Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Downshifting - Our way.

Have you ever heard about Downshifting? Well, to be honest, until just a short time ago I hadn't either. But as you know, there's a word for absolutely everything and anything. :)

Downshifting can be part of making life simpler. It generally means to reduce overall worktime in order to have more time for individual life plans, to be more at comfort with the work load.
For us it started with the birth of our first daughter. We had to make big decisions. Would I be a stay-at-home-mum? Would we both work as much as possible to make the maximum amount of money/month? Would we both go part-time to make sure there is always somebody at home? How would we cope with the stress of both having a job and a baby (and you know, they get ALL sorts of weird snots and coughs all of the time...). We were thinking about it an awful lot. About how to work best or most. We didn't really find a good solution, we always felt our little daughter would be the one who would suffer from our work plans. So we tried to figure out, what is most important to us. And that was: To be there for the little one, to form a family. To spend time with each other and create a safe, quiet, relaxed home.

We then assessed our costs (it's shocking how everything  boils down to money...). What we need, where we want to go. And found, that the easiest solution was, that I would go and work full-time and my wonderful husband stays at home with the children. We don't want to send out child(ren) to day care as soon as possible, but wait until they give us the sign that they are ready to explore and spend time with other children "alone". Little Miss No 1 was ready for it when she was 2,5 years so we allowed her to go 3 times a week in the morning. Since she is 3,5 she's in a new kindergarden 5times a week in the morning (including lunch, she just eats much better with her peers...) and can't wait to go there every day. At just 14 months Little Miss No 2 is not there yet, we are going to play it by ear when she gives us the signs.

So my best husband of the world is a 100% Stay-at-Home-Dad, and I feel very lucky. We don't have the stress of organizing 2 jobs around 2 small children. I get to do a job I like (even though I sometimes moan, especially after a night shift...). For the moment, it is really no alternative to work less for me...  but I think we are incredibly privileged to be able to have one parent at home for the children (and housework... let's not forget all that nasty housework). Of course I would prefer to be home more, but I know, that the children are well with their Dad. And I work odd hours, which has the advantage of sometimes working when the children are asleep and being at home, when they are awake. I think this decision prepared us for our parental time challenge, where we had consciously decided to live on less (about half of our usual income) and although statistically poor (relatively speaking), we didn't lack a thing. Apart from a garden, but that's another story.

This is our way. I am sure, it's not the right way for other people, but we have found peace with our decision. I especially an learning to live more in the present than in the future, to take things as they come, not to take myself and my surroundings too seriously. Life's about living with the people you love.

PS: The natural minimalist says, he's sick of all the playgrounds in the immediate vicinity...

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