How to simplify
The benefits of simplifying your life when you have children
Ideally, I like to have a clean kitchen, clean rooms, toys put away, and some food prepped before I go to bed. That way when we wake up, we all have a clean slate to work with. I also like to have a plan of what I would like to do that day whether it be errands, work, a craft, special dessert, going to the park, etc. That being said, I hope you will take my advice and learn from my experience that less is more.
Simple LivingFirst, less clothes means less laundry. We have been given bags and bags of hand me down clothes for our girls. I am so grateful that I don't have to spend money on basic shirts, leggings, jeans, beanies, mostly everything. That means when I do see something at the store, I can buy it because it is something special. This is what I have found out about clothes: Just because something was given to you, does not mean you have to keep it. And with adults, if something does not fit or look right, donate it. Get it out!
Filling a closet with clothes that you don't favor takes up space, and visually clutters your brain. We do not need a bunch of things to make you feel like you have a lot, just the things that are important and relative to you right now. You and your children will never miss the worn out sweatshirts and ill fitting jeans. Now, when you wake up, what you have to wear is clear, and it is one less thing to think about.
Next lesson: Do not try to make something new every night for dinner. This will also save you money. I highly recommend planning out at least 7 days of meals. You don't have to plan them on specific days but you should have a good idea what everyone will be eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week. This way you can spend less time grocery shopping, as well as cooking. Ideally, after grocery shopping, prep a lot of the food for the week. This is easier if your meals incorporate the same ingredients in different ways. Examples would be to wash, peel, and dice carrots to be used in a stew one night, steamed another, and to juice one morning. These same carrots can be used to make your own baby food also. The same theory will work for many ingredients. One of my favorites lately is to buy a whole free range, organic chicken. The first night, I bake the chicken and we eat it like that. Afterwards I cut out all the meat and slice it for sandwiches for the next few days. With the carcass and drippings I make a stock the next day. Then, a few days later it is used in a soup, stew, or pot roast. In a sense you are creating a theme for meals for the week. That way you won't be buying say, a bunch of cilantro and only use it to garnish a meal before it goes bad. Instead you buy it because you know you will put it in burgers, a mexican dish, and an omelette for the week.
Also, do not cook different foods for your kids than you eat. It will greatly simplify your life if everyone in your house is on the same page with the meal plan. My two year old eats just about the same as my husband and I do. It is simply not an option for me "to make her something else". Not only does this complicate your already hectic day by having to make another meal, it is teaching them that your food is bad and her new food is better. It also exposes them to a wide array of foods. As my baby progresses through the food stages, she will also eat the meals that we do. Cooking for the family and not each individual greatly simplifies your life.
Simplify life with childrenLastly, try not to over think what will be fun for your children or over-plan their day. Children love spending time with their parents who are focused on them. A lot of times they will enjoy sitting on your lap reading books for 20 minutes more than going to the library, wandering around, and checking one out and taking an hour. My daughter loves playing in our backyard, dirt patches in the grass and all. She doesn't need to go to Disneyland to be entertained, at this age some of the most simple things are fascinating to her.
Quality time interacting with your family is much better than rushing around to the mall to get new clothes, then to the park, and so on. There is a time and place for everything, but realize that with children less things on the schedule usually means more time quality time.
I hope you can take my experiences and apply it your life to make your family's life more sweet and simple.
Author: Unique Ultrasound