It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially on the homestead. Goats need milked, eggs collected, dogs let out, and ducks bedding changed AGAIN. On top of that everyone needs to be fed, including the children. By the time your day is done you’ve logged 9 million steps and are exhausted. But sleep is for the weak because you have to stay on alert for predators, the baby, and the sick goat in your living room. Chore management on the homestead is a really thing and it’s hard to get a handle on.
Yes, I do it and yes, I am tired. But I have found some pretty ingenious hacks to allow me to get some sleep without sacrificing my animals care. Below are my 5 hacks to keeping up with the homestead, while working full time and homeschooling.
Get the kids involved
I have found that there are two sides on this, and few people fall in the middle. Either kids do chores or they don’t. My boys do chores, and they do a lot of them. Every month they switch out. We also help each other out. If I see the ducks need water, I fill it up. If Jaxson sees that the cats are out of food, he feeds them. Their current chore list looks like this:
Chase- Chickens, ducks, feeding dogs/cats, wiping up the counters, and cars
Jaxson- Goats, dishes, bathrooms, dragons, watering seedlings/garden/house plants.
Parents- Cast iron, vacuum, garden, laundry, bedding, and whatever else needs to be done.
Start small and grow
When we started the homestead, we started with our dogs, cats, dragons, and snake. Then we added chickens. Once we were comfortable with that, we added goats, and so on. Before we add anything new, or more of them, we ask if everyone is on board. Since the kids handle most of the animal care, we want to make sure that they are good with getting more.
Get into a routine
While this is tough at first, once you get into a routine of taking care of your chores, it’s easier to see where you have more time. Our routine goes something like this, I wake up, let my dogs out and shower. The boys get up, let their dogs out and start on their animals. If they are hustling they can get their morning chores done in about 10 minutes.
Because we unschool, our homeschool doesn’t take hours and hours. We talk about what they are interested in and they do research on that. We also take time for the basics like math, reading, social studies, and science. They do Spanish on Thursday.
One of the first things I was taught in Paramedic school is delegation, and it’s not something I do well at work. But at home, I’ve got it covered. After talking with Jared about our goals and what we want to accomplish, I come up with the To Do lists and plans and delegate it out. This helps everyone figure out where they need to be and what they need to be doing.
It also extends to chores. I hate doing the dishes, so the other 3 handle it. They hate doing laundry so that usually falls to me. Jared and I “fight” over who will vacuum and who does cast iron. Keeping up the house is everyone’s chore.
I could write an entire blog post about cleaning up the house and the homestead. I would be lying if I said my house was spick and span. It’s not. I’ve got 4 huge dogs, and kids living inside my house. Not to mention the occasional goat, chicken, duck, etc. My house is never clean. But I clean up as I go and everyone else helps a lot.
Don’t get hung up in the details. My kitchen is a prime example. That little ledge behind the sink that collects all manner of nasty things is constantly dirty. I have tried everything in my power to keep that area clean but it’s not happening and you know what? That’s fine. My counters and stove are clean and the sink is mostly empty. Pick your battles and move on.
At the end of the day, you are simply human. Give yourself grace when you can’t get your kitchen scrubbed or the laundry done, but the animals have food and water and the kids aren’t dead or hurt? You’ve done just fine.