Life gets full. You have the things you fill your life with. For me this year it’s been starting a new not-so-small business, moving, planning to build a new house, and being a Mom, Wife, and Doctor too. I am tired, overwhelmed, and I have been desperate for things to SLOW down.
Life gets full. I started realizing that most of my time at home involved moving SHIT from one room to another. Giant piles of laundry, bins, and bins of toys dumped and dragged around the house, organizing shit by buying shit to organize my shit, where is my shoe? (why is it under the sink?)....etc. etc..move shit, find shit, organize shit, I am losing my S-H-I-T!
Life gets full. Chaos. Get the kids to daycare/school (cue meltdown over the wrong kind of socks), arrive at work and desperately try to switch on my adult brain, run a business, be present with my patients, rush to pick up kids, wtf is for dinner?, eat quick (ha, a “healthy peaceful family dinner”), find the missing soccer sock (or whatever is the sport/activity of the day), get out the door, rush home, exhausted but to wired for bedtime to go smoothly, kids finally asleep, finish patient charts, go to bed….etc. etc. etc….GO GO GO...then repeat.
It’s FULL, full to the brim.
And what does FULL feel like? It feels like stress, it feels like anxiety, it feels like a tornado. And imagine what that feels like for our kids.
Don’t get me wrong, my life is FULL of good things, fun things, amazing things. My kids have opportunities that many can’t even dream of for their children. I speak from the place of the privilege to be able to have and do more than many.
But at what cost? Those activities might provide “enrichment”, perseverance, team comradery, athletic skill and a chance to win a provincial championship. At what point do you lose the opportunity and gain a bucket load of overwhelm? Where is the balance of YIN to those fun YANG’’ful pursuits?
Every family is different. What works (or doesn’t work) for us isn’t the same as your family. But please ask yourself, IS it working?! I suspect many of you will say, NO. I hear it in my conversations with friends and patients, I see it in your health, I see it in my kid's behavior and struggles, and it is affirmed in the popular culture where more is better, don't get left behind.
But if you stop. Just for a minute. I suspect you crave some SIMPLICITY too.
When life is so full, there is no more room...
No room to be still.
No room to be bored.
No room to explore, create, make a fort, catch a frog.
No room to enjoy.
No room to breathe.
No room to live life on purpose.
It wasn’t working for us. We have too much stuff, too little time. WE have had enough.
I can’t control it all, but I can design the rest with purpose, with balance, with a dose of SLOW and NO.
Some changes that our family is working on:
- We are blessed to be building a house. Our home decisions will be of light, flow, simplicity, and minimalism. For us, the decision of laminate countertops means one extra trip to Ireland to visit grandparents.
- We have cleared a lot of our shit (do I need a separate moisturizer for my lips, eyes, and feet?), which reduces overwhelm, increases time, and the opportunity to create.
- The kids haven’t been allowed small screens all summer. Their imaginations have been free to roam.
- This school term, we have just 1 extracurricular activity for my daughter. This leaves room for impromptu evenings at the beach and walks after dinner.
- Establishing better routine, rhythms, consistency and flow to our days.
We are consciously designing our things and our time. I am no parenting expert. Some days I'm a rockstar, but often I feel like I have no fucking clue. This isn’t a wide sweeping panacea, but it is starting to make a difference, to us.
If there is one thing I’ve done right in my business it has been developing our mission/principles and battling every single decision I make against them. Does it align? No? Then decision made (even if it isn’t financially the best decision). It’s time to do that for my family too.
This doesn’t come naturally to me. It is a mindset that takes practice. I like my stuff. I value the character building aspects of teams and sports. I want my kids to have every opportunity to excel and do things they love. I have personal, business and professional goals. I want to make a difference in this world. I am compelled to pack life to its fullest. I am a master multi-tasker with a high capacity for stress and getting things done. I could probably make an organic buddha bowl, do a wicked french braid, arrange a beach play, and create a treatment plan for Hashimoto's thyroiditis in the span of 30 minutes...boom! But seriously, BOOM to my health, sanity, and enjoyment of the things that matter.
Just because you have the opportunity, or even that those opportunities are positive and wonderful and fun, doesn’t mean you should do it all. Too much of a good thing, in the end, is fundamentally just TOO MUCH.
I don’t have this figured out. I will fail consistently. I will be challenged with the latest fashion trend (lol ok, I’m not too trendy, but I do like my bags), too many toys will enter our house, and I will be challenged when I find out that my son is the next hockey prodigy.
There is not ONE single parenting book that I have ever been able to read, they haven’t felt right for our family. THIS book in the photo, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne M.Ed, has single-handedly changed my parenting mindset. Do I ever wish I had it from the start. If any of this is resonating with you, it comes with my highest recommendation. It is FREEING!
As the school year starts, I wish you fullness. Not of crazy schedules and mountains of new "back-to-school" clothes, but fullness in the pause, in the space, in laughs and breaths, and in creating the life you want.
I hope you find fullness in creating simplicity too.
Xo Dr. Kara