As some of you may know, I’m expecting my first little one very soon (in just under 10 weeks to be exact!) so perhaps unsurprisingly, minimalism and motherhood has been on my mind.
I’m not worried but I am curious about how my life will change – so when I received an email from Candace, a minimalist, mom and traveller – I was intrigued! I invited her to share her thoughts on simple living and motherhood and here is what she had to say. I hope you enjoy this beautiful essay as much as I did.
I am Candace. I am a traveler, a mom and a minimalist. I blog about life as a single parent of color at MySpoclife.com. Minimalism is what helps me to keep my life as a mom and a traveler focused on the right things. I feel that it helps me to achieve my dream life by keeping me aware of the important things. Let me explain.
Being a mother in the western world is not always easy. It should be. However, with the invention of social media and the prevalence of opinions, mothering just got more difficult. There is an impossible standard that is being held up to everyone, mothers included. It is displayed everywhere you look. The perfect way to bring a child into the world. The perfect nursery, the perfect preschool, clothes and gear. The best activities for your child, the types of things they should or should not eat. The list goes on and on.
When a mother chooses minimalism, this storm of opinions is hushed. Your life is simplified. You are suddenly able to hear what your heart says. You can focus on the most important things: your well-being and that of your family.
I have always been interested in making the world a better place and my life the best it can be. Something I have done always done is look up information about simple living, community gardening and budget travel. I find it enjoyable, and passed many hours of my free time exploring these topics. Then my daughter was born.
My daughter was an unexpected bundle of responsibility; born at the beginning of divorce proceedings with her father. Having already begun to live a simpler life, I didn’t want to clutter up my home with baby things. I wanted to move throughout life much the way that I had before her arrival. I wanted to show her what I loved about the world.
I opted not to use many things that moms are told are necessary for babies and small children. I could not see the benefit of having a stroller. Taking public transportation would be a hassle. Why carry a stroller up and down stairs, in and out of crowded buses? Often, parents hold the child and pushing the stroller anyway. I spent many years with her happily on my back.
I opted not to have lots of clothing, shoes and toys for the baby. She wasn’t going out much. She wasn’t going to play with these plastic toys. She couldn’t walk, so why have lots of shoes? As I made these decisions and more for our lives, I didn’t realize that I was already doing what minimalist do, choosing the important things and leaving the rest.
Then I discovered minimalism. My life changed for the better. Objects, habits and people that I hung on to in hopes for a different future, I was able to let it all go. As I let it go, our lives improved. We have peace in our home. We live the life that we decide to live. We are the captains of our ship and not society and its opinions.
Moms deserve to live their best life. They deserve their own personal time. Moms can live in a house where they are not stumbling over toys, where they don’t have mountains of laundry. Moms can choose to live how they want to live. When moms discover minimalism, it will change their lives. It gives you the power to say NO to hosting excessive birthday parties, NO to too many school activities and the list goes on. You can then say YES to the things you feel are important for your family.
For my daughter and I, minimalism has allowed us to say yes to travel. I am an adventurer and my daughter is curious. We have been to many countries together and are only just getting started. I am able to do what I love because I have said no to what was not important. As a mother, I find it important to give these values to my daughter. As she grows older, she will have the ability to hear what her heart says when society begins to try and place limits on her.
My minimalism may not look like your minimalism. In fact, you may be neither a mom or a woman. However, the basics of our minimalism should be the same. Choose people over things. Choose experiences over materialism. Listen to what your heart says matters to you. Leave all of the rest aside. If you don’t know what is important to you and you haven’t started finding out what is important; I encourage you to try. You have a world of wonder to discover and not much to lose but stuff you didn’t really want anyway.
I hope you enjoyed this inspiring piece about minimalism and motherhood as much as I did! If so please be sure to check out Candace’s blog for stories about how she travels the world as a single mother. And if you’re a mother, I’d love to hear how minimalism has impacted your life. Share your story in the comments! x
photo credit: Josh Willink // Used with permission