That was truly my coping mechanism. Their 'entertainment' was chore-games. It kept them busy, productive, out of trouble, and happy - which is probably the only reason I'm still sane, lol
 
pioneer
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I feel for you.  We've all been there.  I can tell you what helps me keep everything in perspective.  This year alone, I lost one of my dogs, my favorite uncle, my best friend, and my baby brother that was just about to turn 33 years old.  It's a horrible, horrible thing, but it makes things like squash borers seem pretty damned insignificant.  I try very hard to remember that as long as you and your family are healthy, you have a place to be warm and dry, and you have food and water, the rest is just "extra".
 
pollinator
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Hang in there, Amit, the first years with a young'un can be enough to push you over the edge, and that's even with a supportive partner. Keep in mind kid is pushing your buttons because kid knows he or she is safe and secure with you. It is, alas, what they do. It will also pass, hard as it may seem to believe. Moan all you want here, I think we've all been there, and just try to work on getting from one breath to the next.
 
Amit Enventres
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Thanks everyone!
 
pollinator
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Amit Enventres wrote:... I know we all go through this. Anyone got good coping methods or other advice?


Hi Amit. I think you need some help. Just a friend or neighbour who helps a hand. Might be with your child, or with your pets, or even in the garden.
That isn't 'ulcer factory', it's real permaculture. One of those three ethical principles: Care For People. If you need some (loving) care, you need to know how to ask for help. That can be difficult, not all of us learned how to do that (I know, I didn't either).
 
Travis Johnson
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Katie and I always wanted to start a day care time at our church.

Lets say Amit, Nicole, Elle and I wanted to get away with our spouses, we would set up a time at the church, say a Saturday Night from 5-8.  One-week Amit would watch the kids of the group, and the rest of us would get time with our spouses, but then the next week Elle and her husband would watch the kids, while Amit and the rest of us got away, and then so one and so on.

In this way couples of young kids could get away, even if it was for a few hours. Just having a sitter for the night just might be enough to get out as a couple, but heck even if people went home and had sex…so what, it would be good for their marriages.

This gets really tough because I know Katie and I cannot get a conversation in where we are not interrupted at least three times by the kids.  The church would be a central meeting place, and have the toys in the nursery, junior church, and the gym. They would also have insurance, and those necessities. But hopefully you get the idea, with rotation watching the kids, couples with young kids could have some time alone. Our church does DivorceCare, but jeesh, what about helping to preserve marriages?
 
pollinator
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how to get things done with kids around.
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Travis Johnson
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This topic is so near and dear to my heart that over a very short time span, I wrote a 200 page book regarding this very thing: really how Katie and I managed to overcome tragedy after tragedy.

It was a memoir based on the last three years of our life, but was never about "look at what we did", but at the conclusion of every chapter, I made sure their was inspiration for others who might endure what we endured. I would explain it better, but I do not want to seem like all the problems Katie and i had, are listed to trivalize what others have gone through. For example, for someone losing a beloved dog would be devastating, while Katie and I lost our son. YET I recognize for that person, it does not matter what we lost, to them the loss of their dog is a huge hole in their life. It is a big deal to them, and I have never lost sight of that.

And in some ways Katie and I are humbled that God felt we could handle so many heart breaking issues one after another, and was pleased perhaps in how we handled them as they arose. There was some good things along the way too, and in my book, I interweaved both so that people would be encouraged. I would never want people to go through the Job-like issues that we faced (as in Job in the bible, not working for money), but I do not want what we went through to be just our history, I want to encourage others in time of loss.

If nothing else, I have become extremely empathetic to others who are struggling, and that includes Amit for sure.
 
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When we try to hold our breath, we lose it.  When we let go of our breath, it always comes back to us.  The outbreath is the definition of nirvana.

We cannot control everything in our lives and that to attempt to really means to be controlled by that desire for control. It is only when we let go that we gain control.  Life is not static, it is a flow, like a river.  We see those swimming against the current to no avail.  When you go with the current, you find you can move side to side with great ease to avoid the rocks and other obstacles.

When we let go of the desire to control, we will no longer be a victim of chaos.
 
pollinator
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Me too, Amit.  Starting this summer, everything got away from me.  I can't keep on top of everything--I can hardly keep on top of anything right now, to tell the truth.  About a week after our (first set of) houseguests left, I allowed myself to let it go and forgave myself for not coping.  At first I was terribly embarrassed about the state of the house and garden, but by the time the next guests arrived, I let myself not care.  

I also told my husband and son directly that they needed to step up their own game as I just couldn't do it for the time being.  And this meant accepting that the house is cleaned to their standard, not mine.  It also meant the garden will be overgrown and some things gone over without being harvested.

I know my situation won't last forever.  I've dropped everything but the absolute essentials:  I go to work, I wash the laundry, I make something to eat, and above all I take care of myself.  If someone else wants clean dishes, or a clean toilet/floor/etc, they know what to do.  
 
Amit Enventres
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Travis, I totally tried the whole: you have kids to escape, I have kids to escape, let's set up an escape plan thing. It turns out though with every person I tried this with is that they don't have time because the kids get sick, other things need to happen, etc. In short, it turns out that over worked young families don't have the infrastructure to support other overworked families. What I think might work is an adopt a grandparent program. I would even go pick up a person who couldn't drive who would just be happy to play with the kids in the other room, even just read them books, once a week. But, I don't have the time or energy to take on one more thing. Maybe I'll do that once my chaos monkey has become a little more tame.

I do like all the coping methods listed. Very helpful! I will add: singing "the sun will come out tomorrow."

 
Pearl Sutton
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Amit: It doesn't even have to be grandparent age. When me and my siblings were teenagers, I recall my dad, at a restaurant, asking the parents of a baby "can I borrow your baby? Mine all grew up!" And we slid the high chair over, and dad had a baby to play with, and that couple had a quieter meal, and their kid was just 6 feet away. I'm wondering if there might be moms of 8 year old-ish kids who go to school who might watch yours for a few hours sometimes, just because theirs grew up....

How do we rebuild the extended family without requiring blood ties? This thread is all tangled up in my head with the one about permaculture for the elderly. It's two ends of the same problem. I'm in the middle age-wise, I could use "family" kids who are 10-17 or so and could help me sometimes. It's all the same thought, extended families are how humans work well if they aren't in a totally urban lifestyle, and we who are trying to rebuild rural life are discovering we need that, one way or another.  

I'm dragging this offshoot to it's own topic, so to not derail this one. How can we rebuild the extended family?
 
Posts: 1975
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Get a great backpack for the 1.5 yr old. There were years where I would accomplish nothing without my daughter strapped to my back while I did it. Seeds were planted, gardens weeded, trees planted, all the things, even cooking, were done with her strapped to my back. She was also often strapped to hubs back. And then there is the great pic of him carrying both. Ah, what a man!

I guess that's the second thing. I got overwhelmed. Often overwhelmed with work I created myself. At which point hubs would step up. He would either handle the kids while I did things or be out in the tractor moving dirt. (You can use a couple scarves to tie your baby to the front of you while you are tractoring and tractoring almost always puts them to sleep!!!) I would have been a mess without him.

And yeah. Whatever I was up to, the kids were up to. It meant things were a mess, I usually had to clean them up afterward. Weird things were eaten by my offspring. Shoes were lost in mud. Chaos did reign, but it was ok. Just be ok with that messiness that is life. Half your recipes won't turn out as you will have NO idea how many of the ingredients actually made it into the bowl, but that's ok. Mud will be everywhere, always, but that's ok. And even now, they're 6 and 8, I find potatoes planted where I did not tell them to plant them. Some things growing that I have no idea what they even are. It's all good though.

Some other pro tips, get the kids small shovels. Small shovels and dirt hills have kept my kids busy for HOURS! Give them the hose and a scrubby and they will scrub anything. Sure, it may not need to be cleaned but darn it, they're busy so let them!
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She's eating dirt in this picture.
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I still use child slave labor!
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elle sagenev
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Carla Burke wrote:

Travis Johnson wrote:Overall it is just perspective, A prudent farmer or homesteaders outlook should never be about the here and now, but be looking seven years out. I mean a farmer or homesteader has to realize it is what we do today that gets reaped 7 years from now. The real issue is not if there are set-backs today, but what will life be like in 7 years? What am I doing today that will put me in a better position 7 years from now?

Your son will not be throwing food because he will be 8-1/2 years old.

Your will have more time spent on harvesting and planting than you will on toddler parenting

Perhaps a few more homesteading goals will be implmented reducing your workload



A MAJOR change there! Not only will your 1.5 yr old not be throwing/ wasting food, making messes you are stuck cleaning up, but will even be old enough to clean up his/ her own messes, and help in very meaningful ways, toward implementing those homesteading goals. Our kids are a ton of work, in the beginning, but as they grow, if we do it well, they become valuable assets, on the homestead. The Amish actually have a philosophy about training children up that (essentially) boils down to each year of their age, they should be less of a drain, and more of an asset, until by the tender age of 7, they are essential parts of the workings of the farm, responsible for much of the housekeeping, garden weeding, and daily animal chores, entirely unsupervised.

At 1.5 yrs old, they're exploring - after the food and toys are thrown, include the little peanut in the cleanup process - make it a fun game. It's not much - but it's a start. By 2, mine were all helping out by folding washcloths, picking up (most of) their own messes, and doing fetching-type little helps, for me. Not because I'm some militant, slave driving mama, but because as I saw any tiny little thing that they might be capable of (whether in the house, or outside) I made a game of it, and they actually wanted to play, because I made it fun, and participation came with the reward all kids want - positive attention.

Not trying to sound preachy, at all. That was truly my coping mechanism. Their 'entertainment' was chore-games. It kept them busy, productive, out of trouble, and happy - which is probably the only reason I'm still sane, lol



Give a kid a dish scrubber full of cleaner in the shower or bath and it'll SPARKLE everywhere they can reach! lol
 
elle sagenev
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Travis Johnson wrote:This gets really tough because I know Katie and I cannot get a conversation in where we are not interrupted at least three times by the kids.  



I have box loads of files that need to go up and down the stairs at work. 7 months pregnant, I can't do it. My bosses are going to go on vacation and I've been prepping everything to have my husband come and do all the lifting of things for me. My male boss found out and told me he could carry all the boxes. I was so upset. I told him he wouldn't dare take away time with my husband where there are no kids present. LOL It'll be work but we can talk and no one will interrupt us. I'm psyched! So I hear ya!!!

I love the babysitting sharing idea. I have watched people's kids for them so they could do date nights. I think it's so important! Ivan and I are lucky in that both our families are here so we have about a million free sitters we can ask.
 
Travis Johnson
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Amit Enventres wrote:Travis, I totally tried the whole: you have kids to escape, I have kids to escape, let's set up an escape plan thing. It turns out though with every person I tried this with is that they don't have time because the kids get sick, other things need to happen, etc. In short, it turns out that over worked young families don't have the infrastructure to support other overworked families. What I think might work is an adopt a grandparent program. I would even go pick up a person who couldn't drive who would just be happy to play with the kids in the other room, even just read them books, once a week. But, I don't have the time or energy to take on one more thing. Maybe I'll do that once my chaos monkey has become a little more tame.




I understand. What killed it for us was something different. One set of parents liked the idea of being away from their kids for the night, but only if they played with the kids of Parents A and Parents B, but not Parents C, because in school three years before, Billy grabbed Jill's hair, and Parent C never did a thing about it. And of course Parent D had issues with Parents A and C, but did NOT have issues with Parents B.

I hope you see what I am saying, that is what killed it for us! We could never figure out who hated who and when, and who would be showing up that night.

I am fortunate I have my parents within sight of our house, but for 3 years my Brother and Sister-in-Law lived with them, and it was too much, so my babysitter was lost. It really was too bad because my parents, and my children really lost out on the thrill of staying overnight at their grandparents home.
 
Travis Johnson
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I still think perspective is so important. Like I know it sucks to clean up a mess from a 1.5 year old playing medieval catapult with their spoon, but consider this.

Katie and I would have had a 1.1 year old son right now if he had he made it through pregnancy. I know food is a mess on a kitchen wall, but I really would have loved to see my son chunk food just the same.

It really is perspective.

Like my 6 year old daughter still totes her blanket named "Fuzzy" around like Linneous. My mother (her Grandmother) is INCENSED by that. For Katie and I, her being our fourth daughter, and having lost a son, we could care less if she carries "Fuzzy" down the aisle while getting married. It does not bother us. We pushed the first kids through all the predetermined milestones, but now we just realize kids grow up too quick. Lugging fuzzy around everywhere does not even register on my Giveasweetfuck Factor Scale.
 
elle sagenev
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Oh, my grossest, most valuable parenting tip: invest in a dog that will eat anything! My kids drop food all the time, I never clean that stuff up. Ahahahahahhahahah
 
Carla Burke
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elle sagenev wrote:Oh, my grossest, most valuable parenting tip: invest in a dog that will eat anything! My kids drop food all the time, I never clean that stuff up. Ahahahahahhahahah



Ohhhh, the very real stories I could tell, with this prompt! Bwahahahahaha!!!
 
Ed Belote
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Travis Johnson wrote:I still think perspective is so important. Like I know it sucks to clean up a mess from a 1.5 year old playing medieval catapult with their spoon, but consider this.

Katie and I would have had a 1.1 year old son right now if he had he made it through pregnancy. I know food is a mess on a kitchen wall, but I really would have loved to see my son chunk food just the same.

It really is perspective.

Like my 6 year old daughter still totes her blanket named "Fuzzy" around like Linneous. My mother (her Grandmother) is INCENSED by that. For Katie and I, her being our fourth daughter, and having lost a son, we could care less if she carries "Fuzzy" down the aisle while getting married. It does not bother us. We pushed the first kids through all the predetermined milestones, but now we just realize kids grow up too quick. Lugging fuzzy around everywhere does not even register on my Giveasweetfuck Factor Scale.



I was in a relationship with a 47 year old woman who still had her blanket, Rose, since childhood.  I thought it very odd at first, but later understood that she found comfort in it.  Who am I to say that it's ridiculous?  I find the same comfort in having a pillow to hold on to, now that we're no longer together, and have always done so when sleeping alone.
 
Amit Enventres
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I don't think it's a matter of perspective. I've heard people say that before, and I think it's important to address it. I think it's a matter of trying to use learned tools to compensate for the mental and physical stress brought on by a broken extended family situation. I am super appreciative of my chaos monkey (it is an "official" developmental phase of early childhood). In a healthy family system the kids would pass through many hands, providing each hand a chance to mentally reset and the kids with a more well- rounded view of the world and healthier social abilities. Even 30 minutes a day is supposed to work wonders. An isolated parents + kids situation often doesn't have much of that. This provides two mental stresses, along with physical stress: 1. The stress of not getting relief,  2. The stress of why you are not getting relief (some bad thing has to happen to isolate humans like that, imho). If you have enough money in that situation you can compensate with paid help or searching out other social situations, but even setting up that is another workload and still isn't the same as extended family,  and that's if you are lucky enough to afford it! In other words, acknowledging your stress and desiring to keep it from mentally damaging you and those around you is not a lack of appreciation of the good things. I used to be afraid to throw up the white flag and admit my stress because then I felt like I won't deserve what I am not appreciating, but now I know that mental game isn't helpful and isn't even accurate.

Thanks all for your help and comradery! It's nice hearing the stress of others. It reminds me we're all human. I hope writing it out helps you all feel better too! Yay Permies nice people!
 
Travis Johnson
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Ed Belote wrote:I was in a relationship with a 47 year old woman who still had her blanket, Rose, since childhood.  I thought it very odd at first, but later understood that she found comfort in it.  Who am I to say that it's ridiculous?  I find the same comfort in having a pillow to hold on to, now that we're no longer together, and have always done so when sleeping alone.



It is a long story, but I sleep on the couch because we live in a Tiny House. And for whatever reason my cat sleeps with me as I pull out the foot rest and she sleeps there. But two nights ago I forgot to pull out the foot rest, so she had no place to sleep. That was when it turned into a bad children's book.

In searching for someone to sleep with, our cat went from bedroom to bedroom, each time waking up the kids with her presence. Soon she had the whole house up except for me, I sleep so deeply that I could sleep through a convoy of tanks driving by the couch, but when the wife got woken up, all of a sudden I heard a cat screeching and flying through the air down over the stairs.

There is two things my wife likes: sleep, and the kids sleeping.

I have always hated cats, but for some reason this cat and I bonded, and so I kind of felt bad for her: all she wanted was her footrest to sleep on.

Russian-Blue-Cat.-Misty.jpg
Russian Blue Cat. Misty
Russian Blue Cat. Misty
 
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elle sagenev wrote:Oh, my grossest, most valuable parenting tip: invest in a dog that will eat anything! My kids drop food all the time, I never clean that stuff up. Ahahahahahhahahah



I don't have a kid anymore, but I've got two dogs so I can vouch for the fact that they eat anything and everything. When I dump out the tray from my little chicken coop onto the ground, one of my dogs rolls all over the poop-filled straw and the other one picks through it to eat the poop. I can't deal with it, so I wind up just refusing to let the poop-eater kiss me and hosing down the holy roller.

 
Ed Belote
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Travis Johnson wrote:

Ed Belote wrote:I was in a relationship with a 47 year old woman who still had her blanket, Rose, since childhood.  I thought it very odd at first, but later understood that she found comfort in it.  Who am I to say that it's ridiculous?  I find the same comfort in having a pillow to hold on to, now that we're no longer together, and have always done so when sleeping alone.



It is a long story, but I sleep on the couch because we live in a Tiny House. And for whatever reason my cat sleeps with me as I pull out the foot rest and she sleeps there. But two nights ago I forgot to pull out the foot rest, so she had no place to sleep. That was when it turned into a bad children's book.

In searching for someone to sleep with, our cat went from bedroom to bedroom, each time waking up the kids with her presence. Soon she had the whole house up except for me, I sleep so deeply that I could sleep through a convoy of tanks driving by the couch, but when the wife got woken up, all of a sudden I heard a cat screeching and flying through the air down over the stairs.

There is two things my wife likes: sleep, and the kids sleeping.

I have always hated cats, but for some reason this cat and I bonded, and so I kind of felt bad for her: all she wanted was her footrest to sleep on.



Hahaha, thanks. It has been said that cats are zen masters.  Also, from my experience, I learned at a very young age, if mom isn't happy, nobody is happy.
 
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Somethings I have found that has helped me get through rough patches.

1) whenever I get money I always put a portion of it toward something fun and "not practical" It could be as simple as a yummy ice cream desert I really didn't need or as complex as a vacation planned. Depending on the amount of money I am getting I scale appropriately. While this may seem pretty basic, giving yourself little luxuries helps get you through the tough stuff, since you have the happy moments to remember as well as to look forward to. This concept got me through several times of being homeless and living hand to mouth. It is an adaption of stopping to smell the roses, the idea of making sure there is a reason for your struggles. That you have something enjoyable to call upon to remind you why you are working so hard.

2) When I have a cascade of rough events (like what you seem to be describing), I tend to go with the "walk away" method. By this I mean taking stock of everything you have on your plate and removing anything that is not critical. Then with any freed up time take some mental health time to collect yourself. This could take the form of a nature hike, meditation, finally catching up on sleep/napping, visiting a friend and venting about your troubles, or so many other options. Often when things seem to spiral it is due to having too much on your plate and when one thing goes wrong the others starts to cascade. I have foundthe cascade of bad stuff gets compounded and added to due to as things pile up due to the first random failure issue we start making poor choices trying to just cope or fix or slog through. Our decision making gets compromised due to our mood, and the choices made often in retrospect are not the best ones. The idea is to remove as much obligations you can to get some breathing room. Give you time to really think about the best course to fix the problems. The old saying of "sleeping on it" is there for a reason. When we sleep out brains sort and organize information collected. A good sleep can really be the difference between good and poor choices at times, which is why sleeping/maps is on the list of possible things to use the freed up time for.

3) As silly as it may sound, watch some "reality" TV. Very quickly you realize you really don't have it so bad. Be it homestead related like Alaska BushPeople or Homestead Rescue, or the totally insane stuff about the crazy city people and their dramas. It can help give you perspective that your troubles really aren't so bad.

4) Opposite of #3, watch some inspiring TV/youtube videos. There is some really positive stuff out there. Watching this kind of stuff can help lift your spirits, just knowing there are good people doing good things. Or inspire you on directions to solve your issues. Youtube has some great gardening/homestead channels, and there is likely a bunch of videos that cover how to avoid the garden issues you have struggled with. Finding solutions to your problems might not fix the damage done, but learning from the event will make you feel better and prepared for the future. (I regularly watch Dick Proenneke videos I have downloaded when ever I feel unmotivated. Seeing how he built a cabin in Alaska with hand tools when he was in his 50s is so inspiring)
 
pollinator
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I got this this morning from one of my favorite bloggers and it fits so well with the topic here, I wanted to share:
https://el2.convertkit-mail2.com/c/wvu3evw9righwpl76t7/e5uph7he2dne37/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5mcnVnYWx3b29kcy5jb20vMjAxOS8wOS8yNy90b3hpYy1wb3NpdGl2aXR5LWFuZC13aGF0LWktdGhvdWdodC1oYXZpbmcta2lkcy13b3VsZC1iZS1saWtlLXZlcnN1cy13aGF0LWl0cy1hY3R1YWxseS1saWtlLw==
 
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My first two children were 18 1/2 months apart. I didn't homestead, but I think all parents at one time or another experience similar feelings.  Give yourself a break.  Weeds will always be there, laundry is never done, and life moves very fast.  Sometimes when I was stressed I would put my daughter in the swing outside and sing to her.  She loved it, and it helped me feel better.  Sometimes I would put her, or them when they're were two, in a stroller, or wagon and take a little walk.  We didn't have to go anywhere, it was just out where I could breath and think.  
This time in your child's life is constant change, and at this age soo dependent on your time. It is hard to get through, just try to remember to enjoy.  I wish I would have remembered to just enjoy the small stuff more.  Good luck to you.
 
Weeds: because mother nature refuses to be your personal bitch. But this tiny ad is willing:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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