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Can You Be a Simple Parent?

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Parenting is often called the hardest job in the world. It comes without instructions, is thankless at times, and you won’t be getting time and a half for holidays on the clock, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to cut back on its complications. The Simple parenting style is one which seeks to streamline your life and keep your attention only on the things that matter most to you and your family.

To become a Simple parent, the first step is to organize.

“When people ask me about organizing, I think they expect answers to be something like where can they find the best boxes or organizing supplies for their home. But really, the best piece of advice I can give to start the project of organizing or simplifying is to think about who you are and your family values,” says Tsh Oxenreider, founder and creative director of Simple Living Media.

By taking some time to discuss and pinpoint your top priorities and interests, you then begin to notice all of the parts of your life that don’t fall into that positive, worthwhile category. What is important to you and your family? What progress do you want to make in the next week or the next year?

Convert your meaningful conversation into a tangible, written reminder to help you stay on track even when things get hectic. To do this, Oxenreider suggests formulating a family purpose statement.

What is a family purpose statement?

“A family purpose statement is a simple saying or phrase that embodies who you are as a family that describes your values and your passions. It helps you make decisions like what sort of home you live in, how you spend your time, and just who you are as a family,” explains Oxenreider, an author and blogger.

Why Should I Bother?

Transforming your life from complicated to simplified needs a starting place– and one that you and your family can return to when things get hectic again. A family purpose statement is a great way to make the transition to simple parenting style and stay grounded.

“The most important components of a well-working family purpose statement are that it is simple, so that it’s easy to remember and you’re not trying to cover all the bases of life. It’s timeless so that it’s true, whether your kids are two or twenty,” says Oxenreider.

Where to Start

Don’t be overwhelmed! This doesn’t mean carving your entire life’s plan into stone, but more so conceptualizing a general idea of what you and your family value now and for years to come. Oxenreider suggests writing down some umbrella terms to encapsulate the big picture.

“So whether it’s being good stewards of the earth, or community and hospitality, you use these big phrases so that when you make decisions about how you can spend your time or money, you can remember who you are and then make those daily decisions,” Oxenreider says.

What Next?

At the very same time that you are identifying what is important, you are simultaneously boxing out what isn’t. Apply what you have discovered about your family values to the items in your home and activities your family participates in.

“From [the family purpose statement] you can start filtering through all of your things, ideas, possessions, what you want to do with your home, and it becomes so much easier,” Oxenreider says of the process.

The Simple parenting approach is about letting go of the activities and items that don’t help you and your family accomplish your goals or solidify what you stand for. To find out more about incorporating the Simple parenting style into your household, check out our top expert video on Weeding Out the Activities That Make Life So Busy.


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