Do you ever get the feeling that life is way more complicated than it needs to be?
I play so many roles in life. In true honor of my Type A personality, I need to be perfect at each one. Perfect Mom. Trophy Wife. Rockstar Employee. Successful Blogger. Faithful Friend. Don’t forget Myself and all of my own perfectness. Being perfect is exhausting. Because if you aren’t doing everything, you may as well do nothing.
Basically, since becoming a mom, I have felt like a stress ball for seemingly no reason at all. Not the cute squeaky ones, either, that you can bounce off a wall and it comes right back. The kind of ball that, if you squeeze too hard, powder explodes all over the place. Being perfect is not a laughing matter. As in, jokes are no longer funny because you don’t even take the time to laugh at them. Or listen to them. You’re too busy playing a role.
One of my girlfriends told me about this article she read about moms being the ‘President’ of everything. The President of bath time, the President of dinner, the President of noticing when the toilet paper runs out, of the laundry, of the cleaning, of the remembering to schedule the dog’s veterinary appointments.
This is undoubtedly true, and undoubtedly exhausting for moms of all kinds. Especially moms who have their kids at home all day, because the Lord knows how often I praise the sanctity of daycare. The real truth is, I honestly don’t think many moms will ever escape the President role. It’s just kind of how we’re hardwired. And our children are hardwired to want us to pick them up, bathe them, and put them to bed. And we want to do the grocery shopping instead of our husbands because then we will eat vegetables for dinner instead of Pizza Rolls.
Even though that may be the truth, it isn’t necessarily fair. It is not fair to do that to ourselves. We can’t live constantly feeling like a stress ball teetering on the brink of an explosive episode.
So, what if we start to make our lives more simple? I mean, it is way easier to control all the things if there are fewer things to control. (Type A. I told you.)
I’ve been on a quest to figure out how I can make my life more simple. I’m playing around with this lifestyle called minimalism. Minimalism might be portrayed in different ways to different people. But to me, it is learning to live with less, and only with what I value most. In my quest to live a simpler life, I’m removing that which is not important. Things that don’t align with my values.
For starters, I didn’t value most of the things I owned. So, I donated them to charity. Seriously. Over the course of a month, I gave away probably 60% of my closet. Maybe more. And 4 or 5 car loads of stuff from our house. Kyle said I need to stop listening to The Minimalist’s podcast or we won’t have anything left to donate. Although…that is kind of the point, when you think about it. It was pretty amazing how much lighter I felt getting rid of all the things we did not value. And knowing that there are no longer piles of mail to sort through, fewer clothes to put away, fewer ‘things ‘to keep track of, I am able to relax a little more at home.
I’m still developing and fine tuning this minimalism thing, but I also set some basic rules for myself to help simplify other roles in my life.
I value my health more than I value sending work emails after 6 pm, when I know said emails could wait until the morning. So, I’m no longer checking email after I sign off to pick up Brooklyn from day care. While I do consider myself a rockstar at my job, it doesn’t require checking email 24/7. Instead of being tempted to work, I’ll go for a walk with my daughter or get in a quick workout instead. OH. Or I’ll read. For fun! Because when you aren’t checking email or on your phone, there’s time for that again. Stepping down from the Employee role just a little bit opens up more time for Myself, Mom, Wife, and even Friend.
I’m also no longer checking email upon opening my eyes in the morning. Waking up to darkness is much more calm than waking up to the brightness of my iPhone. I am taking my morning time back for me, and for my mental health and sanity. This is another way to just get some time back for Myself.
I value my marriage more than I value social media. I am officially saying goodbye to FOMO. Most of my friends are only posting pictures of their kids or cat memes these days anyway, so I don’t know what the hell I think I’m missing out on. Kyle and I are trying to set ‘no phone’ hours in our household. I’m still working towards sitting down at the table for dinner. (Baby steps.)
In the end, I’m trying to find ways to honor my values.
And I think that by through this process, the previous pain of all my roles will become less extreme. Because there is something I value in each role. Focusing on that helps make it more meaningful. I can already feel it happening.
Without all the clutter in my life, I can find time to do things that make me happy. Like spending time with my husband, and my child. Going for a long walk. Or writing! I am coming back to the reason I started this blog. For writing, whatever is heavy on my mind, whatever needs to be spoken. This blog is my creative space. It makes me feel good. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be for me.
I hope in this quest I become only one President. The President of Happiness.
And if I still struggle with being the President of Toilet Paper, there is always Amazon Prime.