Our family has been on a journey to simplicity this year, and our children have been very involved in helping us to "share" the items we have somehow acquired too much of. Since January, we are up to 65 bags plus several large pieces of furniture. That doesn't count trash! We have found that kids do need more, but it is not at all what I expected.
When I really listened to what my daughter was saying, I heard, "Mommy, play WITH me." Andrea spells love, PLAY or SNUGGLE. She does not need any more toys to help keep her happy and occupied. Gasp! She needs more of me instead. Nathan needs more of my attention, especially when he decides to carve a 5lb block of cheddar cheese. I hear him, even when he's not asking, say to me, "I need more of you." Ethan in his all day nursing sprees that frustrate me to no end is saying to me either a) I'm sick or b) I need you.
The problem with our culture, and the problem with me, is that we often try to give an item where a person is needed. Snuggle bunny isn't a bad idea, but what is needed is Daddy or Mommy in the night. Sometimes, in our very fallen world, Daddy and Mommy are very, very tired. But, we are striving to see the opportunity to give our children more of ourselves, rather than material "stuff." And amazingly, we are finding that the holes in our own hearts are being filled and contented like never before as we focus on people, very small people, rather than material possessions.
How do we do this? We are strong advocates of no television. It only breeds bad behavior, even "good" videos. Television actually changes the brain waves of developing children and should not be used instead of a person. We also give real items instead of toys to play with each parent while we work. The children use real kitchen items rather than plastic with me in the kitchen. Nathan loves to use Daddy's real tools to pound a piece of wood with Kurt. The point is that we are living and being together.
How do I do this and train for a marathon? I run using the FIRST program from the book Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce and his associates at the Furman Institute. It is 3 days of hard running, 2 days of cross training per week. I love it. I'll tell you in a week how it goes for the Columbus Marathon as I make my run to Boston Qualify. But most importantly about the marathon training is that it has not compromised my time in serving my husband and my children. If anything, I truly am more available to them when I am taking physical care of myself. I have more to give, amazingly, after a strong 20 mile run than if I had not run at all.
So, I encourage you to slow down and give more of yourself especially to the small people around you...
websites I enjoy but do not totally agree with..... http://www.simplemom.net/, http://www.zenhabits.net/, http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/, http://www.runlessrunfasterbook.com/