The joys of the simple life. Why we choose it when we choose family.

I wish more than ever that more and more people in mass movements would catch the simple life bug.  It is truly what life and family should be.  I don’t know why others aren’t making the choice by the millions except that we have been brainwashed by society, teachers, politicians, parents, and peers to chase that career ribbon and have that big, official title that will proclaim to the world that you are #1!

Forget all that.  It means nothing one day on your deathbed.  Ask any dying person.  Ask them what was the most important thing in their life and what they regret.  I’m predicting that the answer will be lost loves, not spending enough time with children…their children or spouse.  Maybe not really enjoying life.  Maybe neglecting friendships that were precious.

I see parents in a hurry.  They stuff the kids in the car early mornings and drop them off with yelling and sweating, at school or daycares.  Then they pick them up late from some after-school program or daycare that charges a dollar a minute for tardiness.  The night routine is a flurry of dinner (something microwavable), more homework after hours already at school, crying, stress, bath, bed…

The weekends are cleaning, laundry, stress, homework, work project, over drinking, yard work, grocery shopping.

The house is empty all week.  It just sits there.  A $1,700 to $3,000 mortgage (oh yes, in Northern California, yes).  No one uses it really.  Everyone works 60 hour weeks to pay for a home they don’t use.  They have a yard that has grass, nothing really living and producing.  Just water wasting grass that is another thing to deal with on the weekends.  They have dogs that don’t get walked and live in the empty house all day staring out the slider at the grass.  They have children they never have time for.  When?  Between shoving toast in their hands and pushing them out of the car to the school or daycare where God knows what they go through all day because when the parents get home there is so much to do to get ready for the next day of hell they don’t have time to talk or even tune into the child and see that they may be struggling or suffering at school or the daycare.   On the weekends there are too many chores and then the child is forced into a packed schedule of classes then too.  Ballet, music, soccer, softball.

Schedules are packed, parents are both in careers, kids live in schools and after school programs.  Homes are empty, dogs and cats are lonely.  People are depressed.  Addictions and alcoholism are high.  The big Pharma are pushing a new depression pill weekly.  I’ve seen them on TV.  I find it ironic that the medication that is specifically for depression have a disclaimer that it “may cause suicidal thoughts or actions.”  Hummmm.  I don’t think that happy pills are supposed to give you the overwhelming desire to off yourself.

Our country is a mess.  We have built all the towns for cars. We are slaves to the car.  Look at suburbia and the strip malls.  We drive everywhere.  We go to dirty, crowded box stores to find a deal.  We work jobs we detest…jobs that make us drink a lot on the weekends to forget the misery waiting for us on Monday.  Our children hate us by puberty.  They have been trying to get our attention for years.  Now they are just done with us.

Ask yourself if it is all worth it?  Are you happy?  Is that house, those cars, the expensive vacation, the classes, the over scheduling, the technology, the Ivy League degree…is it worth it?  Are you thriving and living in the present?

What if you could work a job you really believed in?  A job that meant something.  What if you had hours in the day to be with your family and weekends were spent going to the beach or forest?  What if one of the parents stayed home and cooked from scratch, baked weekly, was there when the kids got off school and walked the dog daily?  What if the yard was filled with vegetable gardens and fruit trees? What if you could be with your children all day (that might not be dreamy for some)?

I’ve done the 3 jobs, the office manager, the 3-hour commutes, the city life, the night school.  It never amounted to much for me except stress and misery.

My mother was a feminist, well educated, attorney.  She was miserable.  She wanted nothing more than to stay home and garden, cook, and write.  She would be disgusted with me at being a proud housewife…and she would be extremely envious.

Nothing is more important than family happiness and well being.  I feel strongly that if you have chosen to have a family then you have chosen your career.  Period.  You can not work two careers and succeed at both. One or the other.  This is not a call for us to go back to oppressive times or forget our fight for equal rights and voting.  Goodness, the man can stay home for all I care.  But if you choose a family, you must make a choice of work or home…one of you that is.

People that both work and have families don’t have true peace and happiness.  They can’t really enjoy the children and their homes aren’t truly clean and tidy or run efficiently.  And who can cook from scratch after work?

Women that complain about staying home need to just stop.  It is a blessing that some mothers don’t have.  Some women are single parents and don’t have this luxury.  They would give their right arm to not have that painful task of dumping their child off at a daycare and have their heartache all day wondering if the baby is being treated well.

If you decided to have children then you prepare.  One huge way to do this is learning to live on one income from the start.  Have a tiny house and one car.  Be frugal and thrifty.  Have a budget.  Put the other spouses check into savings.  Pay off all the debt and the one car.  Learn to live a simple life.

It is not a sacrifice at all.  It is a life that has depth, color, warmth, true purpose, and real meaning.  It is a life filled with love and laughter.  And lots of good coffee.

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My life is the best it has ever been.  We live in a fixer-upper in a funky neighborhood.  I buy our clothes at thrift stores and we eat a lot of beans and rice.  Our last vacation was a trip over the hill to our son’s godparents summer home in Clearlake.  We cooked a ton of vegan Indian food and baked a vegan vanilla cake and brought that with us.  It cost very little…some garbanzos, flour, and a few gallons of gas.  We had a great time and can’t wait to do it again.

I wake early now because I have hens.  I also go to bed at hen time but I read in bed while the boys play on the bed with hundreds of dinosaurs and tinker toys.  I read a lot between forest walks and cleaning my beloved home that I have painted in many different colors.  We spend warmer weather in our yard with the girls and tending to five different garden beds and 9 fruit trees.

My children are home.  They are loved and cherished.  I am there to comfort and explain everything.  I am home to roll out tortillas and knead the dough, to cook from scratch.  I’m there with our cat and dogs.  No one is alone and the house is filled with cooking smells, coffee brewing, and the sound of little people chatting, imagining, and giggling.

We don’t go out to dinner and I had my last manicure 4 years ago.  I could care less.  We walk everywhere these days and we are fit and strong.  We eat the basic foods such as produce and potatoes along with the rice and beans and we are crazy healthy.  We rarely get sick.  I make delicious things from these bland foods.  I even mimicked a taco bell cheese, rice, bean burrito but it’s vegan!  Fun.

We are friendly with most of our neighbors and Arjan has 3 new friends he adores.  Sammy has one new friend he could care less about.  I feel like we play all day and every day.  We are very productive, the house is very clean, there is a lot of cooking and baking but it’s fun.  It’s cozy.  The music and coffee help.  A positive mind helps.

I have experienced the loneliness and isolation of being a housewife and mother of little ones but it passes and I got creative with writing and blogging.  You must find other interest.  These cost nothing or very little and can actually make you some money.  I’ve done a daycare in my home.  Great way to make money.

So, make that choice.  Downsize, quit the job, learn to be frugal, get rid of the cars, get out the crockpot and 25 lbs of flour, simplify and choose family.  You won’t regret it in the end.

 

5 comments

  1. Here Here! Very well stated. Wonderful photos–have you ever considered trying to sell your photos to a stock photo site? I mean, you won’t get rich, but it could bring in a little side income. Also, check with your local newspaper to see if they pay for freelance photos and stories. If you are taking photos and writing anyway, maybe some of your stuff might be something they can use to fill a spot in an edition. You won’t get rich, but it can bring in a little income.

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  2. I agree with everything you said!!! I’m the one who used to watch the little daycare kids next to my place of employment. It would break my heart to see them run to the fence to try to get my attention when I would go outside… just a little one on one attention is what they wanted! Another thing I noticed was that the state required them to go outside every day if it was not raining…….. those little ones would be bundled up at 8:00 in the morning, it would be freezing outside, and the daycare workers would pull them up and down the road, all stuffed inside a wagon. I used to think that any sensible mom, who had their kids at home, would not be outside at 8 am in that frigid weather. Rules were rules…… no flexibility. Poor kids!

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