Are you fully into spring cleaning now? Does it work or do you feel like the only way to move forward right now is to pile stacks of stock on the end of the pile or to screw everything in a closet and tell yourself that you will come back to it more late?
What if, beyond the spring cleaning, we could transform our daily life and that of our children by completely decluttering, but above all, by simply choosing to own less?
It seems to me that today, despite information and science, the development of the health field, everything that makes our quality of life superior in many respects compared to what it may have been for generations caring for, raising and educating our children is heavier and stressful than ever. Parents and children alike are suffering from increasing anxiety.
However, we have the impression that everything is at our disposal to live this experience positively and healthily, right?
But no. Everything is sotoo much today.
The modern family is collapsing in chaos. Everything is going too fast, and our houses are crowded. It’s really hard not to give in to the stress and anxiety associated with this clutter. The pressure is enormous everywhere and unfortunately, we often have so little energy (and time) left at the end of the day, that we crack.
We crack. It feels like no child can make long car trips without having a tablet hanging in front of them. Oh and it takes one for each child, there shouldn't be a baffle. These tablets are expensive. Do we work more hours to pay ourselves or do we go into debt a little more? Stress.
We crack. We have the impression that our child will never eat anything, and reluctantly we buy him food "dedicated to children", generally super sweet, super packaged and rather expensive. We make sure to choose the one who approaches his favorite TV character otherwise ... and if he did not eat ?! Or worse, what if he had a seizure? Stress.
For all the inconveniences of life, for all the behaviors of our children, there is a solution external to them, often linked to an object, food or a app.
As a parent, we go into survival mode. We say it will pass. We can't wait for our little wine to relax. It's heavy, feeling regularly in escape mode, in survival mode.
What if we decided to reduce this chaos?
Now 6 years ago, by taking the path of practical minimalism and simplicity for my children, my lover and me, we made the choice to reduce modern chaos. Even though we thought we were simply living at this point in our lives, despite my studies, my career and my commitment to the environment, it was not enough. I was fed up, first baby under my arm, spending my day moving around the house for most of the day. I had a deep desire to stay connected to my values despite the vagaries that come with becoming a parent. Between washing, toys, dishes, sheets, paperwork and more cossinsmundane that clutter our homes, I was tired of wasting my precious time, to realize all that these objects could represent in terms of money and time worked to earn this money, then all the time spent to collect, organize, clean, repair, classify all these objects. And we lived quite simply!
I wanted to wear less on my shoulders. I wanted to make room for this role that I was slowly getting to grips with: being a parent. I wanted to take my time to do it, to understand what it meant to me.
I have plunged into immense congestion. During this purification, everything became lighter, little by little. By de-cluttering in depth first the more harmless objects, then the more difficult elements for me, the effects were felt in all spheres of my life. I realized how liberating it was to allow yourself to say no, to let your intuition flow. We cannot hear our intuition in the chaotic whirlwind of everyday life.
I realized that not only did I not need all of these things to live fully, but that in reality we were much BETTER without all of these irritants to block our path to calm, adventure and connection. Little by little, I realized that this process helped protect the childhood of my boys by offering them a less chaotic life.
I decided to live it, to enjoy it, to feel good with our life choices. I decided to choose consistency, creativity, simplicity. To avoid cracking under the pressure of modern parenting, to turn a blind eye to this modern chaos destroying human relationships, which makes us crack under stress and exhaustion, which alters the precious childhood of our children and which destroys the planet, outright. This high speed, this consumption greater than the stomach, this material comfort rather than human, I make the conscious and intentional effort every day to say no. I succeed most of the time.
I chose calm over chaos.
I have uncluttered. I reduced. I rethought. I slowed down.
I do it every day. Because it's easy to forget why we do it. When you are tired or a little overwhelmed. It’s slippery, sometimes.
Every day, I redo the choice of practical minimalism. It allows me to celebrate the imperfections of life in all their splendor. Celebrate imperfection, focus on what's really important.
I'm not talking about the sweater that is really important to us compared to another. I'm talking about what matters: to reduce stress, to take the time to create a family life from which we will not want to flee, to find joy and pleasure in family life, not to leave ordinary stress invade our daily lives
What confirms and amplifies this daily choice?
The solid reduction of stress and mental load that rests on the parents (and a lot on mothers, we will not hide it).
The joy we have in family.
The overflowing creativity of my children.
Their empathy, their natural collaboration, their implication in the household without waiting for an object in return, this implication which comes from themselves, because it feels good, living in a group. They are generally quieter, more laid back, more attentive than when one slides into chaos. There is less crisis, more natural sharing and search for solutions.
It allows me to be a better human being. No getting better than anyone else. Simply to make room for what is best in me, to understand myself, to heal myself, to progress.
When, in a fragile moment, I question myself, I wonder if we have enough money, if our house is big enough, if we are ok with our old man tankor if my kids are short of toys or clothes, I take a deep breath and get my answer. We have more than enough. It’s so easy to be distracted. I try to choose the connection rather than the distraction. I feel like I am creating space in the minds and hearts of my children for more curiosity, imagination and wonder. It helps me stay aligned.
Ah, and you know what? Spring cleaning is a concept that hardly exists here anymore.