I went to see Kim John Payne speak at The Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder last night. It was the first time I had heard him speak and it was a fantastic experience. The topic last night was about simplicity parenting. It was centered on creating a safe-haven for kids to grow up in where they weren’t inundated with hundreds of toys, tons of books, loads of clothes, too many extra-curricular activities and so on. It was really about allowing kids to have the room to imagine and create.
I had been purging for a couple of weeks
On Monday night, my husband and I had taken out three garden size trash bags full of toys to go to Goodwill. At one point, we looked at each other to say that we were embarrassed to have these many toys and we still have a whole closet full!
My friend came to visit a few weeks ago and I was shocked that the guest closet was full of stuff. I can’t even tell you what was in there. The day after she left, I went in there and got rid of everything that we didn’t use anymore. I did the same for another closet that was just storage space. I actually started to go into those rooms just to look at the closets because they made me feel so good.
I told my husband the other night that the house is slowly but surely getting lighter. I would walk into certain parts of our house and feel suffocated. I’ve purged the basement mostly, the garage and now I’m going to tackle my closet and my boys’ closets.
Realizing when we need to stop
I thought about what Payne was saying as to how it also ought to apply to adults. It’s amazing how instinctively we know what’s best for everyone around us but not ourselves. If my husband is coming down with something, I know it’s because he’s been working too hard and his body needs a break.
How come I can’t see that for myself? I feel it’s partly due to what we have come to accept as social norm. It is perfectly acceptable for someone to go to work from 7:30 in the morning until 5:30 at night, go workout, go grocery shopping, go meet friends for drinks, come home watch a little TV, go to bed right before midnight and get up the next morning to repeat the whole process over again.
Why did we ever eliminate the siesta anyway? I have to say, if you do have the ability to take a 30 minute nap in the middle of the day, it may be the best thing you can do for yourself.
Simplify to allow your genius to shine through!
Kim John Payne said, “Simplify to allow your child’s genius to come through.” I immediately thought about my pantry and freezer, both of which feel like they are going to explode from being overstuffed. I realized that I haven’t had the desire to cook anything in about a month. My cooking genius was stifled with too many choices!
He also talked about the fact that we give kids way too many choices that they don’t want to be bothered with. Here’s a typical conversation I might have with my kids at 7:15 in the morning, “Would you like ham or eggs for breakfast? Should I can make you French toast? or waffles? How about a bowl of cereal? Why won’t you answer me?” and I proceed to get frustrated. Whereas the day I make something for breakfast without asking my kids, they eat it without complaint and the house is peaceful.
I can’t say that I heard anything new last night. It was just great to be reminded. I have to say that I purge my closet and the house every few months now. I used to purge once a year if that and now once it gets to be a little chaotic, I know it’s time for a spring cleaning. I always remember not to overload my children with activities. I don’t allow play-dates during the week, I let them play only one sport and never say yes to video games or TV. I just don’t feel it’s healthy for their soul. I have given in to football though. I have to maintain the peace with the biggest JETS fan in the world; he is my husband after all.
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Even more excited to purge now!