The Benefits of Parenting Simply
Embracing limitations and simplifying life
Learning to parent simply requires some reflection, introspection, and at the onset, some intentional time to organize. This can seem daunting while sleep deprived with a newborn, but once you see the benefits of simplicity, you’ll want to get started right away.
I’ve been contemplating my limits lately; not only accepting them, but rejoicing in them. I realize that my humanness leaves me limited and that is a good thing. Being thankful for my limits leads me to be reliant upon an unlimited, powerful and loving God.
The reality of having children is they limit us. We see it when our body grows so large we can no longer move the way we once did. We see it as soon as a tiny, screaming baby emerges seeking comfort and nourishment. We see it when our postpartum body takes months or even years to bounce back. Our bodies are no longer our own.
And it certainly isn’t just our body that changes. Our time and our space are no longer our own either. We are now at the mercy of sleeping and eating schedules, looking to the needs of someone so utterly dependant on us, it can be overwhelming. To top it off, our house is overrun with the endless accessories required by our children.
But one thing I’ve seen in accepting the limits of my own humanity is that it can allow me to live and parent more simply.
Benefits of Parenting Simply
It can give a new perspective on the important things. When we stop to evaluate the things in our lives that bring us joy, as opposed to the unnecessary things that induce stress, we can more easily recognize the essentials.
When I marvel at the wonder of my body now feeding and caring for new life, I can give myself grace in what I think I should look like. I can enjoy working out for the discipline it creates and the endorphins it produces rather than striving for a certain look.
It can give direction and help us to prioritize. Once we have identified the essentials, we can prioritize those things for optimal living.
I know I function better in an ordered space, so I limit the number of baby items I think are necessary. I can evaluate my schedule and decide what I need to eliminate so I am functioning at my best.
It’s freeing, allowing us to let go of pressures.
Our culture wants us to push boundaries and not let our limitations stop us. It can set impossible standards that we feel we need to achieve in order to keep up with other moms. But when I can let go of high expectations and standards, I am free to enjoy the life I have.
Certainly we should work hard and strive for excellence. But trying to overcome our natural limitations with unattainable standards is not healthy.
We all have different definitions and ideas of how simplicity plays out in our families. Some value a uncomplicated and organized space. When the home is ordered, life functions much better. Others prefer a clear schedule with time for spontaneous family outings and unscheduled play dates.
Additionally, we all have varying levels of tolerance regarding the complexities of life. So living simply doesn’t need to look like the family next door. Seek to look at your own life and the needs of your family and make a simple plan that works for you. Don’t evaluate your lifestyle based on what others may think or do in their family.
What if we were to accept our human limitations and endeavor to live a more simple life? What would it look like to scale back our expectations of our schedules, spaces, and bodies and parent simply?
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Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.