Welcome to the May edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival – Daily Lives cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what we do to keep the little things from overwhelming us. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.
Life with kids can quickly get complicated, especially if you listen to the media about what marketers want you to believe about what they need or should be doing. It doesn’t have to be like that.
Keep it Simple with Stuff
Those hundreds of items that baby registries tell you a baby needs are mainly just to make money. You don’t need all of that stuff, and your children certainly don’t. The marketing continues through childhood, and with other people, the stuff can take over. Keep the items which are quality and add enjoyment to your life. The rest is just clutter, cluttering up your home, cluttering up your life, and making more work for you. All of that stuff has to be picked up and put away. It need to be moved to clean. If it isn’t adding anything significant to your life, let it go.
Keep it Simple with Schedules
Schedules are a big problem when it comes to older children’s activities. I’ve heard from too many parents who were afraid not to put Little Johnny in the next activity on the list for fear that he might have talent which would go untapped, because some other kid would have a better resume, or because someone they knew was pressuring them. Life is short, and the time you have with your children is even shorter. The fact is your child can’t do everything, and if by some chance you could squeeze in every possible activity, they would never be able to master every activity and become an Olympic winner in every category, a virtuoso on every instrument, and a science and math award in the nth degree (pun intended), along with the collection of novels they wrote. Childhood isn’t a finish line to see how many things you can accrue on some list or to become an expert in something, unless that something is their own self. Childhood is a time when kids get to learn new things every day, explore the world around them, and figure out who they are and what they believe. That takes time – that same time many children are spending being chauffeured from one activity to the next before falling into bed.
Keep it Simple with Activities
Family activities are a great way to spend time with your kids, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it. Cook with them. Read with them. Go hiking at a local nature center. Play a board game (and there are fun board games which won’t have you wanting to hit your head against a wall). Design something. Garden. Build something. Talk to them and most importantly, listen.
Keep it Simple with Family
Really, what your children really want is to spend time with you. Make certain you are getting that time, whether it means spending the weekend or the evenings as a family or making a decision to homeschool. Whether you are a stay at home parent, work at home parent, or work out of the home parent, you are firstmost a parent and your children are waiting for you. Don’t let other things get in the way.
Keep it Simple with Love
It may not be all you need, but love will get you pretty far. Are you doing things you don’t love? Are there things you can cut out of your life? Are there items which are a drain? Are you spending time doing what you love or with whom you love?
Life doesn’t have to be hectic and crazy. We tend to do that to ourselves. When we start cutting back to what is really important to us by keeping it simple, life suddenly becomes much more enjoyable.
- Keeping Stress at Bay From Day to Day – Laura at Authentic Parenting sums up some of the things she does to avoid being overwhelmed.
- How I Stay Sane! – ANonyMous @ Radical Ramblings discusses the coping mechanisms she has to stay sane when her life is chaotic and often stressful.
- Organising – sustainablemum talks about how spending time planning ahead has given her more time for life!
- Simple Menu Planning for New Moms – No longer a lady of leisure, new mom Mercedes at Project Procrastinot has had to rethink her cooking style in order to maximize her time in the kitchen.
- Happy Homes/Peaceful Homes – According to Lisa at Squishable Baby, It’s the things that bring us closer together as a family – that keep our home Peaceful.
- Keeping It Simple – At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy focuses on keeping things simple so that she can spend her time enjoying her family.
I know all to many families that are running to and fro – right after school – putting their kids in this and that. The thing they don’t realize – is if they just stop and spend that time with their children – their family will grow in amazing ways. Sometimes, you have just got to stop.
I know things are different because we homeschool – so I am here all day with my kids, but I allow one activity – period. If I’m really good, they are both on the same day around the same time. Ava has violin and Hadyn has karate. That’s it – that’s all they are doing. And definitely, nothing on Sundays. Even with that, I feel like we are running around. I couldn’t imagine, violin, karate, soccer, swimming, etc. etc. and so forth.
Thanks so such a great post Mandy! I am never disappointed when I come here. I always learn so much.
Oh yeah, i am reading the parenting books you suggested – and loving every minute of it! If I ever get through one, I will definitely do a review!
Sadly most of the parents who over schedule their lives, including their children’s, are doing so to meet their own unmet needs. All this serves to do is perpetuate the problems to the next generation. If only as parents we were allowed to just get on with it rather than feeling that we must do x,y,z and a,b,c to keep up with other parents who are all probably feeling the same way.
I definitely agree with the over scheduling and what previous commenters have said. These are great tips! My big area to work on is the stuff. I remember the registry suggestions for twins were so overwhelming! Glad that’s over with and now can focus on keeping it simple! Thanks for sharing.
I agree so much with this. We have been making an effort to slow down quite a bit, it seems that our homeschool group had so many great field trips we felt we needed to do them all and ended up frazzled! We are back to lazy morning and afternoons exploring at the beach, we are much calmer and happier. 🙂
We do that sometimes with the homeschool field trips. It’s always a big reminder to slow down a bit. Things will still be there at a later point.
completely agree… I have to remind myself to ‘just be’ with my kids now and again… I have a very hard time doing that