Sunday, September 12, 2010

Less is More

Cross-posted at:

This is a lesson I continue to learn, in various ways. Sometimes it might mean going through my closet or bookshelf and letting go of things I no longer use. Sometimes it means looking at my various commitments and deciding to cut back a bit, creating more time for myself and my family. I think it's a common goal for many, especially parents who are already overwhelmed with so many expectations.

Over the next few blog posts I'd like to explore this idea of less being more, and how it might help your family regain a little balance. My first offering is actually a blog post by a fellow Montessori teacher, Marcy Hogan, down in California, who wrote a wonderful post about cutting back on the number of toys she has available for her young son. Marcy writes:

I know I've noticed a difference in the quality of play in my toddler when I keep the number of available toys low versus the days when I try to buy myself "extra time" by bringing out more toys. If he only has a few toys out, he'll choose one or two and play with them for much longer periods of time. When I bring out a boxful of toys, he'll get excited about all those toys to play with… but then quickly tires of them and looks for something else to do.

photo by Marcy Hogan

I notice the same thing for myself. My husband sighs knowingly when I come home from the library with a stack of twenty books. Although I'm a voracious reader, it's inevitable that I will start reading three at a time…and maybe, if I'm lucky, finish one. Paring down on the options makes decision-making much easier, allowing for a deeper level of engagement. It's a process for sure (as anyone who comes over right now to see my night stand will tell you), but definitely something to work towards.

Check out Marcy's article, then come back and tell me what you think. Share your ideas for simple toys, or strategies for cutting back when the toy box starts overflowing. If you're in Portland, you might consider participating in this toy and clothing swap at the Green Sprouts Family Fest on September 26th.

Lena Wood, labor & postpartum doula

Cascadia Birth Services, LLC


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