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Saturday, October 18, 2008

How I arrived on this journey

Posted by Frugal Trenches
Notes From The Frugal Trenches

Several of the wonderful bloggers here have posted excerpts from their blogs to help readers understand their journeys. I've asked a few of my readers and they chose this post for me to share with you.

My Little Inspirations:

Several people have emailed or commented recently asking me how I came to the decision to downshift and simplify so early in my life (I am in my late 20's). While I do think that downshifting is a journey created by many different experiences and reflections, there are several very special reasons why I came to this journey so young, and I’ll call them my little inspirations.

A couple of years ago, well before this journey was documented, a family tragedy meant that a large group of siblings needed a new home, for at least another 6 months, if not more. Many people’s names were tossed about, conferences were held, but in the end it was decided I would be the person. The proper channels were sought, the proper paperwork done, the proper supervision in place and in an instant I went from being a pretty carefree single with lots of savings to a single carer of a large sibling group ranging from pre-school age to nine! What an experience! I was filled with fear and trepidation, I was so unsure about whether I had it in me to do this, I was so unsure about how it would effect my life and in truth I was so unsure about what I had gotten myself into. If you’ve seen Baby Boom, let’s just say I was just as shell shocked as Diane Keaton’s character!

My days went from spending 10 hours at work, followed by evenings with friends at bars, restaurants and shows, to being desperate to leave the office so that I could pick the kids up from school and pre-school on time, I could explore parks and nature with them, I could get a healthy meal on the table, I could spend time reading and talking to them without rushing them and I could get everything done that needed to be done before the next day started. In truth all I did was rush, rush, rush!

In the beginning I started off enrolling them in before and after school programs, extra curricular activities galore, we spent weekends running errands, getting the shopping done and squeezing in “the fun stuff” like a quick trip to the park and library. I was giving them the childhood I knew and I assumed (although admittedly I hadn’t thought too much about motherhood at that point) that I would give my own children some day. And then one day, out of the mouths of babes came the following statement “thank you for giving me a family when my family went away, my favourite time is just being with you, watching the fire roar, colouring and making things and reading”. Out of the mouths of babes….

It hit me in that instant that all the expensive lessons I’d signed them up to, all the educational toys and books I bought wasn’t what they needed or wanted. What they wanted and needed was to just be. That night I made a very hard decision. I looked at my generous savings and decided if what they most needed was me, then that was what I would give them until they could eventually, possibly, return home. That next day I went into work with a formal letter ready to leave it all behind. Work was desperate not to lose me so we reached a compromise, I would work in a much lower position only 2 days a week and only around the children’s needs.

My days went from non-stop rush, to appreciating and loving everything around me. I went from having no interest in anything homemade to wanting to know exactly what was going into their bodies to nourish them and wanting to be very careful about what went into their souls. I went from having dreams of being a “power woman” to realizing that power and strength come from within and are not defined by the job that you do, or the professional company you keep.

For almost a year my days included so many firsts, like noticing the clouds, playing in the garden, making things, cooking, laughing, singing, playing homemade musical instruments, making up stories and poems. My days changed from being a woman who had a connection to work, to a woman who had a connection with herself, her soul, her community and her inspirations.

That year cost me 99% of my savings but made my heart 99% happier. It is my little inspirations that I have to thank for this amazing journey, it is my little inspirations that I have to thank for helping me find my heart and my soul.


HeatherMM said...

Thank you for sharing. I to am in my late 20's. I am a single mom to 7 year old twins. Recently I have had some hard times because of an illness where I wasn't able to work for two months. We already have a fairly simple life, but I'm realizing that I'm a slave to my job just so I can pay my mortgage and utility bills. That's not how life should be spent! I'm working on simplifying even more, but I don't know what to do about my house situation. About 50% of my inclome goes to my house. I'd rather have a smaller home, so I can work less, so I can send more time with my kids.
thanks for sharing, Heather

Kimberly said...

Beautiful thoughts on a beautiful life.

Simbelmyne said...

that story makes me teary.
Thank you!
I had an extra family for only ten days before they could be back home, but it opened my eyes to how much we could really do without all the rushing.


KPiep said...

It's always good to read about others who share our family's sense of what is important. I became a stay at home Mom when we had our first because we felt it was silly to keep working so that someone else could raise our kids. 5 1/2 years later we still struggle with money - but our family is strong and we've all benefited from the choice.

suzan said...

A powerful story! Thank you for sharing this.

Willow said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story, it is truly inspirational! I have been a stay at home mum for most of the last 14 yrs and don't regret it at all. I feel very fortunate to have been there every day when my children came home from school. As kpiep said above - we have all benefited, in many ways.
Willow x

Frogdancer said...

Good on you!

I stayed at home with my 4 boys until the youngest started school. I divorced my husband when my youngest was 1, and I really felt that we needed the stability that a SAHM brings. Fast forward 11 years and the boys are doing fine. They are each other's best mates, and we are a tight family unit.
You've unselishly given those children a gift worth more than gold.

Rose said...

What an extraordinary story and outcome. Beautifully written BTW.


angela said...

What a beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. You and those children are blessed. Everything happens for a reason, and I guess you found yours.

jacqui jones said...

i read this the other day
i find this an amazing story...well done your an amazing person

Allison said...

Thank you for your story. Reminds me a bit of myself. We are gearing up for an adjustment from no children to one or possibly 2 children. We are doing foster/adopt. Thanks for the reminder of what really is important.

Amy said...

I had chills reading that. It think it is hard for many of us to slow down life and enjoy. And we often need reminders. Thanks for the reminder.

Melinda said...

Wow, what an amazing thing you've done! And it sounds like you've grown exponentially in such a short time. Beautiful.

Eric said...

Isn't it amazing what happens when children come into the mix...My wife and I reached a similar conclusion. Before we had children, we talked about all of the things that we remembered fondly about growing up. What we realized was that they had nothing to do with the acquisition of material things. They were the result of spending time together.

I read an article in a magazine recently that said that the best toy (educational or otherwise) that you can give your child is yourself and your time.

Notes From The Frugal Trenches said...

Thank you for all the kind comments, they warm my soul!