“Less is more.”
You hear this saying all the time… especially these days, when minimalist and decluttering blogs are plentiful. I have always struggled with this concept because I like to shop. Much to my husband’s dismay, I like to spend money. Making my house pretty is fun. I like cute clothes, for myself and my kids. Buying books is an addiction.
I also like to fill up our schedule with lots of activities and fun events. I am an extrovert; being with people is what I do. Saying no is hard. So the “less is more” statement is something I need to hear on a regular basis in order to keep my life and our finances in balance.
But I don’t think we should stop there. If I want less of the stuff and craziness in my life, shouldn’t I want more of something else?
Yes. I do want more. More of what is important and meaningful. Love. Peace. Joy.
Less Stuff, More Freedom
I am constantly bombarded by ads on Facebook, Pinterest, and email coupons. I can often get carried away with all the things I think I should have. Looking for stuff, finding the right deal, and making sure I buy on time sucks time away from what is important. My kids. My husband. Rest. Maybe I don’t need that stuff at all. Will it ever fulfill me or make me happy? Not ever.
The clutter overwhelms me because I keep allowing it into the house. I feel trapped by the guilt to control the clutter in my house. Instead of sitting down with my kids and playing with them, I am surrounded by a never-ending list of putting things away.
Something has to give.
Instead of more stuff to clean up and time wasted on shopping, I want more freedom to do the important and meaningful things… like reading my Bible. Doing crafts with my daughter. Doing extra therapy with my son to make him stronger. Playing a board game with my husband. Face timing with a friend.
Thus, my plan of action for less stuff and more freedom in 2018:
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary email coupons
- Limit my time on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
- Asking myself, “Do I need this or will it bring me joy?” every time I contemplate a purchase
- Get rid of everything we don’t need or use and organize clutter
- Slow down and enjoy time with my kids
- Say “yes” more often than “no” when my children want to play with me
Less Activities, More Peace
Being a stay-at-home mom can be lonely and isolating. And getting out the door these days with a toddler and a baby with extra medical paraphernalia often takes way more effort than it’s worth. But being an extroverted stay-at-home mom also makes it hard to say “no” to social gatherings. I too often overcommit my family to outside activities thinking that they will fulfill me. Make me feel less lonely. But we are burning out from doing too many things and driving too many places each week.
Some of my favorite memories this year have been in my home with my husband and kids. Watching movies. Walking and playing at the nearby park. Baking cookies. Reading. Laughing. Just being together. Being at peace.
This year, I want more peace and rest. I want less busy and less hubbub. Instead of saying “yes” to every social opportunity that comes our way, I want to create space in my family’s days to enjoy the little things, take a nap, and contemplate the beautiful life I live.
Introducing my plan of action for less activities and more peace in 2018:
- Make a list of all of our activities and weed out the ones that are too much
- Get practice at graciously saying “no”
- Manage our daily schedule more efficiently
- Implement some fun family traditions (e.g. Friday night pizza and movie night, family worship night, listening to audio books)
- Do the things that bring me peace (e.g. Bible study, reading, baking, crafting)
- Make time to do nothing and just breathe
Less Striving, More Just Being Me
When my mother was a young mom, the people she knew about were the people she either called or visited in person. There was no email, internet, or Facebook. The striving to be the perfect mom, have the perfect house, and to have the perfect kids (not possible no matter how hard you try) was limited to our close relationships.
Today, we compare ourselves to a mom on the other side of the country whom we’ve never met. Consequently, this has made mothering seem like an impossible task. We are comparing ourselves to a number of different people–at the same time. If we add up all the different attributes of the women we compare ourselves to, we end up trying to be like a woman that doesn’t exist. No woman has every attribute. We are not perfect, and never will be.
So it’s time to be a little easier on ourselves.
My goal this year is to stop striving to be like “that other mom” and just be me. That is what my kids want. That is what my husband wants. They want more of the mom I was designed to be. The quirky, unorganized, passionate, fun-loving mom that was given to them. I want to be free of trying to be someone that I am not.
Presenting my plan of action for less striving, and more just being me:
- Set healthy limits on the time I spend on social media (there it is again!)
- Invest in healthy relationships that aren’t about comparing one another
- Let my kids see more of the real me/sharing my life with them
- Celebrate the gifts of all moms (e.g. host a hobby sharing day, girls night out, compliment rather than compare)
A Toast to Moms All Over Colorado Springs
My hope is that you, dear reader, will be inspired by my “less and more” goals and evaluate your own life. Maybe you will discover some in your own life that I didn’t mention. Nevertheless, here is a toast to the New Year:
May 2018 be the year that you find your groove in motherhood. May you dig down deep and discover what is truly important to you and go after it with all your heart. Let the less important fall away. Let the fluff blow away with the wind. Be the mom you were created to be. Not perfect, but definitely wholehearted. We owe it to ourselves and our families. Here’s to mothers all over our beautiful city!