Smooth Out Your Family’s Rhythm of Life
Do you feel frenetic and sometimes out of control? Is your family life chaotic and unpredictable? Is everyone in your family, but the baby, stressed? (Maybe the baby is, too, and you just don’t know it.) If your answer is “yes” to these questions, you may be thinking, “What did I get myself into? This isn’t the family life I longed for and dreamed about before having kids.” Wouldn’t you rather the rhythm of your family life sound soothing, peaceful, grounding, gentle, and rejuvenating? Wouldn’t you rather your home were a safe haven from the world, where every family member felt unconditionally loved and spent time deeply connected to each other?
If you answered “yes” to the last questions, the obvious afterthought is: “How do I get there?” Back in the day, I found incredible solace, wisdom, and support in the book, Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence (revised in 2008). I was lucky enough to spend an entire week with one of the authors, Vikki Robin, a delightful, passionate woman. I turned my “more-is-better” relationship with money around, spent less, and saved more with the goal of financial independence. I explored and found my passion in supporting parents proactively to prevent problems. I spent more time with my soon-to-be teenage kids. And I left my pediatric practice to do it. I chose “life” over “money.”
Now there is a new resource to support families, and it is even simpler and more straightforward. And it gets to the heart of what we all care about most: supporting our families in the best way we can in a way that rejuvenates us parents, too. It is called Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids The book is by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross, who have started a Simplicity Parenting movement as a way to support families. You can take charge now and commit to a calmer, more life-affirming approach to parenting that will make not only you feel better, but your whole family.
The Simplicity Parenting movement calls for attention to four main arenas:
- Environment: Acknowledge the clutter, especially in your kids’ rooms. The volume of toys alone can cause stress in your kids. Reduce!
- Rhythm: Kids thrive with predictable, regular structure, a dependable pattern. In a rhythmic home, parental authority is strengthened. Kids accept boundaries as a safety net rather than as a challenge to their freedom.
- Schedules: More is less. Pick a few. Get rid of the rest. Include family dinners in the plan.
- Adult World: Protect your kids from the adult world. They don’t need to see the news. Cut down on media. Cut out all ads and commercialized toys.
“Yea, yea, yea!” you say. “I’ll do this . . . when I have time, when there is a break in our busy lives.”
I want to leave you with one last thought, also from Simplicity Parenting: It is the powerful notion of “soul fever.” Think about the last time your child was really sick, maybe even had a high temperature. What did you do? Drop everything? Cancelled all that was scheduled? Of course, because your child’s physical health and safety is at the top of your priority list.
What if you could measure your child’s spirit, his/her soul? If your child’s mental and emotional health were flailing, what would you do? Would you drop everything and tend to it like with the fever?
So look at your kids closely. You know them better than anyone on the planet, knowledge accumulated from your 24/7 living with them, loving them, and striving to understand them. What are the symptoms you see when they are overwhelmed and exhausted? Sullen, withdrawn, extra sensitive, tantruming, prickly, moody, resisting you at mealtimes/bedtimes/mornings, fighting with sibs, getting in trouble at school? The list can go on.
If we would only pay attention, we will know when our kids have “soul fever.” They’ll be like canaries in the mine, letting us know that our family-life is in discord.
If you are feeling this might be true in your family, what are you waiting for? “Soul fever“ deserves our urgent attention. Make the commitment, smooth out the rhythm of your life, and join the Simplicity Movement—for your child’s sake!
In admiration for all you do,
P.S. If you would like to explore the Simplicity Parenting movement further, please join me for an “Introduction to Simplicity Parenting” on Wednesday evening, April 20, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at my home. Cost is $20/person, and we welcome you to register online.