Parenting is difficult. There are no bones about it.
With each child, I have three most of the time, four on occasion, they require something different. One tries my patience with his sass, the other tries it with his constant bouncing off the furniture, the other, well, she’s beautiful but she’s one-year-old and thinks her crib is a jail cell and has boycotted its existence.
Maybe I should paint it pink?
With each personality, my parenting has changed. I’ve tried to be consistent with my rules:
No balls in the house- ever.
You must try the food I put on your plate, end of story.
Dinner, bath, snack, story, bedtime, that’s the way it goes.
No back-talk or arguing, no whining, no asking for things more than once. No means no.
Electronics are the devil and I forbid them except for minimal approved playtime or watch time (but classic Disney movies and 1980s favs on VHS are not reallllllly electronics).
We eat dinner and go to church as a family.
That’s basically it. Go outside if you have energy to jump on the coffee table. Do a craft if you feel like colouring on the dining chair. I am calm. I am zen.
Until I turn into a crazy woman.
“WHY DOES NO ONE LISTEN TO ME UNTIL I YELL AT THEM?!”
“I SAID GO OUTSIDE! GET OUT!”
Or my favourite,
“I SAID NO MORE “AFTER DINNER CRAZY”! QUIT RUNNING CIRCLES AROUND THE HOUSE!”
Our living room, dining room and kitchen have doorways that the kids run in circles around. It was funny… once. Now, it’s literally an every single day, after dinner, off they go and no one has eaten kind of thing.
And it drives me nuts.
I try not to join in the chaos but they get louder and louder. And I get crazier. Until finally, I’m running around behind them, “CATCH THE LITTLE ONE! I SAID ITS BEDTIME!”.
Don’t ask me where their father is, we are in recovery, remember- not perfect!
It is not the hyggerific, serene, minimalistic picture I hoped for. I like to imagine my life with kids as being the same as any other childless adult, with mini-adults who follow me around, do my bidding, give me excuses to do crafts and dance like a loon in the middle of the afternoon.
The next book I’m going to read is called, “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting”. I know for certain the first thing that’s going to go is snacking. The second thing we will do is learn to wait- delay gratification. I’m going to make dairy-free, gluten-free banana bread and not allow anyone to eat them until le goûter around three-thirty or four in the afternoon.
This will drastically decrease my grocery bill.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with addiction and our freshness adventure this year, but it’s so important we make a practice of reclaiming our lives from our children and spouses.
“Because of your little faith,” he told them. “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
-Matthew 17:20 (CSB)
This may sound ridiculous, but for me, the mountain that needs to move is comprised of laundry, toys and grocery bills!
Minimalism is not a new thing. It has been around forever, practiced in many other countries around the world in both attitude and physical belongings. Minimalism at its heart is simply- less.
In my case, it will mean less snacks for my children. For you, it may mean less snacks for you! Ha!
Becoming fresh for 2019 is about clearing out all our personal “clutter” so we can have a truly fresh feeling. We began the year cleaning out our closets because that was the most practical place to begin but as we touch on each ares of our home, I will try to bring you deeper into understanding what’s really making you feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
It’s more than addiction.
It’s lego on the floor, dirty hair and holes in your clothing. It’s a lack of quiet time to spend with the Lord or free time to volunteer at your kid’s school. It’s the promotion that never came and the girl at work who chews too loudly on her gum all day. It’s your neighbour who insists on cutting his grass on Sundays when you’re trying to have quiet time, or your son who plays the drums in the garage until all hours of the night. It’s insecurity and restlessness. Anxiety and fear.
Whatever it is, it’s more than the obvious.
I believe that by becoming minimalists we will clear our plates of all the unnecessaries and open the doors to truly hear God and follow Him. By getting rid of it all, we will get our lives back.
“Excuse me, addiction, but there is no room left for you here. My space has been emptied and is filled of dreams.”