Control Over Purchases

This morning, when my daughter and I woke up, I grabbed my iPhone and scanned my latest Tweets. My husband, Michael, doesn’t often tweet, so I was surprised to see one at all today. But the content was as follows:

“No sense in being greedy. I have to control my purchases, even free things. I already have something that will work, no need for more junk.”

Now, as much as I love and adore him, Michael’s tweets are not normally so, shall we say, deep. The one before that came around Christmas, and said, “Why don’t you take me to Turkey Town?” So this one really caught me off guard. So when I knew he’d be on break, I sent him a text message asking him what the story was behind his insightful tweet.

He responded, “I saw a metronome on freecycle and thought hey, help us to sleep. Then I thought, well we have the ocean sounds [on CD] and several devices to play them on. So why get the metronome when someone else can use it and we don’t really need it.”

I stopped receiving emails from Freecycle weeks ago, because the minimalist in me can easily be drowned out by the frugalist in me, and can see the free items as “a great bargain”. Needless to say, I was acquiring far too much junk. Instead, I left the offers up to my far more discerning husband and I only request or offer items now. Freecycle is a fantastic program, and it easily has prevented a multitude of things from ending up in the landfills. But for me, it’s just too tempting.

It was so refreshing to hear his thoughts and know that even though he isn’t attempting minimalism in the same degree as myself, our priorities are the same: we want to create in our home a quiet, peaceful environment without a lot of clutter and chaos, where we can focus on what makes us happy.

If you’re interested in any further pearls of wisdom from my Beloved, you can find him on Twitter under @iamjacksnick.

Welcome to the miniMOMist

“I worry she’s too stressed,” my husband Michael said of our daughter one December evening. She had been crying again for what appears to us to be no valid reason and we didn’t understand her needs. Our daughter, Naomi was only 6 months old at the time. From birth, we had never left her side. We¬†practice¬†cosleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding and taken her with us to each and every event we attended. We were practicing attachment parenting and seeing wonderful results from it. Our beautiful baby girl had always been ahead in her development; she rarely fussed or cried without valid reason. She was a bright, cheerful and happy baby.

So the idea that she could possibly be stressed baffled me. How was this possible? She had no reason to be stressed! We lived for her, did everything we thought we could do for her. How was it possible she was stressed?

After Michael’s comment, I began to look around me and started to realize where it was Naomi’s stress might be derived. Our home life, work life, diet, energy, social life, and finances were in crisis. I couldn’t keep up with the housework. Michael loathed his job. We were in debt. We ate carbs and protein almost entirely with very minimal variety. We were always tired and sick. We were more often than not neglecting or avoiding non-crucial social gatherings, especially church. Our hobbies had long since been put on the back burner.

It quickly became apparent that it wasn’t just Naomi who might be stressed out, but her parents as well!

Now before anyone jumps to conclusions, I wish to make the following point completely clear and understood: Neither of us in any way see or believe our attached parenting style had anything to do with our current situation. We had decided before her birth that these guidelines were chosen and implemented in order for us to provide for her what we feel is a loving, comforting home. And what’s more, we had been seeing results almost from day one! Naomi slept through the night from about day five to present day, had never been sick, was clear with most of her communications and was one of the best behaved babies we had ever known. In short, even though we knew we were biased, our choices had helped us culture in our daughter the lovely and friendly little girl that she is.

What had happened, I realized, was we had been duped by the traditional line fed all new parents: the gorgeous, cooing baby lying docile in his crib, while his lovely, perfectly dressed mommy (usually in a crisp white blouse and pearls) leaned over his crib and sighed dreamily at her little bundled angel. The rooms they were in had surely never seen a speck of dirt since the mother had turned 13. All babies slept on schedule, ate neat and clean, all housework was done without effort, no cost need ever be considered. In short, all new mommies and daddies should be able to do it all, and what’s more, maintain the perfection they had in their pre-baby lifestyle.

Well, reality was quickly settling in. No baby is perfect, and what’s more, certainly no parent is perfect. And what’s more, having a baby changes you, your spouse, your life, everything. And no one and nothing prepares you for it.

I thought about this over the next several days. I knew there were some things that I couldn’t change. I couldn’t make my husband’s job more agreeable, nor could I immediately decrease the amount of debt we currently had. But I could start making sure that my time was spent wisely. I could trim the fat of my day and focus on what actually mattered. I began to look at my day and realized that there were many, many changes that could be made to make my home life and family life simpler, more productive and easier on us all.

I began listing changes I intended to make, striving to come up with ways of working the current situation in our favor. And the more I looked at it, the more I realized that the simple acts of simplifying, minimizing and downsizing could indeed help us reach our goals.

And that is how miniMOMist came to be. Here we will share how minimalism impacts us and our world as a family. Through green living, upcycling, simplifying, thoughtful actions, nurturing, caring and loving, I intend to decrease the chaos that surrounds us and create a comfortable, sustainable lifestyle for us.

I look forward to sharing this exciting endeavour with you all and eagerly await your interactions. Over the next 6 days, I plan to lay out my plans, objectives and goals that I anticipate for the coming year.

Have you chosen to make 2011 a time to simplify your life? Is there an area you need to work on in order to make life less stressful for yourself and your children? I’d love to hear about it!