I guess having one of the main focuses on our blog ‘simple living’, sounds kind of ironic given a life with four young children in absolutely no way simple. We had four children in five years, James was just 5 years old when our smallest arrived. It sounds crazy even to me when I say I had a five, four and a two-year-old as well as a newborn baby.
I am always entirely honest when I say I found the transition from three to four children the hardest, possibly because I was struggling with post-natal depression. I had a traumatic labour and birth with Ava. My waters had broken early in the morning, and we were desperately trying to move her from back to back on the hospitals birthing ball whilst in slow labour. Things escalated quickly when I started shaking uncontrollably with a high temperature. The doctors discovered I had sepsis and my body had started to shut down. I was rushed to labour ward and It felt like a twenty people were in the room within minutes. Luckily I had no idea how serious it could have been at the time, but the fast actions of the hospital team saved my life. It was an eye-opening reminder of just how precious life is.
Focusing on the simple things is really important to me. Its a reminder to slow down and breath in the ordinary moments. The ones that happen everyday, but sometimes get lost in the chaos. Hugs, cuddles (“cuggles” in our house) and kisses. The endless stories children suddenly remember to tell you at bedtime, just because they want to see you for a little bit longer. The jokes and real belly laughs at mealtimes. Trips to the park and walks in the woods. Hot chocolates with hot chocolatey smiles.
Sometimes its also remembering how those moments happen, and trying to find a happy balance. Between saying “yes” to the park, or “no” so you can tackle the washing pile. Or choosing to stay up past bedtime chatting, or saying “no” because you are completely parented out, and need five minutes alone.
For me ‘simple living’ is a reminder to slow down. And that’s not all about speed, it’s about intentionality and creating time for the things that are really important. It’s a reminder to live with less, so we can enjoy life more. It’s a reminder to be grateful for the things we do have, instead of focusing on the things we don’t. It’s about thinking of others & the earth and its a reminder to be kind. To myself as much as anyone else.
Today we chose to cancel plans, and say “no”, just so we could take our whole family to watch James and Lily march through our town in the St Georges Day Parade.
We chose to relax with drinks we waited for James and Lily to finish. We chose to walk instead of driving, so we could walk past the canal and see all the trees springing new buds. There is a list a mile long that we didn’t get done – but moments like these don’t happen often, and the years pass too quickly.
Because things aren’t always slow…
I completely forgot we were meeting 30 minutes earlier and I had to leave Simon, Ava and Amy walking, so James, Lily and myself could run half a mile to the meeting point!
When things are slow & simple, I know I am a better parent. I’m much more patient, kind and forgiving. And I’m kinder to myself as well as my children.
And so ‘simple living’ to me, is more a reminder to myself, to slow down, take stock and stay in the moment and be grateful for the little things in life.