Our life, family life, couple life has been busy. But not in a good way. I think there is a "good busy" and a "bad busy". A "good busy" is filled with things you want to do. It is filled with time in the garden, time together as a family, time completing long dreamed of projects. A "good busy" moves your life forward, brings your family together, invests in projects or activities that make your life easier in some way.
A "bad busy" just leaves you feeling like you are on a treadmill; lots of action but not going anywhere. A "bad busy" leaves you feeling exhausted before you even begin the day. A "bad busy" makes those activities that you consider "good busy" overwhelming and not worth the time. A "bad busy" leaves you feeling stressed, impatient. A "bad busy" takes a toll on your relationships.
I think we found ourselves at this point recently. We moved to the new house this past summer without much time to settle before Mark had to start school. Tristan's life became busy too as he finishes his last year of homeschooling and prepares to embark on the next step of his life. Evan was just going along for the ride for a while but he also needed to connect with other kids in his new community. And me? I was busy just getting everyone where they needed to go and making sure they had something to eat.
This would be busy enough, but Mark's job has many more requirements of his time, outside of the regular school day. Mud Season and our road made life hard just getting in and out of the house; adding 20 minute or so to every trip we took. One car was out of commission for most of the winter; so we were a one car family. In order to make this work, I was in the car even more than I was before.
I would say we were burned out. Burned out on work, burned out on homesteading, burned out on each other. We were in a bad space. No doubt. This burn out began to really take a toll on our marriage and family life. We were all so busy that we stopped paying attention to the reasons why we decided on this lifestyle. We were so busy that we stopped being kind to each other. We were so busy that we could not see how each other were struggling with all the busy-ness. We were so busy that we weren't able to really take care of ourselves, individually; so how could we see support each other in their busy-ness.
This busy-ness is far from the simple life I hoped for. But its tough. Many of the things that made Mark's life busy were required of him for his job. Tristan has to do what he needs to do right now, so he can do what he wants to do in the future. Evan needs friends and time with kids. And Momma is the one with the flexibility in her schedule to help everyone else meet their needs.
There are no easy solutions to some of this. We had talked of getting rid of the sheep. But they are really old ewes whose fleece is not desirable, at their age, for anyone seeking a fiber flock. And we love the sheep. They provide good compost for the garden, mow the lawn for us and I do use their fiber. We could down-scale the garden but we already spent the money on the seed and it really does save a lot of money. Time=Money. So if we did not spend the time in the garden we would have to spend more time earning money to buy the food we would have grown. And besides these are the "good busy" things that we do.
Summer vacation starts soon. We have decided not to build a big barn but a smaller sheep shed and a chicken coop. We have decided to take time to things together as a family. There will be camping trips, time to visit with friends from away, bike rides and swimming. We will chop wood and grow a garden. We will take days where we will not, under any circumstance, get in a car.
For now, while the busy-ness remains a part of our lives we will try to be kind to one another.