I started thinking about what it would look like if I were disciplined in the same manner as my children. We are fairly consistent on modeling good manners and ethics for our children, but as I look around our house at this moment, there are more things that belong to the adults of the house than the children. The kids have consequences for not putting their things away, so why don’t the adults?
For the longest time, my mindset has been, I do most of the cleaning, so it doesn’t matter if I put it away because I’ll pick it up later anyway. I am embarrassed by this attitude. With some background in Child Development, I know that it is important to lead by example for your children, but somehow it hadn’t clicked in this department.
After a timeout, my children must apologize for the behavior that landed them there, then we discuss ways to handle things differently next time, and, finally, of course, we hug it out. Maybe it’s time to own up to my own behavior in the same manor.
Timeout #1: I apologize I don’t put my own stuff away all the time. In the future, I will put my things where they belong so that I help create a clutter-free environment and set the right example for my kids.
In a great post about getting a family onboard the minimalist movement, Zoe Kim discusses prioritizing “no’s”. She points out that it took a long time to accumulate all of our clutter, so it is reasonable to expect it to take some time and effort to de-own it. In order to accomplish it, she said her “no’s” to television and mindless phone time.
It is easy to say “no” to excess television or electronic exposure for my kids because I know it’s better for them. It’s not so easy to say to myself. I’ve never been good at taking “no” for an answer, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m actually saying “yes” to things I want much more.
Timeout #2: I apologize I say “yes” to things that waste my mental and physical energy. In the future, I will say “no” to one time-wasting activity each day, and I will dedicate that time to achieving the lifestyle I want.
As I break through the surface of minimalism, it has become just as much of an inward journey as an outward one, especially concerning motherhood. Allie Casazza describes the clutter of motherhood to a tee in her guest post on the www.thebalancedlifeonline.com. She talked about all the effort it took just to keep her house functioning because of the amount of clutter. The bottom line was she wasn’t enjoying motherhood the way she wanted to.
“This wasn’t what I wanted, and I knew I was called to more than this for my kids’ sake and my own. This wasn’t abundant life, it didn’t feel purposeful, it felt overwhelming and depressing.”
It is easy to relate to this statement. I, too, want to enjoy motherhood, not just survive it, but most days, I end up feeling like I didn’t do as well as I wanted. It’s easy to point the finger at the kids’ toys or their dad’s inability to put his socks in the hamper, but in reality, I’m just as guilty, if not more. I do the bulk of the shopping for the house, so many of the extras that end up here, I bring in myself.
Timeout #3: I apologize for allowing and contributing to the clutter that has interfered with the most important responsibility I have. In the future I will examine purchases for need, rather than want, before purchasing. I will focus more on the things that result in more family time, and try to remove the things that do not.
I think this is enough discipline for now. Minimalism is supposed to be freeing, so I want to try to enjoy the process as much as possible. If I learn from my timeouts, perhaps I can start to establish some better habits. Loving my children includes discipline. So does loving myself.
What helps you stay disciplined in your journey of simplifying? Or do you need a timeout?
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