There is no praise for doing less.
No one at school says “That is so great you didn’t sign up for PTO,” or “Thank you for not helping at the Valentine Social.”
Most praise, and subsequently most stress, comes from doing.
I found myself doing things in my daily life to receive praise from others. I wanted my spouse to think I was doing it all and I wanted my kids to have epic adventures daily.
I thought my job as a mom was to keep myself and my kids as busy as possible during the day. If we were all exhausted and cranky at bedtime it was a successful and productive day. Days sitting at home reading and relaxing were strictly prohibited, or reserved only for burn out and sickness.
But I no longer feel this way. My new title for myself is Pace Manager. The best thing I can do for my spouse, my kids, and myself is manage our pace. If I succeed at keeping our pace slow and leave space in our schedule, then joy, spontaneity, and thoughtfulness creep in the cracks. If my days are so crammed and all the cracks are filled, these precious things cannot creep in. Slowness is critical because it creates these cracks of time where life happens.
Here are some ways we slow down our days:
1. Say No
2. Planning and Visualization
Every Sunday my husband and I sit down for 10-15 minutes and talk about the week. We plan for morning workouts, who gets the car, special activities or school events, etc. We talk about potential stress loads on certain days and try to think about how we may feel. Doing this quick week planning makes the individual days less stressful because it feels like we have rehearsed them already.
3. Finishing what we start
When I asked my husband what helps him with pace, this was his response. He said he does not mind feeling rushed in the morning from regular demands, but doing yesterday’s work adds unnecessary stress. For example, he biked home from work on Friday and noticed his front tire was wobbly. Technically, tightening the tire could wait until Saturday and he could totally justify waiting. But he knew biking on Saturday would become stressful and less likely if it required the extra step of tightening his tire. So took care of the issue on Friday and didn’t have to think about it again. Doing that extra thing feels hard in the moment, but it leads to slower pace later.
4. Less Stuff
The more physical stuff we remove from our home the less we have to clean and maintain. This leads to slower pace because we think less about cleaning and have less to clean.
5. Plus Activities vs. Minus Activities
My husband and I talk a lot about whether an activity adds or detracts value from our life…whether it is a plus or minus activity. We try to limit minus activities and increase plus activities. Hiking as a family is a huge plus activity for us. We leave the trail feeling refreshed and energized. Crowded community-wide kids activities are a minus. They leave us feeling depleted and frustrated, so we limit these to very specific ones or meet friends there to limit the stress. Discover which activities leave you feeling refreshed and do more of those!
Another suggestion from
We continue finding more joy in life as we pull back on the reins. I no longer list off all my daily accomplishments to my husband or drag my kids from one activity to the next. Sometimes my favorite days are spent folding laundry with my little girl and watching my son fly through chapter books.
I want our story to be slower and more intentional. And I want to find more creeks like the one above.
About the Author:Brittany is a wife and mother of two. Through having less and doing less she continually finds more. Find her at Lessmorelife.wordpress.com