Recently, a friend sent me a message about a recurring theme on this blog: being a simple mom.
“I was reading your blog, and you mentioned being a minimalist.. HELP!? Please, how did you start this…
I am drowning over here, so much so that I wish our house would burn down so I can start over, and not bring anything into the house! (I know, terrible…)
Are there websites/books/resources that you can suggest that will help me take the steps toward doing this? I am losing my mind!“
Do you identify with this? Do you long for a more simple kind of life?
In answer, I told my friend that the reason I embrace simple living is simply because I find that being tidy, having a routine and using good organization in my life makes motherhood easier. Clutter is stressful, and we all need a little margin in our routine.
I’m not saying my way is best. It takes all kinds of people to make a world. However, there’s much evidence that simplicity can make meeting your goals easier.
Simplicity can be the difference between getting what you want out of life and not getting it. The difference between chaos and sanity.
It was after having my third child that I got serious about simplifying.
The third kid is critical mass, it seems – you and your husband are now outnumbered, and you only have two hands. So when you go out alone, there’s some serious juggling! I remember having to strategize carefully to get my infant out of her carseat and into her baby sling when we went to Target, without my two toddlers running into the parking lot.
As my life has changed, as I have had more children and more responsibility, I focus even more on keeping things simple. This helps me minimize stress. What’s fine and acceptable when you have one or two kids is unbearable when you have 7! (Read some of my best mom sayings here that make discipline a little easier.)
Simple Mom: 7 ways to simplify
- Keep your home simple. Everything from the color scheme to the decor, when you have kids, can be simple and clean looking. It’s restful on the eyes. There isn’t too much “stuff” everywhere. Just say no to tchotchkes.
- Make your grooming routine simple. When it comes to my wardrobe, I know what I like, what looks good on me, and I employ a minimalist wardrobe. If you choose just three basic colors and two accent colors, everything goes with everything else, making choosing an outfit easy. I prefer a frugal, natural beauty routine. I let my hair do its natural thing (curl), I don’t color my grey.
- Simplify homeschooling. Focus on the basics. Minimalist homeschooling, if you will. Encourage independence in the children’s studies.
- Cook simple meals. Most of the dishes I cook are quite simple, and our favorites are on repeat. I don’t get fancy or try to reinvent the wheel. Snacks are simple things like fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese – stuff the kids can grab themselves.
- Keep homemaking simple. I use only a couple of non-toxic products (that I order from Grove so I don’t have to go out shopping!), or even just water plus a microfiber cloth, to clean everything. Decorate so as to minimize housework in the first place.
- Keep fitness and health simple. I eat a healthy diet, with nutritious favorites on repeat. I keep my exercise routine simple and walk, hike, or bike for fun with my family. I lift dumbbells or do simple bodyweight exercises occasionally. I get movement in my everyday life.
Simplicity also means not being a perfectionist or overachiever who tries to do everything.
Minimalism is about making choices. Choices about how you really want to spend your time. About how you really want to spend your money. What are your values? That’s where your time should be spent.
It’s helpful to ask yourself questions before you bring anything new into your home. Do I want to dust this? Do I want to pay to insure it? Is it going to stress me out if the kids knock it over? Etc.
Resources for simple living:
Anything by Don Aslett. His books are fantastic if you want to simplify your cleaning routine and get rid of clutter once and for all.
One Bite at a Time – a guided simplicity ebook with one project each week for a year. (Formerly called 52 Bites)
How to build a capsule wardrobe
Simple Bullet Journaling – my BuJo is my preferred tool for organizing my schedule, my life and my brain. And I love it! It’s simple, inexpensive and highly customizable.
How to save time at home and make space for what you love.
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