Less stuff. Less scheduled. More time. More people.

I am making a conscious decision to simplify my life. I refuse to be a slave to my cell phone, email, facebook, the internet or things anymore. I want freedom. This quote got my attention last week:

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

This was totally me. I have been making life more complicated than it needs to be. I mean I thought I was a pretty simple girl. I don’t have a lot of jewelry, don’t wear a lot of make up, nothing fancy with the hair, don’t have a huge wardrobe with lots of fancy clothes, accessories or shoes. I would rather borrow a book from the library than buy it. I drive a small, old compact car (even with three kids) and our house is modest. But lately I’ve been feeling like I’m still accumulating too much stuff and too many things to do. I’ve already decided to turn the house upside down and get rid of everything that isn’t needed or loved by someone in the house. I don’t want life to whiz by me any faster than it has to. We all want to take time to smell the roses, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to take deep breaths and have afternoon tea and spend leisurely time with family and friends.

I’m wasting less time – spending less time in front of the T.V. and computer and doing pretty well at not over extending myself with too many commitments. I’m slowing my life down and trying really hard not to feel guilty for saying no, especially to my kids who want constant entertainment. “Are we going anywhere today, Mommy? Are we doing anything this weekend?”  NO!

Homemade Chef's Hats

I tend to over-do things like birthday parties and outings. See picture above. I made every one of those hats and planned a cooking party/sleepover!? The girls made their own pizza, which included rolling out the dough. I also hand picked recipes and assembled a kid friendly cookbook for each girl and they decorated and assembled this lovely cupcake quilt:

Cupcakes with fresh flowers

Despite the pouty look on Linsey’s face in the first picture, she and all the girls had so much fun. I was exhausted. And still the next morning, I made pancakes for the girls, complete with fresh fruit, whip cream and sundae-like toppings. Any one of those activities would have been enough for one party. Unfortunately, I suffer from an annoying compulsion to hit it out of the ball park every time and a general fear of half-assing anything.

I do really enjoy entertaining, but I have to try and remember not to do so much that it becomes a chore. I read somewhere that guests don’t ever want to feel like a burden to the host. And as a frequent guest, I know this is true. Though my guests have never been a burden to me, I’d never want them to feel as if they were or even consider the notion. So I’ll be working on ways to calm my overly creative self down and strike a balance. A few weeks ago I learned that doing too little can also be a disaster. Keep reading.

Linsey’s last birthday party was my first “simple life” learning experience. It was too simple, particularly the guest list. I scaled it way down. We usually invite extended family, neighbors and family friends. I thought a smaller guest list would make things easier. Boy was I wrong. First of all, only 1 of the few classmates that she invited actually showed up. Poor Linsey was on the front porch sobbing. Brian and I were scrambling – on the phone with neighbors begging for their children. Luckily we were able to round up a couple of kids to fill in.

I regret not inviting the usual family and friends. They are what we enjoy most about these events. I also “simplified” by not having a theme and not having any special games or activities for guests. Just hotdogs, cake, goody bags and playing outside. That part wasn’t so bad. I just wished I’d done a little more. It was a stark contrast to birthday parties we’ve thrown for the girls in the past. I was never a down to the minute planner, but I guess it would be good to have some structure. So the new me will keep things loosely structured. So sorry Lulu. Mommy will make it up to you.

Lesson learned. Simplifying wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be. Finding the balance, as always, is going to be the key. Less stuff. Less scheduled. More time. More people. (My new mantra.)

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

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