It all started in 2012. It was 10 pm on a weeknight. Both Chris and I sat on the couch while our young toddler watched TV. We knew 10 pm is way too late to keep a young toddler up, but also watching TV? we were exhausted after a long day of work and were probably waiting on the other person to initiate putting our son to bed.
Needing to muster enough energy to put our toddler to bed was the least of our problems. We were a household of two working parents with demanding jobs. Chris is an IT Director for a global company and I was at the time one of three Infection Control Nurses for one of the largest children’s hospital in New York City. We had almost daily discussions about whose early meetings were more important so the other could bring our son to daycare at 7:30am.
Then there was if our toddler would get sick, who will sacrifice to take a day off to nurse our son? It was usually me since I was an actual nurse. These discussions sometimes lead to arguments that didn’t help our marriage much. We didn’t have much help with babysitting aside from the daycare we paid for so time for date nights or even to have a decent conversation was hard to find. When we weren’t working, we were taking care of our son, cleaning, cooking and shopping for weekly necessities. On weekends, our son would be buckled in his car seat for 3 hours or more while we drove from place to place to get chores done. Then there was church that took up quite a bit of our time too.This was the reality of our life for two straight years.
Something had to change and it had to change fast. We were literally surviving day by day instead of thriving. I started contemplating quitting my job and being a stay at home mother. It was a hard decision to make because I had worked hard for years to get to where I was in my career. Aside from that, I didn’t even know if we could afford it with just one income. We do live in one of the most expensive cities in the United States and had a monthly mortgage, car payments, student loans and many other expenses.
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His book “The Total Money Makeover” and his podcasts changed our lives. It helped us take charge and simplify our finances and changed the way we saw debt. There’s really no such thing as a “good” debt. I worked on our finances daily and worked hard to pay off as much as possible. I quit my job to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) as soon as the following happened:
- we only had the mortgage left to pay off
- had worked out a monthly budget based on only my husband’s monthly income
- felt released by God to leave my job
SIMPLIFYING OUR HOME
Although I’ve always had a love for decluttering and organizing, our home was a huge mess. We had moved in 2 years ago but and never had time to work on the house because we were so busy with work and life. Whenever we had people over, it took forever to clean up and the time was spent on shifting clutter from one room to another. As soon as I quit my job and had more time, I went into a quest of how to organize every single thing. This is when I learned about Joshua Becker’s books, “Clutterfree with Kids” and “Simplify”:
Reading his books and blog completely changed the way I thought about having things. It made me realize just how excessive and unnecessary our consumption of things was. Did I really need all those mugs on my cupboards? why am I still keeping so many old textbooks that I probably wont read again? Do I need to buy this black shirt just because its on sale? I mean, I already had at least 4 black shirts. It also brought to my attention that we had an unhealthy emotional attachment to things.
I immediately started purging our stuff. 4 years later, and I am still purging stuff out of our house. I don’t think it will ever be done as needs change with different stages of life. I will say though, after all that decluttering, we physically feel lighter and cleaning and organizing our spaces is no longer a big burden. There’s also a bigger sense of inner peace as we are no longer bombarded with as much visual clutter.
Have you started or desire a simpler life? if so, I would love to read about your experience and any tips you might have.