I have always been a bit of a doer. That is neither a good nor bad thing, it just is. I need to keep busy and stimulated, and subsequently always have lots on the go.
Luckily, my career stemmed from my passions and always included a lot of travel. I have worked as a journalist in radio, print and TV; I’ve managed musicians, and did their marketing and publicity. I’ve promoted movies at big film festivals and hung out with stars and bigwig directors. In short, my days (and nights) were incredibly interesting.
Things are a bit different now.
Now I have kids — a six-year-old and a four-year-old. Girls. We spend many a morning bickering over socks — are they on, do they match, has Sister stolen a mate? — mittens (pretty much the same thing) and unfinished bowls of oatmeal. I have gotten used to dropping my plans at a moment’s notice when someone’s head is too hot. Like a lot of parents, I often place my needs after those of my kids.
Life has definitely slowed down.
There are, however, times when I forget why slowing the pace is so important. Like last weekend. The husband was away and it was just us girls. Friday was pretty typical, but on Saturday we were out of the house before 8 a.m. so they could have pancakes at a friend’s while I taught a class. Big Sister had a swimming lesson, followed by a visit at the cousins’ house and sushi on the way home. Before bedtime we built a giant nest in the living room and hunkered down for the night in front of a roaring fire. By the time dad came home later on Sunday, we had scuttled around the dike in search of eagles, threw rocks into the river with friends, and made a Mexican feast. All in all, it was a pretty fabulous few days.
But we weren’t without one or two meltdowns. OK, there were several. And for this I must take full responsibility. In all our to-ing and fro-ing — in my effort to keep things fun and exciting — I forgot the one thing I have become quite adamant about: Keeping it simple.
You see, a couple of years ago I was lucky enough to hear a man named Kim John Payne speak about his new book Simplicity Parenting. His approach to parenting meshed seamlessly with mine — I just hadn’t perfected mine yet. For the record, I still haven’t and don’t expect to anytime soon. But I do keep trying.
Simplicity Parenting is about getting back to the basics. It’s about streamlining your home environment, establishing rhythms and rituals, scheduling a break in your schedule, and scaling back on media and parental involvement. It’s basically a manifesto for protecting childhood and allowing it to unfold naturally and with grace (or as gracefully as possible!).
Essentially, “Simplicity Parenting” reminds us that less is more.
But when faced with the notion of 72 hours without my partner, an empty slate of nothingness and two young kids, I resorted to my old ways: I got busy. And the kids got really, really tired.
Children move at a different pace from adults — and that is something we would all do well to remember.
Kirsten Andrews offers Simplicity Parenting courses throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor. Visit www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com for more information or to reach her via email.