My house is a womb – small, round, nourishing – with its soft walls and gentle shifting. We are four people and a dog in about 460 square feet: cozy, especially in these cooler months with wood-stoves and candlelight.
We are working towards a simple way of life – slowly and gently, but consistently. It’s a challenge, even outside the reach of daily advertising. Modern motherhood, especially is a vocation pushed toward chaos by the culture of consumerism. There are so many things – unnecessary “must-haves” enticing us from store-shelves and mommy-blogs. Relatives pour out accoutrements and weeding through them is difficult, what if someday I do need a back-up winter coat for Yarrow? Sometimes we forget for a while that chaos isn’t an essential aspect of our vocation. Motherhood doesn’t have to mean drowning in children’s accessories for years and burying the nice dishes under plastic plates and sippy cups.
I am not denying the wild energy and destructive/distracting/interrupting abilities of kids! Mine are experts at damaging my calm and my carefully curated home. It can be overwhelming, especially in a one-room house in the winter months when outside time is limited and driving into town isn’t always possible! But generally, the fewer things they have around to scatter and destroy, the less overwhelming and more engaging they are! We have more fun together when we are ourselves together with a few books and some well loved toys; we have less fun when we are swimming in things.
As the seasons shift, and we set up our little house for winter, I start thinking of Christmas, and all the little things that tend to slip in during that season. Gift-giving is a lovely tradition, I don’t want it to end. But I do want it to transition back to something more wholesome and simple – we’re talking about how to do that with our extended family, the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Ideally, I would love our holiday giving to be a gift from St. Nikolas (he brings the kids each one gift and fills their stockings – primarily with fruit and chocolate); a gift from Seth and I; and notes and foods (something that gets used up) from relatives. I think it would be an ideal way of celebrating for the kids and for Seth and I. But we’ll see..it’s a hard sell to those relatives who are less into simplicity.