At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is clean. I sometimes stare at the horde of toys before me and wonder how my siblings and I ever conquered childhood with such a minimal collection. I began this year on a quest to simplify and reorganize my life. Longing for a more simplistic environment for my children, I turned back to nature. Fortunately, I found a friend who happened to be on the same path towards simplicity.
I have always loved gardening and figured one way to get back to basics and teach my children the joys of nature was to become more self-reliant by growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, to can or make jams from. Gardening or tapping into the local farmers took us away from the grocery store and in turn, my children learned about the wholeness of fresh fruits and vegetables and where they come from. Shaving money off of our grocery bill was another added benefit.
The next hurdle I overcame was how to deal with messes and the importance of creative freedom. The phrase I hear all the time is, â€œthatâ€™s ok, it was just an accident!â€ I must say those words a lot. Kids are going to make messes, such as finger paint with their yogurt. They are going to draw on the wall no matter how many times I tell them we only write on paper. Such a large canvas is too much of a temptation for them. In time, their little minds will begin to comprehend. Until then, they understand if they make a mess they have to help clean it up.
I often think back to the by-gone days; a time when life seemed to linger a little longer. In my day, the city was our playground. There was not a park that we could not reach on foot or by bicycle. Experimenting with mud was a childâ€™s rite. Christmas and birthdays were special occasions and the treasures we received, were dearer to us because they were toys we dreamed about and often begged for throughout the year.
I want my children to be allowed to be kids. They need to run and play; explore, create and discover. They need to get dirty and play with their friends. They need more love and patience; less schedules and toys; more family time letting loose and being free. I read an article once that said, paraphrasing horribly, that when you have small children it gives you the excuse to have a bright (meaning paint) fun (referring to furniture) home.