March 3, 2018

My Story

So, I’m a forty-ish-year-old single mom living the dream in South Georgia!  Most days you can find me out in the chicken run with the hens or hanging out with my kids in the pool.  I have a pretty sarcastic sense of humor and I am definitely NOT the PTO mom type!  I make my living as a night shift ER nurse but have a definite entrepreneur spirit!  I love upcycling stuff and being creative.

Me and my new bifocals!

My sisters and I were raised by a single mom who did factory work. She went back to school in her early forties to earn her nursing degree.  My mom’s perseverance has a huge influence on my own life goals.  Married or single, I believe that all women should be able to provide for their families and be self-reliant.

I spent the first four decades of my life in Eastern Pennsylvania.  I became a single parent at the age of twenty-three and was married in my thirties.  I now have six children and three grandchildren!  In 2011, our family decided to load up everything we owned and move to South Georgia.  Talk about a major life event!  We were able to buy a home on five acres with a pond.  Never in a million years would we have been able to afford that in Pennsylvania.  I went from living in the suburbs to living rurally.  There were new foods to try, new activities to attend.  I was accustomed to the fast pace of the North and the myth is true…..everything does move slower in the South!  {This is definitely not a bad thing!}

In Pennsylvania, we owned a twin home with a patch of grass we called a yard.  A home on five acres of property with a one-acre pond…..are you kidding me??  I was in love!  I had dreams of homesteading, raising chickens, planting a huge garden and canning my own food.    I homeschooled my children for over a year.  Despite my good intentions, my dreams never came to fruition.  We had setbacks.  My kids went back to public school.  Predators destroyed my chicken flocks.  Our soil was awful and my gardens dwindled.  In 2016, my husband and I separated and I became a single mom again.

Moving on

That might sound like a sad story, but it really isn’t. I looked at my situation, not as a setback, but a challenge.   I’ve had plenty of help from friends along the way.  I’ve learned how to use a chainsaw, put up a fence, amend my soil to grow better vegetables, and install laminate flooring.  I’ve planted nearly a dozen fruit trees and bushes.  If I have a task that needs to be done,  I try to learn how to do it myself.  One thing about living in the South is that someone is always willing to help and teach you.

Paying for it all

Along with being a single parent, I found myself being financially responsible for myself and five children. We live almost entirely on my income.  That takes some clever budgeting!  I cut my expenses wherever I could.  {Goodbye Direct TV!}  I learned how to meal plan and use coupons.  I paid off all my debt.  Some months are easier than others. I still work full time in the ER.  I began to look at other unconventional income sources.

Embracing the idea of minimalism from my wardrobe down to my home decor,  I had a great purge shortly after our separation.   I emptied my home of items that I just did not use.  Focusing on what was important to me in life, I decided to stop keeping up with the Jone’s.  When we were looking for our home in Georgia, we set a budget and stuck to it.  I didn’t want to have to spend all my time at work to pay for a home I never got to spend time in   I have never been one to desire name brand anything.  It’s just not something that is important to me.  This is a value I am trying to instill in my kids.

Mentoring

I want my kids to be independent.   This is an uphill battle most days because they would rather play on their computers instead of fold laundry!  If I can send them out in the world able to cook a meal for themselves, use the washer and be financially responsible, then I have done my job.   I am constantly horrified by the lack of responsibility in younger people today and I blame our current parenting for it.  In the desire to give our kids everything, we are denying them the valuable lesson of self-responsibility.

The Gang!

Journey

I  have big dreams for my little patch of land here in South Georgia!  I want to go solar within the next two years.  I plan on developing my property into a true homestead complete with farm animals and large vegetable gardens.   I already keep chickens and recently added two ducks to our flock.  My goal is to become self-reliant and live a simple life.   Every day is an adventure and an opportunity to learn another skill.  It’s a journey and I’m open to wherever it takes me.

That’s my story and the reason for this blog.  I hope Whimsy and Sass inspires someone else who may find themselves in a situation similar to mine.  If anything, I hope someone gets a few laughs out of the antics of myself and my children here at Whimsy and Sass!

 

Sue

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