Life is Work. Life is Play. Life is Learning.

by flowers on June 9, 2010 · 8 comments

We make it a priority to integrate our work into our family lifestyle. Sustaining our family’s lifestyle, no matter how simple we live, means we need to create an income for ourselves. In other words, work is inevitable.

However, it is our belief that work does not have to be a drag or something that takes away from family and pleasurable life living. We do our best to mindfully approach our attitudes towards work to sustain a healthy life/work/learning attitude for ourselves and hopefully set up healthy attitudes to model for our children.

Kids + Work

Here are some of the ways we approach work in our family:

Support each other to follow dreams

This is a constant conversation in our family. We like to check in a lot and ask each other (kids included) what they would just *love* to be doing. I especially check in with my husband who has been playing the role of the main breadwinner to make sure his creative needs are expressed. I want to make sure he has the space and freedom to make his life work feel meaningful and applicable to our bigger life visions.

Keep a Big Picture Vision

Work isn’t fun every day–even if you have your dream job or career. Just like any part of life there are rough spots and dry spells. Keeping a mindful eye on a larger vision can help get you through those days (or weeks or months!). For example, the way my husband makes money right now is not his 100% ideal dream job. But we have a five year plan that moves us incrementally into a place where more of our dreams are integrated into our work and life. When we have a tough week it helps to pull out the master plan and remind ourselves where we are heading and why we are doing what we are doing today.

Talk Straight with the Kids

Our kids are pretty young, but work is an everyday part of their vocabulary. They know daddy leaves for work many days (and how they miss him) and they know mom needs time to work quietly on the computer. We keep an open dialogue about why we work. We talk about money, food, our home and the treats we love to buy and relate them to our work. Our business naturally has an abundant and dry season so we relate those times to when we need to act more frugally or when we have some extra for treats.

Involve the Whole Family

We have a small family business and our kids think they are a big part of it. We think they are too! We encourage them to find clothes that mirror there dad’s work clothes and when they play model our work habits we take them seriously and commend their hard work. Whenever possible we involve them in real tasks. If my husband has a short day he will take our oldest with him. Sometimes I stop by the job site and the let the kids work alongside dad. We are absolutely inspired with the seriousness in approach work.

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We have a personal family goal of working off-the-grid and succeeding by our own wits. We’ve been doing a lot of strategizing and foundational work to get us closer to our visions of a well integrated, self-sufficient family and I look forward to sharing more of our ideas, philosophies and projects here at Infinite Learners.

This is a companion piece to my guest post over at Steady Mom. I’d love it if you’d take a look!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

renee @ FIMBY June 10, 2010 at 7:00 am

YEAH! Oh, I have so wanted to read more about your working and family life. Thank you for sharing it.

You know where we are at with all of that and right now it seems to be painfully slow. But it helps if I remind myself we don’t ever “arrive” we just keep working & dreaming towards our goal, which is similar to yours.

A home based family livelihood that engages our creativity, contributes to our community (on-line included), involves our children and pays our bills. Work that we are excited to do on a daily basis (knowing of course some days are just plain ol’ hard work no matter how you slice it).

Have you read a Handmade Life In Search of Simplicity yet by W. Coperthwaite. You really should. As craftspeople, homeschoolers, and where you’re at with this journey you’d really like it.

Thanks again Hillary for posting about something I’ve wanted to read more about.

Reply

flowers June 10, 2010 at 7:33 am

I’m so happy to be indulging you Renee! I’ve been wanting to talk about this for so long, but as you might relate–sometimes the blogging comes out in its own time! lol.

I am going to add that book to my wish list. Thanks.

I know we have similar family/work goals and I can surely appreciate the slow-going comment. It’s one thing that has become very apparent to us–things take time and usually much longer than we anticipated. We are trying to find ways to stay inspired and motivated b/c that of course is what will move us closer and right–there is no arrival! lol-don’t you just love life!

Reply

exhale. return to center. June 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

what a fantastic and inspiring post hillary!!!

i have gleaned so much over the years watching and reading about the way you guys integrate living / working / playing.

john and i are in the midst of our own little 40 day of our good life experiment inspired by you. totally amazing!
.-= exhale. return to center.ยดs last blog ..at the market =-.

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marcia at Child in Harmony June 13, 2010 at 7:58 am

Love your post.

Ahhh..Learning through living…ALL of life is interconnected and the most meaningful, enriched and joy-filled lives come to fruition when people have that realization :)

happy day!

Reply

anthea June 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Hi
Thank you for sharing. I am inspired and reminded by your life. Good luck and on we go!
We are living our own dream lives and loving it (most of the time)
Thanks

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