Motherhood can increase your motivation to live simply, and at the same time make it harder to cut back. You want to be a good role model, but a growing family tends to accumulate more possessions and commit to more activities.
While minimalism is likely to help you save money, there are other benefits that may be even more important. You’ll have fewer distractions and more time and energy to devote to your family.
You can enjoy the advantages of a simpler life whatever your circumstances and philosophy. Maybe you’re simplifying voluntarily or under pressure from financial setbacks. Maybe you define minimalism as growing your own food and making your own clothes or just spending less money at restaurants and shopping malls.
As you’re deciding what works for your family, consider these principles and strategies for minimalist mothers.
- Slow down. Calm your mind and clarify your thinking by resisting the urge to rush. You’ll feel more creative, and you’ll accomplish more with less effort.
- Appreciate boredom. Give your children the opportunity to become bored. Modern life makes it easy to go through the day being passively entertained. When they’re forced to rely on their own resources, your children will discover the power of their imagination and the benefits of unstructured play.
- Connect with nature. The beauty and peace of green spaces enhances our mental and physical health. Take your children for a walk through the park. Visit forests and oceans when you vacation.
- Avoid comparisons. Watching celebrity couples with full time nannies or reading Super Mom blogs can make anyone doubt their parenting skills. Set your own standards and work at being the best version of you.
- Network with other parents. Make friends with other parents in your neighborhood. You can exchange advice as well as outgrown clothing and toys.
- Manage stress. Show your children how to set aside time for reflection and relaxation. Try meditating briefly or taking a few deep breaths.
- Eat as a family. Eating as a family leads to closer relationships and better nutrition. Join each other at the dinner table for a homemade meal at least once a week.
- Divide up chores. Learning to take responsibility prepares children for adulthood. Assign age-appropriate tasks to each family member instead of trying to do everything yourself.
- Run errands together. Use your time more efficiently by bringing your children with you to the grocery store. They can practice reading labels and doing arithmetic.
- Limit toys. It’s difficult to keep toys from multiplying, especially around birthdays and holidays. Create a system for keeping the total volume under control. You might want to try rotating toys by giving your child only a few to play with each week. Or, encourage regular toy donations to charities that help kids.
- Reduce clutter. Consider what other items you have around the house that you rarely use. You can clean your house faster when you get rid of clutter. Your surroundings will also feel more comfortable and look more attractive.
- Monitor technology. The internet can be used wisely for communication and education, but too much screen time can hinder your child’s development. Create house rules like no phones at the dinner table and turning off all devices at least two hours before bedtime.
However far you decide to go with minimizing your consumption, you’ll be teaching your children to value a more mindful and meaningful life. Buying and owning less stuff will give you the freedom to enjoy what you already have.