Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Minimalist Must Haves: Baby Edition


You are about to welcome a new baby into your world. Congratulations! It's an exciting and incredibly overwhelming time. I remember trying to figure out, with my first, what I would need to survive, and it honestly was a lot less than I had. Here, I'll outline the things I found I needed and mention a few things you only might need. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Best Marriage Advice I Was Given


When I was taking pre-marital counseling with my soon-to-be-husband, we did the "Love and Respect" series with my parents. We would watch a session and discuss. One comment in particular struck me: let your husband dream.

Probably this isn't all that crazy to some people. Probably it partly depends upon your marriage, but my husband is definitely a dreamer. He will come to me on a regular basis with a new scheme for how to expand his business, make a bigger impact with his work, etc. And every time he does, I listen, try not to say much, and just accept his dream for what it is.

Why?

Eggerichs basically explains the idea in this way: men need to dream. They need to think of ways to influence the world and stand out among other men. Women are not really dreamers. They like stability and for things to be consistent and trustworthy, so when a husband approaches his wife with a major dream that sounds like it could change their lives forever, that really makes the wife uncomfortable. What if everything goes wrong? What if everything changes? Every possible problem is immediately present in her mind, and she opens her mouth to explain why the dream is ridiculous. But that is the last thing she should do. The husband isn't crazy. He's not going to uproot the family and change everything without careful consideration (and discussion). The wife should quietly listen, accept the dream, and let things unfold.

This scenario, as I have said, occurs regularly in my marriage. My husband comes to me with a dream. I listen. I accept the dream. Sometimes, the dream is pretty tame, and at other times it seems impossible. No matter what, I let it be. And guess what? Nothing horrible has happened. Ever. Despite always letting my husband suggest and try for what seems unfeasible, he has never put me in a position of insecurity or danger. It always feels like I'm tempting danger, but I trust my husband to do what is best for our family while still conquering the world in the ways he can. And guess what else? Those things that seems impossible... he completely vanquishes them 85% of the time.

We've been married for six years, now, and I've learned a lot about my husband during that time. He is a major dreamer. He's also incredibly good at making his dreams a reality in a way that respects my needs and desires. He has proven himself to me as I have trusted him to do his best, and we are both the better for it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cleaving and Becoming An Adult



There is an awkward stage that every young adult goes through where he goes from being a child to being an adult. It's awkward for both the parents and the child, because there is a combination of still wanting to parent/be parented and yet wanting to make decisions that will impact the future you wish to have.

I knew from an incredibly young age (around 8) that I wanted to be a wife and mother. I never wanted to be anything else. I planned on getting married the day I turned 18 and popping out babies every year or so while my husband worked and I stayed at home. To me, this described the ideal life. My parents were supportive. They knew how important a wife and mother who stays at home can be, and they believed I was following the natural path for the majority of women.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Giving Up Meat

That's one big kohlrabi!


I have this really great husband to whom I can suggest anything reversible, and he's always willing to try. Early fall, I made a rather scary life change suggestion: "What would you think about trying Veganism for awhile?"

We weren't even avoiding meat (not at ALL. We love our local meat), but something had happened that really had changed how I felt about eating it all the time: my father had suffered a heart attack. After doing a lot of reading and research, I started a new running routine and thought that some diet changes could really be helpful in keeping our bodies working well. The diet change was approved, and we went from eating meat nearly every meal to no meat, dairy, or eggs. We were already sugar free and mostly oil and pasta free, so we knew it would be an adventure!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Why I Prioritize A Clean Home Over Playing with My Kids



Before kids, it was easy to keep house. I had way more time to accomplish everything than I needed, most of the time, and even with chronic health issues, I managed to get dishes done, the bed made, and the living room vacuumed. After my first child came, it got a little harder. When the second came along, it got a little more difficult. Then we embraced minimalism, and although that didn't eliminate the need to clean up, it did make things easy again.

But there were times when I noticed my husband seemed a little less relaxed when he got home. He didn't complain, but I could tell that when he came home and things were messy, it added stress to his life. Coming home wasn't a time to let loose and relax - he felt a need to clean up!

I tried to excuse the messy house by saying: "at least I was spending time with the kids. They're pretty important, right?" But even as I said it, it didn't feel right. I was home all day with the kids. And when my husband came home from work, the last thing I should expect from him was to jump right back into work by cleaning house. Everyone tells you that cleaning up isn't as important as spending time with your kids, because life is short. They won't always be this age... Right?

As much as the idea appealed to me, I still didn't feel it was the correct response. The basic problem was that although my children wouldn't be this age forever, they didn't need to be "enjoyed" 24-7. They also would not be the person I would live with the rest of my life - that was their daddy, and he was a priority above them.

So I had to make an attitude adjustment and a few life adjustments. Yes, I still spend time with my children. Yes, I still enjoy them and take pleasure in seeing the stages of life as they go through them. But around 5PM, I focus on supper and preparing the home for my husband to arrive. To see him walk in the door to a clean home and warm supper, watch the weariness of the day being left at the door, that is a wonderful blessing. And my kids don't mind when he's in a better mood, either.

Monday, May 28, 2018

What I Don't Do to Help My Marriage


When it comes to a clean house, my husband and myself, well, we tend to be sticklers. We like our home to be at least tidy at all times. Being minimalists, it isn't too hard, and clean up even after the worst our kids and ourselves can manage, it will rarely take more than ten minutes to straighten things up. This is one of the nice side effects of minimalism.

There is one thing, however, that we don't bother cleaning up: our supper mess. This may seem a little controversial, but we habitually leave the kitchen when we're done with supper and don't bother with it that night. We rarely even clear the table.

Why?

Because our kids go to bed and it's adult time. It's not that we hate cleaning - obviously, we don't mind - but being on our feet after we've both had a long day... it feels like drudgery. We've tried one of us cleaning up while the other puts kids to bed. We've tried cleaning up together. We've tried taking turns with the task. No matter what, it just eats up our time - and our moods - in a way that makes our special time alone much less satisfying. So we leave it. The next morning, I get up early and clean up supper mess, which takes about 15 minutes, and I actually enjoy it. We still get the satisfaction of a clean kitchen in the morning, and we don't sacrifice the time together the night before.

It is a common argument that cleaning up doesn't take much effort, it makes your morning brighter, and the fact you're doing it together can be romantic and fun. Maybe it is that way for you, and if so, great! But if it isn't, is it possible you could do things a little differently and be better for it? It does seem counter-intuitive to leave a mess when a clean home relaxes you, but sometimes other things are more important.

Is there a task you do differently than people recommend because it makes sense for your family?

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Thought that Changed My Marriage



I remember how frustrated I felt, early in our marriage, as I told my husband: "I feel like ice cream. Nothing else appeals to me. Don't you understand what it feels like to crave something?" My husband, looking a little apologetic, admitted he had no clue. He said sometimes he wanted a specific food, but the idea of wanting something to the exclusion of anything else felt nonsensical. All he knew was hungry and not hungry.

This was a frustration in our marriage more than once until, one day, as I was washing dishes, it occurred to me that there was something my husband felt the same way about - we just hadn't thought to draw the parallel. Excited, I declared: "Cravings are like sex!"

He was a little skeptical until I explained it to him like this: "When you start thinking about sex, it's hard to think about anything else, right? You can't stop thinking about it, and it's hard to concentrate. You could go for a run or try to read a book, and that might work for awhile, but those things aren't going to take care of that desire; only sex will! That's what it's like when I'm craving something."

All of the sudden, he understood, and he's been very empathetic of my cravings ever since. We've shared this story with other couples, because we see the benefit not only for the wife but also for the husband - being able to explain his desire for sex to his wife. The cravings of men and women aren't things we can simply ignore or forget about - they are a very present frustration - and, thankfully, easily taken care of.

Have you struggled to explain your cravings to your spouse? Does this help you to understand or explain cravings yourself? How else might you draw a parallel?