Showing posts from April, 2014

My year of less is more: I like being more available for my kids,'s exhausting!

While there have been so many upsides to simplifying our schedule, on reflection, I've found that it has been quite draining for me.  What I've discovered is that by us having more time to be together, share life together, and by me being more available and less busy, I hear more of what's going on for the kids.  Not just rushing from activity to activity, we have more time to chat about their days.  I see them more, so they share more (or in some cases, less 'sharing' and more 'hurling' of words as they unfurl their frustrations on me).

So that's all lovely.  And what I was hoping we'd have more time for.

But with five kids, I can be going on and off for five hours of these debriefs. As children stumble in through the door throughout the afternoon.  As they finish their assignment and decide NOW they're  on for a chat.  As they remember something AFTER I've turned the lights off (this is common, and being honest, my least favourite form o…

My year of less is more: how 'zoning' can result in some empty spaces

I am (still) reading Peter's Walsh book on de-cluttering 'It's all too much'.  It's worth a read by the way - even if you're pretty good at de-cluttering it has helped me think more carefully about what I'm doing with my stuff.

Last week I was inspired by his idea of creating 'zones' for your possessions.  That you allocate specific areas for specific tasks.  So you work out what each part of your house is used for, and then stick to that.  I was particularly inspired by his chapter on the master bedroom.  He's big on keeping the master bedroom for sleeping and clothes and nothing else.  Not the unsorted washing.  Not the kid's toys.  Not the junk that doesn't fit anywhere else.  He reckons that by separating out sections of our space that we will be able to sleep and relax better.

While I was reading this I was sitting on my bed.  I had a look around at my room.  I don't have a study so I could see my laptop and my uni notes.  I …

My year of less is more: 10 ways Christian parents can achieve more by doing less

I've been thinking about how to apply my 'less is more' principle in my parenting as a Christian mum.  You can read an article I wrote on this topic for the Growing Faith website (and I love the photo accompanying the article - just hanging out with your kids is a lot of what it's all about).

My year of less is more: why your kids NOT being 'the best they can be' might be good for your family life.

In the upper middle class, well-educated world that I live in we value not simply attending school, but we value doing excellently at school.  And we don't simply value attending school, we value participating in music, tennis, soccer, cricket, drama, dance, gymnastics, swimming and of course excelling in all of that too.  It's a great privilege of wealth and health that we are able to give our kids these opportunities.  But it can make you very busy and stressed, both in time and finances and sometimes anxious as you don't want them to waste these good opportunities.

Being forced to step out of that world a bit has caused me to think a lot about why we do it. When our kids are little they are a bit of an extension of ourselves.  We might start off hoping and dreaming for almost a better, more improved version of ourselves.  Or we feel these are THE life skills that our child should be given.  Or we do it because that's what our  peers are doing with their kids and we…

Why am I struggling when my suffering seems small?

So I've been walking.  Walking and walking.  I've walked on my own.  Walked with a friend.  Walked in the morning.  Walked with my older daughter.  Walked with my scootering younger ones.  Walked in the dark. Why? Because if I get up and do this I feel like I can keep a grip on life.  I can keep processing my life in my own head, out loud with my friend.  Listen to my children without the distractions and the sometimes heaviness of our home. I can get some endorphins and some fresh air.

The thing I keep thinking is 'But this is nothing'.  While what we've been through and are still going through with our daughter is 'something', it feels like 'nothing' in comparison with friends who are dealing with many, many years of their own children's sickness or their own health issues or are dealing with terrifying, life-threatening emergencies or the grief of death or unfulfilled dreams.  At one level, those who are suffering much worse situations than …

My year of less is more: what's your vision for your family life?

I've been enjoying pottering my way through Peter Walsh's decluttering book, It's all too much.  One of the questions he asks early on in the book is 'What is your vision for your home?'

I've been mulling over that question for a few days.  While Walsh's book is referring to decluttering your physical possessions, it got me reflecting on my earlier decision this year to declutter our kid's extra curricular schedule.  In hindsight, thinking about our vision for our family life was what got me thinking about the need for change.

When I look back on why we decided to have a baby all those years ago I think it was a desire for there to be more than just the two of us.  I think I just thought it would be fun to have more people in our life who would share in our particular life experience. There wasn't a particularly clear vision or plan (not my forte).  But having a few kids and being privileged enough to be able to spend lots of time hanging out with t…