For many of us who are parents, and even those of us who are not, this time of year is a busy one. School’s ending oh so soon, lawns can finally be beautified, summer activities are around the corner, this great weather makes kids think it’s daytime way past dinner. On one hand, there are so many possibilities to do more, see more, experience more. But sometimes doing less is really the key to experiencing more. There is a line from Renee Trudeau’s new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family that has really stuck with me. It has been ringing in my head with each birthday party invitation that arrives in our mailbox, each summer activity flier that comes home in the backpacks, each email from friends or family with really exciting ideas for get-togethers.
“A high quality of life has more to do with what you remove from your life than what you add to it.”
Admittedly, I am a person who loves to be busy. But since reading that, I’ve taken small steps to take things away from our family’s life. Nothing major: a few chores, a couple park playdates, put some errands on hold. And what did we gain? Some space, some time, relaxing (well as relaxing as possible when 3/5 of the guests are mini people) dinner on the deck, an impromptu Pictionary game, a chance to actually look at the pictures/worksheets the kids bring home from school with them, of course some more arguing over toys, but overall, some breathing room. It’s been nice to not ALWAYS be in a rush.
So maybe, this week, see what you can take away. Start small: drop a TV series you watch because you always have but probably wouldn’t miss if you deleted it from the DVR, cancel one of the many playdates on the list, save a trip to the store to return that shirt until another day. Take things that sound fun but are not on the “must do” list, and make them a tiny bit farther apart. Does it give you a chance to hear one more story from your spouse’s day? Does it give you a few extra minutes to enjoy the house you work so hard to keep clean (or not quite a disaster-zone)? Is this a net loss or net gain for you and your family? Gain more by doing less. Namaste.