I hope this is the right forum for a post like this. I kinda just need somewhere to share with people who will "get it" and yet not broadcast my personal stuff too publicly, I guess.
I got divorced this summer, after 20 years of marriage. Six kids, four still at home. Hit the big 50 a couple years ago, and starting to feel my age. Been trying like crazy for the last year to build up a home-based business, so I would have some kind of financial stability (we homeschool, and I haven't worked outside the home since before our marriage). In the terms of the divorce, he got the home and property - our little off-grid cabin in the middle of nowhere with everything we've put into it.
Since the divorce, the kids and I are still living here in the cabin. Things are amicable, and he is trying to make amends. He's finally agreed that it's a good idea to expand the 1-bedroom / 1-other-room cabin into something more accommodating for 4 kids, adding on a big 2-story addition that will give everyone their own bedrooms. I have gone back and forth like a freaking yo-yo over moving out. I desperately want my own home, my own property, my own rules and no arguments or hassles. Rents here, though, are in the $2000-$3000 range (no joke), for a 3-4 bedroom home, and I am nowhere near close enough to that in income to make it happen. Plus, these would mostly be in town, and I don't think I can bear that. Buying right now is out of the question, my credit is shot from the last 2 years of the marriage and I don't have enough income yet. Maybe in a year, more likely not for two more years, due to the self-employment and mortgage requirements.
I am normally a super optimistic, positive-thinking, law of abundance kind of girl, but since the divorce, this sense of back and forth and indecisiveness has me down. Like way down. It's so unlike me, and I just couldn't seem to get on top of it. I spent all summer and all fall so far, spending nearly every minute working, trying to build up savings, selling my big wall tents to get funds for a rental, trying to build up more clients. And I'm getting nowhere. No new clients. Had to spend the funds from selling the tents on vehicle repairs and kid's needs. And I just can't see any way forward.
So the ex-husband (that still feels so freaking weird to say, it's actually the first time I've referred to him that way) (side note - half our friends and community still don't know about the divorce -that's a whole other pressure and stressy thing), he offered to try and either split the property legally, or to put me back on the title (technically not make me take my name off title, since I haven't done it yet), and I can build my own place, and do as I please on my part of the property. Then the kids have access to him too, and I don't have to come up with money I don't have, plus kids and I are up here safe if the world continues to go to crap.
So after a ton more of back and forth, I finally decided I just have to make a choice, get off the fence, and go forward, even if it's not perfect. So I am choosing to take his offer. I will be starting over in most respects, but on the same property. We walked the property tonight, to decide on boundary lines and outbuildings. It was a very stressful conversation, and I dumped a lot of adrenaline through it. I'm still totally shaky and feeling pretty freaked out, but I am 99% confident this is the best decision at this time.
I am going to try and bring up a basic old (CHEAP!) mobile home for a starter living structure, while I figure out how to build what I really want. I will also have the use of one of those old hickory sheds that we fixed up into what we call the schoolhouse. It is wired and has lights and all that, and I will put a propane toro-stove heater into it, and it will become what I think of as the "office". With power, internet, my work setup, etc. It also already has my wood cookstove, although that needs some modifications to work properly.
My main home (both the starter one and the future one) at this time I intend to be no electricity at all. One of the big things that drew my ex-husband and I together was what I believed was our shared dream of living off grid and remotely. Turns out, his idea of off-grid is high electricity consumption but from a huge solar setup (which is fine if you want that, but I never, ever did). And while he still wants to live remotely, it drives him crazy and has caused endless contention in our relationship because he resents the crap out of everything involved in living remotely (and still working 90 minutes or more away). So, I am going to finally take the opportunity to live the off-grid life that I envisioned - no electric in the home (only in the office building), and embracing the remoteness - not trying to keep a foot in both worlds.
I have been liquidating most of my livestock and animals, for lots of reasons. First because I was planning to move, and knew I'd never find a rental where I could have them. But it's become more urgent because he has insisted that we not get LGDs, but instead we got more german shepherds (we already had 2 when we moved here), and they have been killing our livestock consistently ever since we got them. I finally created a large pen for the dogs, and it's worked pretty well, but one of them got loose last weekend and took out 3 of my 4 goats, and I am just shell-shocked from that. He did agree to re-home that dog, although he will be keeping the other GSD (who has a much more mellow temperment, but she's still going to have the prey drive).
So I will be fencing off my portion of the property big time, and in the summer, after I have all my fencing and some proper outbuildings, I will get more livestock and an LGD.
I will finally be able to put in all my permacultureplans and ideas. I started a bunch of comfrey plantings a couple of years ago, but that fall, he mowed them all down (I am pretty sure it was intentional - that's how things went a lot). I can put my animals where I want and design their shelters and pastures myself. I can plant what I want, grow what I want, set it up how I want. I'm so hopeful but also kind of terrified that somehow it will all get messed up or not happen.
I'm not getting any younger, and I definitely need to lose weight and get stronger so I can do all the things I want to do, so this is my chance. I'm mostly terrified right now, but I think that's mostly just the aftermath of the adrenaline spikes during the conversation with the ex. It's not totally starting over, because I know a lot of what to do, at least in regards to the off-grid living part, and how to do it. Not sure if I will have the strength and funds to do it all, or when, but I'm going to try.
If you've read this far, THANK YOU. And if you have any words of encouragement or support, I could use them. I guess this is what the kids call being a "hot mess" LOL. Hopefully tomorrow I wake up with my happy spark back and a zillion plans for the property.
First, a life event like a divorce is like a bereavement. There will be a natural period of adjustment to make, all the adrenaline and emotions of the last few months (and the years previous) will take time to come back to a new steady state. Also, and I'll try not to make assumptions because of your age, but if you're like me your body will be going through other physical and hormonal changes, so be sure to take care of yourself.
You don't say what age your remaining children are and how they are coping. I suspect that this is a very confusing time for them with plenty of normal teenage emotions on top. Remember you can't live their life for them, and in 5 -10 years they will (probably) be going and you will still need to have your life without them.
You say you need to get fit and this is a great opportunity to eat for yourself not for your husband's (or children's) preferences. Eating healthily (and we all know what that means even if we don't do it!) is a good start and won't do your children any harm either! Smaller portions costs less too, I'm finding recently that I need to eat much less than I did when I was younger - I say I'm getting more efficient! If you can set up your area to produce some of your food, especially fresh greens and other vegetables that lose nutrition in storage (think about it now ready for next year) that would be great.
Harness the kids energy if you can. They are getting on for young adults now so can take responsibility for some work - this is an opportunity to set new Mum rules if needed.
It's good that you're on amicable terms with the father of your children. Bear what Stacy said in mind, but I'm sure you know him well by now.
You don't say what your home business is. Is it time for a rethink there? Maybe the Monies forums here will have some ideas for you, or you could start a new thread to get some more relevant ideas for your circumstances.
I notice that you've signed up for a SEPP visit to Wheaton labs. I think that's a great opportunity to take time out and absorb the possibilities. I hope you have a great time there!
Today is the first day of the rest of your life - it is not a rehearsal.
Hi Tracey, and first of all a big hug.
It sounds like this is a very scary time, but I think you did the right thing "taking the deal"- if he's willing to legalize this, then great. Do it and get it on paper, with a notary.
Your idea that this is the first day of the rest of your life is super apt. I know there's a lot going on but if you can see your health, your strength, etc as an investment that requires time each day, then great. One step at a time, but do it. You're worth it.
Running a business of your own is always scary, in my experience, and it sounds like everything is happening at once. But keep trying. You can do this. Put up your fences, get things rolling again, and if it gets overwhelming remember that this is not forever, just for a time until a better option comes up.
I feel for ya! It sounds like quite a stressful situation.
Honestly, if things were rough enough to cause such a divide, you're going to be better off going forward. Yes, it's a big change, and you're probably not used to being your own person after being attached as a couple doing things for the family for so long -- but it'll come to you, and you'll be better off!
One thing I find really helpful in a situation like this is to consider yourself as your own best friend and caretaker. I know that sounds a little odd, but YOU are the one who's always there to pick you up after every life event, and YOU are the one that's in charge of your life going forward. It can be super weird after being with a partner so long, and you get that sort of 'weird dependence' around being a couple and constantly thinking about the fallout of every choice and how it affects your shared lives and the other person's feelings -- but in the end, your choices need to be the best ones that you can make for you. The kids will make it the way that they do, regardless of what happens, and if mom is doing well and able to keep herself taken care of, especially in this stressful and tumultuous time when you NEED to be focusing on your health and your self-care, the kids will be better off for a happier, more stable mother.
Big hugs! I know one person can't like, give you all the right words you might need, but you got this. It sounds like you being able to be in charge of your own permaculture situation will be good for you, especially if your projects won't be interfered with or hampered by someone else's actions or inactions.
One other thing to note, which you probably already know -- is that this is a big stressful time of change, and sometimes we like to compensate by trying to throw ourselves into big projects -- but really reeling it in and taking it slow and easy is the best way to go forward. IE -- if you want to maybe work on a small project, like growing a bigger garden, or getting some chickens, or something (whatever your situation is); that's fine to do, but taking it slow while you adjust to this new reality is going to benefit a lot more than going overboard and, for example, starting a whole new herd of animals when you really haven't settled into your new 'normal' state yet.
I hope that helps!
Also, if you're feeling like you can't get enough clients as a self-employed person, you might have to re-think things. I did the same thing recently -- I'm also self-employed, and there are times where I feel the stress and pressure of trying to do EVERYTHING just falls short, and my income suffers. It's always going to be personalized to your own situation, but sometimes the best thing you can do is analyze what's working and what isn't. Are you charging enough? If you can raise your prices feasibly, and you lose a few clients, it may seem scary, but the clients you keep will be paying the bills with LESS work because your prices are up where they should be, AND you don't burn yourself out trying to chase dollars and putting out subpar work. (I don't know what you do, exactly, but the principle still applies.)
And if it turns out that it's just NOT working after you set some goals, and a timeline, you can have other alternatives planned out. For example... if you say 'OK, A is working, and B isn't, so I'm going to focus on doing A for this many hours a day, every day, because I know I can do that workload. And if I can't make of money consistently by this specific date, my alternative is to go get a full-time job in town for a while until I can pay down my debt (or whatever your situation is.) Self employment can be awesome if you can make it work, but there are benefits to a steady job for a while to achieve a goal, too. Especially during a stressful time -- it's good to analyze whether you need to adjust your tactics and make changes to stay viable and work within your ability (and stress level), and find strategies to do that -- but it's also good to analyze what your alternative options are, and whether it might be a better fit. That's why goal-setting on paper helps -- if you can't achieve the reasonable goals that will keep you afloat, it's time to change tactics. Sometimes going to work at something relatively 'easy' and making a steady paycheck is just mentally healthier while you're trying to go through some stressful stuff! But at the same time, if you feel you can handle your self-employment in your own way and find ways to make it work during this stressful time, you can do it! Just sometimes takes some adjustments and planning.
Sorry for the ramble! Just feeling for your situation and I understand the stress!
I can imagine some of the things you are going through. I am going through a divorce right now. It is not amicable, and we were only married for 12 years, so I understand things are different, but I can understand some of it. I am going to go against the grain here, but I think sometimes it needs to be said.
Is there a chance of reconciliation? I'm not saying that reconciliation is best for everyone, because it isn't. However, many people have a tendency to say things like "you are better off without him/her", and encourage the singleness. While there is certainly a time and a place not to have false hopes about the relationship, I know there are all kinds of couples who go to counseling and do reconcile. And I don't hear any of them wishing they hadn't. I'm sure there may be some, but what I am trying to say is that divorce is horrible, and people are created for relationships. And if there is a chance of reconciliation, I think it would be good to take that chance.
Having said all that... if reconciliation is off the table completely, then I would not recommend staying on adjacent property to your ex. I know you said right now, other options are not possible, but I do think it would make things rougher for you and the kids to still be right next to each other.
I find reading the Bible helps get me in a better frame of mind during this time. And lastly, good luck. You are not in an easy position.
"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." C.S. Lewis
"When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind." C.S. Lewis
Tracey, it's hard to find words... I'm so sorry! That is hard news, especially for homesteaders like yourself. I'm not sure as to WHY you are getting/got a divorce from your husband, but I really suggest you rely and lean on our Creator heavily now. It is hard enough as it is to live the dream of homesteading with a husband and family-- I find it exponentially harder without. So I understand the liquidation part. You sound extremely busy; no wonder you feel stressed out. I can imagine that stress probably contributed to the rift you and your husband experienced. I think it's great you are on speaking terms enough to come up with a solution that involves you being on the property with your family. Because that's what matters most God and family. When the whole world goes to crap those are the only relationships that matter.
I hope and pray things work out for you and your family. Maybe down the road, and a lot less stress later, things will change for the better in your family situation..? Hold those precious ones close, and love them well. Pray lots and pray hard. Blessings.
This. Exactly this. This is what my therapist has been talking about. And now with a tiny ad: