Is there such a thing as simple parenting?
I am a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers, and the idea of living simply with them seems a little impossible. Mostly, I feel like I fail at it on a regular basis because my kids are normal and require so much of my time and attention. Parenting never feels simple, but thinking about it, simplicity at its best probably looks a lot like basic parenting—just playing, just making meals, just being with my kids—and the truth is that that makes me uncomfortable because I want my simple life to look more productive.
As stay-at-home mom, somehow I forget to take care of myself during the day sometimes, but choosing to be less productive and more present with my children helps me be more aware of how I’m feeling. But being less productive during the day means that clutter accumulates. Parts of my house stay dirtier longer than I’d like them to and having a clean and tidy space is really important to me. Then, there’s our daily routine. My kids have set nap times, meal times, play times, etc. But all of this is something I’ve had to loosen my grip on, too.
It seems a little ironic that I’m writing a blog about living simply and all the while my life feels far from simple most of the time. We’re still learning about what it looks like for our family to live minimally and it’s a daily practice. Part of that daily practice for me has been becoming more aware of my needs. As a parent, it’s easy for me to forget about myself—that I need things. As much as my children need a daily routine, I need a weekly routine that allows me time to myself—time to work on projects around the house, time to knit or sew, time to exercise, time to write or whatever it is that you enjoy.
Self-care has become a key to simplicity in my life because being good at caring for myself helps me be a better mom.
I’m still learning about what this looks like, and generally it isn’t as consistent as my children’s daily nap routine or bed time. I do work part-time. I’m in school. So, I have regular times I am away from home, and sometimes I use this as my “me time.” I work for myself, though, so it’s easy to say that this time away from home is time for myself. Usually it isn’t, though, and I’d say that anyone who works and is a parent still needs time for themselves, and it can be difficult to make this a priority.
This month, we’re asking the question what does it look like to live simply as a parent? As with all things, this will look differently for me than it will for you. In the beginning, though, I’ll start with saying that I think it’s important for us to make time for ourselves as parents.