There are so many benefits of simple living, from the knowledge that you are living lightly on this beautiful planet of ours, to the financial savings that you make by buying less, buying or re-using second hand, and making the most of what you have.
I have written about these in the past, and will again, but today I wanted to focus on one benefit that may not be immediately obvious, and I hope that you’ll never need it. However, it’s something that we have realised is of great benefit to us.
When a key family member, such as myself, is incapacitated for a short term, that is hard on the family. For example, you get a nasty cold and are stuck in bed for the better part of a week. How does the household keep running? If you haven’t already got a well organised family routine, whatever it is, then you could end up in a bit of a mess with washing, meals, cleaning and the family routine totally thrown out.
In our case, I haven’t been able to be a fully-functioning house-keeper for a few months now. However, thanks to a well organised family, who have set and simple routines, we are surviving quite well. Yes, the sheets don’t get changed as often as I would like, however, there are levels of survival I’m willing to accept. So how do you set this up? It requires complete co-operation from all members of the team for starters. My DH, although working a full time job, and commuting an hour and a half each day, will often come home in the evening and cook dinner. We have an array of meals that we all enjoy, which we keep the ingredients on hand at all times. There is always chicken, mince, schnitzel in the freezer. There are always cans of tomatoes, and an array of basics like pasta and rice in the pantry. Several of these staple meals can either be put together in half an hour, or, will take a little longer, but will last 2 or more meals. I can count on one hand the number of dinners we have had recently that have been “takeaway” meals picked up on the way home. Which helps the budget, as well as the healthy diet!
DH also plans the week ahead, and will spend some time Sunday night cooking 2 or more different meals, which can be put in the fridge and reheated as the week goes on. The nights that I am able to, I cook, otherwise, there is something nutritious and home-cooked just waiting to be served up!
As far as the other running of the house goes, several duties have been passed on to the children, according to their ages and abilities. This also is dependent on other factors, including school loading. Sometimes this year, we have had to take over certain chores due to High School, and it’s incredible ability of having 3 major assignments all given and due the same week. We keep a family calendar, and are able to monitor this as necessary, with everyone pulling together if there is the need. The jobs are also assigned according to age and ability – for example, the main bathroom/toilet area is the 16 year old’s job. He cleans and mops it on a regular basis, and has gotten so responsible that he will see when it needs doing, and no longer needs to be “reminded”. The 13 yo is now the main chicken carer, as well as responsible for emptying the dishwasher, drying dishes, and unpacking shopping. Obviously, they are both responsible for picking up after themselves, and keeping their rooms tidy and clothes put away, but that should go without saying in any family.
The only job that I seem to be able to keep is the washing, mainly because it’s something that can wait until another day if necessary, when eating is something that these boys of mine insist on doing at regular, even hourly intervals.
We have managed all this, while actually even reducing our weekly spend on foods. We have almost entirely cut out all pre-prepared and processed foods, and even afternoon tea is a bowl of porridge, with fruit, cinnamon, coconut or even honey.
If we had complicated lives, if we had unreasonable expectations of meals, or other members of the family were unwilling to pitch in, then this would have fallen in a heap a long time ago. I am so proud of my family for their incredible attitude – their hard work and their willing spirit. When we first met 17 years ago, DHs idea of cooking was heating up a can. This amazing man has learnt how to cook for his family, he takes joy in experimenting and making meals so delicious that I’m never left wanting anything else. Years of training, and to be honest, seeing some of the harder sides of our lives, have left in our children an amazing empathetic spirit, which is demonstrated by how willing they are to help, with the smallest or largest task, and never do they complain. I’m not kidding there, they don’t complain. They appreciate all the wonderful gifts that we have been blessed with, and know that those things come at a price which everyone has to pay. I think that my amazing little family is the greatest blessing I’ve been given.
Wow, that was a lot of talking. I hope that it made sense to you, that there is a simpler way of living and that it will benefit you when everything else falls apart.
Speaking of simpler living, here is our first pumpkin that we harvested a couple of months ago. It was a glorious Waltham Butternut heirloom, and I am looking forward to managing a much bigger pumpkin patch next season. Unfortunately only 1 vine made it this year, and that drastically limited the pollination as they seem to open male and female flowers on alternate days. But the seeds will make for stronger plants next year, and so the cycle begins again!