by Michelle Briggs
A year ago
Essentialism is the intentional practice of defining what we simply can’t live without. Essentialism is bigger than the things in our home and closet, it encompasses the values, habits and routines which are essential to create rhythm, flow, and ultimately contentment in our lives.
Never has essentialism been as “essential” as it is in early parenthood. It is the philosophical foundation upon which our company was founded and since we launched, it has become clear just how important essentialism is, not just to us, but to many of you as well. So we’ve decided to double down on essentialism, to give it a space to be seen, known, and understood by more parents, to create a place for us to study and explore essentialism and other kindred parenting and educational philosophies, such as simplicity parenting and Montessori. These frameworks give parents perspectives and tools to experiment with and are designed to help us identify our core family values and how to best practice them, so that our family life has rhythm, flow, and alignment.
"We are blessed and burdened by an abundance of choice. Never before in time have parents been given so much information, so fast. Many of us find ourselves whiplashed between the life we want and the life we are told we want."
These are not new problems, just larger in magnitude because of the speed of information and social media. Essentialism is a tool to help anyone, but especially parents, slice through the noise and stay grounded and true to themselves. It is also a lifeline for getting back on track when we fall off the rails, because we will, even the most disciplined among us.
My personal relationship with essentialism began well before I was a parent, back in another life, practicing law, a newlywed, a woman trying to figure out what direction she wanted to go and eager to please a lot of people before herself. In 2012 the resentment began to set in, subtlety at first, and then less so, until it took up permanent residence in my heart. This was a time during which my values and priorities were being particularly challenged. I was asked to do a lot of things, to give up a lot of others, to show up in the world a certain way, to be available all the time, and all the while wrestling with this feeling of “where the hell do I fit in to everyone else’s master plan for me?”
Fast forward to the birth of my first child in 2014. My son’s entrance into the world was a catalyst for courage to lean in to a life that better aligned with my vision for motherhood and womanhood. It was around this same time that I was introduced to the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. This book gave a name to what I was experiencing. It defined a way of life I had bought into for most of my adult life, the way of the nonessentialist. This book provided a road map out of my current frustrations and perhaps more importantly, validated what I was feeling and that there was a better way.
McKeown describes essentialism “as the path to being in control of our own choices. It is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either (that is minimalism). It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
I was not in control of my own choices. As an Enneagram 2w3/ENFJ/Feeler I’ve always been sensitive and susceptible to perceived expectations and cultural conditioning. Essentialism helped me to re-discover and align my personal and work life priorities, however, I have found it incredibly applicable and a powerful tool in my current season of life, early parenthood. As parents we have information and expectations coming at us from all angles, all the time. Learning how to cut through the noise and define what is most important to us, learning how to give ourselves permission to let go, to say no, to lean in and lean out according to what is happening in the seasons of our lives, is powerful; for me, it is the difference between surviving and thriving in this season.
Essentialism, and its kindred philosophies, offer a set of tools for alignment at any point in our lives. It doesn’t care if you are a minimalist or maximalist, it doesn’t care if you are working or stay at home mom, it doesn’t care if you love nature or air conditioning. It is equally applicable across all lifestyles. Essentialism is a resource and set of tools for better living.
It is our deepest hope at Basal Baby to create and share meaningful content to aid as many parents as possible to live the family life of their dreams, to end days with contentment in our tired hearts; and most importantly, to define a framework for recalibration when things get crazy.
I hope some of my story has resonated with you and that you will join us as we dive deeper into essentialist living and thinking. Please join our email list at the bottom of this page to stay up to date on our content and new product launches. The first of which is a weekly series on Simplicity Parenting with certified Simplicity Parenting family and motherhood coach, Kate Saffle which launches Tuesday, August 16th.
Finally, while we will continue to offer you the organic mix and match basics you love, we are expanding to include content from experts and opinion leaders in the areas of essentialism, Simplicity Parenting, Montessori, literacy, and wellness., and starting August 1st, we will expand our product offering to support the essentialist gifting mantra “something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read,” with a curation of toys and books for children ages 0–4.
We are so excited for what is to come. Thank you for walking with us.