I have to admit, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED listening to this week’s podcast. Christine and Kristin were fun, funny and a joy to have along on my commute home from work and school tonight. After a week-long family vacation, where I overindulged in food and drink, I found their conversation about minimalism quite timely.

Let’s be honest for a moment, shall we? Orlando can bring out the worst in kids. And their parents. While our week was, for the most part, very fun and without any serious incidents or feuds, there were the endless requests from my kids for purchases.

“Mom! Please! Can I get ________________.”

At one point, I got so tired of saying, “No” that I actually wanted to say “Yes!” to something. Any reasonable request would have been granted. Problem is, when you are in the land of fairies and superheroes, reasonable seems, well, unreasonable.

Take eating out, for example. We ate in restaurants more on this vacation than on any other trip in recent memory. Logistics had us moving resorts on Easter Day, so I didn’t do the usual grocery stock up at Publix that a) helps us to eat healthier and b) saves us a lot of money. Instead, we dined out a lot with another family from Rochester who I learned was vacationing at a resort down the road.

This turned out to be great fun for both the kids and the adults and reminded me why it’s often a fabulous idea to vacation with another family.

welcome-lisa-leakeWhen I got home Wednesday, I stepped on the scale and realized I gained three pounds. I think Tommy ate french fries and chicken tenders at almost every other meal. So I was already in a mindset to get back to reality and real food when I happened upon the blog 100 Days of Real Food.

While there is no way my family could do this 100 Days challenge, the website is full of great meals plans, menu choices, shopping lists and such that I immediately felt re-energized and mentally committed to trying to get my kids to eat better and try new foods.

Again.

Because truly, there’s nothing like pigging out on restaurant food for a week to get you back to basics.

Which brings me to this week’s podcast and the Minimalist Parenting philosophy. I loved Christine’s take on how we don’t need to go overboard, but we can take small steps to achieve our goals, whatever they may be. Whether it’s reducing the number of business trips we “must” take, our approach to fitness, organized play, baby stuff or self care, little changes can mean a lot.

[I also loved how Christine talked frankly about her own parenting journey, and the point at which she realized that some of the choices she thought she was making for her daughter were really not about her daughter at all.]

So this week, my own podcast (and Christine’s book) has inspired me to revisit the way I do some things, and encouraged me to make some changes on the home front.

Christine says we live in a parenting climate that feeds on more. (Reminds me of that Verizon commercial with the little girl saying, “Sometimes you just want more. And then your parents say you can’t have more, but you just want it…”). Until we recognize what truly matters in our homes and our own families, we will continue to run at a pace that can’t possibly be maintained. Parenting is more a slow jog than a sprint to the finish line.

True, happiness is not perfect grades or being the best kid on the team. It’s often the little things that do bring the greatest joy. In my house, the greatest parenting days are the ones where the kids are nice to each other (and their parents), everyone contributes, and when a new food is tasted for the first time.

Bring on the unicorns.

 

5 Responses to Listening to this week’s show

  1. Kristin says:

    So well said, Erin. I am LOVING Christine’s book and can’t wait to listen to the show. :)

  2. Katie says:

    Despite our best intentions, it’s so easy to get sucked into the vortex of I Must Do All The Things that is modern parenting. Thank you for the reminder that it’s time, again, to take a step back, breathe deeply, and relax. And that it’s okay if I don’t Do All The Things.

  3. Oh my gosh Erin, thanks so much! The only thing that would have made the podcast more perfect, is if you were with us. It was so much fun!

  4. Lynette says:

    We also have relatives in Florida and end up visiting at least one tourist site every time we go. My way of dealing with the “can I haves” when we travel is to get a gift card for each child for the location and give it to them ahead of time. Then, they have a set amount they can spend on whatever they want (they have to carry the items for the duration, so that helps to set some boundaries), and when the money is gone, it’s gone.

    Looking forward to reading the book! We got rid of our cleaners, and it’s been so freeing to just clean when it looks like it really needs it (or when company is coming) and just ignoring the clutter and dust the rest of the time! Love the podcast – thanks for keeping it going.