When a mother chooses minimalism, the storm of options is hushed. Your life is simplified. Quiet. You can focus on the most important things: your well-being and taking care of your family. I really, truly do believe that minimalism was meant for mothers. That simplifying, purging, and cleaning out makes life so much easier, and will bring more joy than any "thing" ever could.
When my daughter was born in 2012, I felt really inspired, yet kind of intimidated by the concept of minimalism. But the need to find ways to decrease our family’s footprint, live more holistically, and find ways to budget travel continued to bring me back, and finally embrace this softer, simpler way of living.
I began with slowing down my schedule. Canceling commitments when it meant saying no to my family. Not answering certain phone calls. Taking breaks and learning how to ask for space. Releasing the guilt of cozying in at home and not getting in the car to go somewhere. And embracing self-care on an entirely new level- clearing time for contemplating life in the bathtub, long walks outside with no particular destination, and a true commitment to daily meditation. Ordinary life that we lose track of when we our calendars are too cluttered.
Since most of my friends are moms, I began to observe areas of excess where minimalism could have an impact:
· Toys spilling out of bedrooms and taking over living rooms
· Drawers of kid clothes so packed that nothing else will fit
· Kitchens full of plastic storage containers, useless gadgets, and extra items that take up space
· Schedules overflowing with extra curricular activities
· Weekends filled with obligatory birthday parties from kids at school that you feel you have to go to just because your kid was invited
· Going into debt for Christmas presents that just end up shoved under a bed
Many of these I saw in my own life and in our home. There was just so much excess everywhere. It was time for less.
Minimalism doesn’t mean getting rid of everything. It is simply an intentional way of choosing the things that are important and getting rid of the rest. This is not something that happens in a week. It becomes a lifestyle, gradually, over time. I love a good purge and the freedom that comes with it.
Begin with baby steps. Choose one room that isn’t too hard and doesn’t contain a lot of sentimental items. Set aside an hour or two and go through the room, physically touching and making a decision on each item: do you use it? does it bring you joy? What is the attachment to this particular thing? Should it stay or should it go?
What do you want from these years with your children that go by so fast? I want more space in my days and more time in my life. I want to be present in every moment. I want to strip away the excess and focus on what remains.
Minimalism and simplified living has given motherhood and my life new meaning. I feel like for the first time in a long time, I am spending my days with intention and purpose, and that is all thanks to the gift of less.