By Stephanie Oaks
For many of us who fall into the homesteading category, our work and our home is one and the same. Lines are blurred between home life and work life, sometimes leading to feelings of frustration.
But is work at home really such a bad thing? Has it not been the case for centuries of human history that families have worked hard together on their family business? Only in modern times have we created such a distinction between work and play (and had an expectation of extended periods of “play” and entertainment). Perhaps it is our view of work that needs to change.
Here on our farm, we have seasons where there is definitely more work than play going on. From early spring through fall there is much to do on a working farm—seeds to be planted; weeds to be pulled; compost to be managed; animals and plants to care for; food to be harvested, preserved, or sold; and weeds to be pulled. It is a never-ending process from morning until night. But what about all of those hours together? What about those conversations that were shared picking beans or weeding the strawberry beds? Are those not invaluable moments?
Memories are made sharing laughs while seeding sunflowers or snapping beans. Relationships are strengthened as members of the family work together to solve a problem. Character is built as children are allowed to take on aspects of the business that suit their personality and strengths. Character is also built working on projects that we don’t necessarily enjoy doing, but that must be done, as we learn to do them with a good attitude. Dependence on God is increased as we realize that so much of what we do is out of our control. Maybe the best part of our home life is all of the work that we do together and the feeling of accomplishment that we can share on a job well done as we reap the benefits of our hard work.
It is true that everyone needs a break once in a while. Every week we are intentional about honoring the Sabbath. Sometimes we take it on Saturday, sometimes on Sunday, but we do try to take that day to stop and rest from it all. We try to at least. We are also intentional about setting aside time for special family moments like playing a favorite game together or watching an episode of “The Waltons,” or spending time with friends. Sometimes we just have to let go of all that needs to be done and take a moment to rest together, to renew our strength a little.
Today, let’s take a different approach to all that we need to accomplish and enjoy this time together that we have been blessed with. Be intentional.
Stephanie Oaks lives in Ashland City, Tennessee, where she and her husband own and operate No. 9 Farms, an organic farm that specializes in berries, herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and Christmas trees. Stephanie spends the remainder of her time homeschooling their two teenage children and teaching classes on organic gardening and healthy cooking.