In three weeks, our family of four is moving from Toronto, Canada to Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
We will be there for four glorious months, soaking up the sunshine and creating precious family memories.
Wait, let me re-phrase.
We will be parenting. 24/7. In Mexico.
I am sure we will create many family memories, but I have not deluded myself into thinking it will all be glorious.
Like packing up our house, for example. NOT glorious.
We have a lovely family who is renting our home while we are away (so very grateful!).
The house will be fully-furnished for them, but it will be free of our personal effects.
Yes, that means that all of the stuff conveniently hidden behind closet doors and tucked away in dresser drawers needs to be donated, sold, or packed away.
Now that it is crunch-time, I am going bananas. Even though we have been preparing for the past seven months, there is still so much to do! Ahhhhhhh.
Confession: I have zero patience and no tolerance for kid-drama. I am muffling f-bombs under my breath on the regular. Parent of the year over here.
Thank goodness my parents are taking the girls for a sleepover this weekend. I end up missing them like crazy, and upon their return realize that they are the sweetest children ever. A little bit of space always helps, right?
Let’s rewind a bit.
Seven months ago, when Arjan (my hubby) and I decided to take this adventure, it was liberating. Though the adventure itself was born from a breakdown, it truly ended up being a breakthrough in our marriage.
The initial feelings of making this decision were euphoric.
We had made a conscious decision to exit the rat-race and we felt like we were taking our lives back.
We had renewed energy for each other, and were looking forward in the same direction:
Fresh, local food.
So simple, yet so powerful. The vision of ‘Mexico’ gave us intention EVERY DAY.
We knew we would be renting out our home, so we got started on the massive project of downsizing.
Who knew that we had 12 stacks of neon post-it notes in various spots around the house?
There was an entire drawer devoted to hair elastics and old hair clips. Score, right? Except that when I tried to put my daughter’s hair in a ponytail, the elastic disintegrated in my hand. Yes, they were that old.
My favourite find was a tiny ziploc bag of my belly rings, circa 1999. For the record, I have let that piercing grow in, and it is super sexy. Just saying.
For the items with more life left in them, we sold them online using local Facebook groups: From our daughter’s Jolly Jumper, to brand-name jeans that I never wore, to my husband’s bike gear.
We made almost $1000 selling stuff that was just lying around our house. That covers at least one flight to Mexico! Every $10 porch pick-up made a difference.
The key was being consistent every week about posting and selling. Let other people enjoy these items, instead of being forgotten about in a dark drawer, right?
What couldn’t be sold, was donated to local charities and shelters. We were creating more space in our home, and people in need were benefitting from this practice. It feels so good to have less and give more.
Essentially, through this process, we (accidentally!) became minimalists.
Living in a home with less stuff feels amazing. For me, having less clutter in our space gives me a sense of calm. I can actually sit-down and relax without feeling like there is something else to tidy up. Having less stuff means having less stuff to put away. So liberating!
The girls began to play with old toys that had previously been buried away under the clutter. Their desk area remains clear and they have space to craft and draw and colour. They are more creative in their play with each other. They too, are reaping the benefits of a more simple life.
Another euphoric side effect was that I felt like the calm, peaceful parent that I had always wanted to be.
I had patience and empathy for the girls in moments where I would usually lose my shit.
“I understand that it is hard to leave the park after five hours, honey. And that obviously you need the red cup RIGHT NOW. Let me give you a hug, while you thrash and scream in my face. No problem.”
I even surprised myself.
The fact that we had gotten clear on our values, and were literally living them every day, made me a better parent and a happier partner. I kept envisioning us in the sunshine on the beach and it gave me energy and intention.
All of this intentional living has been empowering for us as a couple. There is nothing more sexy than agency in a partner: When they choose to take action, without you having to remind them.
After our huge conversation in April, Arjan has been actively selling and donating his own stuff. It is awesome to be on the same page and working towards the same goal. Together.
Do you know what happens when you are working towards the same goal with your partner? You start having fun and being playful and remembering why you chose each other so many years ago!
Can I get an AMEN for the return of our sex life?! SERIOUSLY. (There will be an entire post dedicated to Sex After Kids - stay tuned!)
Even though we are currently in the weeds of packing, we are still committed to the same goal. To know that we are in this together, makes the hurdles and challenges worthwhile.
Truth be told, parenting in Mexico will be a welcome change from parenting during our cold, Canadian winter.
I’m sure there will plenty of new challenges, but bring ‘em on.
Arjan and I are ready.
On December 12th, we will get on that plane and our vision will be become a reality! Eeeeee!
Now it’s your turn. We know that you want to be calm with your kids, connected with your partner and live an awesome life. This is why we created a free workbook to guide you through the process: Your Step-By-Step Intentional Living Workbook.
This is your chance to get clear on your values and live your intentional life.
We are totally rooting for you every step of the way and can’t wait to hear about what the future holds for you!
We’d love to hear from you. What do you dream of doing as a family or couple? And what is getting in your way? Please share in the comments below.
We are building a community of amazing parents and your voice is so important. Be honest and real - that’s we are all about!
Click here to get started on having this life-changing conversation with your partner.
You’ll be glad you did. I know we are.
Allison (& Arjan!)
P.S. - If you missed our first blog post about what prompted our adventure to Mexico, check it our here.
P.S.S. - Check out our family packing dance party!
P.S.S.S. - Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below. Can’t wait to hear about your journey!
Written by: Allison Villa