Minimalism is something that I always saw as unachievable for me, for many reasons. One, I am obsessed with shopping, I want it ALL. Two, because don’t you need all that stuff. If you asked my mum she would probably say I have always been a minimalist. My home isn’t filled with lots of trinkets or unnecessary furniture but this somewhat changed when I had Parker.
Becoming a mother I struggled and not in the sense that I wasn’t getting any sleep or wasn’t adjusting to my new life, I just couldn’t get it together and I thought I was the only mum that felt this way. My day would start with cleaning the kitchen, picking up Parker’s toys that were scattered from one end of the house to the other, folding a basket of washing a day and constantly putting things back in there place. Before I knew it the day was ending and I had only just been able to clean up. The days were long but the months were flying by. I constantly felt like I was missing out on time with Parker because I was always cleaning and tidying. It was as though I either had to decide to have a clean home or spend time with Parker. My OCD doesn’t help!
When I looked back on my days and how I spent my time, I seem to do the same thing each day; dishes, endless washing, picking up toys, shoes, clothes, pillows and work socks. But maybe that’s what motherhood was. Maybe that’s just what my new job entailed and my new life looked like, to clean the house and pick up after everyone. It’s not as if this was so different from what I did before, however throwing a baby into the mix and part time work is a whole new ball game. For me, I thought motherhood would mean, that I would get to actually enjoy spending time with my kids. However, I felt like I never truly spent time with Parker. If I didn’t keep cleaning, then my house would fall down and I would never be able to catch up. On the days that I did decide to wake up and just enjoy the day with my little, it seemed that it took almost two days to then get back on top of everything and most days it was easiest, just to stay on top.
Then one day I went into the linen cupboard to get a towel out and a doona fell on me from the top shelf with two spare pillows. I tried to push them back onto the shelf, pushing the doona so it would stay and then quickly shut the door and thought, that’s whoever opens it next problem. Surprise, surprise that person was me. So I pulled everything from the top shelf down and realised we had 6 spare pillows and 3 spare doonas on the top shelf. Was I preparing for triplets or thinking of turning my house into a refuge. Why on earth did we have so much stuff! The more I pulled out the more I saw how much excessive stuff we had accumulated in our linen cupboard within six short years here.
Next I went into the playroom, the room I normally just shut the door on and pretend it’s not there. This was a room full of baskets, each basket full of toys. There were toys on the floor, in boxes, pretty much toys everywhere. I began to go through all the things that Parker had accumulated but he didn’t need. I emptied three bags full but his playroom was still full of so much stuff. Every time I picked up a toy I related it back to a memory or how much he loved it but how can one kid love a million toys (exaggeration, maybe). Sometimes it’s not easy but it’s getting easier. Every weekend I slowly remove things and every weekend it’s easier to tidy. With every toy I remove, I feel lighter. My goal is to remove every toy that does not encourage pretend play or benefit Parker. I only want to have things that are truly loved and needed. I want Parker to be grateful and treasure everything he owns, but how could he be when he owned enough toys for every child in Tasmania (again I may be exaggerating).
I am going to continue to minimalize in other areas of my house too; dishes, clothes (I’ve started and it’s been hard), drawers and cupboards. My hope is that I will spend less time managing my house and more time playing with Parker.
For me choosing minimalism is about the conscious decision to slow down and focus on whatever is happening in the present moment with my life. It’s also about stopping trying to prove my worth by what I own, or spend, or even accomplish.