Simplicity Parenting with Mary Heard: The New New Normal

20 June 2020

Since his book was published in 2009, Simplicity Parenting author Kim John Payne has spoken about the ‘new normal’ of ‘too much, too fast, too soon’ but since the very foundations of our society have been uprooted, we sense the possibility of a “new new normal”. Like the words recently posted on a Japanese subway ‘We can’t return to normal because the normal we had was precisely the problem’.

As things start to wake up again and the restrictions of the corona virus are lifted we take a moment to ponder what we would like to take with us into the ‘new new normal’. During the isolation period we have been more committed to the important things in life, our priorities have shifted and, on that basis, we can turn our direction however slightly towards living a life in accordance with our own values.

Firstly let us look at stuff, many of us have realised how much time we waste shopping, how good it is to use what we already have and how slowly our bank account goes down when we stay home. Being at home amongst the stuff we already have makes us realise how getting rid of things makes us happier than acquiring them.

Rhythm has also taken on a new meaning with no teachers and no school to do the work for us. Rhythm is the secret of discipline (how teachers manage 30 children at once) and without the rhythm of the school day, family life can become formless chaos.  For teachers and for parents, rhythm is our best friend and the return on investment on the time we put into establishing rhythm in our family life makes it well worth the effort.

So many people I talk to are enjoying slowing down and the forced de-cluttering of their lives, realising that time is more valuable than money. For the past few weeks many of us have been thrown off the treadmill only to discover that so many of the things we love doing don’t actually cost money at all! We have seen how nice it is to have days with nothing on, to go for a walk together as a family, to have open ended time at home to pursue our deepest passions or have an afternoon nap.

We have all been relying heavily on virtual reality during the coronavirus and, although it has been incredibly useful, we have all experienced that it doesn’t come close to the real thing. Real human connection feeds the soul and it is worth safeguarding by putting screen free time into our days.

Now the time has come when we can begin the return to business as usual, we may feel pressure to ‘get back to normal’. But this is our big chance to define a new version of normal, to enjoy the fruits of the ultimate de-cluttering we have been through for the past few months, to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives easier, our hearts warmer and our children happier.

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