I recently took a “soulful parenting” class, and gist was there are four partners involved in child rearing: Two partners create the child; God or the universe (or whatever you believe) is the third “partner.”
And the fourth “partner” is the home — because there can be no peace in the family unless there is peace in the home.
As an organizer, I know most people do not feel calm in their homes. They have way too much stuff: too many clothes, too many electronics, too many toys. And they are drowning.
They can’t keep any surface clean because the drawers are filled, so there is no other place for it to go.
And then they get the “brilliant” idea that if they buy all the pretty storage containers things will get better. But, in fact, they feel worse because they just brought MORE things into the home. It’s like throwing water on a drowning man.
I think a lot of parents are just resigned to, “This is how it has to be when I have kids.”
I am here to tell you, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS! My team and I can show you a different way.
To prove it, I’ll show you my home. I consider us minimalists. And, yes, we have two children.
We do not shower the children with stuff. We do not celebrate Christmas, and, for us, Chanukah is a time for donuts, latkes, and friends — not presents. (If you know our family, you know we prefer a good meal over any thing.” I have enough photos with Chef Scott Crawford to prove this.)
We do not go shopping as a way to spend time together. We eat dinner as a family every night. My children are allowed to do one activity at a time, which means we do not spend our weekdays driving all over the Triangle. We do movie nights at home one weekend night.
We do not emphasize keeping everything “in case we need it.” We encourage donating it if you no longer use it. I keep a donate bag by the mudroom door, so they can put it in.
We talk with out children about saving money and not spending it on stuff because stuff does not appreciate no matter what the stores tell you. Both kids have savings accounts, and they LOVE putting money into them. I often make a huge list of chores and pay them for their services. But it goes into savings.
We do not have a TV, so they are not exposed to commercials that tell them how much stuff they need to have a good life. They do not beg us for a certain toy they saw on TV.
Our playroom looks like this below. And, yes, they are expected to clean it every time they play in it. Or guess what? They lose the toys. #consequences #meanmom
We do not shop at the buy-in-bulk stores, because three out of four of us are under 5′, so we simply do not eat that much. That means our pantry is not shoved full of giant-size boxes of food. The kids’ snacks are on their level, so they can prepare their lunches themselves.
We park two cars in the garage, which is what a garage is for. We do not have a million outdoor toys for the kids. They have a bike and a couple of basketballs. #playwithsticksandrocks
We have nothing in the attic, so my children will have nothing to clean out when we die. (You are welcome, my darlings.)
And I am teaching my children they don’t need hundreds of clothes to look good. This is my capsule wardrobe — all four season — created by Raleigh Green Gables stylist Sheon Wilson. I hired an expert to create this. I am also teaching my children it’s OK to spend money on experts because it makes life easier. And when you don’t shop every day, you have money to hire experts. (Follow me on Instagram, where I recreate magazine photos with these few clothes.)
You can live like this, too. There is no law that says you have to keep everything for your children. Children thrive in calm, predictable atmospheres. They do not do well living in chaos.
I invite you to honor the “fourth partner” — your home — and create peace.