Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. Note: 2012 is a new year, with new goals. While I’ll keep posting regularly on Wednesdays, it will not be Simple Living Tips (unless I feel like it!)
I’ve been racking my brain to come up with ways that having kids has simplified my life….and the verdict is that it has NOT. In fact, kids have complicated my life in so many ways!
In my pre-kid simpler life, I used to enjoy many unstructured weekends where my husband and I just do what we feel like, and that often included sleeping in and cooking elaborate meals. No more. Now we wake up when the kids/alarm clocks wake up. And even though I don’t enroll them in multiple classes or plan a lot of activities, we do have play dates and other outings because it’s important for kids to socialize and see the world. (Yes, these outings can be fun but they still require more scheduling/organization).
In pre-kid days, I could unwind after work and oftentimes my husband would whip up a delicious dish. We’ve adjusted somewhat to mealtimes with kids and are slowly getting back to cooking from scratch but it will be many years before we have the energy again to make elaborate meals.
I heard this juggling of time/schedules get even more complicated once kids enter the school system. Then things like PTA meetings, teacher conferences, plays, sick days, sports and school holidays can throw your carefully scheduled routine into meltdown territory (yours, not theirs!)
Some people say that having kids make things easier because they realize the importance of family. When kids / family are top priority, it’s easier to make choices. I don’t necessarily agree with that. Some people make the choice to stay home or quit the rat race because it becomes crystal clear that their careers interfere with family time. But for many others, it’s not so clear. You may need that job to provide for the family (or you may actually like your job). You may say that you want more time with family but your actions speak otherwise. Or you do manage to spend more time with family but at the expense of friends, your own health or personal down-time.
Now having said all that, there are a few ways that young kids do make things simpler. Who knew that I could spend hours/days/weeks reading the same book or watching the same kid movie? Who knew that a stack of blocks or a cardboard box could cause hours of joy and fun? And yes, there is nothing quite as joyous as innocent kid laughter. Kids can definitely remind you how to enjoy the simpler things in life (until they grow up and want the latest tech toys too!)
Do you think kids complicate or simplify life? Does it even matter?