Friday, July 15, 2011

# cleaning # kids

Simplify

I don't know if you can see that tiny print over there on the left, but it says simplify. If you remember back, this was my theme for the year and while I've played with it some, I haven't really taken it seriously until recently.

What changed? I think part of it was a book that I read recently. In fact, if you were here yesterday, you saw the review that I wrote for it. It really got me thinking about how the boys and I are living our lives and what, as a parent, I'm teaching them.  Then, came the conversation with Roger (age 10) as he dramatically flopped across my bed one afternoon. The first words out of his mouth? "Mom, I'm bored." I thought, how could this kid be bored? There are 2 video game systems, hundreds of books, board games and toys in this house. There's a backyard to run around in. Then, it hit me. He's not bored. He's overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices he has.

So, we're making changes. One of the first changes has to do with computer time. Starting today, the boys are now limited to 3 hours each every day. I know this sounds like a lot and it is a lot. However, I'm weaning them off. Prior to today, the pair of them would probably spend twice that playing on the computer. Now, that's being cut in half which is a pretty heft change for two kids.

What's next? Well, today, instead of sitting online or watching tv, we're going to the lake. There's a nice (supposedly) beach about 20 minutes from here. After lunch, we're packing up and we're going to go check it out. We're going to play in the water for a few hours and then, after a quick stop to pick up some new shelving (thank you, Craig's List!) for our laundry room, we'll be home and spend the evening relaxing together.

That's something else that is changing for me. For a while now, I've been in full envy mode. I've envied other people's "perfect" houses and the nice items that they had. Now, I'm shaking my head at myself. I may not have the nicest items in the world, but I do have what's most important. I have my boys. I have a man who loves me and puts up with all of my silliness. I don't need new dishes. There is nothing wrong with the dishes that I do have. Of course, I also don't need the giant pile of towels that I discovered we had once we caught up on laundry. So, I'm passing a big bag of those on to some friends who do need them.

It's about simplicity. It's about getting back to basics. It's about setting goals for our family and achieving them. For the first time ever, my boys have a daily chore list. It's amazing how much we're getting done around the house.  Each night, I write the boys out a list of 6-9 things that they need to get done the following day. I place it on the table outside of their bedroom door and each day, they find it, do the items and cross them off of their list. Seeing those lines gives them a real sense of accomplishment and it's teaching them to be more responsible.  Already, I've noticed that they're picking things up when they're done so that they don't have to do a big clean up later.

Getting back to basics is a good thing and I honestly feel blessed that as we downsize, we can give things to those who need them. I'm passing towels and bedding onto Lindy and Paulie. I'm passing on a box of girls' books to my friend Lauren and her soon to be step-daughters. I know that Freecycle is going to get a few boxes of items very soon. As we have less, we feel as if we have more. It's a really good feeling.

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1 comment:

Lorrie said...

that sounds like a great plan good luck with that, i have to go through all my clutter i have

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