They say that having children teaches you so many things about yourself. It’s a quote that many people throw around, but a quote you can’t fully understand until you are in the thick of it. For starters, a love you never even knew existed now fills your heart each day. Things you worried about before you had children are thoughts that don’t even enter your mind. You make big decisions based upon what is best for the little people in your life that you love oh so much. Sometimes those decisions are hard. Sometimes those decisions look totally different than what you would have thought five years ago.
One of the big decisions my husband and I had to make was what were the things we wanted our kids to value in life? What life lessons did we want to teach them on a daily basis?
We knew we wanted them to value the importance of family and time spent together and the memories we made. We wanted to shift the importance away from material things and focus on our time spent together instead. We wanted them to appreciate the outdoors and walk places. We wanted to live closer to work and family so we could spend less time commuting. We wanted to live in a town where community involvement and giving back is at the forefront. We wanted to be able to have one of us stay home with them on a daily basis. With all of these wants, came some sacrifices as well.
It seems everywhere you look kids are bombarded with the concept that “things” bring happiness. Society can make it a difficult task to raise kids to be grateful and to enjoy the simple things in life. In an effort to lead by example to our kids, we decided to move to a smaller house and get rid of a lot of the stuff that we later found out was bogging us down.
We really asked ourselves if the things we had were useful to us or served a purpose to us. If the answer was no, it was donated and not taken with us. Did we need a quesadilla maker, a waffle iron, a pancake griddle and a panini maker? We decided some of those things could find a better home. And guess what? We haven’t missed them since.
Many people thought we were crazy, downsizing at a time when our second child was a newborn. But we knew what was right for us and realized it wasn’t other people’s opinions that mattered. This was what was best for our family and that was the most important thing.
There are so many things we have learned about owning a smaller house. We have learned that less ACTUALLY is more.
- We spend less time cleaning our house, allowing us to do more things together as a family.
- We spend more time together because we are usually all together in a certain area of the house. 🙂
- We spend less time driving, which in turn gives us even more time together.
- We spend less money on “things” and invest in time and activities with our kids instead.
- We don’t have to spend as much time organizing “stuff” because we don’t have the storage space to keep things we don’t use.
- We are truly trying to lead by example and not just say to our children that Less is More. We want them to see us live this in our daily lives.
- We spend more time outside and using our imaginations, as we shift away from material things.
This adjustment didn’t just occur over night and there are still times when we are working on ourselves and remembering that Less is More.
And while it may not work for everyone, I urge you to stop and think today about what message you want to leave behind for your kids. Does the square footage of your house bring happiness? Will your kids remember what type of car you drove? What toys you bought or the brand of the clothes? Or will your kids remember the time you spent with them and the memories you made? As you think about your own childhood, I think you would have to agree that it’s the latter.
I hope you take a moment today to remember that LESS can actually be MORE. When we focus on less and doing it well, we are more present and more deliberate. And this I think is one of the greatest legacy’s we can pass onto our children.