A person only has so much energy or emotion to spend in a day. No one can do it all. No family can do it all. It doesn’t matter how rich a person is, there’s always a point when they just can’t do, or have, one more thing.
In order to have a an #unforgettable life, to live a life of abundant joy, it’s important to know what’s really important to you. When we live our life with purpose, then we invite abundant joy into our hearts and homes.
Life is about balance. But the two sides of the weigh scale don’t have to be identical to find balance. Remember a pound of feathers and a pound of bricks are still balanced!
Some people may have Pinterest style homes, or Pinterest worthy birthday parties, some may have amazing jobs, or stylish clothes. Some may take their children on the most amazing camping adventures or luxury 5 star vacations. Some may have fancy cars or something else. What you have isn’t important. It never was.
Oh I know. Sometimes it feels like it’s important. Believe me! I’ve been there. I could tell you about the things I thought I needed. Some of them were things that seemed to mean I was a good enough wife, a good enough mother, a Good enough person. Not having them seemed to say I was less than. So I bought. I spent. I gathered. But some of the things I thought were important for a different reason. For several years we had so little money. We lived life from a place of fear.
We were afraid to get rid of something we might need one day. What if we didn’t have the money to buy it in the future? When we had money, we bought things. Often from a place of fear, what if the money doesn’t last. What if we find out we need this in the future, it’s on sale now, we could save money.
In the end none of that fear, none of those things, saved us money. But they cost us a lot. They cost us time, they even cost us money. But mostly they cost us happiness. It’s impossible to live a life of abundant joy when you’re afraid.
Over time we’ve discovered we don’t need the things other people have. Anyone that says you do, is not a person to spend your life on.
Our children have a fun playroom in the basement, complete with a treehouse, slide, and climbing wall. There’s also a rope they swing on and a mini trampoline for the smaller children and a beautiful rocking chair from my mother-in-law for sitting and reading. It’s something we designed and built ourselves. It took our time and attention to do this, it also took some help from friends and family. If we had to pay someone else to build it, they wouldn’t have it. It’s a balance and a trade.
Our children also have a fun little sand pit and fort in our backyard, nothing major, but it’s something many other children in our area don’t have. I was able to fit it into the landscape design, then Ryan and I were able to build it together. This also cost time and attention vs money. It’s a balance and a trade.
There’s always a cost. Sometimes the price is too high.
For a long time our children had so many toys, including broken toys (maybe we could fix them, or someone would have their feelings hurt if we didn’t hold onto a broken toy, or it’s still mostly usable). We kept toys they’d outgrown, toys they never used, toys that took up space we didn’t have. All of these reasons fall into the categories of fear I outlined above. They also fall into the category of secondary cost.
Having that much stuff meant it took me all day to even come close to cleaning our home, and often I didn’t have the energy to fully clean, so it’d get left for another day. It was so overwhelming having so much stuff. In order to prepare food, I’d have to spend almost 30 minutes pre-meal prep just to clean the kitchen. I don’t mean left over dishes from another meal, I mean toys and craft supplies everywhere. They had a craft room. It was too full and too messy to use it. The time required to sift through the stuff meant we couldn’t do what we wanted as often as we’d like.
Don’t get me wrong. It was possible to tidy and put things away. It just took a very long time. More time than I had left over after taking care of children, pets, and everything else involved in running a home.
The cost of having stuff is time, money, and in my case, sanity.
Each of us has our line. It’s a line where we’ve done all we can without giving up something else. Sometimes it’s okay to give up something else. Sometimes it means we have to completely shift the way our family lives in order to get or do what we want. Sometimes the line is there and crossing it, no matter how we shift, takes away from our feelings of #unforgettable and abundant joy.
Maybe you’ve seen the things we do for our children and feel badly you don’t do the same. Maybe you’ve seen magazines with amazing homes and amazing yards. Maybe you’ve seen commercials with something you want to have. It doesn’t matter what you compare your life to, whatever you compare it to isn’t the whole reality.
You may not have birthday parties with themes and games, but you give something else to your children. No two families can be the same. There’s always a difference!
Go easy on yourself, take a moment to see what you bring to your family. Understand your own beauty and importance. Embrace your life, and if you discover you’ve been living life in a place of fear, understand it’s okay to take a break, to shift, to align yourself, your family, your life with the ideals that’ll bring you to a great big beautiful place of abundant joy.