Here’s what real-life simple living looks like, when you’re a busy parent smack dab in the middle of raising young kids. It’s about little habits and shifts in perspective that add up to something big.
Is simple living unattainable when you’re in the throws of parenting young children?
Sometimes it feels like it, when you have to choose between housework and spending time with your kids.
Or when you re-heat your coffee for the fourth time because so many little emergencies bubbled up over the course of the morning.
Or when the donation bag is overflowing, because while you might snatch some time to declutter upon occasion, it’s a Herculean feat to get three kids pottied and buckled happily in the minivan for a trip to the thrift store!
There’s just too much going on at this stage of life for anything to be clear cut, whether it’s your choices or the state of your home. And depending on how many children you have and how far apart they’re spaced, this life season can be several chapters long.
So. How can we simplify our stuff, our schedules, our routines when things are naturally so chaotic?
Well, there are a few ways, I’m finding. They’re small, mind you, but I think the impact is cumulative. For the record, I’m writing this when our children are 5, 2, and 4 months. Things can get a little crazy around here at times, but it’s still one of our family values to live simply where we can. Here’s what simple living looks like for us these days…
Simple living looks like eating the same thing for breakfast, most mornings. (For us, it’s overnight oats. Healthy, cheap, easy to make, easy to clean up from.)
Simple living looks like having a lean, predictable wardrobe so you can throw on something quickly and go.
Simple living looks like keeping only a couple of toy options out at a time…and locking the rest in the closet.
Simple living looks like turning your kids outdoors to make their own fun.
Simple living looks like defining your priorities, so you spend time on what’s important and forgive yourself for neglecting the rest.
Simple living looks like small allotments of time: a 5-minute snuggle, 15 minutes for a reading lesson, a 20-minute tidying session, or just 1 time around the pond so you can all get at least a little walk in.
Simple living looks like sometimes writing short blog posts, so you can scratch that writer’s itch without spending hours doing it.
Simple living looks like acknowledging the unique demands of this season of life, and accepting everyday entropy.
Simple living looks like lots of time at home; an uncluttered calendar and wide, wide margins.
Simple living looks like offering fewer choices to your kids–what to eat, what to wear, what to bring when you go somewhere. “This or This,” you say, “And that is all!”
Simple living looks like, every now and then, ignoring what could-be-should-be-done so you can just be lazy with your family.
Simple living looks like simple liturgies that ground us: meals together, and Quiet Times, and evening prayer.
Simple living looks like early bedtimes for the kids, so the parents can recharge before doing it all again the next day.