Being a mom is such hard work that it almost seems like the overworked and overwhelmed mom has become a trope. But it’s true — moms exert a lot of effort in making sure the household is always running smoothly, from preparing meals, finishing household chores, helping the kids do their homework and all the other “invisible work” that come with raising a family. No wonder moms are burnt out!
5 characteristics of minimalist moms
If you feel like parenting is draining you, take your cue from moms who’ve adopted the minimalist mindset — they’ve learned the art of simplifying life to gain more time. “The minimalist mom gets a full night of sleep, has time with her kids, and importantly, has time for herself,” writes Rachel Jonat of The Minimalist Mom, in an article for Motherly.
Sounds unreal? Here are five characteristics of a minimalist mom that we can all learn from, according to Jonat.
1. A mom who knows when to say no
People, moms included, have a habit of saying yes when they really mean the opposite. Jonat says a minimalist mom “knows her limits, her interests and what the tipping point is for herself and her family.”
If you’re asked to finish a last-minute request when you know it’s time to clock out from work, don’t feel guilty about saying no. If it can be accomplished tomorrow without the world ending, then it can wait.
Saying no also includes being firm with your kids — “No, you can’t use your phone on weekdays, and no, you can’t go out on a Sunday because you know it’s a family day.”
2. A mom prioritizes the things that make her happy
Jonat says a minimalist mom’s “spending aligns with one of her biggest values: having time for the things and people she loves.” She has no qualms giving up fast food or takeout — it’s expensive, and that money can be used for something else. However, she will splurge on a pair of shoes for her daughter because she knows it can also be used by her other children in the future.
Kat Lee, a mom of two who lives in Japan and has adopted the minimalist lifestyle, says letting go was an easy process when it comes to material things.
“Material things didn’t really matter. It’s the things we do together as a family. You need to let go of the things you don’t really need and feel content with what you already have,” she says to SmartParenting.com.ph.
3. A mom who is a master at delegating.
Renee Benes, a minimalist mom who runs the blog Fun Sized Life, says you can introduce chores to your children at a young age as part of the minimalist approach. “My kiddos are loading the dishwasher and maintaining their own bathroom. They put away their clothes… and while it’s not ‘mom quality’ they are learning early to appreciate their things as well as the value of hard work,” she says.
Doing fewer chores does not mean you’re a lazy mom. Instead, Jonat says “[Mom] understands she can’t do it all, but rather, she and her family can do basics together.” Family is also about being a team, right?
Jonat shares that a minimalist mom “knows what people and things fuel her,” which is why decluttering, which is an integral part of the lifestyle, is such a rewarding task — you begin to realize what it is that’s important to you. It makes it easier to say no to people and things that don’t fill up your tank.
“For me, what makes [the] minimalist lifestyle important is appreciating what you have and the contentment you feel with the few things that you own,” says Kat. “As a parent, I can see that it’s not the things they have that makes them happy. It’s going out there, playing, and being a child.”
5. A mom who doesn’t give in to mom guilt
Minimalist moms have learned the ability to worry less about things that don’t matter. So what if people judge you for having a bare home? So what if they point out that your child wears the same clothes every week? With fewer things around, there’s less room to worry, but more time to put yourself (and your family) first.
“Less time and effort [are] needed for maintaining the order and cleanliness of the house, making more time for the things that truly matter,” says Kat.
The minimalist mom is by no means the best mom — she’s just a person who knows how to spend her time and money according to what she values. Time is most valuable, so she puts an effort to spend it wisely with the people who matter — her family.