I’ve seen people all over the internet talking about having more “whitespace” in their lives. How learning to nurture the down-time and not fill up every moment with todo list busyness has helped them lead happier, healthier lives.
At first glance this seems to make sense, and I love the idea. Taking time to slow down and just BE, seems like a beautiful thing to do, and something all of us probably need in our lives.
I’m partnering with Nature Valley today to share one way we’ve learned to create more whitespace in our calendar as a family.
But here’s the thing. It comes off like it’s as simple as noticing you don’t have enough downtime and then just quietly resting into these little pockets of time that were readily available to you, that just weren’t taking advantage of.
It’s possible that’s true for some people. But it’s definitely not true around our house. It was hard enough when we had babies, as we tried to attend to their little needs and desires and juggle naptime.
Now that we have two elementary-age children, it’s a whole other world. The kids have OPINIONS and ideas about how their time should be spent, and a lot of the time they have opinions on how my time should be spent too.
White space has felt like a thing of the past for a long time. And I’ve missed it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to be busy.
It’s just that, when you have kids, you have to plan to be spontaneous. Everything requires an extra layer of preparation.
But that doesn’t mean that the whitespace concept is out of reach. You just have to start thinking about it and working towards it, before your child-free friends ever do.
Now I know that you are hearing me say ‘think’ and ‘plan’ and you’re probably already moving to click away from this page, it suspiciously sounds like extra work in the middle of an already busy life. But it’s not.
Taking a few moments, is all you have to do, and I promise, it’s WORTH IT.
Planning for whitespace
Planning for whitespace starts at the grocery store.
It starts at the grocery store because kids get HUNGRY and in order to not spend a fortune at a fast food restaurant because you wanted to take them on a care-free visit to the park, you have to be equipped with legitimate snack food.
My kids are snack-y people, but the thing is, you need something filling and delicious for this to work out. We go with the Nature Valley Granola Cups (you can grab them at Wal Mart) and everybody’s happy.
This is the perfect option for helping you create that whitespace because it’s a snack that everyone can enjoy. You don’t have to worry about having a mom snack and a dad snack, AND a kid snack, because hello, CHOCOLATE. Everyone loves these and they are perfect for a day out doing WHATEVER and resting in the beauty of family and outdoor time.
One of our favorite things to do as a family is to pack the kids in the car and not tell them where we are going. This used to stress them out, because they had become accustomed to my meticulously planned days and know that I normally carry an extensive list of all the errands we need to run and how long we have at each location.
Now, todo list out the window, we load up in the car and take them somewhere wonderful. Usually this comes in the form of searching for a local park we haven’t visited yet and discovering it together. We’ve found city monuments, gorgeous walking trails and a play area the children have dubbed “the ultimate park”.
All because we learned to slow down, plan a little more, so we could schedule a little less.
I know it might still seem weird, to say that all this fun started in the isles of the grocery store, but friends, it HELPS. Even if you don’t have a plan for that week yet, buy the Granola cups, and then when you get home sit down with your calendar and see what you can mark out. Look for things to erase from your todos so you can add it a little spontaneous park time. A little, leave-the-phone-in-the-car time to play with your kids and have fun together.
I know for a lot of people whitespace looks like bubble baths and quiet all to themselves, but for us, that’s just not real-life. We have two active kids, which leads to an active interpretation of whitespace.
But there is still nothing like erasing whatever is on the calendar for the day, picking the kids up from school, handing them a granola cup and driving until we find something awesome to enjoy together.
A little planning goes a long way. And that’s something you might not hear in a perfectly filtered instagram photo of a family having fun. But trust me friends, it’s worth the planning, and it’s worth erasing what’s on your calendar to enjoy these moments with your kids.
Plan for whitespace, plan to be spontaneous, it may sound silly but it WORKS.
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