This is a question I have grappled with a good bit. One of the reasons for that is that most of what one reads about simple living defines it as such: sell nearly everything you own, move to the country and raise goats or chickens or sheep. O.K. that is said somewhat tongue in cheek, but truly I do feel this way sometimes. None of those things is even a remote possibility or desire for our family. My husband's chosen career means we live near a major university. Almost without exception this means near a fairly large city. I have two school-age children. For any number of reasons homeschooling is not an option for us so that means we live in the suburbs in order to be near the "good" (also said tongue in cheek) schools. So what does simple look like for a mom living in the suburbs of a major midwestern city? This is how I define simple:
...TV-free school days
...afternoons at home, not in the car going from one activity to another
...saying 'no' to overblown birthday parties and talking about why we don't pay $250 to have a party at the really cool gymnastics place
...keeping our home free of video games
...spending time outdoors
...eating homecooked meals as a family
...teaching the children how to help themselves
...giving the children responsibilities
...never having more than one car payment
...living in a house we can easily afford
...staying out of the mall!
...talking about what is necessary and what is a want
...talking about why we can't fulfill our every want
...caring for our community and environment
Suburban living is fraught with all sorts of complications...most of them highly trivial. It is so easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the trivial. I still struggle with this, and have to remember to keep it all in perspective!