All posts tagged: blog

My 24 hours of ‘Yes’

If you’re reading this because you think I’ve come up with some new found way of finding happiness or fulfilment, then you might as well stop now. Truth is, my 24 hours of ‘yes’ was born out of guilt. I’d been a bit harsh on Miss 10. Two days running she had organised a playdate with a friend, and 2 days in a row I’d had to say no. While the first ‘no’ was based on a very legitimate reason, the second ‘no’ was not one of my proudest parenting moments. No amount of telling her I was wrong, apologising or offering to fix the situation by magic-ing up an instant playdate seemed to help. Apparently all I ever say is ‘no’. In a moment of madness, I turned to Miss 10 and offered to make it up to her by giving her ’24 hours of ‘yes’ – for 24 hours I had to say ‘yes’ to anything so long as it was within reason, and so long as each request only had to be …

Giving Presence, Not Presents

Sometimes life unfolds a series of small and seemingly unimportant events that end up having a significant impact. I’d just finished a rather long and involved discussion with the children on their upcoming birthdays – all three of which are in February. I felt exhausted – having just got through the toy-fest that is Christmas I now had more presents and parties to organise. I made a cup of tea, flicked open a magazine and found an article about a theory called Stuffocation. Author James Wallman believes we are moving  away from the debt and stress of materialism – where we use stuff to declare status – and moving towards “experientialism” where we focus less on what we have and more on what we do. The book has given me the words to explain the changes that have been happening in our household (which you can read about here) in the last year. That same day I got an invitation from a Facebook friend to a Monster Slide Festival. At that moment I realised I …

The Downside of Downsizing

One week in to my decluttering project and already the difference is noticeable. So far I’ve: Gone through all our clothes and got rid of all the kids clothes they’ve grown out of, and any clothes I had to honestly say I’d never wear again Cleared a whole 12 cubby bookshelf by getting rid of CDs, DVDs and books that were no longer of use I don’t even want to think about how much money is tied up in all that stuff. It’s been a real trip down memory lane so it feels a little ruthless and hard-hearted to discover these memories only to have to expel from the house and from my heart. Thank goodness I still have my mind. It takes a special kind of ruthlessness The rules of decluttering are a great guideline, but they don’t prepare you for all the hard decisions that need to be made. For example, I’ve got rid of all of our CDs except this one. My husband and I met at a Mighty Mighty Bosstones gig …

Downsizing for Beginners

It seems like we spend our whole lives upsizing – bigger houses, bigger cars and bigger responsibilities – until one day we realise it’s time to downsize. Perhaps because the kids are gone, or we realise we no longer need, want or can manage that big house and all of the stuff that goes with it. But what about choosing not to upsize in the first place? There’s no denying our houses are getting bigger. The average size of a NZ house in the 1970s was just 107m2. Kids shared bedrooms and everyone shared one bathroom and one living space. Today it’s not uncommon for new houses in this part of the world to be 200-250m2 – that’s a whopping 90m2 per person. Buy stuff. Keep it. Buy more stuff. Keep that, too. Buy more space. If the size of our houses is increasing, then it follows that the amount of stuff we own is also increasing. A study in the US of 32 dual-income, middle class families highlights just how much we clutter our …

Downsized living in an upmarket neighbourhood

Downsized Living in an Up Market Neighbourhood

Once upon a time we had it all. We both had successful, highly paid jobs. Our kids were happy and doing well at school. We lived in a beautiful inner city suburb and were about to sign off on a renovation that would turn our modest bungalow into a beautiful family home. Life was good. Busy and stressful, but good. Then burn out hit. And this time it was bad. After four weeks of sick leave and a lot of counselling I was only just able to hold it together through a full day at work – and only if everything went to plan. We had a decision to make. If we wanted the beautiful house I was going to have to find a way to stay in a job that was eating away at my soul. The alternative was to quit my job and put the renovation on hold. Two weeks after I finished work my youngest daughter turned to me and said “Mummy, you have time to hang out with us now and I think that’s …