Yurt/tent living & parental attitudes - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
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My husband and I have two little girls (1yo and 3yo), are finishing and graduating college this year and have a small farm we are just starting out on.  We have decided that we want to live at our farm for both logistical, monetary and sentimental reasons.  frankly it's just easier to be able to lay chidlets down for a nap and be able to go back out and work nearby!  plus all the other good things about living a few hundred yards from your veggies and animals.  We don't have any equity except for our sheep so the going will be cheap but we've been looking at something along the lines of a wall tent or yurt for living in until a house on the property opens up for rental and we think that we can make it work financially on our own, even if we have to piece it together one portion at a time.


Here is the sticking point I can't figure out.  we've approached the subject of living on the farm starting this August no matter what to both of our parental units and neither set is particularly supportive.


Should we try and convince them and try and gain their emotional support?  or should we just do it and not really let them in on it?


both of our families are suburban so rural living is not familiar to any but my husband's mother but it's been decades since she's lived on a farm day-to-day.  I have every confidence that we will be able to make ourselves reasonably comfortable, warm, etc. and we really feel that this is the next step for us to try and realize our dream to have an integrated sustainable farm that actually supports us eventually.  I have gotten the impression that their main concern is comfort for our girls.  and definately for my parents they are also concerned about what others will think if they found out we were living in a tent temporarily (*GASP*). 


How do we go about what we feel is the right step for our family in relation to our farm and raising our children in a more rural setting without estranging either set of parents?  (particularly mine who have never really been particularly supportive since my husband and I got pregnant about 4 1/2 years ago...)   when I talked to my mom about it and mentioned the possibility of living in a mobile home on site (before I'd really seen it's condition) she told me to "just make sure it's livable..."  as if I am incapable of discerning that myself.  (my parents also still treat me as if I am a child simply away for college still, not as if I'm an adult with my own family now.  but that particularly is a discussion for another time...)  I worry that she'll decide our plan is "unlivable" and either torture us emotionally or worst case try and take our kids away somehow.  (not likely but i tend to think worst-case scenario...)


I'm really tired of my parents not being there for me emotionally as far as following my dreams of farming but on the other hand, i've managed to get this far without their help, and with how they seem to think i'm still their child, not their adult offspring, I wonder if they'll ever let me grow up in their own heads unless we do this (and everything else) all by ourselves.


Also: anyone looking to sell a used yurt or wall tent in the eastern Washington, N. Idaho, eastern Oregon, Western Montana region?  we've been doing our research on new products but finding anything used out here is proved difficult thus far!

Farming mama to DD1 (10/18/07), DD2 (10/3/09) who are always DS born 8.21.14 and wife to loving hubby (6/23/2007).
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#2 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 08:58 AM
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Well..while I live in a house in town, I was raised in a ti-pi in the woods by my hippie parents.  Their parents thought they were crazy and worried quite a bit.  I understand their concerns...cold...fire...snakes...etc.  But eventually they got used to it.  Over the years my parents' lifestyle became more traditional (an actual house etc.) and the grandparents relaxed a little bit.  As far as I know, it didn't drive a wedge between them...though each set of grandparents did live 250 miles away.


As a kid who lived in a tent....good luck!  I have very fond memories of my childhood.

::::: Married for ten years to my good man :. Mama to my sweet and funny boy and my lovely little girl

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#3 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 11:16 AM
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Unless you are hoping to someday gain their approval I'm not sure what would change about anything if you lived in a yurt?  I would never, personally, make a decision based on what my parents think about it. They aren't my primary family anymore, my kids and husband are and what my husband and I decide is right for our family is what we do. Maybe it's time to cut the emotional apron string you have to what they think of you and joyfully embrace the exciting and prosperous life you are building with your little family! Sounds wonderful!! What a gift to give your children.

Erin sharing life with a burly husband and two rad boys 7/06 & 5/09 : : Zone 9-ish
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#4 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 02:59 PM
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As someone who has never lived w/o a ceiling and roof over her head (except for the occasional camping trip), DO IT. Do what YOU feel is right for your family. If you try it and you feel it's "too hard" to ___ (keep warm, keep the kids safe, stay comfortable, eat well, be clean, whatever) then you can stop and find more suitable living arrangements. No harm done. You're young.


I'm in my 40s and WISH I had done something like you're doing. I always loved reading books like Little House and things that describe farm living, but my parents are city folk and I always knew it was somehow "unacceptable" to even consider doing it the way you are thinking about doing it. (The only way would have been to marry a wealthy man who owned a farm.... And they think I'm insane for going camping on vacations instead of to nice hotels with fancy spas.) So now I'm a middle-aged suburban housewife with none of the skills I always wanted and a starter garden to see if I really can raise some of our own food. I still want to raise enough to save our money for DS's education, or to allow DH to work less, but we will never be in a position to do what you are doing. You're young. If it doesn't work out, you have plenty of time to make up for it, either by trying again, or by going the conventional route if that's what you decide to do.

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#5 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 08:33 PM
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My dh and I have talked about yurts many times. He is all for it and I think they are so cool, but I do worry what my parents would think too. I think if you are able to say "so what" to what your parents think, than go for it. It is your life. I am hoping that one day the situation with arrive wehre we will be able to sell the house we are in and maybe do some of the more free spirited things we desire as far as living situations. It seems like a lovely and beautiful way to live to me.

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#6 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 08:46 PM
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I've lived in some really odd places in my parent's eyes. My now hubby and I lived in an unfinished barn, a volkswagen van, something that was kind of like a shed with no running water or electricity and some pretty conventional places too. These were all before our DD was born. We were living in the last place when I got pregnant. I had to learn that I was doing this because I wanted to and it resonated with who I am, not who someone else thinks I should be. My folks were often weirded out by it but if I took them examples of rainwater catchment systems, or other ways to live off grid and explained why and how I was approaching it sometimes that helped. There were times they were like "ok I get you wanting to be all natural, but don't you think you're going too far? I get that native cultures used to live like this, but we don't have to anymore.' 


basically I had to learn to stand up for what was my truth and either they supported me or they didn't. either way it wasn't my place to win them over.


as far as taking your kids from you, here's my thought. as crazy as that would be, anything is possible and here's my gut reaction to how I would handle that if it happened to me. I would get a lawyer, learn my rights and fight for what I believe in. And if none of that worked, I would find what middle ground there is....as in how can I live in a way that I want that keeps my family together? That's what counts the most for me, if I had to shift some of how I was living to follow some stupid code, I would if it meant I could stay with my kids. 


good luck with the yurt! they have such an awesome energy.

and your kids will LOVE living with the earth. 

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#7 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 09:28 PM
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I would do it. We do a lot of things that my mother thinks are crazy but over time she's gotten use to it. Most of the time she just rolls her eyes and says "You're just like your Aunt Ame" (I guess this isn't a good thing? ROTFLMAO.gif)  My mother is definitely a more conventional person and she freaked when we got goats and chickens and talked about getting more farm animals. She didn't say much though besides to keep them pinned so they couldn't 'get' her when she came to visit. Although she was suspicious of eating dinner with us when I started talking about wanting to butcher them myself lol.gif . This is about what is best for your family... you, your husband, and your children. Your parents will adjust. We're on the road living in a camper right now while dh works and we save money for our hopeful farm. We homeschool, cloth diaper, and are talking about maybe having another child even after this 3rd baby arrives. Mom just shakes her head and asks what we want to do for Christmas. lol.gif I hope you can make a decision you're comfortable with.

Michelle mom to DD , DS , & lil DD and spending my days
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#8 of 11 Old 12-12-2010, 11:00 AM
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Hesitating over decisions because of fear of parental non-approval will hold you back from experiencing a lot in life! Don't worry what your parents think...I understand that even as an adult it's hard sometimes to stand up to them, but where you live is ultimately YOUR decision, it isn't theirs!

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Bookworm mom to three wonderful children. homeschool.gif
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#9 of 11 Old 12-14-2010, 10:43 AM
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Hmmm..... In some ways you sound like me... which is you are close to your parents and want them to be excited for you. I happen to have a mom who is positively nuts, just like me, and that sure helps. My dad is much more mainstream and does not like lots of mu choices. Guess what? Tough... He still loves me. The best things in my life are the more unusual choices I have made and where they have taken me in life. 


Would I do what you are thinking of? In a heartbeat! BUT, I would recommend the book "Back from the land." There are people who have great ideas and cabn live by them, and then there are people who have the same ideas but fail terribly because they are not realistic. The biggest think I got from the book is that the "simple" lifestyle is often far from simple and that at least one person in the family really needs a steady job outside of the farm. Many had "great" ideas and thought they could make it by selling things they produce, etc.... which ended up in miserable living circustances and then losing both the farm and the marriage. Great book for those of us who may tend to dream a bit too much.

Mama to a little lady and always praying for more.
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#10 of 11 Old 12-15-2010, 12:40 PM
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About 15 years ago (so in my mid 20s), my mother and I went over to visit HER mother in England. At this point, I had been living in another province with my fiance for a couple of years, and was in graduate school.


I was up in my room at my Nana's house reading one afternoon when my mother stormed in, complaining that Nana was treating her "like a child who couldn't make a decision for herself". After ranting for a minute or so, she took a breath, and then started telling me to open the window more, sit under the light, and couldn't I change into more suitable clothes for the weather? The irony was completely lost on her.


She STILL says things like "just make sure it's livable", or to my husband when he was re-doing the basement "just make sure it's not a bearing wall".


My point is that many parents can't let go, ever. Your choice, if you want to feel independent, is to smile, nod, and do whatever it is you want, or to push back each and every time. I suspect neither is completely successful. But don't live your life worrying about what they think.


My parents thought we were nuts for buying our acreage (and we have lights, running water, a furnace and everything :P). So what. We love it. They've seen that we're happy and they've learned to love it too.

Perdita - newly SAHM to DD July/05 & DS Feb/10 joy.gif
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#11 of 11 Old 12-17-2010, 01:33 AM - Thread Starter
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wow, thanks everyone!  I kind of had a lot of these things in my head already, it's just really nice to hear from so many other people who have "been there, done that".  good to know that while  I may be crazy, i'm not completely nuts... yet.


thanks also, LessTraveledBy, for the book recomendation!  My hubby has been watching this thread for a few days now as well and before even telling me he was he went and put a hold on that book at our library!  what a sweetie!  it sounds like a wonderful book!  and just in time for us to actually sit down and do some serious planning as we finish our finals later today!  (forever! yay!)


I love hearing these stories!  please KEEP SHARING!

 thank you all so much!



Farming mama to DD1 (10/18/07), DD2 (10/3/09) who are always DS born 8.21.14 and wife to loving hubby (6/23/2007).
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