Simplifying Life When You Have Kids

Live the Dream!

Life with kids is delightful. When we are with them, we imagine our lives free of all the hassle; and whenever we get a break (because they have a sleepover at a friend’s house or the grandparents are babysitting) we keep talking about them and missing their presence.

Now imagine a woman with kids, a career, and the logical desire to keep looking good. It doesn’t look easy when we have to prepare the lunches, supervise the homework, do special projects, bring them to sports, clean the house, and pay attention to what they want to say.

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There is one word, which unleashes a chain reaction that helps things fall into place in a convenient way. This reaction allows you to find time and motivation to eat healthy and keep up with your fitness routine and beauty rituals. This word is “mindfulness”.

Mindfulness doesn’t apply to just one area of life or spiritual development. It is more of a way of being. It is the state of being really awake and focused. For example, sometimes I find myself debating between writing a complicated operational support process at home while mindlessly responding to my kids (yeah, yeah, yeah). Then, all of the sudden, I hear a dish falling on the floor, which sparks a reaction from my part – usually entailing me screaming at the kids because they “misbehaved”. The whole thing results in a few tears, frustration, and some level of regret. It’s a tremendous waste of time.

Through my research, experience and comments, I have found that I don’t actually need more time. What I needed is to change my perspective and apply mindfulness to everything I do. In other words, being really present, really awake, and conscious of what I am doing and why I’m doing it.

Trick 1 – Accept Your Own Path

There is nothing wrong with wanting more but you have your very unique and special path. Trust me, even when you see other people living a certain way, you wouldn’t have wanted their lifestyle. Accept yourself and where you are right now. Be grateful for everything you have achieved. And trust that your path is where you have to be. You can grow in your very own way towards your dreams. And over time your dreams may also change to look more like the true you, and not what others have implanted in your head.

Trick 2 – Assume Only Your Responsibility

I learned an awesome trick from the book “The Well Behaved Child”, by Dr. John Rosemond. I will always be very grateful to him. The child’s homework and the house chores assigned to the kids, give him a sense of belonging and self-importance in the family. We must understand that the child’s responsibilities are theirs. We can supervise and help answering question, but it is not our job to do the homework for them (and we are not making our kids any favors by doing so). At the same time, we recover precious quality time while teaching them to be a functional, socially responsible human being. Same goes for house chores. We must not sweat the little details and we should respect the way others do things. I understand what you feel, don’t worry, I too was anxious and nervous the first few times I delegated some chores and accepted the fact that the clothes were not exactly the way I would have kept them, or that the homework took longer and that it had a few more mistakes. Prepare to be gladly surprised, though. Delegation makes miracles after 4 to 6 weeks and there’s a lot less stress and conflict. This ends up freeing a lot of our time, and making the time we spend with the kids much more about quality.

Trick 3 – Simplify Your Life by De-cluttering and Owning Less Stuff

Evaluate what you really give value to and invest on that instead of owning a whole lot of cheap things that you probably would never wear. One hilarious example is the woman of project 333 (http://bemorewithless.com/project-333/) who succeeded in wearing 33 items or less for 3 months. If you want to own 40 pairs of shoes but you are not a big user of sweaters, then get rid of all those sweaters you don’t wear and make space for the shoes. What I am talking about is: maximize your space, decrease your decision making time, and enjoy more of what you have by doing mindful shopping. Imagine that you could say that everything in your closet and pantries is awesome and that you use it all. When you get something new, get rid of two old things you have one year or more without using. You’ll see the amount of savings in cleaning time, dressing time and the money you invest in things you don’t really need, or give you true value.

Using these tips has helped me to have my little sanctuary for listening to music and working out at home. It gave me time to go to the gym, start my company and have more quality time with my family. The “downside” is that over a period of 18 to 24 months, I’ve had to practically replace my entire wardrobe since I went 4 pant-sizes down and got to tone my entire body.

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