6 Steps to Minimalist Parenting
Could you enjoy family life more by doing less? An exerpt from the new book Minimalist Parenting challenges parents to cut through the clutter of more, and edit your activities and belongings down to the stuff that's truly important.
The first step toward Minimalist Parenting is to embrace a new mind-set that challenges the modern parenting prescription of more. As you reframe your unique constraints and assumptions, you'll begin to understand how your life, once minimalized, can take on a shape you envision and create. What follows are the attitude shifts and perspective changes that will help you pull it off.
Make Room for Remarkable
If we're talking about compass points, this one is true north. When you get rid of the stuff you don't love, there's more room for the stuff you do love. A simple statement on the face of it, but incredibly powerful when applied to your life.
A million things want your attention. The birthday gifts that need buying, the plans that need making, the after-school programs that need arranging, just to name a few. One of the benefits of modern parenting is the sheer amount of choice available in just about every aspect of family life.
But the more choices, decisions, and stuff you must wade through, the more remote your remarkable life becomes. Have you ever spent fifteen minutes at the drugstore staring at the array of cold medicines, wondering which will best help your feverish, bedridden kid? Which is the right one? Fifteen minutes may not sound like much, but when you add up all the time and attention lost managing the barrage of choices thrown at you each day, each month...it adds up fast. More than that, the mental clutter that results casts a shadow over everything.
As one who tends toward over-research, it has taken me a long time to let go of my need to investigate everything. I've learned to shorten my search for the best answer and to just go with what's most likely to do the job. The time and mental space I've freed up feels like oxygen for my brain.
Minimalist Parenting is about editing. Your time and attention are too precious to be nibbled away by everything that would thoughtlessly take a bite. You're panning for gold, swirling your life around to reveal the gleaming nuggets and letting the silt and debris wash away. When you edit out the unnecessary--whether these are physical items, activities, expectations, or maybe even a few people--you make room for remarkable.
The goal is actually quite simple: keep or add the stuff that increases the joy, meaning, and connection in your life, and reduce or get rid of the stuff that doesn't.
It's not exactly revolutionary to suggest that reducing clutter in one's life increases one's happiness. But unlike decluttering your house, decluttering your life can be a lot murkier. How do you know which things to keep and which to toss?