I'm learning that trying to maintain a simple lifestyle with a young child can be very difficult. She's growing up so quickly and week by week she's needing bigger clothes, new foods to try and different toys to keep her attention.
But I also think that keeping things simple now, will help us as she grows and transitions into each new milestone. More than ever, it is important for us to keep the extra stuff at a minimum so that we can spend more time with her as she grows, and less time managing her things. Really, she doesn't need much at this point. Instead of buying yet another gadget, putting our money towards her future education or travels would be a lot more beneficial. And she seems perfectly content with what she has right now...apparently chewing on socks and wooden spoons brings her plenty of joy!
Here are a few things that I've already learned about managing simplicity in my 7 months of being a new Mom. (I'd love to hear your tips and tricks on keeping things simple with a little one at home. Feel free to leave comments below.)
Space is glorious
When there is less clutter in the house, more open space and natural sunlight, it just feels better: calm, quiet, light and inviting. Ahhhh. I'm able to think more clearly and utilize the things and the space I have rather than feeling burdened or suffocated by them. And I want our little girl to feel those things too. She needs room to explore and expand, just like we do. Yes she'll make plenty of messes (just like her Mama), but having a generally tidy house, with less stuff, makes cleaning up a lot easier.
Anxiety is contagious
All the physical stuff around us can really affect our mood and our emotions. And the truth is, life doesn't have to be full of hustle and bustle; stress and anxiety. I am a strong believer that our temperament and character have a direct impact on the things around us. If we are anxious, our family members, people we work closely with and even our pets will feel that anxiety — and that feeling is contagious. If we are relaxed, they will be too. It just makes sense. I have learned to (try my best to) keep myself balanced and free from too much stuff (physically and mentally) because that's what keeps me thinking clearly, and my daughter will pick up on that. And if I'm able to create a more calm and positive environment now, it will become her ‘normal.’
Not to say that things don't get messy or stressful from time to time. It’s so easy to get pulled from one thing to another and before you know it, you have a trail scattered throughout the house. My husband calls it ‘the Katie trail.’ But when I do have a free moment to get back to these small messes along the way, I am able to clean them up efficiently because everything has a place. Having less means there is less to clean up. And it just feels better. I like the idea that if someone were to stop by without notice, that my house would be presentable (enough) at all times. Me, on the other hand, will likely still be in my pajamas!
Always come back to simplicity
Life comes with an array of emotions, ups and downs, good, bads, frustrations and sadness. I know my daughter will also feel all these things — that’s life. But developing a foundation of simplicity will only benefit her, as it has benefitted me. When things get overwhelming, you can always come back to simplicity and it's principles:
Keep it simple
Less is more
You are enough
Other people have so much less than you and they thrive greatly and graciously every day
Love what you own, donate everything else
Less stuff and more intentional living
Words for my daughter (and for myself)
What I want my daughter to hear often is this: “There are people living with far less stuff, far more fear and difficulties than what you have ever experienced. Be aware of this always. You have more than you will ever need. Savor the things you have, treat them well, be responsible, respectful and give back whenever possible. And be kind.”