Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So how am I a Minimalist Mum?

Enough already about getting rid of furniture and stuff. How can you actually be a minimalist about mum things? Well, even before I called myself one, I was doing lots of minimalist stuff for my mumhood.

1. Homebirth - right, this is a tough one, because I planned a homebirth all the way to 37.5 weeks and then had a major bells and whistles emergency c-section under general anaesthetic. And transfusions for the haemorrhage. And SCBU care for my wee Alex. And with that history, there was no way anybody was going to take me on for baby delivery #2 except for a team of obs. Delivery #2 - emergency c-section, this time while awake. So I actually had two maximally complicated births, but I didn't want it that way. And that just has to count for something.

2. Breastfeeding - mums, you can't go past this for being minimalist. I did pick up lots of equipment for expressing with Alex, but he never did take to the bottle. Breast is best, eh? I really wish we had a milk bank so I could have donated that milk instead of melting it down the drain when it was too old. I never expressed with Nadia and the gear has all gone to other mums (as part of the grand releasing effort). Most mums can bf with no special equipment at all (insert joke of your choice here). If you don't know everything you'd already like to know about BF, check out your local La Leche League, because they're the best mother's group around.

3. Cloth nappies - don't buy the Huggies hype - disposable nappies really do create an incredible mess. We always used some disposables for some situations, but for everyday use I eventually settled on Fuzzibunz, in two sizes, and both Alex and Nadia wore them. After than I passed them on to be thoroughly worn out on some other baby's bottom. Nadia pees in an overnight nappy every few days, but I know we avoided lots of landfill load by getting our cool modern cloth nappies. Check out the Nappy Network for lots of info. There are some good brands now that are genuinely one-size, and there's also some real advances in composting disposables - roll on the day that's available everywhere!

4. The Keeper - reusable menstrual cup. We're mums and not easily grossed out, right? :-) Anyway, once you get used to the idea and the hang of using it, this is SO convenient as well as being environmentally friendly. Goodbye, TSS!

5. Vegan diet - maybe more detail on this later, but both my kids and I eat a vegan diet, which is both cool and minimalist!

6. Slings and carriers - we do have a pram and we use it a reasonable amount now, but in the beginning both my bubs got carried around a lot on Mummy's chest, hip and back. Good exercise and great for snuggles. Slingbabies and they're on Facebook too. Now that Nadia's older, I'm carrying her in my Ergo backpack to go get Alex in the afternoons, and they're both walking back home with me on their own feet! The backpack stays on my back and I have both hands free to keep the kids safe.

7. TV - in my heart I'd love to be screen-free, but at the moment we stick with commercial free and our own DVDs - hooray for TV6!

Somebody stop me! Tell me about your mum stuff...


  1. Fantastic ideas! I hate clutter but I do fill my life with stuff. Found the T.V bit pretty challenging. Want to hear about your vegan choice.

  2. Cool - I'll do that tomorrow...

  3. Interesting the way that you see all the 'crunchy' stuff as minimalist ... I know lots of homebirthing, cloth nappying, slinging mums who still fill their house with clutter (often fabric, second hand toys etc) .... to be the overriding thing about minimalism is a respect for scarcity of resources and a desire to live life with the minimum of 'stuff'. So you might choose to sling, but you would look to have one sling, with concern for how it was made, rather than a sling collection. Having said that I agree with you on all of this - I use cloth pads rather than a keeper and I really like them. Love not supporting the big FMCG giants too. TV for me is a huge one - not watching ads keeps life so much simpler, but the odd DVD for the 3 year old keeps life much more sane. I used to be absolutely paranoid about any screen time, but loosened up and it does make life easier come late afternoon!

  4. Yes, not everyone who is crunchy is minimalist! But of course, many of the crunchy things are environmentally minimalist and fit in well with a conscious minimalist style.

    If you made your own clothes and stored your fabric away, that would seem very mindful of resources. But I agree that at the heart of it, I am trying to create a streamlined and relaxing home, and no matter how noble the endeavour, lots of stuff in the way is just... in the way!