Minimalism is so hot right now. The popularity of Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizer/author who inspired us to clean out our closets, speaks to our universal craving for simplicity. More stuff does not equal more joy; it’s the basics that bring the bliss. Why can’t we apply these same minimalism principles to our parenting and #momlife?
Minimalism is essentially a movement to simplify our lives to gain more time. Yes, our closets are full of stuff, but our brains and calendars are bursting at the seams as well. We’re bombarded with constant stimuli, stress, and hectic schedules. If your Saturday morning soccer schedule involves an Excel spreadsheet, you are officially overbooked.
Bringing minimalism into our lives does not need to involve stark deprivation. Instead of selling all of our belongings and living in a van by the river, here are some slow and steady ways we can incorporate minimalism into our parenting.
Pick one extracurricular activity per kid. We often fall prey to the pressure to overschedule our kids with activities. If you have more than one kid, these activities can snowball into evenings and weekends crammed full of carpools, concerts, and games. If we limit it to one activity per kid, we might even have some heavenly weeknights at home. Imagine dinner around the table instead of the Chic-fil-a drive-through.
Screen-free Sundays. Screens are hard. We are the first generation of parents having to deal with the challenge of regulating these addictive and time-sucking iPads, phones, and video games. Screens are a part of life now, integrated into most schools and even homework. Picking one day a week to be screen-free (or even starting with one afternoon a week) gives our kids a break from the overstimulation and guarantees some family time.
Make simple, fresh meals. During the week, life can get busy, especially during the dinner hour. Instead of falling prey to fast food or spending an hour on an elaborate meal, we can make conscious choices to make simple meals with fresh ingredients. These are always the best meals anyway. Plan ahead and check out these recipes.
Guard your time. There’s always an Easter egg hunt, a food truck festival, or a cook-out at a friend’s house vying for our precious time. It’s so freeing to realize we don’t have to say “Yes” to every invitation. If our hearts don’t sing in response to an invitation, don’t do it. It’s perfectly okay to say we need a quiet night at home.
While we’re at it, we also don’t have to say “Yes” to every single kid birthday party invitation we receive. Just pick the friends your child is truly close with.
Slow your roll on the toy purchases. If you’re anything like me, maybe you went a little overboard on buying 250 Beanie Boos for your kid when that was the craze. That lapse in judgment has left us with 250 mostly-untouched Beanie Boos crowding up the playroom. Good news! It’s never too late to be more mindful of going overboard on buying toys for our kids.
Don’t buy something if you suspect it’s going to be gathering dust within a week. Better yet, for older kids, assign chores and an allowance and let your kids decide which toys are worth their hard-earned cash.
For many of us, minimalism means listening to that whisper within to simplify our lives and get back to what matters. When we get rid of the stuff and pare back our “busy-ness,” we make more room for both connection and relaxation. The real truth of minimalism: simple is good for the soul.