This morning my two children insisted on eating their breakfast with their chairs snug next to mine. A mommy sandwich we call it! While my personal space was a bit crowded, I have to admit it was quite lovely. In the past, a situation like this might have devolved into a big meltdown from both girls as they each fought for the bigger piece of me. But I have discovered something that has brought more peace and ease to these moments for me and my kiddos, and I wanted to share it with you. I have been actively practicing letting go of a scarcity mindset. Let me explain.
I have been thinking a lot over the past few months about the idea of "Scarcity" and how it applies to parenting and family life. I got started thinking on this topic while reading Brené Brown's book Daring Greatly. In this book she explores the idea of scarcity, how limiting it can be, and how deeply it has taken root in our society. Brené Brown discusses scarcity as "the never enough problem". If you were to go Google "scarcity" you would likely find results geared toward financial success, but I think this is so important for us to consider how a scarcity mindset influences us as parents, as partners, and as individuals.
Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your relationship to the word "enough"? How do you use it when you talk about yourself, your partner, your kids, your home, your life? Are you good enough? Are your kids well-behaved enough? Is your partner helpful enough?
- Is there a sense in your life that there is, or ever will be, "enough"? Enough sleep, enough time, enough toys, enough of YOU to go around? Or do those things seem like scarce resources in your life?
- In what ways is this scarcity influencing you and your relationships with your family? When you look around your life and notice only those things you are lacking, are you able to truly see the things you have?
Can you see how a scarcity mindset limits us in so many ways? This is not just about finances, this is about our whole lives. Making a mindful commitment to shift away from scarcity can lead us to more peace, acceptance, ease, and connection. Brené Brown would call this Wholeheartedness and we will dive into that concept in a later post.
Letting Go of Scarcity and Harnessing the Power of Abundance
So, how can you practice letting go of the scarcity mindset in your life and start welcoming in the idea of abundance? And how can this impact your daily life with your children? Here are a few areas where abundance can be so helpful as parents:
- Time: If you can cultivate a sense of abundance around time, parenting can become so much easier. In practice this means reminding yourself that there is time, this is not an emergency. So, when you see your kids about to squabble over a toy, can you move slowly and with intention, confident that there is enough time to coach them through solving this problem? When it's time to leave the house, can you start early enough so that there is a sense of calm and peace rather than hustle and bustle?
- Love: It is so easy in our hectic, scattered lives to feel pulled in so many different directions. If you have more than one child you likely have been involved in a literal tug-o-war with you in the center. If we can create a sense of abundance around love, the urgency and insecurity created by scarcity can slowly diminish. In practice this looks like reminding yourself that there is enough love for your kids, your partner, and (SO IMPORTANT) yourself. When your kids are each wanting time with you, you can reassure them that, "There is enough love for each of you," and then make a concrete plan for making sure they each get alone time with you and that you're speaking their love language. The same goes for our partners, and for ourselves.
- Things: So, I know minimalism is all the rage, and I absolutely believe in simplifying your home and toys. When there are fewer options and less clutter kids experience less environmental stress and are able to play deeper. At the same time, we have likely all experienced moments when there just aren't enough of a certain thing to go around, like magnatiles or little figures. It's like those things become super visible, they are suddenly the only thing the kids want to play with, nothing else will do. But an amazing thing can happen when we create a sense of abundance with these things. So if we can add just a few more magnatiles or whatever, they suddenly lose their charge, there isn't this sense of scarcity or limited resources. This actually frees kids up to be MORE generous, more willing to share wholeheartedly, rather than grudgingly. This is an amazing thing because then they get to experience the joy of sharing. So if there are hot ticket toys or things in your house, consider ways you can shift from scarcity to abundance and just see what happens.
- Yourself: This is huge, so pay attention. YOU ARE ENOUGH. This is a fact. In this moment, right now, you are doing the best you can. There is no other parent out there who is living your life in your shoes. We are inundated daily with images of parents that are designed to play into scarcity. They are designed to prey on our insecurities and our natural human instinct to compare and to try to have "more". But if we can have an internal sense of ourselves as enough, good enough, fit enough, smart enough, kind enough it frees us up in amazing ways. This is likely the hardest one, but like with most things, starting with yourself is one of the fastest ways to realize change. I wrote a whole post on this topic (find it here) and even included a free printable that you can plaster around your home. Heck, you could even make it the screen saver on your phone!
Ok, those are my thoughts on scarcity and abundance and how we can make shifts in these mindsets to bring more peace, ease, and joy to our homes.
What about for you? Which pieces of scarcity still has you stuck? In what ways have you welcomed abundance into your home?