Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Letting Kids Be Kids

Emily Popa is the homestead mama behind Wilders Homestead, a 2.5 acre homestead in Wilders, NC where she lives with her husband and daughter, raising a variety of birds, hogs, rabbits, and bees. The following is an excerpt of a previous Instagram takeover.

Hello Mamas! I’m Emily from @WildersHomestead in Wilders NC, and I’m a first time mom to the most incredible little girl Violeta (yes, I’m biased!). She is 17 months old, she is packed full of energy, and having her has changed every aspect of our homestead.

My husband Dragoș, a blacksmith/metal fabricator @raleighiron and I have 2.5 acres tucked into the woods in central/eastern North Carolina, just east of Raleigh. Our homesteading goal is to raise and grow as much of our own food as possible. We’re about 90% there, not too shabby!

We keep turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, and chickens for eggs, meat, and pest control. We raise goats for milk. We have hogs for all the delicious pork goodies, rabbits for meat, and bees for honey & pollination. We also have extensive gardens, plenty of fruit trees & berry bushes, mushroom logs, and we love to forage for wild edibles in the nearby woods and fields. Oh, and we’re putting in a blueberry U-pick farm at my in-law’s house just down the road… so there’s that. Needless to say, it is busy enough around here without adding a toddler to the mix!

I’m so excited to share with you lots of “days in the life” posts that you can relate to, some inspiration, a few tips I have learned along the way of this motherhood homesteading chaotic-but-awesome journey, as well as plenty of issues we struggle to overcome. Stay tuned over the next few days as I share some posts and IG stories! I look forward to getting to know some fellow Homesteading Mamas and sharing with you as we learn together.

Just this week, one of my Nigerian Dwarf goats has mastitis, and my Mini LaMancha goat has oozing gash in her leg. I’ve got rabbits expected to kindle any day. Ducklings are set to arrive from the hatchery, we’re selling a few of our pigs to a neighbor. I’ve got gallons of Sugar Snap Peas to harvest and ferment into our favorite probiotic pickles ever, greens to steam and freeze, radishes to pull, potatoes and corn to plant. I have a wheelbarrow of rabbit manure to put out on the garden.

My husband is working on expanding the shelter for our rabbits, installing more cat doors so our farm cats have better access to the mice, fixing the electric hog fence, putting in organic mole/vole deterrent at our future blueberry u-pick farm, and fixing the lawn mower. He also works a highly physical day job, and has to watch our little girl while I milk the goats. And oh yea, I have to find time to raise my kid, cook for my family, pack lunch for my husband, and do the dishes. Laundry, cleaning the floor and bathrooms, washing windows… those are on the list too.


This may read as a list of complaints as well as a to-do list, but in reality I’m excited by most of it. I get to learn to treat mastitis naturally (it worked!) and heal a pretty bad wound on a pregnant animal (doing okay, but taking suggestions). The baby rabbits will be the first to be born here on our homestead. Our ducklings are a new-to-us breed (Welsh Harlequin), and I’m looking forward to teaching my neighbors about raising hogs and hog fencing. I’m thankful to have a garden that’s producing food for my family, and I enjoy the rituals of cooking and cleaning. Well, except doing the dishes. I hate doing dishes…

I try to do most of my chores before my kid wakes up, while she is taking a nap, or after she falls asleep. It’s easier said than done, though, so I often find myself busy with some sort of project when I really should be paying attention to my little girl. I owe it to her to refocus my energy on her several times a day. At least once in the morning, and once in the afternoon, we go outside and I let her choose what we do. More often than not, she chooses a walk in the woods where we keep our goats. I let my toddler be a toddler: climbing trees, balancing on stumps, and splashing in holes where trees used to be.

Sometimes this means she gets caught in a patch of briars and scrapes up her legs, but that’s part of learning. We just wash it off when we get back inside and put some tallow balm on it. The scars will fade but the memories will keep forever. Maybe not the memory of any particular day, but the memory of the feeling: Walking through the woods with all her beloved goats in tow, waiting for their next treat.

We bend down skinny trees so her herd can nibble on the topmost leaves. She races the kids to the top of the big leaning Hickory tree. They always climb higher, but I think she has more fun. Maybe she spends 20 minutes picking up handfuls of sand and piling them on her favorite goat’s back. Whatever it may be, it’s better than being stuck inside. It’s better than being on a strict schedule or timeline. It’s messy, it’s fun, and it’s a real childhood. On days when I’m a less than perfect mother, I try to remind myself that, at least in general, my little girl is living the way kids should live.


Please join us by sharing, continuing the conversation below, and connecting with Emily at the following:


MORE Stories

Deeply Rooted

I am not well traveled. I’ve never flown on a plane. I’ve never been north of Ohio or west of Texas.I’m not as well traveled as some may say one should be, but this piece of land has housed all of my fondest memories…

Read More

Embracing Joy on a Humble Life Journey

Do you ever worry that your kids will miss out because of this homesteading lifestyle choice? This fear crosses my mind time to time. I’m sure many, if not most of you, could agree that it can be extremely difficult to get extended time away from the homestead for more than a full day, especially in the busy summer months when daily chores demand our regular attention…

Read More

The Fruits of Our Labor

What a high calling to teach, train, and raise our children. Yet all around us the world is screaming of how little worth motherhood holds. It is truly a detriment to the family how the world would belittle the work of a mother…

Read More

Involving Our Children

Involving Our Children
Even when the task is risky

As homesteaders there are many instances when we are creating things that hold a certain level
of risk, or even where we need to keep our concentration on the task at hand…

Read More

Healing on the Homestead

“In some Native languages the term for plants translates to ‘those who take care of us’ … the land knows you, even when you are lost.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass…

Read More

Babies, Business, and Bumper Crops

Babies, Business, and Bumper Crops: How I am Learning to Homestead with Babies in Tow

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the days when you are cleaning the baby’s diaper, milking the cow, scooping poop in the barn, wiping noses, and cleaning more poop off of kids’ shoes…

Read More

Frontier Homesteading

Hey there, Homesteading Mama’s!
I’m Rachel from @frontier_homesteading. My husband Ryan, three children and I have been homesteading for about 10 years now, first in Wyoming and now in Alaska.
We currently have milk goats, pack goats, sheep, a pig, a cow, chickens, rabbits, bees and a dog. Seasonally, we also have more pigs, meat chickens and turkeys….

Read More

Holiday Stained Glass Windows with RuthAnn

Stained glass windows date back to the 7th century. With the earliest known reference dating
from 675 AD when workmen were imported from France to Britain to Glaze the windows of a

Read More

Returning to Nature

Homesteading and growing food is not the easy way out of this life, i would say it is the hard way as there’s nothing convenient about it. It’s a lifestyle, a life change not a trend or hobby. Well, that’s my opinion any way…

Read More

Join In The Conversation

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

A Patchwork of Homestead Mamas

An inspiring & encouraging community of Homestead Mamas. For growers, hunters, foragers, & explorers; with little hands & little hearts alongside.

Join Our Community