By Randi Crawford
I love this topic because, simply said, simple makes me happy. I suppose that I am a very simple person who dresses simply, talks simply, eats simply and behaves simply. I had a friend once fly across the country to eat at a restaurant that she’d made reservations for a year in advance (holy mackerel) ... I’m your basic PB&J on Ritz crackers after I eat dinner kind of gal. And this year I took my simplicity to new levels. For example, Christmas wasn’t an all-out gift-giving ceremony that lasted the entire morning. I think it took everyone about 10 minutes to open gifts, and the gifts, though few in numbers, were just what everyone wanted: Simple.
Sometimes when we choose simple, we start to have regrets or feel guilty because we worry at the last minute that we haven’t done enough. We are satisfied with simplicity, until we see someone else that has done so much, and we start to have second thoughts. But in the end this year, simple won out and we were all so much happier.
I have decided to take a much more simple approach to parenting and, therefore, I no longer feel that I was put on this earth to entertain my kids. I believe that I used to think that and, therefore, if my kids were on a break, I would make sure to fill every day with activities so that they wouldn’t get bored. Or my thinking was that they work hard with school and sports all year, so now I must entertain them daily for two weeks so that they get the absolute most out of life that they possible can. Ugh. Simple. When we are in Colorado, we play family games, watch television or go sledding down the mountain after we ski. There are a ton of activities that you can plan, for example, snowmobiling through the mountains, taking dog sleds to a back woods cabin for dinner, or cross country skiing while stopping at wine stations along the way, and don’t forget going shopping in Aspen. But this year, our big outing was going to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory every night after dinner and pigging out on chocolate-drizzled Carmel apples, salted caramels, or sweet ice cream.
As soon as we got home from a week of pure bliss in the mountains, my kids wanted to know what we were going to do. I told them to figure it out. One day, my son blasted me for being “no fun like his other friends’ parents,” to which I just laughed. Maybe I’m not the fun parent, but let’s see – we have a pool, a trampoline, a back yard and plenty of sports equipment...not to mention television sets in just about every room of our house, bikes, skateboards and a great street in front of my house. If you want to find something to do, you don’t even have to look. But we are so conditioned every single day to go to school, do homework, have a snack, go to sports, read and go to bed, that when we get a whole week with very few commitments we are like deer in headlights.
But this is going to be a new year, and with that will be my new parenting mindset. I will continue to do as much as possible on the sports front, which is a commitment that we all love. But when you have free time, you will have to figure it out. I don’t blame our kids for looking to us. I blame us. I blame me. But that’s going to stop because simple is creative, it’s liberating, and the best part is that it’s cheap.
Now, when I have the kids’ friends over, I don’t have to think about which restaurant I need to take them to in order for them to have the best possible time at my house...I don’t worry if we can’t make it to the latest movie because there are no good show times. I throw a frozen pizza into the oven, let them grab a drink, my daughter can bake a dessert and voila! Ha, after reading this I’m sure my kids’ friends will all want to hang out at their house and not mine, but that’s cool too. Kiss – keep it simple stupid...Happy New Year.
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