Childhood, uncomplicated

[really_simple_share]

bubbleMax

As the calendar turned to the new year, I realized that there were some things about simple living I needed to recommit myself to, including living for the “small” moments and being dedicated to giving my children as uncomplicated of a childhood as I can (there will always be complications in life, of course, and bad things happen but I will strive to focus on the joys of childhood).

Some recent events and the results of the reader survey confirmed to me that I was on the right track in thinking smaller and simpler – in my offline life and here at the SK blog.

If you haven’t been to the blog for a little while (I know many of you read the SK posts in a reader) then your visit today might reveal a few changes.  Most of the changes I suspect won’t make much of a difference except to me, but those of you who have been reading Simple Kids for a while might notice a few things are missing and there are a few things that are new.  I’ll be making some more changes here and there as I refine my vision for the online home I have here.

Change can be a very good thing.

Getting back to the basics and the simple joys of childhood.

As I said in January, it is time to ask some questions and get back to basics.  I’ll be sharing much of that journey here in this space in the coming year.  So much has changed in my personal life since I took over at editor here at SimpleKids.net.  Our family size has changed, the children have gotten older, our circumstances and calendar look much different than they did even just a few years ago.

Perhaps a few of you are feeling the same way?  Like, despite your best intentions,  life got a little complicated?  Let’s take this journey together, refreshing our simple living goals and re-kindling our desire for an uncomplicated childhood for our kids.

Amelia_unplugged

Childhood, uncomplicated

Have you glanced at the rows and rows of titles in the parenting section in your local bookstore or library lately?  Turned on the television to view a panel of experts debating the latest theories on ways to create a “perfect” childhood?  Walked down the aisles at the toy store and been overwhelmed by all of the choices, products, and systems?

Do you ever stop and wonder are we making this harder than it has to be?

It seems, at times, like play and childhood are becoming obsolete.  In such a hurry-up world we can forget that life doesn’t have to be so fast-paced and play doesn’t require batteries or the endorsement of a television character.

We don’t need the newest baby gadget or the latest handheld gaming device to offer our kids a happy childhood.  Childhood should not be battery operated and kids shouldn’t have to worry about their play or their toys becoming “obsolete” and constantly upgraded by the next model.

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My mission for SimpleKids.net

My mission at Simple Kids is to invite parents to slow down and reconnect with the fundamentals of parenting.  It is time to get back to basics and make childhood simple again.  It is time to have more fun!

Beyond that, I want to counter the mainstream message that parents must offer their children the endless option for “more” and that they aren’t enough.

I told readers on Facebook recently that if I could gently remind you of anything, it would be this: you ARE enough. Right now, just as you are. We are each unique in our circumstances. Our children are unique. We’re each doing the best we can. Who you are, the parent you are today, that is enough. We each have our own gifts, our children their own needs.

Love your babies, be gentle on yourselves, recognize just how amazing it all really is.

One person’s “simple” might very well be another person’s “complicated.” The choices that simplify someone else’s life and bring them joy might not be a good fit for your own life. There is not a set “simple living standard” of parenting here.

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Whatever simplifies YOUR life, friends, that is what you should strive toward.  You don’t have to copy someone else’s definition of what a “simple life” is if their parameters don’t fit your family – and that includes the ideas here at SimpleKids.net.

I hope I can inspire you to find your own path to simplicity and encourage you to take what works best for you and let the rest go, with no guilt.

Here’s to getting back to the basics and the simple joys of childhood!

[really_simple_share]
About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

Comments

  1. Love it! I’m with you, Kara! :)
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s latest post: Our Menu Plan: February 17th to 23rd

  2. This is fantastic! Sometimes I feel like we’re the only family who DOES the simple, unrushed life with our kids. Or at least try to. I’m all about letting my sweet boys enjoy being kids for now. A few playdates here and there and preschool twice a week, but for us, we’ve chosen to just let them be…play outside as much as possible, not push organized sports until they’re older, bake with me, help daddy ‘fix’ things… I’ve felt guilty many times for not having them doing scheduled activities all the time, or having scheduled playdates 4 times a week because that’s what all my other mommy friends are doing. But this post is a great reminder that it’s OK to be simple and uncomplicated. Thank you!
    Jessica´s latest post: Are Our Kids Overscheduled?

  3. Yes, wonderful message! The whole premise of my own blog is to share with parents that they don’t need STUFF or CLASSES to raise awesome kids and be awesome parents. I truly hope to help alleviate the guilt manufactured by marketers that ironically, makes parents so tense and nervous about being good parents they end up feeling less connected with their kids. I’m giving you a standing ovation over here :)
    Jen @ BigBinder´s latest post: What’s Happening, Grand Rapids?

  4. Amen and Amen.

    This echoes so much of what has been swirling around in my head the last several months. Thank-you for putting words to it.

    And this for me, is the most empowering phrase “love your babies, be gentle on yourself, recognize just how amazing it all is”. So good.
    Breanne´s latest post: In Which I Tell about My Black Dress

  5. Oh I love this, Kara. Thanks for sharing this.

    “In such a hurry-up world we can forget that life doesn’t have to be so fast-paced and play doesn’t require batteries or the endorsement of a television character.” so, so true!
    Jess @ If Only They Would Nap´s latest post: Cuff Bracelet Tutorial: Because She’s Worth it!

  6. Elizabeth Kane says:

    Preach it, Kara! Love this quote: “Whatever simplifies YOUR life, friends, that is what you should strive toward. ” It’s taking me time to figure out what my version of “simple” truly is – it changes, it morphs, and sometimes it throws me for a loop. But it’s worth discovering over and over again each day, so I can appreciate the life I have. Thank you for the reminder.

  7. Bravo!
    Wendy´s latest post: learning to be a brother

  8. Wonderful message… thank you!
    Hillary´s latest post: Tips to Quit

  9. This was so encouraging to read! I am really looking forward to all the changes in sk future, so exciting!

  10. Kara, thanks so much for the reminder that there’s no gold-standard when it comes to “simple”. Just because it’s simple to me, doesn’t mean it will be simple to everyone else. The hard part (since I can’t borrow anyone else’s definition) is identifying what simple will look like for MY family.

    Let me recommend that the easiest way to do that is to develop and use a list of “what I want to look different next year” (I my personal life, marriage, family, etc.)and then use that list as a plumbline to simplify.

    Twice a year my hubby and I sit down (in January and our anniversary in July) and consider the things we’d like to see continue to grow or drastically change. Sometimes it’s specific like “save $1K for a vacation next summer. Or sometimes it’s more vague: make evenings less crazy.

    The case of the “evening routine” problem, we didn’t like the frantic feeling we’d had every night to “move on to the next thing until they’re in bed.” It was a mad dash to get home, have dinner, throw into baththubs, slap some PJs on, say a prayer, and turn off the lights.

    What happened to the Norman Rockwell type of tuck-in? Where the parents stand gazing in the doorway (because they don’t have a zillion things to do) and the kids sleep are sleeping angelically and NOT trying to hide a Barbie car under their pillow to play with when we go downstairs?

    We want our evenings to be calmer and more family-oriented at night in 2013.We eliminated a few evening activities (yes, there were tears). We moved supper up to 5:30. We introduced “stat baths” of wet/wash/rinse and reserved “playtime baths” to the weekend. And we managed to squeeze 30 minutes of family time into our rhythm. Thirty minutes we are using for family reading (just starting Chris Riddell’s illustrated version of Gulliver’s Travels!) and devotions.

    By thinking through the “what I want myself/family/life to look like next year” issue, we’ve whittled away the extra fluff so we can focus on those things we really want to grow and change in.

    For some families the evening activities, like sports practice and ballet lessons, and AWANA, and other good things, fit perfectly into their family goals and mission. My “Simple” of evening reading would only add stress and complication to the good things they’ve committed to. (I’m an introvert, so a lot of hometime is required for my sanity.)

    Thanks for writing this, Kara and reminding us that we don’t have to judge our family’s by the standards of someone else’s simple, but should strive to identify our own and watch our lives be blessed by it. :-)
    Heather Gaither´s latest post: Your Family Legacy: Make Fleeting Baby Moments Last Forever

  11. Love, love, love this. I’ve long been an advocate for this, but I too have learned that one person’s “simple” is not necessarily another one’s. Looking forward to where the blog goes this year!
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau´s latest post: Why sharing how you are changing is good for your children

  12. Thank you for your message. It is nice to know that others struggle with the calendar as the kids get older. It becomes harder and harder. I had two big moments this week. First, I told my kids (ages 8,7 and 4) that we were going to take a year off from organized activities. It did not go over well but I ripped off the bandaid and told them. I am committed to the simple path again. Second, I saw one of my simple decisions pay off. My middle daughter did really well on an IQ screening at school. This is a little girl who refused to go to preschool at 4. I worried and worried if I did the right thing but letting her stay home with me. I worried last year that she was so behind because she is still learning to read. It is nice to see it come full circle. I took the simple path and she is amazing.

  13. we try to keep it simple around here but even that takes time and effort. I find myself organizing things, getting rid of stuff and donating/selling things on craigslist and that all takes away from playtime.

    I love what you said about getting back to the basics of parenting. but again, parenting has never been easy. I think a good distinction is that simple doesn’t mean easy. it can be simple, and hard.

    all in all, we have tried to sit back and choose to respond with a ‘yes’ when asked to play. it’s tough. my kids just had an argument about who was the most mad at the other one and this illustrates the point beautifully. it may be a simple idea to have fun together but it can be hard cause we are human and that gets in the way from time to time :) at least we are being conscious about it and so will probably have more fun as a result.

    excuse me while I go play with my boys. :)
    lana wilkens´s latest post: The World’s Advice

  14. Count me in. I do not feel like ‘ enough.’ :) encourage me please.

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