I used to find New Year’s anticlimactic, with college parties that never lived up to their hype. Now I love celebrating the New Year as a family. It helps that we have fantastic friends to watch the ball drop in NYC and head home before anyone gets belligerent.
But the real reason I love this season is because I make time for cozy reflection and dreaming of new adventures.
I love getting a new calendar, and writing down the many traditions we have to look forward to each year. With three January birthdays, we always start the year with more celebrations. We plan a few long weekends for camping trips, and a further excursion each August for our anniversary.
I gave up on standard new year’s resolutions some time ago, but I still appreciate the fresh start that the new year offers. Instead of grand gestures, Simplicity Parenting encourages “small doable changes.”
Simplicity shouldn’t feel insurmountable. It should be simple. That’s the point, right?
Yet, the way world typically works is that we all live on autopilot as much as possible. We go about our days hoping that things will be as predictable as possible, and hopefully within our control. But as parents, we know the ideal world isn’t always our reality. Sometimes there is spilled milk…broken cookies…sibling struggles…
And sometimes those struggles reach a point where change just NEEDS to happen, NOW.
The good news is that these breaking points often create breakthroughs. Truly, the only way anything ever really changes is when someone or some small group of thoughtful people decide that the status quo can no longer be tolerated, and therefore the sacrifices that change often requires suddenly feel manageable.
Creating “small doable changes” has become my saving grace. By nature I like to dream big, but that doesn’t help solve the day-t0-day challenges of parenting. I always remember a gift box my Mom gave me: “Inch by Inch, Life’s a Cinch. Yard by Yard, it’s Hard.”
So, for 2014 I am aiming to create more family balance in each of the realms of Simplicity Parenting…making sure to keep them bite-sized.
- Environment – Permaculture Plan – Continue to implement our permaculture plan and get out in the garden at least three times a week (hopefully much more often now that I’m not living at the office. (I could set a BIG DAUNTING task of continuing the empty our basement, but it doesn’t truly inspire me and we have accomplished a great deal of purging in the past few months.)
- Rhythms – Friday Pizza Night. We almost always eat pizza on Friday nights, alternating between making it at home and going out. Lately we’ve been having more friends come over to join us and it’s been a lot of fun and easy to host. So, I’d like to start planning something almost monthly.
- Scheduling – Mommy Pooling – After a recent ankle surgery I ended up needing to rely on a neighbor friend to help with kid drop offs and pick ups. And it actually ended up showing us both how doable it would be for us to alternate walking/biking or sometimes driving the kids to school. So, for the past month we’ve been working out a schedule that has mostly been mutually beneficial. We still have some nuances to work out (it turns out that my pre-k daughter really misses it when I don’t drop her off, and I actually enjoy socializing by the playground after school), but I’m hopeful that we are creating a long-term support network for each other. Plus, the kids have really enjoyed it and after the first week requested their first-ever sleepover, which was also a success.
- Media – Family Screen Policy – Lately we’ve been having screen time sagas…our Big Guys keeps sneaking off to his room with the laptop, not caring about the consequence. So, I have a bigger post to share soon, but we have written a policy that creates clear expectations, limits and consequences.
What “small doable changes” have you been dreaming up lately?
Lastly, if you’re in Portland, there is still room in my upcoming Simplicity Parenting workshop group. I would love to fill up the cozy room with parents ready to reflect and create a more simplified lifestyle. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions (firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-998-7507).
@Darcy’s Utopia – Creating Utopia Together