Why it’s so hard to lead the simple life

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Sure, your pet may *look* happy, but are you teaching him to make good choices?

If I hear a child whine, “Mommy,” one more time, I will scream.

And that is why all my kids are watching Spiderman, which ruins my granola mom cred, but does enable me to insert earplugs and write about the longing to live simply. We like to think life back in the day was simpler, and maybe it was. In 1900, the average lifespan was 30 to 45 years–those folks didn’t have time to accumulate debts, duties, and worries.

But maybe the good ol’ days weren’t simpler. My husband once took the kids to Grandma’s for the weekend. I couldn’t believe how uncomplicated life was. I stayed on task for hours at a time, which made me realize how each “Mommy!” you hear makes life more complex. Considering folks in times past on average had more kids than we do, their lives might’ve been at least as complex as ours.

Besides, Matthew 6:34 says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” So obviously, we weren’t the first to fret.

Today, you can buy simplicity, but the product doesn’t last. You can buy “Real Simple” magazine, but eventually, you finish it. You can buy signs that remind you to “Live simply,” but your eyes soon skip over it like the carpet or walls. You can also buy a fantasy of simplicity in Provence, Tuscany, or even Amish Acres in Eastern Indiana. There you’ll see huge gift shops selling candles and CDs you wouldn’t see in an actual Amish home.

It’s easier to buy simplicity than to live it. Just try for one day, and you probably won’t know how. Our entire culture revolves around complicating life with Twitter, brushing your dog’s teeth, and freeing disk space on your DVR–you know, stuff. Marketers and many experts base their entire professional lives on complicating the lives of others. I know, that means me, too.

Our culture produces lots of psychological noise–that is, messages that prevent our minds from thinking clearly. Pay attention to the competing thoughts while you drive (Should I change lanes? The channel? Jobs?), and you’ll be surprised at how noisy your mind really is.

In my next column, I’ll continue the conversation about how to live simply. If you can’t wait to make life more peaceful, go to http://www.facebook.com/readcrazymom, and click on the “Discussion” tab. There you can see other parents’ ideas and contribute your own.

I also invite you to “like” Crazy Mom or subscribe to my (free!) daily tips for interesting parenting. Just click on “Notes,” and then click on the link under “Subscribe to these notes.”

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About Rebecca Bailey

* Columnist, The Times of Northwest Indiana, for three years. * Professor for twelve years. * Mom of four teeny kids. * Voted "Most Dramatic," Castle Junior High School eighth grade, 1984. * Failed to diaper her first child before he projectile-pooped on the curtains. * Accidentally splattered her white Jack Russell Terrier with her red hair dye, which did not come out.

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