2017 Fall Simplicity Parenting Series

The fall is a time of transition and change— something that we can count on in life. The thing that I have found that has helped me through the ebb and flow of life (read: ups and downs) is not only to trust and let go of doing it someone else's way, but slowing the fuck down. Which takes some conscious effort and a bit of rebellion in our very fast paced world. 

This is why I, and others, have found the simplicity parenting series so helpful. This is time and space that you create as a parent to reflect on the direction that you and your family are headed.  

These gatherings are not about quick fixes (is there such a thing?), however we are all about  'less is more' + doing what is sustainable. It is also nice to hear from other like minded people (who may make different choices than you but simply want what is best for their children). 

90 minutes of devoted time for six consecutive weeks. Doable and motivating. In our last group, we were parenting some odd 30 kids total ranging from in utero to 16 years of age. Pretty neat to think of the ripples created. 

The group starts online next month- Monday, October 16 from 8-9:30pm EST. You can read more here. Oh and enter promo code BACKTOBASICS before Wednesday to receive $100 off. 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to hit reply.

Looking forward to connecting with you, 

Lynne

P.S. If you live in or near Toronto and are intrigued by horses or would love a day away from the fam, there's always the option of joining us on our last retreat of the year—Friday, October 20. Read about Paddock

Thinking of renting out your space for Airbnb? Here are some simple tips

Last year we rented our family home for four months to make a dream come true and since we had a positive experience, we thought why not rent our home while we are away visiting family or on vacation in order to provide us with another stream of  income. Although this isn’t for everybody, it works beautifully for us right now.

Now I must say, before I jump in to explain how you can mitigate risks to ensure a smooth process, that renting to Airbnb guests does involve some work, including looking at your mindset. Most people worry about theft, damage, creating tension with neighbours and someone else having sex in your bed! All legit and worth thinking about.

Here are some things to consider BEFORE renting your home:  

  1. Simplify

You will need to do a decent purge and simplify the rooms in your home before welcoming guests. This makes the process of cleaning and tidying easier. Also consider that it gives a better energy to your home, thus attracting high vibe people (this is my very scientific explanation).

There are many resources out there including my ebook on Simplifying Kids Stuff to help you with reducing excess, but put simply, get rid of shit you don’t like or need. People have way too much stuff anyway and the benefits far outweigh hanging on to clothes, toys, books and other things that aren’t being used.

2.  Time investment

When I know we’re going to have guests, the week leading up to their stay, I will be more vigilant about organizing and cleaning up. Crumbs in the cutlery drawer? Wipe them down. Hair elastics in every room of the house? Gather them up.

It takes Mark and I a solid 3 hours each of cleaning, tidying, shifting our clothes out of the way to prepare our house, washing towels and changing sheets. This works out for us because we work from home. Alternatively, you could hire someone to do this.

3. Belongings

We simply move some of our clothes in drawers and closets in the bedrooms to make room for guests. I’m not even sure if guests use the space, but we tend to create more room than necessary. It can be a bit of a bother when coming back home to move things back, but again worthwhile. And it motivates us to reduce even more. Simpilfying is an ver-evolving practice. It depends on how much stuff you have and how much room you want to make as well as how long your guests are staying. If it’s just a weekend, maybe people just live out of their suitcases and have access to a drawer. Longer than a week, I would make more room.

Besides clothes and any laptops, there isn’t much else we need to move, unless there’s a doll or special item that a child wants to put away, everything stays as is. But I don’t have expensive jewelry, purses, shoes or anything that I would miss if someone took.  When we rented our home for four months I did take down personal family photos and made some beautiful wall hangings inspired by dream catchers. Imagine what how you would like a space to be when you are staying in someone else’s home and create that.  

4. Trust

Once we were clear and committed to going overseas, we attracted the right family. Trusting in the process while taking the steps necessary to make it happen was just as, if not the most, important step we took. As with all great adventures in life, there is always some level of risk. That’s what makes it exciting. Perhaps you are increasing your comfort level with uncertainty?  Working with an equine therapist helped me move through a fear that I had.

Which also brings me to the fact of remembering to be in the now and accepting what comes your way. You want to go overseas? You want to spend the summer out east? If this will make that possible, I say go for it (just don’t hold me accountable ;) Things may happen and you need to remember that if and when they do, you will be ok. You can and will handle it. Of course, doing your due diligence to optimize the whole experience for everyone— you, your children, the renters and your neighbours.

5. Shame resilience

I used to feel a bit of shame for opening up our home to guests because I’m not sure I would do this if money was abundant.  At least maybe not in our personal living space. But it comes down to choice. And I believe this is a smart and wise option for us and many in this season of our lives (especially when living in one of the most expensive cities in the world). Why not take advantage of the ability to earn money when you’re not in your home or have your mortgage paid while you travel). More flexibility and not having to work 9-5.  Sign me up!

I know a lot of people who rent their homes for a variety of reasons. While we were in Bali, we rented villas on Airbnb and also met several families funding their lifestyles this way. No shame in that!

This is an important conversation to have and point to bring up. In general, we don’t want people to think we’re struggling for money or less than (money is such a shame trigger), but we are not defined by how little or much money we have. We are more than that.

6. Flexibility

It takes some level of flexibility with dates and figuring logistics out, but ultimately you call the shots. We leave the calendar open for people and if the time works, great, if not, we turn the request down.

Aside from getting proper home insurance, here is a list of actions that we put into place:

  • Set clear guidelines on profile (no smoking/pets) and screen all guests (they can't book unless we approve it)

  • Establish occupancy limits

  • Add a security deposit (we have it set at $500)

  • Protect sensitive information like electronic and physical files

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Childproof your home

  • Provide contact information sheet (local emergency numbers, nearest hospital, host contact number as well as backup) Would you like a copy of ours to use as a template?

  • Notify neighbours that there will be guests

  • Supply a first-aid kit

I’d love to know, after reading this are you more clear on whether you want to rent your home or not via Airbnb?

 

There are many reasons for not showing up

Trying an adventure like Paddock can be very vulnerable especially when you don't know anyone. You aren't sure what it's all about and it's an investment in yourself, time and money. 

And it can also be super enriching to meet new faces. To be open to something new and different (hello, I can't be the only one who gets bored with routines!) as well as serve as an opportunity to show yourself some compassion. 

What is Paddock? 

It is a one-day-workshop using Equine Therapy as a framework to support Mom’s at all stages, (including those wanting to be Moms but experiencing fertility struggles and those who's children have left the nest). Click link to read more.


In case you are interested in attending the Paddock workshop or thinking of doing something new but you're not sure, here are a few external and internal blocks to address:

1. LOGISTICS

There is always something to sort out whether it's childcare, rides, house chores and family schedules. What needs to happen in order for you to go? Who can you ask for help from? What is your priority?

FYI: The all day workshop is happening on Saturday, April 22— the weather *should* be warmer! And we've added a Friday workshop for those who prefer a weekday in June .  This is a great exercise in letting go of having to do it all and receiving some help to run the ship while you're away for the day taking care of your self! 

2. MONEY

A few years ago when I saw a two day equine therapy workshop being for $500, I knew I wanted to go but money was tight for us (cancer treatments, maternity leave and disability can add much financial strain but that's a whole other topic— stay tuned for a blog post about simplicity + money, we had a great thread going in the Facebook group). That very day, my mom phoned to say "since I just sold the house, this year I want to give you $500 for your birthday!" The money went towards paying for the workshop (even though we could have used it for other things because it was important for me to work through some stuff and I was intrigued)!  

And when it is a matter of not having "enough" money, instead of saying "we don't have the money", it's much more empowering to say  "this is not a priority right now" or "my priority is XYZ". 

3. IT FEELS SELFISH

I used to struggle with feelings of being selfish when I took some time for myself or spent money on myself. But after burning out four years ago, I realized I needed to up the ante. Ask for (more) help. Say no. Acknowledge what is. Sleep. Do what I had to do, to prioritize me so I could be healthy and well. 

It's not selfish, to prioritize you. It's necessary. Sometimes, the constructs and circumstances of our lives make it feel impossible but certainly, it is possible. 

4. RECEIVING SUPPORT

Trust me, I've cried many tears about how much support (whether practical, emotional, mental, spiritual), I've needed. Asking for support or admitting you can't do it all, shows strength, not failure. 

Sometimes we are the givers, sometimes we are the receivers. AND sometimes, if not always, it is both. 

Let yourself receive and if you feel called and you are available, give yourself this transformational experience! 

How to create space for your desires

I'm not sure you know, but last year my family and I fulfilled a dream of traveling to Bali for four months. And it wasn't that it was easy for us to make it happen. It was easier once we committed. Of course.  But we had to travel with $60k worth of cancer medication that had to be kept cold and the girls were 3 and 5 when we went! I also had to work through the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that could have held us back. Like the fear of losing my husband after we fulfilled our dream— because it felt like maybe this symbolized our last trip together (and I didn't want that). 

Three things that helped me in that 18 month lead up time to actually going were:

1. Simplifying. Our stuff. And knowing what mattered to us and why.

2. Equine therapy. Being in a group and with the horses allowed be me release some emotions around the fear that I carried and I was then able to connect to my inner knowing and awareness that things were going to be ok. I'm glad that I was able to move into a place of trust rather than being ruled by fear. Our trip was that much better because of it.

3. Like minded people.
Finding and surrounding myself with other women who can simply be who they are, not judge and are truly genuine with their intentions is also key for navigating life and dreams. It's nice to know you're not alone and to receive encouragement when needed. 

I believe in the power of shining a light on the dark areas in order to grow and expand and live a more grounded and calmer life— no matter what is going on. 

And so there are two things that I have to offer for spring.

1. Reiki sessions in Toronto are 50% off in April. 
I'm super excited and loving The Chi Junky Studio in Leslieville. Have you ever had Reiki? You can schedule a time here.  Wednesday evenings and Thursday daytime. 

2. Paddock for Moms— a one day workshop   
This is a day for you. In an intimate group. In nature. With horses and yummy food. I can't express how nurturing this is. If you can swing it, I'd highly recommend it. Saturday, April 22 9:30am-4:30pm. There may be one day offered in September as well. Read more here. 

*If you have coverage for occupational therapy, you can be reimbursed as we are focusing on self-care, coping and life skills, relaxation and stress management ;)

Motherhood Quotes

Here are some quotes that resonate for me, perhaps they will for you too.

"It is not what I do as a mother, but who I am as a human being that will make a deep and lasting impression on my children. I can only bring peace to my children when I possess it myself."
—Katrina Kenison

 

"Children are not a distraction from important work. They are the most important work". —CS Lewis

"Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting". —Brene Brown

This doesn't mean to imply you are responsible for your children's happiness and all of their behaviour. No way. It means that you are responsible for you. And who you are and how you respond does matter. They are watching. They are modelling.

no one is perfect

If that leaves you feeling bad, give yourself some compassion and forgiveness and know that you can create change. Progress not perfection. 

This is where the power lies. There are no quick fixes and band aid solutions. A reality we come to realize, sooner or later, that the only thing we can control is ourselves.

So what can you do now?

Take deep breaths, be kind to yourself, talk to a trusted friend or someone like me (wink wink), read books and/or go on a retreat (wink again)!