Simple living, slow living, minimalism, living intentionally, whatever you want to call it has really taken off in the past few years. And for good reason, it has so many benefits to all aspects of our family lives.
Up until now I’ve really focused on the ‘Real Food’ nutrition side of my blog, but for a while I’ve wanted to introduce the ‘Simple Life’ side and give you all some background as to how I came to value a more simplified way of living and how beneficial it can be for our families.
I didn’t ever set out to live a simple life, but it developed naturally and out of necessity as we added more children to our family. Life began to get busier and busier. I realised that I wanted to be present with my family and not get as distracted by the obligations of modern family life.
When I entered the mothering world, I found that everyone seemed to move at breakneck speed, rushing to get through our never-ending task lists and to involve our children in as many activities as possible. We are bombarded by hundreds of conflicting child rearing and dietary philosophies that can be so overwhelming. Every bit of our life seems to go at full speed and we have little time to just sit back and enjoy the present moment. There is always more to do, more to buy and more places to go.
Of course, we want the best for our kids. The temptation to give them more things, more activities, more trips, more responsibilities comes at us from every corner. But is more really better?
“We are so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important…We can’t read all the good books, watch all the good films, go to all the best cities in the world, try all the best restaurants, meet all the great people…Life is better when we don’t try to do everything.”
This quote while not specifically about family life is so true. We can’t offer everything to our kids, nor should we. In fact, I’ve found that more is not better. Our families can often miss out on essential things because we are so busy chasing after everything else.
I’m not going to pretend that my simple life came from an intentional decision on my part. For me it came from circumstance. Living in a small house with a big family meant that we learned to live with less furniture, less toys, less things in general. Decluttering and minimal living was a must. We only had one car and my husband used it to get to work in a nearby city. This meant that I either had to walk or use the bus if I needed to go anywhere during the day or if I had the car it meant he didn’t get home until much later.
My schedule began to become very simplistic and I became very intentional with how often I needed to run errands or take the kids places in the car. One day a week was our adventure day and we spent the first half in nature with friends and the other half running any errands or other trips. At first I resented it. I felt trapped and I looked at my friends who had the luxury of a car with jealousy. And if I’m honest, every once in a while I still do. But little by little, I’ve come to see the benefit that a minimal schedule with few commitments has afforded my family. Now even if I did have the car every day, I wouldn’t fill my schedule up anymore.
With each child I had, my pregnancies began to become more and more difficult for me physically. In order to continue feeding my kids healthy food and keeping the house is some kind of order, I had to really simplify the way I cooked and cleaned. Through this I have developed routines that ensure that even when I have no energy and can only be on my feet for short periods of time, my family and I are fed nourishing foods and my house is kept in some kind of order. I’ll be honest, its not the order I would like to have, but its enough for right now.
I love the freedom that slow and simple living gives us. We have time to make healthy meals together and savour them slowly around our family table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My kids are learning from a young age how to work in the kitchen and are developing a very healthy relationship with food. I love that dinner time is sacred, we put our phones away, take our time and enjoy being together as a family.
If the weather is good or a friend drops by, we can drop everything and enjoy it. There is no where we have to be, we can spend as much time as we want soaking in the moments together. I don’t have to rush my kids away from an activity they are enjoying, instead they are free to be children and spend there younger years playing, being bored, developing their creativity, and going at their own pace instead of feeling the stress that overstimulation from packed schedules, technology, too many toys, academic pressure, etc can bring to them.
As I look back, I am so thankful for my circumstances that pushed me into embracing a more simplistic and slow family life. I’m still on this simple journey and have so much still to learn and put into practice within our family. But I’m more intentional now and am seeking ways that I can more fully embrace a simplified and minimalist lifestyle whether its a simplified approach to cooking, education, technology, housekeeping, exercise or my community life.
I think that every family would benefit from a simpler life, whether you want to go all in or just simplify a few aspects of your life. It may take some time to get used to the slower pace and how to say no to all the modern pressure to be and do more, but in the end it is so worth it.
Not only does simple or slow living have all of these benefits, but it also offers us loads of health benefits that provide our body and mind similar nourishment that real food does.
You can expect to see more posts sprinkled in about a variety of simple living topics that may not seem to be connected to healthy living at first glance, but really can improve you and your family’s overall health in many ways.
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If you have any questions or want to work with me, check out my individual and family health coaching page.