Minimalism & Motherhood
My husband and I have been minimalists for over 2 years now.
We've always been minimalist-ic, but once we discovered Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, we were hooked and it made so much sense to our family! When we first started our journey (ie Pulled every single piece of clothing in our house out of it's place and onto the living room floor to see which pieces sparked joy) our children were 18 months and 3 years old. But we felt we were drowning in baby/kid stuff and toys and CLOTHES! Why do kids need so much clothing?
Before we jumped into the world of minimalism, we wondered what it would look like for our kids. What toys would they have? What toys would we get rid of and then regret letting go? What about Christmas and birthdays? Will they be bored? So many questions. But we needed to change something. You see, we live small - 1,004-square-feet-small to be exact. It doesn't take a lot of extra things to start feeling like those things are out to suffocate us in our sleep. Something needed to give. So give, we did!
We jumped in and didn't look back! Things that we worried about being a problem haven't even come up. Our kids aren't lacking in anything. Everyone has what they need.
But how do you start? How do you start with a baby?! Don't worry, I got you. Here are a few guidelines and truths for easing into the world of minimalism when you have children:
1. Babies don't need a lot of stuff.
As parents, we feel like we need a lot of things to survive the baby stage. But really this is what you really need:
- a few onesies,
- a hat,
- a few warm blankets,
- several receiving blankets (you can't go overboard with these. Marie Kondo would agree, trust me),
- a safe place for your baby to sleep,
- a rear-facing car seat,
- diapers and wipes,
- if you're breastfeeding. maybe a pump
- if you're formula feeding, a few bottles and formula
That's about all. Just the basics. You can add more things to that list if you'd like, but when it comes down to it - that's all you really need. Your baby needs you, clothing to keep him warm and things to catch his spit-up and poop.
2. It's okay to not keep gifts.
And the whole internet gasps! But wait - hear me out! Why do people give gifts? Because they think you need this thing? Sometimes. But usually we give gifts because we took time and thought of our friend or family member and picked out something that *we* thought they would like and use. Sometimes our educated guess is spot on and our friend is blown away by the fact that we thought of them. And sometimes, our even-educated guess is waaaaaaay off, but our friend is STILL blown away by the thought that was behind the gift.
So what conclusion does that leave us with? That we give our friends gifts to bless them. If that gift is no longer a blessing, but a burden instead, do you really want that for your friend? Probably not. I love it when my friends pass on what they no longer need to someone else who does need it. It's part of being in community with people. It's okay to not keep gifts. This same sentiment translates to gifts to your kids too. If your kids have outgrown a toy, it's ok to part with it.
3. Minimalism does not equal perfection.
I know that when we hear someone say "We're minimalists" you probably envision a pristine and beautifully crafted space that obviously does not contain toddlers. And you kind of want to egg that person's house. But the fact is this: We still live here. Our home is where we make food, the kids paint, the kids eat food, baths are taken, toys get dumped out, beds are slept in, mail gets put on the counter tops, clothes get dirty, clothes get washed/dried/dumped onto my bed, LIFE HAPPENS! Yes, minimalism cuts down on the clutter of it all and streamlines these things, but your house isn't going to be immaculate at all times just because you're a minimalist. Unless you don't have kids. In that case, why have you read this far...
Minimalism means you are conscious about what you bring into your space and everything that you allow in, has a purpose - Even if that purpose is that you think it's beautiful.