Whaaaaaa? Yes, your sleep deprived eyes do not deceive you. PARENTING=THE SIMPLE LIFE? I was inspired by this article to really embrace some less-is-more type principles. I found myself angry, irritated and disappointed by the season of life I was experiencing. It gave me the freedom to expect less – a lot less actually – of myself just for now. Not forever. So without further delay – I’ll clue you in on what we are doing to live a simpler – and thus a bit more joyful – life!
Our typical daily schedule looks something like this…
….rinse and repeat. I give you this glimpse to hopefully show you that there is shockingly little time to grocery shop, entertain, pay bills, clean house, or do laundry. If your family is anything like our family, you value sleep, creative play, nutrition and structure in the life of your child. We have found (and so has science!) that a good routine is key to children growing into holistically healthy adults.
However, to achieve this nirvana of sorts… (HA) means that for this short season in life we are saying a lot of, “No thanks.”… instead of “Yes, we’d love to!”
It’s hard. I’m an eager-to-please type and before becoming a mom I worked full-time and was heavily involved in my community. We entertained A LOT. I went to yoga, and I cooked labor intensive meals. I attended ALL. THE. EVENTS. Fast forward to now and two kids under the age of three.
Here are some tips, tricks and things we’re setting aside in the name of sanity.
EMBRACE THE PAPER PLATE
Girls. I know… the environment. But this isn’t forever… this is for now. Literally, get the jumbo pack of 8″ round paper plates and MOVE ON.
THE “ONE OUT OF TEN” TRICK
Yes, I’m asking you to say “no” nine times out of every ten. one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine. Sounds harsh, right? The theory is this: you’ll aim for nine “No thanks.”, but you will actually only execute seven and will then be guilted into two cases of “Sure, we can make that happen”… for a total of 3 commitments. One of these you’ll likely regret and two you’ll enjoy. I find that I am angry when I am stretched thin. I realized part of the reason was that I had unrealistic expectations of myself and my kids. Again… these choices aren’t forever… they’re for now.
We’ve learned that the phrasing, “We don’t schedule activities during _______” is a positive way to rephrase the traditional, “We can’t that day….” The New York Times explains why!
We don’t schedule…
- almost anything on Sunday. It’s not a religious-keep-the-Sabbath-holy bit either. (although we do live in the Bible belt) It’s more of a “Don’t start the week off rushed-and-unorganized-and-tired-and-hungry.”
- events during afternoon naps
- any events that require a babysitter two nights in a row
- any event the night before school or the day after*
(*Our kids attend a one-day-a-week preschool program that they love. It’s great for socialization,plus we allllllll need a break from each other and general development of independence… but it makes for a tiiiiiiiired day!
Now, I realize that at this point two of my three points involve food. In case you haven’t noticed, kids eat often and in large quantities (at least mine do). We want our kids to be well-rounded in lots of ways and that includes their palate. However, complex meals typically mean a significant amount of preparation and equal amounts of post-production. We’ve embraced the “tapas platter for kids” approach. Now, this can be a hot button issue so proceed with grace as I give examples of meals for two kids:
canned green beans, black beans, carrots and a sliced apple (“no skin!” says the nearly three year old). Boom. I like to warm the canned veggies on the stove-top. Sometimes I get fancy and de-frost frozen (supposedly better for you).
Pasta. Sauce. Fruit.
Olives. Carrots. Peaches.
Rice. (a wee undercooked and it sticks together to form rice balls)
Microwaved potatoes cut into cubes.
Think simple. We doctor up foods with spices and sauces on the side.