Helping hands

Sapphire has been showing a big interest in “helping” lately, as toddlers do. So we have begun to do things like chop carrots together, make pizza and bread dough, mix granola, and “wash dishes” alongside mama. I find it both amazing to watch her grow, and take pride in helping with “grown up” tasks, and also a bit tiring and puzzling at times. I really want her to be an active participant in our home. I have seen the results of older children who have been pampered and “spared” from chores, and it effectively cripples them and causes feelings of frustration and anger. It’s not a popular idea in our culture right now, but consider how happy Amish children and other with many responsibilities are!

Granola recipe is from here and was easy and delicious.

I recently started reading this e-book, and while most of it isn’t new to me, it is refreshing to read something that specifically deals with clutter busting (in every sense) AND being a mother.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I am continuing to be amazed at what is opening up as we release more and more “stuff.” There seems to be sudden time for a mid-morning yoga session, sushi picnics in windy parks, reading, doing puzzles with my baby, pondering, sitting on the grass…I keep getting compliments about how organized I am. I admit, I do seem to excel when I have a mission at getting the pieces together, mobilizing myself and others, networking, delegating etc. But really, my mind is a jumble too…I just continue to tackle one thing at a time. Maybe I have a talent for keeping track of things, or maybe I’ve just worked through enough of the things in my life that aren’t priorities that I can more easily focus, or maybe I’m just driven. It sheds light on why people wanted me to organize events and be on various committees…but I digress.

Reading about people who live and travel in RV’s (like this family) and other fascinating unusual ways of life is opening my eyes. I still keenly remember what it was like living out of my backpack, traveling cross-country by train, wwoofing…it is freeing, and sometimes lonely, but in a healthy way, a way that forced me to face myself and wherever I was at the time. I had many more adventures without so many possessions to worry about and take care of…I had exactly one pair of pants and as the wore out I patched them until they resembled a quilt, and I wore them proudly. Somewhere along the way, living in a very tourist-oriented community full of big box stores and having a child, I bought into the idea (at least a little) that to be a mom and a “responsible adult” I needed to do an have certain things. And it’s not that “things” are bad, not at all, more that it is so easy to accumulate based on false priorities and before you know it you’re in debt and smothering in your stuff. You can’t be spontaneous because you’re buried in should’s(like I should fix “x”, or I should clean up instead of going out etc.). You can’t have people over…I find myself questioning what I need. Do I need so much stuff? What if I could have more time with Sapphire and Haley, what if we could have experiences and adventures instead…yes, obviously I’d opt for that.

So I continue to pare down in this last week, selling more items, things forgotten in cupboards and closets, things blending in with the scenery…and hopefully we will set out with not a stuffed car but just exactly what we need and love. And my hope is we will accumulate much, much more mindfully now.

May you be inspired on your own adventures,

~Laura

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