Recently, I’ve been interested in simplifying, a lot!
There are a number of books out there about the idea of a simplicity lifestyle and even a sort of movement on slow parenting. I am no expert on these matters, as I am just starting to find ways to get closer to the basics of life, without distractions or clutter from stuff, to get back to a simpler approach to raising my family.
I was definitely skeptical at first. In this media laden world, where the next greatest thing is attainable, achievable and deemed necessary, it’s not so easy to go against that grain and slow things down, to not want to be a part of it.
I think for the sake of myself and my family, this gradual switch to our roots in a way is just what we need.
My husband I made a point early on before our child to always have dinner together at the table, to turn off and tune out anything else and just spend dinner with each other every night. Our little one has been quite used to this now and it reconnects us after we have spent the day apart.
It also focuses our attention on the food we eat and created. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t give her share of no’s when we put carrots on her plate, or that the dinner goes smoothly all the time. But it does afford us the time and company that we need at the end of a long day.
I’ve also been trying to ensure that our home is as clutter-free as possible and that there is a basic order to things in our home, a place for everything and everything in its place, as they say. It’s not always easy either on days we have several engagements but we try to at least lay the foundation.
I found it creates a less frantic environment when things are arranged in an orderly manner, without stuff all over in piles and overwhelming with too many choices. I go through regular purges now to determine what really needs to stay and try to not bring in anything new that doesn’t have real value in some way.
My daughter has just a few basic toys in view and a small number stored away to bring out when she is older. This may sound a bit hokey to some, especially when you’re bombarded by advertisements for things that sound like they could make your life easier-- a combination plastic thingy that does the work in half the time, a walking talking robot that teaches several languages (okay, I made that one up).
The challenge is definitely family and friends who don’t quite share the same view and want to shower our daughter with gifts for birthdays and holidays. That’s something to tackle another day.
It’s refreshing to know that there are ways to bring back very basic ideas that are not so far from what generations before us knew. Things like creating meals together, cleaning and doing real chores together and spending moments of quiet and relaxation without unnecessary outside entertainment and just letting children naturally play and be.
I’m looking to find ways to simplify other areas of my life too, to take the focus inward. I have been so wrapped up with family life and work life that I also need to reconnect with myself and find simpler ways to do that.