I saw this quote posted on Becoming Minimalist today and it made me reflect. How true this is for me. We bought a house in the suburbs before we got married, we were picky in that we wanted move in ready with enough bedrooms for future kids….we could hardly afford it. We had extremely limited finances when we had kids, but we still felt like we needed it all, a $200 stroller, a new crib, this that and the other thing. Keeping up with the Jones’, making sure our kids didn’t miss out.
It took my illness, parenting the tornado, a year of not even really being able to afford food for the week…to start to wake me up. To realize that I don’t need to do all that, that my kids don’t need all that…that we were indeed trading in our peace and our sanity for what? To feel like we were providing. But what were we providing – a dad who worked long hours, a mom who was always stressed and sickly, sure there were plenty of good times in that period, but I look back with sadness on years that should have been full of happy memories.
Nearly a year ago we started to really try and simplify in an effort to reconnect with what mattered, – 9 months ago we found minimalism, and it has changed my outlook dramatically. I don’t care anymore if my kids are not in multiple activities – they are each in one thing (well the 3 year old’s is preschool) and I now value attachment and free play that they get to do at home as super important. I don’t feel the need for them to have every toy they ask for (or even a tenth) because I have seen how much better they play when they don’t have more then a few.
Life feels more manageable, my chronic health issues are on a back burner instead of what dictates my every waking moment, we are able to sit down and evaluate how we are doing as individuals and as a family because we are not constantly on the go and we are home enough that we have time with each other to realize when something is going on. Sure we would probably do more if we had the money, but we don’t…and honestly I don’t miss doing more or having anymore anyways…the quest now is for peace, hope, attachment, and healthy relationships….the money and the stuff – they are just a tool to be used to strive towards those goals and if they don’t edify the family, then they are not worth pursuing or spending money on.
I started this blog to document a journey.
Here a few things I have noticed since beginning to de-clutter and subscribe to a simpler life:
– I have more energy; which means my house gets cleaned more often, new or fun activities are no longer put off for fear of mess or time, I am able to be more present with my children, I can give more energy to my business, I can do more then just the bare minimum in a day, We have way more family time, I even sometimes have the energy to get outside and walk – which with a chronic illness that has robbed me of so much the past 2 years, is incredibly freeing.
– My home feels like a place of peace and rest instead of a jail
– I feel less guilty about what I can’t provide…and prouder of what I can
– I fight with my husband less (not don’t we are still married – but less.) and we can spend evenings together instead of spending them putting stuff away.
– My kids rooms don’t feel overwhelming
– its easier to see what we do need and what we really don’t.
– my daughter takes naps once in a while again (since there are no more toys to play with)
– my room feels like an escape (even with its not finished state)
– The TV is no longer the focal point of our living room (we downsized to a smaller screen!), which has cut down on the kids asking to watch it a LOT! Which in turn means everyone is in a better mood when the kids are not TV zomgrumpies.
– We can find things!
– We don’t need a second vehicle just to go away for a weekend (ok so that might be an exaggeration, but we went from everyone having their own suitcase for a 3 day trip to mom and both kids being able to share a carry on our last weekend trip! That said we did have to do laundry while away…. maybe 2 suitcases will be the happy medium!)
– My kids fight less, and play together more.
– My kids are more creative in their play – even the one with processing challenges that never showed any sign of imagination and very little ability to play independently until this past December now pretends all the time!
If this list doesn’t make you want to go purge another room….there is something wrong with you. I’m joking of course but in all seriousness, I started on this journey to try and reduce stress – and am amazed at all these amazing benefits that have been added to our life along the way!
We went away for Easter this year. Other years we have had a Easter hunt at home full of candies, then another Easter hunt at church for more chocolate and then some time with the family who typically give them more then they even know what to do with. This year we went to the lake, and didn’t buy any candy, a last minute hunt was suggested by the grandparent generation but with not much on hand the kids searched the yard for just a handful of pieces of chalk, kinder eggs and bubbles pooled together from what the adults had around- and it was the first Easter Hunt to date that no one was in tears by the end over something. Lesson learned: Less overwhelm, less sugar, less expectations and less stuff made for a far more memorable and meaningful day.