Why I Quit My Job, To Be a Full-Time Homesteader

Friday, October 24, 2014

This is the story of how and WHY I quit my full-time job, away from my home, to become a full-time homesteader. Can it be done? Of course it can.  And although I'm not advocating rushing off to put in your "two weeks notice" after reading this article, maybe it will give you something to think about for your future, where you want to go from here & how you can go about doing it.

So WHY did I quit my job?  It certainly wasn't an easy decision. I had spent just over a decades worth of my time engulfed into my career.  I owned a small business and cherished the relationships I had built because of my job so leaving and closing the doors forever seemed a bit robust at first.   It was something I had been thinking about for a while, but then all of a sudden it just came to me and an overwhelming sense of peace came over me and I knew that "my calling" was to be home.

So if "my calling" was to be at home, and to pour everything I had into being a full time "mommy-homesteader", was it going to work? Where would I struggle? How would I make the transition from career woman to living my life full-time on our urban farm?  Would I eventually give up my shoe collection all together and find myself wearing my hair in a bun everyday?  What was going to become of the person I had been for the last 10 years?  All of these were questions that I had and have since learned the answer too.

Here are the "Why's"--(WHY I Wanted to Quit)--

My Kids. 
Obviously, this is one of the biggest perks of quitting my job and becoming a full-time homesteader.  Being able to devote more of my time and energy to them has been better for all of us.  I feel like a better mother, and better caretaker.   I am truly INVESTED in my children. From the moment they wake up in the day, until everyone gets tucked in, I am there.  I find myself having more patience. I truly have been able to slow down to enjoy every moment with them though-out the day.

Homeschooling has become very important to me over the last few years as I've been more and more concerned with the problems of our broken school system.  I feel at peace knowing that I'll be able to homeschool my youngest daughter now that I am a full-time stay at home mom.   I feel privileged to be able to teach my daughter in a way that I know will suit her best, and she'll be in a safe and loving environment without the struggles that come along with being in a public school.   With a "faith-based" curriculum, I'm confident I can teach our daughter all that I can about how this world works and give her the basic tools to start creating a wonderful life for herself.

Saving $.
I'm not kidding, I actually SAVE money by not going to work everyday.  That $5 latte on my morning drive to work, the constant refilling of the gas tank, not having to buy new shoes and work apparel constantly...it all adds up. No buying lunch while I'm work....Not to mention the money I've saved on rent/ utilities/ and overhead costs associated with the small business I owned.

Better Health.
Staying at home during the day to tend to my home, garden, and farm chores has been good for my health.   When I stopped feeling like I had an obligation to be somewhere all of the time, I began to learn to focus my day around things that were important to me. Things like cooking, cleaning, making a home, tending to our chickens and goats during the day, talking to my plants, teaching my children different aspects of running a homestead, exercising, and preparing healthy meals for my family.   I learned to slow down, and just enjoy the day as it came to me.  I learned to prioritize what was truly important and what was best for my family.   Less stress makes for a better day and when you cut out the demands of a job away from home, it's nothing but natural to feel as if a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. It's so relaxing to be able to take a deep breathe and just enjoy your surroundings, your home, your garden, your family.

Quality of Life.
I'd say not only has my quality of life gone up, but so has the lives of my family members. Because I am less stressed and more focused on goals and priorities I have within my home, everyone wins.  I've become more spiritual, and happier because of my decision to stay home and truly devote my time to this family and our homestead.  More gets accomplished around here now, which brings along an incredible amount of self-satisfaction.  At the end of the day, being home has made me a happier, healthier, and more spiritual person.

Here Are the "How's" --(How I was able to Quit)--

By gardening more, I have saved thousands of dollars on our family grocery budget. Now, all we ever buy from a store are paper products, cleaning supplies on occasion & pet food.   I can't tell you the last time I set foot into a grocery store or seen the "inside aisles" of a grocery store at that.  We shop at farmers markets to supplement our food needs, but for the majority, we eat from of our gardens.  Gardening will save you so much money, and it's great for your soul too.  You'd be surprised at the amount of pride that comes from that homegrown tomato you eat for lunch, or the spaghetti squash you bake in the oven for supper.   Growing your own food saves you money now and later.  Just think of all of your medical problems you can rid yourself of when you start eating real, organic food you grow in your own backyard.

We've saved a great deal of money by owning chickens.  They have provided us with a beautiful experience of raising them and a nutrient dense protein for our diet.  While it does cost a little bit of money to get a coop ready for them, it's a wonderful investment for anyone who is serious about learning how to become more self-sufficient.  Raising your own food will save you money, and bring a great sense of pride.

We started raising goats for a few reasons. #1, we wanted the milk, butter, cheese etc. #2, they are wonderful companions. Smarter than most dogs and way less work as far as I'm concerned.  Adding goats to our small urban homestead was one of the best decisions we've made.

Since we grow most of the food we eat, we had to learn how to preserve our harvests so nothing went to waste.  Using a freezer should be used with caution as the "shelf life" of frozen foods usually don't last as long or the quality can go down with time due to freezer-burn.  If the power goes out, you've got a problem too. If you were without power for any length of time and had to consume an entire freezer of food before it went to waste, you probably wouldn't be too happy about it.   We choose to can our homegrown fruits and vegetables so that they are "ready to eat", and don't need refrigeration.  Being able to safely and adequately "put up" what we grow in our gardens saves us thousands of dollars each year.  We could eat out of our canned goods, for quite some time and be very happy about it too. We only can what we like and we eat from our pantry on a daily basis.  Waste not, want not.

Building our Food Storage.
Since we wanted to save money on food, we needed to learn how to build food storage.  Most people think about food storage as being a dusty set of foods that you don't really like, being stored away under the bed in case of a major catastrophe. For us, it's quite the opposite. While I may have food stored under our beds, it's defiantly not because we don't eat it.  WE EAT OUR FOOD STORAGE.    The key to building a successful food storage for your family is to purchase a little bit at a time, and not going into debt to accumulate your food storage. Only buy things you like. Only buy what your family enjoys. Start by ordering or shopping for one item a week.  You'd be surprised with how quickly time goes by and before you know it you're storing food in every nook and cranny of your house. Especially if you live in a small house like we do.    Another benefit of having rice, beans, dried fruit, dried vegetables, flour, sugar, salt, milk etc. on hand at any time is that you basically have endless possibilities for meals when you combine your homegrown produce with your food storage "staples".  Start with your basic "staples" and once you have a good stock of those, treat yourself to more "indulgent" type of food storage items that you might find.  Brownie mix & fruit punch could really cheer you up if you're having a really, really bad day.  (think.. "catastrophe moment")

Work from Home.
We were fortunate enough that my husbands job could pay all of our monthly expenditures.  I knew that quitting my job might make us cut back a little bit on our spending, but for the most part we haven't really noticed a significant difference in our finances because of everything we're doing at the homestead to save ourselves money.   By doing all of the things I've just mentioned above, we've saved more money than I can count, and to me, being at home and becoming a full time homesteader has been worth it.  I save money, I'm not as stressed out, and my family as a whole has benefited because of this change.   Homesteading allows you opportunities to still work from home if you choose. I've been blessed with the ability to blog about our lives here on the homestead, and make a living doing what I love. Gardening, photography, spending time with my kids, raising animals...it's allowed me this great opportunity to make money and do what I love at the same time.  Quitting my job to become a full-time homesteader was one of the best things I ever did.  For my health. For my family. For me.

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs