Sunday, January 3, 2010

Parenting Tip # 20 Simplify

I am constantly trying to simplify my life. I thought when my children were grown and married, life would slow down. Wrong. I recently read a new book Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher and reread a favorite one Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Both books are a reminder that as mothers and women we need to take time to enjoy life, slow down, and simplify what we can in our lives.

A long time ago I decided I would never be able to keep up with the goal of always being dressed in the latest styles and looking really cute. I don’t have the money, talent or looks. This decision took a lot of stress off me. I have simplified by trying to look “nice”.

My children weren’t in gymnastics, dance, on ball teams, taking music lessons and karate—all at the same time. They all took piano lessons—from me—and the boys were on baseball teams for a few years, but because of finances, their outside activities were very limited. At the time, I felt bad that we couldn’t afford to give them all the enrichment activities everyone else seemed to be engaged in. Now I look back and think how fortunate we were to simplify in this area. Their childhood was rich in “being a kid” by playing with their siblings and creating and using their imaginations.

Where can you simplify? Does your house have to be decorated and look as cute as everyone else? Do your children really need to take dance lessons, be on a soccer team and take piano lessons too? Is TV and video games taking over all the free time when you could be reading together or playing with each other or just talking?

An Amish proverb says, “A man is rich in proportion to the things he can afford to leave alone.” It’s a new year. Make it a simple new year.


  1. I love that proverb! It definitely makes you think.

    I've had to simplify over the last few months out of necessity - I just didn't have the energy to keep going at warp speed. It's nice to just sit on the floor and play a game with my kids!

  2. I love your posts and I had to comment on this one. We recently turned off our cable and we don't have the tools to get "regular" channels, so we don't have TV. It is wonderful! We spend time together as family in the evening. Yes, we watch movies, but I can totally controll what comes on my TV now.
    One saying I love is...
    "On judgement day if God should say,
    'Did you clean your house today?'
    I will answer, 'I did not,
    I played with my children and I forgot.'"
    Yes, my home needs to be in order, but I've come to realize that I can have order without being spotless. As I type this, there is a train track surrounding this chair that didn't get put away before bed because it was just too cool of a track to only last one night.
    Sometimes I think a good way to simplify is to relax! Thanks for the great post and reminder!




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