Becoming a minimalist was not a concept I had heard of in 2015. My husband says, “Having a third child is like treading water in a deep-end, and someone hands you a baby.” Accurate? Absolutely. Or at least at times, it felt that way.
I should probably start with a confession.
You see, we didn’t exactly plan our third bundle of joy… BUT BOY were we were delighted to find out he was coming!
My husband started CRNA school (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia) in 2014, and the program won’t allow for its students to work while in it. I was staying home with our two little ones because the cost of daycare just didn’t seem worth it. After all, I would most likely be working only to pay someone else to raise our children with no money left later. As a result, our family did the most responsible thing we could, and we survived off student loans.
In August of 2015, at the start of residency, I gave birth to our third child. In an instant, I became a mother to an infant, 1-year-old, and four-year-old. I felt utterly alone, as my husband was spending every waking minute working hard to finish his master’s degree. (You can see where the feeling like we were drowning came from.)
Our world was chaos.
Someone was always crying (only sometimes it wasn’t me). No one was sleeping. Toys were everywhere, and I was suffering from depression. I didn’t want to ask for help. I wanted to be okay.
If I asked for help would this be accepting defeat?
I was overwhelmed with my surroundings. And, at this point, I couldn’t seem to dig myself out of this hole. The house I love was getting smaller and smaller around me.
I didn’t concern myself with minimalist thoughts. Instead, it was far different from that. I envisioned a bigger home for my family. A better home. A larger home.
Keeping Up With The Jones’s
As I dove deeper into my desire to move, I began researching. I quickly stumbled upon an article from NPR entitled Behind the Ever-Expanding American Dream House. The report stated that the average American house in 2006 was 2,349 square feet, which was about the size of our current residence. The average size of the house that the article went in detail to explain that this figure had more than doubled since the 1950s and 1960s.
This was shocking. I was drowning in a 2400 square foot home, and all I could think about was wanting more room. How in the world did families of 5 happily live in a mere 1100 square feet? This newfound knowledge inspired me to question my reasoning behind my desire to live in a bigger house. After all, I didn’t feel as though I cared about the Joneses at all, yet somehow they still inspired me to feel as though I needed a bigger house to survive as a family of five. A giant place will provide space for everything to be organized. Which would lead to sheer happiness on my end…right?
My Current Reality
Junk was piled on surfaces, and toys were everywhere. I was constantly looking around at what needed to be done, overwhelmed, and filled with anxiety.
To put it briefly, I’m not exactly sure where I learned about minimalism. What I do know is the concept of minimalism quickly grasped my heart so tightly that it, without a doubt, squeezed the depression from it and pathed the way to an incredible future. A different type of future. A future in which I can honestly say that I never saw coming.
Minimalism offered me the ability to control something in my life, making the rest of the chaos easier to handle in stride. I created room for what was important in our house. I developed an enormous amount of freedom, as I was not always working to clean up after our family. Becoming a minimalist increased my confidence, allowed me to explore new hobbies, provided me with peace of mind, and, most importantly, it made me a better mother to my children.
Knowing what I know now, I am overwhelmed with the longing to have started minimalism before children. The sense of self that becoming a minimalist has taught me is something I wish for everyone to know. This fact alone is what encourages me to blog. I want to share how I started on this journey and inspire you to do the same. I want to encourage you to own your time.
May your daily goal not be to get more done, but to have less to do.
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