“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa
I’m out on this beautiful day at a nearby golf course as my son’s caddy. Life. Is. Awesome.
But what symbolizes a good life to you?
What do you sacrifice to achieve that life?
What or Who do you worship to get there?
Minimalism is a great endeavor. Motherhood is amazing. Traveling is awesome. Approval from others feels great.
But all of these things are horrible gods to worship.
Yes, we love all of these things but that’s our family. What is your family’s journey?
Inspiration found on the web is helpful if it supports you in your family’s personal journey. But it’s actually harmful to read all these inspirational posts if you’re pining to do what others are doing without first having set a vision for yourself and your fam.
That said – Do what YOU do best. Do what gives YOU life. Follow YOUR vision.
On that note, I’d love to share with you a few ways our family simplified our lives because we desire an intentional life with our young family right now. Not next month, next year or even later. But right now.
More and more parents are choosing slow living and a simpler way of life not only for themselves but out of a desire for the benefits that affect their whole family and thus their whole community.
Choosing a simpler life doesn’t mean you give up everything in order to find happiness. In fact, it means holding on to things that are most dear to you and letting everything else go.
I’m not talking martyrdom. I’m talking life.
Because Less Stuff, More Love. Am I right?
Here are FIVE specific ways our family chose a simpler, more intentional way of life:
1) Choosing slow living over busyness.
We cleared our calendars and moved forward only choosing to fill our time with meaningful-to-us stuff. We slimmed extra-curricular activities. We said “no” more than we said “yes.” And then, we just kept it up and it’s been incredibly freeing.
2) Intentionally pursuing our parental roles instead of trying to be what society tells us to be as a father/mother.
We chose to parent our children intentionally from day one.
This means emphasizing relationships over success. This means using less screens and having more one on one conversations. This means taking the time to cook healthy meals almost every night instead of both parents rushing home from work and throwing something together last-minute.
This means being with each other. A LOT.
We live unconventionally and always have. We love homeschooling. As a mother I choose to be with my kids every day. I believe we as parents love and and care more about their education than anyone else and so we live in a way that emphasizes this.
My husband chooses family over work and thus runs his own consulting firm. This means we often live with uncertainty and have to deal with weird insurance and investment issues versus him holding a comfortable office job with a 401K. And I am so grateful he gave up this comfort because he prioritizes his wife and kids.
I don’t expect everyone to homeschool or run his or her own business. What I’d love to see is every parent choosing his or her role intentionally. When you prioritize relationships over having a bigger house, more furniture, better cars and lots of toys it means the mom (or dad) chooses to stay home so everyone feels loved, cared for and worth their parent’s time.
Remember the quote from Mother Teresa? “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” Yeah…she was kinda right.
Studies show when you prioritize relationships over stuff you have less things but better relationships and kids grow up to be socially healthy, confident adults. (Did I really need to say “studies show” though?) I have plenty of single mom friends who work their butts off but then come home and intentionally spend time with their kids and go on adventures together. Which brings me to…
3) Foregoing consumerism in leu of more experiences together.
Our world is big and there are so many amazing people out there. There is ALWAYS a simple way to “get out there.” You don’t have to have a lot of money. In fact, these days there are plenty of ways to travel while making money to fund your wanderlust.
We do a ton of things that cost money and a ton of things that don’t cost money. I could write an entire post on this (and maybe I will). Free stuff: Read, hike, play, picnic, fish, walk, listen, paint, play games, swim, laugh – there’s no time like now to spend with the ones you love.
We stopped making excuses about chores and things that don’t matter in the long run and started just hanging out as a family.
4) Saying YES to our kids.
Living minimally means I don’t have to fold ten piles of laundry or wash a million dishes and so it’s easy for me to say “yes.” If they ask me to read a book, take a walk, go on a bike ride or go on an adventure – I (generally) and happily say yes. I find it my job to say yes to these desires because they’re only kids for a very, very short time.
Through simplifying our stuff I’m able to slough off the majority of tedious projects and instead, invite my kids into the fold, having them cook, read or simply do life together. I find when I’m distracted with household chores or things outside of my control I added to my plate instead of keeping it simple, I turn into cranky mom.
We just make sure we get our personal time in as parents so saying “yes” comes easy.
5) Creating a peaceful home environment and atmosphere.
A few ways we continue to do this EVERY DAY are:
––Getting time in with God every morning. He tends to help me set the tone I so desperately need.
––Intentionally carving out space and time to have mom/dad alone time (yes, every day).
––Following our personal passions while the kids watch or join in or follow their own.
––Getting time in nature.
––Squashing yelling (follow this inspiring mom for tips & tools to stop raising your voice)
––Taking deep breaths before reacting to anything.
––Lowering or completely erasing our debt. Talk about a stress-reliever.
––Realizing our kids are just kids. They need love, guidance and support every day so there’s no need to be surprised every time they ask for it. 🙂
––Telling everyone you love them and hug them often. My husband is seriously awesome at this.
We’re not perfect. Our household isn’t blissful every day (my husband is handy in calling me out when things aren’t as peaceful as we envision) #justbeinghonest – but it is more often than not thanks to simplifying and intentionally living our lives.
I hope you get to simplify your life if you too are on this journey and find room to breath, live and enjoy life more often with your family.