It’s unconventional, taking my family to Puerto Rico for 10 months. But, I realize what the greater goal is: simplification. There are so many choices, conveniences, decisions, schools, activities, and schedules to juggle as a parent. Overwhelming isn’t the word. It’s just complete, chaotic overload. Throw two working parents, 3 kids, 2 jobs, 2 side hustles, and 1 mortgage into the mix and you’re headed for burn out.
I want time to slow down sometimes. I think we all do, especially if we have kids. We can’t stop time from passing but can we be more present with the time we have.
The Great Doer
So, how do we simplify life? How do I slow it down and find the rhythms of family life that seem lost in the shuffle of homework papers and school fundraising events? How do I teach my kids that life is about being as much as it’s about doing?
I’m a pretty great doer (even with my ADHD). I’ve been doing things all my life. This week alone I’ve been remediating a major house issue (gasp, MOLD), begun wrapping up the school year for my students, planed and donated to end of the year school parties for my own children, obtained glasses for my youngest son, progressed on selling/settling my house and tutored. That’s a lot of doing.
The Great Being
But what about a great being? Am I a great one? Are my children? Have I taught them how to just be, process, and absorb? Or are they rushing from one activity or toy to the next? Are they waiting for the next big thing instead of savoring the present?
And if they’re too hurried, how can we all slow down? How can we take the time to make dinner together without upsetting the bath-bed-bookbag countdown to each school morning shuffle?
Here are a few new practices I’ve started with my family. Because we’re moving, my children are even more dependent on consistency and simplicity.
- Cloud watching My daughter and I have a new ritual–evening cloud watching. We lay on the lawn and look up as the clouds pass by before sunset.
- Reading the same book before bed We’ve been reading a book about boating and sea animals in preparation for island life.
- Pancake breakfasts on the weekends I make pancakes every Saturday and Sunday morning. We have Alaskan pancake mixes to use up before we move.
- Spending individual time with Enzo, our dog Another dog jumped our fence and attacked Enzo last week. I tried to break it up and my 3-year-old looked on in horror. Thankfully, neighbors and Animal Control helped out, but we’ve all felt closer to our dog, since. He really fought to protect our family. (Btw, both dogs were ok.)
So, do you feel life is too busy, sometimes? Are there simplification rituals you practice to find the calm in the storm? Please share them. Maybe we can help each other stop doing and start being.