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practicing simplicity

I’ll start with a quick aside about parenting philosophy. I don’t know about you, but my philosophy can be a moving target. Occasionally, I like to take time to ponder thoughtfully the mom I want to be. I keep a leather notebook (Yes, I know, in the days of smart phones and iPads and crackberries, I still keep a pad and pen) where I write down thoughts that pop into my head. It’s how I make sense out of the apparent randomness in my stream-of-conscience life. Lately I am honing in on some words that make me smile and that I want to incorporate into our lives. Here are a few of the scribbled notes from my pad:

Do more with less. 
Slow down. 
Start as you mean to go on. 
Enjoy the little things. 
Don’t sweat the small stuff. 
Achieve peace and quiet, happiness and relaxation.
Before I had kids, I thought it would be easy to keep things simple. It seemed to me that the only way clutter could get into your home is if you allow it there, so as long as I kept it out, I’d be fine, right?

Wrong! I have discovered that life is at times a speeding train, and I struggle to remain mindful and intentional in my desire for simplicity. Whereas the routine might be similar from month to month, we seem to add activities without ever really taking any off, and we get busier and busier.

I had a great afternoon yesterday with Laid-Back Mom, who is famous in my inner friend circle for being able to put things into perspective. She rolls with the punches so much so that they are intrepidly embarking on a third pregnancy. As Nate said to them, “three is the new two!” Although I can’t be as relaxed as she is about parenting, I do take some pointers from her now and then.

Yesterday we discussed whether to enroll our preschooler daughters in more classes. Vivi’s swim class just ended and a “gymnastics” class took its place, which includes lots of jumping, rolling, and balancing…and some {hehem} quiet giggling by Mommy, since Vivi is not the world’s greatest jumper, roller, or balancer. But she tries so hard!

LBM shared a story of her struggle to decide between two classes at a local gymnasium, one dance and one gymnastics. She eventually opted not to sign up for either because they both ended with recitals, including a full-on production ensemble of make-up, costumes, and the like. She didn’t make this decision based on frugality and laziness (my gut reactions to this story), but rather because she felt her daughter will have plenty of time to experience the complexities of older childhood, which apparently–or so I’ve heard–now comes with mini-graduation ceremonies (?!).  Luckily, Vivi’s class doesn’t end with a recital. Although with this motley crew of awkward children–the prima donna, the Russian girl who doesn’t speak much English, the mama’s boy, and the klutz (aka. Vivi)–I wouldn’t mind a recital for the laughs.

Is LBM’s philosophy the perfect opposite of “Toddlers and Tiaras”? I hope so because I plan to copy her. What are friends for, if not to mimic each other’s parenting decisions? It’s a tough row to hoe, and I’ll take the help wherever I can get it.

“Show me your blue tongue!”

Editor’s note: This post is part of Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Natural Parenting Group’s Monday Blog Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource, and FarmGirl Friday