how much is enough?

Steve and I spent the last 3 days stripping and refinishing floors, painting walls, cleaning out the garage, prepping molding for fresh paint. The kids were at my parents’ (thanks, Mom and Dad!) or we would have achieved exactly 2% of that stuff.

basement_moving_boxes As I de-clutter my house in preparation for selling it, this pile of boxed stuff keeps growing higher and spreading wider along one wall of my basement. It is all the stuff that is too “personal” (framed photos and kids’ art) and clutter-some (most decorations) to keep out. And boxes and boxes of books. Oh, and random weirdness like binoculars and tiny camera tripods. It makes me wonder how much we need some of this stuff if we’re living happily without it. I do not mean the books and photos of my kids. I mean the tiny tripod. (Why do we have that?) It leaves me wondering what do we really need? Not want, like or possess “just in case”—need. I am thinking about sufficiency versus excess.

How much is enough?

I am a contributing blogger at—I write on a variety of parenting topics from reclaiming the Green Hour to battling cabin fever, spending quality time with your kids to creating meaningful Thanksgivings and Christmases to taming the plethora of toys in your house. (I am much better behaved over there than I am here.) I write about all the things you can do with your kids to make their lives richer. However, I do not explicitly claim to accomplish all those things about which I write. I do my best.

Do you ever wonder if you’re really doing your best? I do.

I guess it might be more accurate to say that I wonder if I am doing enough. Because how much is enough?

busy_kids1 I jokingly referred to myself as the “boring mom” to a friend today. We are kind of a homebody family—we stick close to the hacienda. We keep our activities simple and our schedule loose. I love the freedom we enjoy and that we sometimes stay in our jammies until bedtime. (Then we change into clean ones.) I love that we sometimes cuddle together on the couch for half the morning reading or creating together. That a big afternoon out is the woods or the playground or our own neighborhood. I believe in simplicity. My kids are happy. They are almost always busy with activities they choose themselves. I rarely hear the word “bored” from their mouths. But here is the plague of this homeschooling mom—while I firmly believe that there is no curriculum or list of activities that can possibly encompass all that there is to know, and there is no set amount of time or specific age by which to learn a particular skill, that allowing my kids the freedom to do the things they want to do each day is the best thing to encourage a love of learning, that play should be the biggest part of what they do right now, that my job is to answer their questions and find new materials to incite their curiosity and interest, I still can’t help but wonder—how much is enough?

And yet maybe simply asking that question is a start—is enough upon which to build. Maybe keeping it simple and authentic is enough. While I want more for my kids than what is merely sufficient, I want to be aware of what feels like excess.

busy_kids2 It’s a delicate balancing act and there is no blueprint. You gotta do it from your heart and your gut. And you know what? I can do that. We can do that.

Oh, one last (unrelated to the current topic) thing: I said I was going to post my short story series on Fridays, but I changed my mind and it will be Thursdays. Someone told me that the best days to blog are Tuesdays and Thursdays and who am I to question the collective unconscious whims of the masses? That would be just plain crazy.

(And my unique crazy is far more interesting!)