MINIMALISM AND MOTHERHOOD
Living a minimalist life means you are aware of your true priorities in life and that you make mindful decisions that honour these priorities in everyday life. Parenting is a priority for many of us and in this article I’m exploring the relationship between minimalism and motherhood. Here are 7 ways that minimalism makes me a better mother.
HOW I FIRST BECAME MINIMALIST
Minimalism was the thing that saved me when I was at my lowest point, juggling small kids, a busy career and a million other things – every day, all day. I hadn’t realised how far I’d sunk until a melt-down at work jolted me back into reality and I started to take control of my life, my home, my family and myself.
My melt-down and my search for a new and better life for us all led me to minimalism. I learnt how to embrace a simpler, more intentional life by only saying Yes! to things that felt right, added value and which I loved.
Of course, I’m not suggesting simplifying life is as easy as that! Life is busy and complicated and throws many problems our way. You can read more about minimalism in real life to explore how minimalism can change your life and how you can make minimalism work for you!
I identified trigger factors – times of the day, the week, things that would happen and situations that would make me feel extra-overwhelmed. I realised that the times when I felt most stressed were when I thought about all the things I had to do, the state of my home and when I was generally trying to juggle too many balls in the air.
It was also when I didn’t get any time to re-charge my batteries. When I was too tired from trying to push myself way beyond my limits in my constant quest to be perfect, to get it all right, to set a great example to my kids and everything else I tried to do and be each and every day.
MINIMALISM AND MOTHERHOOD
What I learnt from my own minimalist lifestyle was that Minimalism enabled me to make changes in my life that addressed all these trigger factors. The things that stressed me out, made me feel down or overwhelmed weren’t just what this stage of my life and motherhood was all about.
Minimalism helped me understand that life was bigger than the four walls of my home and (more importantly) that there were ways to change things. It didn’t matter if I had little kids who wouldn’t give me space to breathe, my house was a state and I’d have to go to work frazzled by the morning routine and school run with baby sick on my blouse, again. Minimalism was ultimately to sort all of that out.
By simplifying my home and the key areas of my life, I was able to find it easier and simpler to do the things that I HAVE to do, so I have more time, space and freedom to do the things that I WANT to do.
For busy parents, most of us know what we WANT to do. Amongst other things and not in any priority order, we want…
- More time for us
- More energy to keep us going
- Less housework and chores
- More patience with our kids
- More space to breathe, think and listen to what’s in our hearts and minds
- To feel great, strong, resilient, positive, courageous
- To set a good example for our kids
- To find ourselves beyond just being a parent…
Minimalism enabled me to do all these things. Read on and I’ll explain the relationship between minimalism and motherhood and how minimalism makes me a better mother.
7 WAYS MINIMALISM MAKES ME A BETTER MOTHER
Here are 7 ways that minimalism makes me a better mother.
1. I have more time to spend with my kids
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of a minimalist lifestyle. I have less stuff in my home which demands my attention. That means less to clean and put away so it’s quicker to keep my home clean and tidy. In a snapshot, that’s the key to a simpler lifestyle but it’s not the end goal.
The end goal is what this simpler lifestyle can gift me – and this is the one resource that’s limited for all of us. The gift of time.
Our kids are little for such a short time and these first few years are precious. Instead of telling your kids to ‘go play’ whilst you do the housework, you can ditch the duster and go play with them instead.
Spend your time WITH your kids, doing things together that help them learn, grow, develop and build a strong healthy bond with you.
Be intentional with how and where you spend your time, cut the clutter from your schedule and factor in some free time for all of you. Stop chasing your tail running errands or doing things you don’t want to do because you couldn’t find a way to say no. Your kids are way more important!
Here’s a couple of hand-picked posts you might like:
- 10 routines to keep the home clean and tidy
- How to simplify your calendar and be more intentional with your time
2. I’m more engaged and present
When you have more free time and less pulls on your hours and minutes, you can switch off from your To Do list and concentrate on your kids instead – with 100% of your body and brain!
How many times have you sat down to play with your kids or read a book, only to find that your mind wanders to what you’ve got to do next? Or when your child’s been talking and you’ve not replied or you’ve murmured some half-hearted response and they say ‘but Mummy you haven’t been listening’.
Create more time for yourself (see the point above), take some of the pressure away from the millions of things you feel you SHOULD be doing and be present with the little people in your life who are probably the most precious things of all.
That doesn’t mean you have to be with your kids all the time, but when you ARE with them, be with them completely. Be engaged, present and totally committed. Of all the things that your kids need from you, your TIME is the one that they’ll remember the most.
Check out these posts for more support…
3. I shout less
This is on my list because I shout at my kids. I wish I didn’t, I know I shouldn’t, but it’s my default reaction when I’m tired, stressed out, frustrated and my kids just aren’t doing what they’re told (basically, they’re just being kids!).
Shouting doesn’t get me anywhere. My kids get upset, they start shouting back, tensions rise, we all get grumpy and it doesn’t achieve any positive result at all.
Yet, when I’ve got more time, I’m less tired and have less on my mind, then I shout less.
Through my minimalist and simplified lifestyle, I’ve found ways to declutter my calendar and create more time. I’ve cut down my To Do lists to manageable proportions (for a mere mortal, not a superhero) and I regularly practice ways of decluttering my mind using some pretty simple techniques, so I’ve got less on my mind. And so I shout less.
My kids still don’t always do as they’re told and I still get tired but I don’t shout and my kids love that.
Here are a couple of posts which you might like…
4. I feel more confident and empowered
You know that amazing but elusive thing that I talked about earlier… free time? Well, I spend it on my kids (obviously) but I also spend it on myself. I spend time on myself and for myself without feeling guilty or selfish because I’ve got plenty of spare time to share with everyone.
I’m a busy working parent so, of course, there are days or even weeks where the proportion of where I spend my time is a bit out of balance. Sometimes I have to put more time into my work, or with the kids, and time for me gets pushed out for a while. But I know that these seasons will pass and I’ll get back on track.
When I have time for me, even just 10 minutes here and there, I can read, learn, relax, enjoy – I generally feel better and more positive. This in turns helps me feel stronger and more confident that I’m able to juggle everything that I need to do. I feel more empowered and equipped to live life on my terms, not on anyone else’s.
Check out these posts for more inspiration…
5. I can handle set-backs and challenges better
As a result of the point above, I’m more resilient when things go wrong or I hit a problem. And, let’s face it, motherhood is so often about trouble-shooting problems of all sizes and severity!
Once upon a time, if I stuffed up or forgot something then I’d feel a total failure. But now, I put it in its place and move on. If I was criticised, I’d take it personally. Now I just think it says more about the critic than it does about me.
Minimalism makes me look at things differently. I question whether things are really important and are worth my blood, sweat and tears.
The changes I made towards a real-life minimalism weren’t always easy and without challenging my mindset and facing my fears, I’d still be in the same status quo. So I learnt to shift my thought patterns, nurture positive thoughts instead of submitting to negative ones.
I don’t waste my time thinking about what-ifs because they’re irrelevant and not important. Instead I focus on how to change the things I need to change and can do something about. This serves me and my family much better.
Check out these posts…
6. I squashed resentment and frustration
Resentment and frustration are negative emotions that I don’t really listen to in my head anymore. I’d be lying if I said I don’t wish I was younger and carefree sometimes. I’d love to go on holiday and sit by the pool without having to watch my kids every nano-second. But, there are plenty of things I CAN do now to make life easier, simpler and a little more exciting so I do what I can, when I can.
Negative emotions like resentment and frustration are a waste of time and energy. They do nothing to support you and everything to bring you down. Squash these feelings by creating a life that suits you and that gives you flexibility and space to switch things up whenever possible.
Acknowledge that your life comes in stages and your priorities change as one phase moves into the next. What your life is like right now will be different to how it is in weeks, months or years to come.
Make your life now the best it can be, squash those pesky negative thoughts and channel the energy into making a positive difference right now.
7. I set a better example for my kids
This one is short and simple. As a result of all the things I’ve listed above, I’m a better mother, wife, daughter, friend and person and as such, I set a better example for my kids. Not so much because I’ve got it all sussed, but more because I’m taking and have taken action to make changes where they’re needed. To seize life and try to make it the best it can be – Minimalism helps me do just that!
MORE RESOURCES ON MINIMALISM AND MOTHERHOOD
Here are some other resources on minimalism and simplifying motherhood which you might find helpful: