Monday, April 7, 2014

My year of less is more: what's your vision for your family life?

I've been enjoying pottering my way through Peter Walsh's decluttering book, It's all too much.  One of the questions he asks early on in the book is 'What is your vision for your home?'

I've been mulling over that question for a few days.  While Walsh's book is referring to decluttering your physical possessions, it got me reflecting on my earlier decision this year to declutter our kid's extra curricular schedule.  In hindsight, thinking about our vision for our family life was what got me thinking about the need for change.

Time to enjoy a dance on the front porch at sunset
When I look back on why we decided to have a baby all those years ago I think it was a desire for there to be more than just the two of us.  I think I just thought it would be fun to have more people in our life who would share in our particular life experience. There wasn't a particularly clear vision or plan (not my forte).  But having a few kids and being privileged enough to be able to spend lots of time hanging out with them  is THE stuff of life for me. Even though is it is often draining and unpredictable, for me, this relational stuff is the core business of life.

I have always loved school holidays because everything stopped and we could just BE.  We could just be together at home, not rushing around like crazy people.  We're mostly quite introverted so that suits our temperaments.  Over the summer holidays we had a fantastic family holiday to Tasmania.  I enjoyed just being with our kids.  We've finally moved past the stage when holidaying is just unrelenting hard work.  As the end of school holidays approach, it is not uncommon for me to experience a kind of grief as the stuff of life, the routines, the extra curricular stuff all starts tumbling back into our lives again.

I think it was over the summer that I felt that our life didn't need to be so full on all the time.  Maybe we could have little tastes of the holiday times in term times.  Maybe we could have fun family times during a normal week, just because we weren't all madly rushing around.  Maybe we could wrench back some control and achieve the vision for our family that we had originally set out to achieve.

I do look around sometimes and get the guilts when I see everything else my 7 year old's peers are involved in.  But I have to stop doing that.  I don't want that for our life anymore.  We DO have choice.  We CAN say no. We are able to enjoy the core business of having children which for us is relating to each other, knowing each other better, spending time together.  That's what I want to give my kids as they grow.  Time together, security, safety, calm.  Less measurable skills and talents and achievements to post on Facebook - sure.  But the trade-off is that our life is actually sitting so much better with me because I'm starting to realise that it matches the vision we originally had for our family. Just to be there.  For each other.  Muddling through the ups and downs of life together.  Even in the midst of all our weaknesses and strengths, our happy times and our sad times.

2 comments:

Stephen and Rebecca said...

Hi Jenny, I've been wondering what happened after you stopped the piano lessons - do the kids still play for fun? or was that just wishful thinking?

Jenny said...

They do a bit but since they already have other instruments to practice it's not happening a lot. The piano is also in the same room as where J has been hanging out a lot so it's not been easy to play it much.