As a homeschooler, it’s easy to get caught up in the feeling of there’s-just-not-enough-to-go-around. Time, money, food, love, learning… you fill in the blank. It can become overwhelming, discouraging, or even scary. But if you shift your perspective to one of abundance, could you banish that scarcity myth altogether to find more kindness, more generosity, and more patience?
By Indrani Perera
On a bad day, I succumb to the scarcity myth. I’m sure you know a version of it. It’s the thing that tells you there’s not enough money, not enough food, or not enough time to go around. I find it can be easy to get sucked into believing I’ll never have enough or more importantly, be enough. It’s overwhelming, stifling, and let’s be honest... No fun.
Buying into the scarcity myth encourages hardening and competition. It makes us mean and crabby. If there’s not enough to go around, then I can’t share what I have with others who are less fortunate. I’ve got to keep it all to myself.
But then I remember. Wait. This is a myth. Because isn’t there actually enough (fill in the blank) for us all?
Well, yes… there is. When we come from a place of plenty and abundance, we can easily see that there’s enough for everyone. We often just need a new or different perspective. We need to change seats for a different view. I know food is scarce for a lot of people in a lot of countries, for example, and then I wonder why, in developed nations, we throw out so much food (an embarrassing abundance of food) that could be feeding countless hungry bellies.
My Scarcity Trigger
The hardest thing for me as a mama is trying to get the three of us at the door in the morning so we can be on time for our daily activities. This is always the time when one of my girls will decide to change her whole outfit, or decide that now she needs to pack a bag of books for the car. Add to that the fact that I am usually running late because I have slept in (or tried to do too much), and I get really cranky and snappy in no time flat. Look out… an explosion is likely to follow!
So my scarcity trigger is pulled when I think there’s not enough time. That’s when Tiger Mama comes out roaring. She yells at the kids to hurry up and grab their stuff because (gasp!) we’re going to be late! (And then the world will end.)
Okay, so the first step is to be realistic about how long things take (or about how much food or money you actually need). I often think things require a lot less time than they actually do. For example, it takes me two hours each morning to go out for the day. Yep, TWO hours. I know… I was shocked too when I first figured it out. That’s two hours to make and eat breakfast, wash the dishes, shower, get dressed, and pack all the lunches and snacks for the day. Once I realised how long it took, I started getting up earlier so I could be ready on time. So… set yourself up for success.
The second is to enlist help from your kids and partner, if possible. Get the kids to pick their clothes for the day, feed the cat, water the garden, or whatever the things are that need to be done. Remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Get your partner to make the lunches so you can wrangle the kids. This is key if your children are still little and need help with feeding, nappies, getting dressed, brushing hair and teeth, and all the other time-eating things.
The final and most important step: in spite of your best efforts to manage your time (or food, or money, or expectations), there will be moments when it all turns to custard and you STILL feel like there’s not enough. You’ll start to feel overwhelmed and out of control. Tiger Mama will start to stir. You are human, after all. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’re always going to get it right, so be kind to yourself.
Take a deep breath, right down into your belly and repeat this mantra:
“There is plenty of (fill in the blank). There really is plenty. We are blessed.”
Building and embracing the idea of abundance requires trust… trust in yourself, in your family, and in the fact that things will work out. I’m still practicing. Daily, in fact!
But listen with your whole heart when I say:
“You are plenty. You have plenty.”
Just imagine. Imagine a world in which we start from a perspective of abundance and generosity. We know we have plenty and there is plenty to go around. We can willingly share our time, love, and resources without fear of running out.
In this world I can easily be respectful and patient because I know there is time for what is important… like small people learning to care for themselves. Taking a shortcut now because my scarcity trigger is pulled will only result in resistance or tears from a disconnected child (and a regretful mama) later.
When I remind myself there is plenty, I am kind and generous. I am the mama I want to be.
Who would you be if you could foster a feeling of plenty?
Want to save this article for later? Share on Pinterest.