(Circa 2007 when this journey began)
I am the only one who can do for myself and my kids. Of course I have a great support group of family and friends who help, but at the end of the day I am still the only one there for my kids. I have to do the work required to keep up the home, bring in the money, and to do for ourselves. I have to do the canning, be worried about security, working to stay of debt, keep buying groceries to eat, and be creative.
I learned really fast that being a single mom, after being married for eleven years, came with a steep learning curve. Suddenly I had to do two parents' worth of work as one person. I had to figure out a lot of things for myself. I had to change my ways, look further down the road, and prepare for it. Preparedness became extremely important to me because I never knew when the child support would or would not come. I might have $700 in child support one month and none the next month.
Now child support isn't an issue, but then it was. Having food storage and extras has literally saved us some months before I had to apply for food assistance. I only had that for a year and used it to my advantage. I built up my food storage even more. Having a garden has fed us in the leaner summer months. Being willing to work harder at home made a huge difference.
These are some of the things I have learned from being a single mom prepper/homesteader:
2. Make your kids help around the house and homestead! They aren't helpless. They can do chores. They can make supper. They can tidy up after themselves. They do not have to become a burden and more work for you. Start working with them when they are young and they will be great when they are older.
3. You will raise better adults because you will have taught your kids how to run a house, do chores, do laundry, and raise livestock. You will teach your kids how to be responsible. Society needs you to do this. Please do it if you don't already! My older two daughters are in college, self-supporting for the most part, maintain their own apartment, and decent grades. Teaching them young to work has benefits down the road.
4. Creativity is a must. An absolute must. Whether it is making supper, fixing broken things again, trying to get everything accomplished in a day, or whatever, you need to be creative. Learning skills helps you to become more creative.
5. Having a fully stocked pantry and lots of food storage will literally save you. When you don't have enough money for groceries, you can eat from the pantry. You might have to get creative, but you won't go hungry.
6. Staying out of debt is so, so crucial. I have learned this lesson over and over again. I still get into pickles once in a while, but for the most part I avoid debt.
7. Having a reliable vehicle is a necessity and not just for bugging out. Vehicle maintenance is a must and should be a line item in your budget. I drive the wheels off my vehicles. I try to make sure all preventative maintenance is done within reason. I usually get at 200,000 miles plus on each vehicle before they become totaled by a teenager or become unfixable.
8. You still have to push through the fatigue and get the stuff done. The garden needs to be planted, weeded, and harvested. Canning will still need to be done. Some nights, midnight is an early bedtime. You still have the kids to help while doing all that. In some ways it is lucky that I have insomnia and take advantage of that, but I also struggle with fatigue and have to really push through it. I figure winter is for resting and getting caught up.
9. You will accomplish more than you can ever imagine. You are the only one, remember? You have to get it accomplished. I thought I would never be able to raise chickens, but I did. I never thought I could have the satisfying life I do now, but I do. Life gets better and you stop surprising yourself because you know you can tackle whatever life throws at you!
Life is what you make of it, but I have learned so much about self-reliance by being a prepper, homesteader, and single parent. For those of you who think you can't do all of this, now is the time to find out if you can or not. But I bet you can.
Thanks for reading,