Nicole, I think you were (are still) faced with some daunting challenges and you used the resources and knowledge you had available at the time to get you and your family through. Maybe you feel as if you just barely survived or could have done things differently, but I think what you have managed to do is commendable. You took care of the important things and other less important things got less attention. That's what you have to do, prioritize. You can't do it all, no one can. I don't think any amount of preparing would have all details covered. You just scale back and get through. Then, you can build back up until the next crisis, which will come - life's a cycle of ups and downs until the end.
You mention "the reality of homesteading" and you seem to suggest that your life's routine has become such that your focus is no longer on the "end of the world", "zombie apocalypse", "what if" scenarios, but now mostly focused on just striving to survive daily with looming health issues, raising a family and maintaining a home. I think a lot about the "crisis" I'll be faced with all too soon. We all will, in some way.
The "end of the world" as a societal collapse may never happen in my lifetime. There's no guarantee of that. What is more likely the guaranteed "crisis" I'll have to face is "self-collapse"; either, as old-age approaches or battling disease. I should be more focused right now on prepping for how I will manage to grow enough food to preserve for the upcoming year and, hopefully, repeat for a few more years after that; also, to maintain a house that's 140 years old already and is very high maintenance; and, to live on little or no money, because you're less likely to be employed or employable after a certain point; all while dealing with physical and mental decline that is only going to get worse as I age. There are already some things I am struggling with. I don't have as much energy, strength or stamina to get done all that I need to. I find that I am now more prone to strained muscles, general soreness and bruising. I am getting more and more forgetful. I can't see as well anymore. I should go to the doctor about this and that, but I can't afford to, so I deal with it the best I can. I thought it was just yesterday that I was 20 and invincible. Time goes so fast and the time to have started preparing for sunset years was back when preparing was the last thing on my mind.
At this point in my life, I still can grow, forage, hunt, catch enough food to eat. I have a strong survival sense (foregoing the legal and moral aspects when necessary to rely on cunning strategies) that enables me to get things I need in order to get by. In the past, I have been extremely poor and I have been homeless, in which both cases require you to sharpen your survival skills. The most important tool in my survival toolbox is knowledge, by far.
I know of many people that are far less fortunate than I in terms of money and material things. I am very blessed to have what I have now. I know of some too that have lots of money and no survival skills. I think I know which has real value.
But, where will I be and what will my life look like when mental decline has faded my once trusted knowledge and weakness has taken my physical abilities? How can I maintain enough self-sufficiency and self-reliance during "self-collapse" to survive? My husband, being older than I, may be in worse shape than myself and may rely on me for care. Maybe I should be so lucky that the zombies will take us both.