Simple is Better

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My Quest
Lately I am on a quest to simplify my family’s life. I can’t tell you how or why it happened but somehow each and every one of us took on too much and the end result is that we’ve lost our focus and our sanity at the same time.

Everything we are doing is good when you look at it separately it’s just when you apply the laws of mathematics cumulatively we have too much on our plate.

What is the price to pay we pay for this? Stress levels are elevated, sleep patterns are disturbed, weight gain has increased, fitness levels decreased, and we’ve lost the simple joy of being able to hang out and relax together.

As mom, it’s my job to pull us together, keep us organized and make the day-to-day stuff happen. When I see my family unhappy, eating badly, not sleeping well and just all around cranky, it’s my job to step in as the referee and blow the whistle.

Time to reevaluate, eliminate all excess clutter in our world and get us back to the basics.

In a society where more is always better kids are encouraged and actually barraged with invitations to try new things. Birthday parties now have to be bigger and better than last years party was, kids are in multiple sports, and then take on dance lessons and band. Between school, sports, dance, cheerleading, soccer etc the list of possibilities goes on and on.

Parents are no better, we take on extra projects at work, stay late at the office to impress the boss or go in early trying to not to be the employee that gets laid off.

I see how this happens. To me the challenge is how to use our role as mom’s to center our families, reestablish some basic boundaries, manage the chaos and reclaim family time.

This mom’s plan of attack:

It may sound radical but the past year this is what I have done.

Declutter

I led the war on clutter in my home. It was like leading the war on drugs or terrorism! I had to get serious! We’ve cleaned, sorted, purged, sold and donated all but the most foundational items. It was a painful project that took an enormous amount of time and effort but was surprisingly enlightening and empowering.

I actually found boxes that haven’t been opened for 15 years in my garage, even an unopened wedding gift from 28 years ago and a 9-year-old box of discarded junk mail! Why did I have all of that stuff? Because we collect this and then develop a fear of letting go. That or we just get overwhelmed with piles of stuff and put off sorting though it.

We get caught up in the crazy thought process, some family member gave this to me therefore I have to keep it or maybe I will need it someday.

I forced my little tribe to step back and get some perspective. It’s just stuff.

Downsize:

Trying to keep up with bigger and better is exhausting. Bigger houses, more bathrooms, bigger yards, multi car garages and excess toys all require physical and emotional support as well has a drain on your pocketbook.

Granted I took downsizing to an extreme recently but I think it is a healthy topic to at least consider. We sold the big house and downsized because we are almost empty nesting and just don’t need that much space right now. We took it pretty far by going from a large suburban house to a much smaller home but you know what? We love it!

Look at it this way, it takes me only a couple hours to clean now and with less stuff we actually know where to find the things we actually want and need! Wow!!

It was scary at first but I’m very glad we did it although it is a constant battle.


Eliminate Distractions

I took my quest even farther when I started to see positive results of a happier family. In fact, I was so radical I cleaned out the refrigerator and pantry and got rid of all the junk food that had accumulated over time. Yes, I said it, no more Cheetos, Duritos or sodas. Instead I stocked us up with vast amounts of lean meats, fresh and frozen veggies and colorful fruits! Insane, I know!

But wait there’s more! I did something else that few have had the courage to do- I turned off the tv and disconnected the house phone! While I have recently relented and we’ve restored tv, we are trying to keep a lid on it so it doesn’t get out of control again. Egad, you say!

I have watched my teen complain bitterly, crab and moan actually, but she feels better, is sleeping soundly, and has been reading more. Additionally, she is teaching herself to draw cartoon figures with a book she got at the library and is working on teaching the dog new tricks! She is learning to cook, spends a lot of time playing tennis and bike riding and has even discovered she likes beef jerky and fruit!

What’s next on my crazed quest to simplify? All organic cotton or tofu only meals? I probably will not go to those extremes but I do plan to try Gluten free menu plan for a month and see if that helps with some lingering health issues.

My point is simple

As moms we have to be willing to fight back against negative influences and we have to be able to help our families when they need it.

The fight goes on in my quest to simplify life. I believe the less bogged down with day to day life the more opportunity we have to explore our world around us and try new things and make new memories!

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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