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One of the biggest struggles I face with slowing my home and slow living in general is FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out).
I don’t know about you, but there are so many amazing activities, playdates, and events happening that making the decision to say no can be really hard.
But I also know how important the word no is.
Because protecting our peace at home is infinitely more important than what most of those distractions can give.
Are there some really great things happening that we’ll participate in?
But I’m going to be extremely selective of which ones.
I love Facebook because it makes it so much easier to connect with other moms and really find your mom tribe.
But it’s also easy to then get sucked in to the never ending cycle of events.
I start seeing that this friend is interested in an event and that friend is interested in another.
If I’m not careful, pretty soon I’ve completely filled our calendar with places to go and things to do! That’s just not compatible with my goal of slow living.
Before my daughter was born, I was pretty good at saying no to things.
I’ve always enjoyed my down time and quickly realized in my 20s that, most of the time, I would rather stay home than go out.
I learned what outings were worth giving up my slow and peaceful times.
After my little came along I’m having to figure that out all over again.
There’s a definite fear when it comes to my child missing out that is harder to get past.
I think that the last thing any of us want to do is deprive our kids of experiences (which then feeds in to the fear that we are not good enough parents or are stunting their development by not providing good opportunities).
Maybe that’s why so many kids today have schedules more jam packed than a CEO and why so many adults who had busy childhoods struggle to know what it means to live slow.
I’ve definitely noticed this fear in myself at times.
I hear about the events that my mom friends are taking their kids to, or the daily activities that they plan for their toddler and sometimes feel like I may not be giving my toddler enough…
Enough structure, enough opportunities for learning, enough attention…enough whatever!
Then I watch her play in our living room on our “empty” days.
She’s become absolutely fascinated with books. Even though she can’t read them she’ll flip through the pages to look at the pictures. Or sit down and pretend to read.
And I realize that if we were out and about – we would both miss out on this. Slow living has some amazing benefits for ourselves and our kids if we’re willing to be patient.
It also takes some quiet observation to notice the amazing opportunities for discovery in a slow life.
So, no, I don’t plan out her daily activities.
No, we don’t go out much during the week.
Yes, we say no to lots of events.
Yes, we spend a lot of time at home.
But, ultimately, I feel like this is the best use of our time.
I can slow my mornings and we can both meet the day at our own pace.
And my little is learning to entertain herself as well as that she has some control over her day since we aren’t constantly going to activities that she has no say in.
I try to only have 1-2 outings during the week because I’ve found that anything more leaves me feeling scattered and doesn’t help me slow our home and lives.
So, in order to keep my home as peaceful as possible, I’m learning to say no.
I’m also learning to get comfortable with the fear.
Just because I’m afraid of us missing out, doesn’t mean that my fears are true.
Realizing this when the fear hits is half the battle. The other half is noticing it, acknowledging it, and then letting it go.
Much easier said than done most days! But slowing us down is worth it.
Are you wanting more slow living in your home? Do you need some help saying no?
Here are the ways that I decide what to say yes to –
- Will it add more to our lives than what it costs us?
- Will both of us (or all of us if it’s on the weekend) enjoy it?
- Are we already booked this week – do I need to say no to something else to say yes to this?
- What goal will this outing help us reach (build/maintain a friendship, learning opportunity, social event)?
- Is this event something that is important to me or our family?
Will it add more to our lives than what it costs us
Yes, some of this is a monetary consideration. But the greater cost is time and energy.
It takes a lot to prepare, get in the car, drive somewhere, supervise, and then go home.
It also is really stimulating for my little, so we both need to be in the right mindset and mood to handle these situations well.
We also will need slower times before and after to prepare and recover from the excitement.
It’s no fun for anyone if we get there only to be grumpy and miserable the whole time!
Will we enjoy it
You know those things you go to because it’s expected or you feel like you have to?
And then you’re miserable the whole time?
Yeah – we’re not going to willingly sign up for something that we aren’t going to enjoy.
It’s just not worth it. We would all rather be home enjoying each other’s company and our slow life rather than being somewhere wishing we were back home.
There just isn’t enough time in life to be miserable.
Of course, sometimes there are things you don’t want to do but absolutely have to for some reason. The key is to minimize those to what really are a have to situations and be brutal about making that category as narrow as possible.
Are we already booked this week
I admit that this is one of the hardest ones for me. I’ll plan my weeks out a month ahead of time with Facebook events (it’s Lion Day at the Zoo! There’s a free art course for kids!) along with appointments.
But there’s always stuff that pops up at the last minute.
Then I have to start narrowing down the options.
Or, say yes to more knowing that it will be a more stressful week.
I try to be very mindful of the busy-ness though. So, if we have a busy week I try to make up for it with a very quiet week either before or after.
Most of the time I’ve found that saying yes to too many things devalues everything that week. We just don’t have the energy to really enjoy everything.
So, I’m working on saying no more often.
I’ve also started filling our family calendar with events and then deciding at the start of the week (or day sometimes) what we are and aren’t going to do.
This seems to help the FOMO as I have options and can then choose what we say yes to amongst the best options.
What goal does this outing help us reach
I don’t want to be busy with outings just because we can.
I want to be intentional about it.
So, does this build or maintain a meaningful friendship or is this a good opportunity for learning or creativity?
Sometimes the goal is just to get out and interact with others and that’s ok too.
But I always try to make sure that there’s a reason that we’re exchanging our slow times for a busier time.
Is this something that’s important to us?
La Leche League has been very important to me and has created great friendships for our family.
I always put their events on our calendar and try to attend 1-2 meetings a month. If you have a specific charity or group that’s important, make sure that you make time for them.
Slow living isn’t about deprivation or being a hermit – but it is about choosing what is most important to you and saving time and space for those things.
Saying no to say yes more fully – that’s the goal of my slow home.
What do you struggle with when it comes to slowing your home?
You can find out more about our breastfeeding journey in my 6 Tips for Breastfeeding Success post.