When you find out you’re expecting a child and going to be a mom for the first time, you feel like you’re joining an exclusive club. One of great support and it’s got a bit of a secret society vibe because no one else can truly understand what it’s like to be a mom unless you are one.
Like when I’m walking down the street with my kids and I pass by another mom with her kids and we give that tiresome smile and nod that’s like a secret handshake.
But what I soon discovered and have heard is normal from other moms is this ever present feeling of loneliness as a mom. That feeling of not knowing for sure how to hold it all together and basically often faking it until we make it.
For me personally, I feel like admitting I need help with motherhood is like admitting I’m not cut out for the role of a mom. Which is not true. That’s why I created Maturing Mama, to remind myself and others that we actually can’t do this journey alone. We have to learn from each other. We have to admit those times when it feels like we can’t hold it all together.
I feel like each mom in this world has a skill she’s better at than others. For example, my best friend is amazing at organized activities with kids. So my kids will go to her house when they need a busy day of fun and games.
For me I tend to be better at running a business while keeping up with parenting than most. I couldn’t tell you how exactly- but many moms do ask how I do it. One day I’ll figure out an answer to that question.
I have another mom friend that is insanely organized. She knows where everything is in her home and her kids even know how to maintain that organization. (I think it’s witchcraft 😉).
If we moms have a spirit of learning from one another and gaining life skills from each other’s experience we could very well succeed at motherhood.
This was the nature of creating Homesteading Family for Josh and Carolyn. This family of twelve, (yes, twelve) has built a home based on traditional methods gathered from generations past. They live on a 40 acre homestead in Idaho surrounded by gardens, livestock and children. Carolyn spends her days rocking babies, homeschooling her children and preserving food for the coming winter. As part of her passion, she also teaches homesteading skills to encourage other families to live simply and focus on the things that really matter… faith, family and really good food!
It’s time to get your pens and notebooks out, because I got the opportunity to learn more about Homesteading Family and some things we can learn from their tools.
- What are the core values of your mission for Homesteading Family?
We started this project as a way to help friends and family. We were getting lots of questions about gardening, preserving, bread baking, child rearing…and so I thought, “I should make a video and send it out to all of my friends.”
From there, we started Homesteading Family, because we wanted to help families, and especially moms, to feel organized, educated, and empowered on their journey to independence, health and raising happy families.
Our motto is: “Grow, Preserve, Thrive”. We could add in bake and make herbal remedies but that would have made the logo too big!
- Why is it important to remind moms of natural and traditional methods?
Traditional methods work! We have given up a lot in the name of convenience and modern time-saving, namely health and quality relationship time, but oddly enough the traditional methods are actually often very easy and quick once you know how to do it.
It is also very empowering to have the knowledge to grow and preserve your own food. It means you get to be healthier too!
With a few hours of work each week, you can have a lifestyle that is actually more connected to the people you love, the nature around you and the food you eat. This means a healthier, calmer and more fully integrated you! You don’t even have to live on a large farm…you can accomplish many of these goals with a patio terrace and some new skills. You will see a huge change in your children when you involve them in every part of the journey.
For instance, if you take an extra hour and a half a week making a larger batch of a meal for dinner, then follow by canning it and putting it into your pantry- no matter what life throws at you, you will have the ability to feed your family healthy and nutritious meals in 5 minutes or less.
Now imagine doing that same thing with a child by your side- they are learning a skill AND spending quality time with you accomplishing something together!
It is very powerful! It takes a lot of fear and anxiety out of life and allows people to reconnect to their past and create a different future.
- In what area of raising a family do you feel it is especially costly to use present day methods rather than natural and traditional?
One of the biggest costs to using modern and convenient methods is to our health and the health of our relationships.
We are so digitally connected that we often lose touch with what our great grandmothers knew about relationships… they take time. Time working together. Accomplishing together. Not staring at the screens together, but actually disconnecting from everything that is going on in the world and sitting down over a bowl of green beans that need to be snapped and talking.
Returning to some traditional ways of doing things provides a chance to slow down and work together, talk together and laugh together.
Another major cost of modern life is to our physical health. In speaking with a camp director recently, he told me that they have had to redesign the camp games because “kids today just aren’t as physically strong and healthy as kids were 15 years ago.”
Modern kids are so unhealthy and weak that they can’t even play as hard as they did just a few years ago. Previously known “adult” diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and auto-immune diseases are now ravishing our young people. Many of these are caused by our society’s collective lifestyle choices. But we have a choice! We can choose to stop making convenience a priority and start making robust health higher on our priority list.
Growing, cooking and preserving some of your own food and herbal medicine makes it much easier to have healthy relationships and bodies!
- Can you recall the season in which you started Homesteading Family?
Yes. It actually started when we were first married and we had our first baby. We followed the traditional medical advice without thinking.
I remember taking my 3 month old son to the pediatrician for his well-baby checkup. The doctor told us that the nurse would come in and give the baby 2 shots for his vaccines… but the nurse came in and gave him 3 shots. I never questioned it, or thought much about it. I was very passive, thinking that the experts must know best. But that all changed when our baby had a vaccine reaction that evening.
I remembered what the doctor had said and I called the office and asked about the third shot given, but to my horror, they had no record of it. That is when I realized that I had taken a backseat position with my child’s (and my own) health.
Thankfully our son overcame the reaction, but I had learned my lesson about being well informed and proactive. I became very determined to provide healthy and economical food and natural medicines to my growing family. I started studying like crazy, learning everything I could get my hands on to help my family have strong emotional and physical health as well as a deep connection with family, God and their community.
After 15 years of study and practice, people started seeing a drastic difference in my children. They stand out as responsible, healthy and well-adjusted children who are very capable. Other moms starting asking me what I was doing differently… that was the beginning of Homesteading Family.
- Can you tell us more about your household management classes? What can moms expect during the class? And what can they expect to take away from the class?
Our household management class covers quite a few topics, like keeping up with laundry, dishes, meal planning and other daily chores, but most importantly it helps you understand how to involve your children with getting the household chores done.
When we work together we make time to have fun together! This means that all of the family is involved in a productive and meaningful life together.