So, as you may recall, about a year and a half ago, Summe/fall of 07, I was heavily into the downsizing, simple living thing. small house society, all of it. and then I got pregnant, and everything stopped on that front. We did move into a smaller house, but WITHOUT a real switch in our mentality at all, we kind of just crowded about 80% of our STUFF into a littler place. I was 9 months pregnant when we moved, and semi-paralyzed with a separated pelvis and numb hands from water retention induced carpal tunnel syndrome... I was a useless whale who was grateful to watch my hubby and a couple of our friends hauling in all of the STUFF and furniture into the new littler place. but like I said, we didnt change our selves, we didnt change our mentality.
right now I am looking at a house that is across the street from a glorious park, one that has mjor significance to our family. but it is little. Way too little for your average persons' taste for a family of 7. But I cant get it out of my mind. it has 3 beds/1bath just like we have had for years...but it is small. and cheerful. and across the street from a foresty park. and one mile from the hip downtown of our favorite town. So its all realistic and stuff.....
So I got back on the old websites. the simple living and the frugal livin and the google searches have alot more hits than they used to--people are embracing this 'lifestyle' more than they were 1 year ago, if the amount of google hits is any indicator--and I like it.
What is this really about? Well, for one thing, on our modest income, our kids are still acting and seeming very--shall I say it--SPOILED. Maybe it was Christmas. Maybe it is cable tv. Maybe it is busy nursing Mama letting them have entertainment as their main life's activity for far too long. But all I know is that "things have to change" is still true. I see the people with their big big houses and their Mall and S.U.V. lifestyles and their credit card debt and their solve-it-with-shopping attitudes and I know that I do not like that--but we arent doing that much different than them. and I KNOW I do not like that. So its time to change. For me, moving (again) IS important, IS necessary, IF a special house came up and it has. If we dont get that one we will keep looking while we simplify while we are still here. I know I ranted on and on about how FAB this place was and how GREAT the neighbors were but well reality has set in and--just trust me-- there is another side to this coin.
Steve and I know what we want, we just have not done a whole lot to get there. Little new babies can stop life in its tracks and we get that, understand that, embrace it. But talks have resumed. Priorities are being re-discussed. What do we WANT for our kids? What kind of people do we aspire to be, to become, what do we want to model for our children, how do we want to live, and why, and where, and how?
I would love to have little, want less, and have activities and outings and reading and writing and visiting with friends and traveling be what we do. I want my kids to help others and to feel pride in their work, have a thirst for knowledge, and great social skills. I want them to be responsible and polite, humble and honest, free thinking and unique. and I feel pretty sure that if we don't peel them away from the situation they are in, those goals might never be attained. Right now there is FAR too much time spent on these activities:
Griping about the house is a mess
Griping about being bored
"Cleaning" in the form of shuffling and reshuffling our crap all day
Desires to buy more stuff (often cleverly designed as "solutions")
Eating junky food
"I cant find_____xyz___" you name it, its "lost"
Feeling like we are sucky humans because the house is "messy"
I'm done with it all. We have too much stuff, nobody asked for all this, it all came from good intentions, creative toys, fun games, but it is all too much again. And there seems to be no time for:
Playing in the leaves
Reading for hours on end
even the board games that are my husbands huge hobby, we dont seem to "have time for" which is insane!
When we went on a trip last October to a friends' tiny cottage/mobile home in Ludington, MI, I was all abuzz with the simple living kick. Every moment of that vacation I was obsessed with we could do this we could totally do this this is what I want for my life this is perfection --it was 4 adults and 4 kids in a 2 bedroom mobile home with a little washer dryer combo in the bathroom and I was in heaven. Here are a few things I LOVED about that little place:
When you did a load of laundry, you had to take it right into the front room and fold it and PUT IT AWAY right then and there. With no space for procrastination, you just dont.
With one TV, you had to really cooperate and share and decide to watch A PROGRAM. It was unbearable to have it on all day so we watched Iron Chef (cool cooking show) before bed and all 8 of us enjoyed it and then it was over and we turned it off.
Even though it was in the low 40's, we went outside ALOT. "On a walk". "to the park". "On another walk". "To town". you had one coat/mittens/boots set and you knew where it was.
Like my Grandma's house, when you made a meal, you immediately cleaned it up afterwards, down to the last crumb. Or else where would you sit? At Grandma, around the dining room table WAS where you hung out. (Even though she had a large living room and a basement, you sat around that dining room table and there was scarcely room to scoot your chair back but thats where you hung out and discussed things. I love it.) I like having to deal with messes because you HAVE to.
I guess what I am really after are some physical constraints. I have seen that for me and my little kids and maybe my personality tendencies, a big old place is not for me. Its just more housework, more places to have undone piles of stuff, and more to worry about when we are out. I really have a curse and a gift of constantly analyzing lifestyles and social commentary goes through my mind on overdrive, I devour TV shows that highlights "lifestyles"-- from the Duggars and their 18 kids, to the family that lives in the RV, to reading about homesteaders and apartment dwellers and houseboats and people who live in caves and water silos and have dreamed and fantasized about how this would and could pertain to me and my family. some ideas have turned out differently than I had expected. (Some dreams are just dreams--some are just daring until/unless I am sick, pregnant, incapacitated and then wow "go play in the west wing you filthy brats" can seem really tempting!)
I watch these shows with my kids, and we are very fond of Extreme Home Makeover. this is one where they help families who have a a special needs child or situation usually and they make them these amazing state of the art facilities. and they are always ENORMOUS, like 4000 square feet sometimes. and we ooh and ahh over the stylish color palates and the elevators and the jetted tubs....but we only "get jealous" when we watch the show about the people who live in a camper, or have a couple of chickens, or have a million children, or a Daddy who works from home. So that shows me that me and the kids are on the same page. Very cool to know.
Well, we will look further into the house across from the park. And we will re-start the decluttering process and cease all purchases for a long time. We have enough stuff to last a million lifetimes. Now I want to put all that aside and have walks and reading and cooking and laughter and fun and adventure. And I dont want to be worryin all the way home from the museum about "the mess" awaiting me back home.
try a google search of the various things and see what you find:
Simple Living with kids
Small house large family
Small house style
Frugal living large family
Its very exciting and inspirational to me! More soon....