Thursday, January 17, 2013

Living Simply

As I mentioned in my Christmas wrap up, this holiday season had me doing a lot of thinking. The bottom line, I need to write more so that when I do sit down to start a post I don't feel so blocked. With so many thoughts bouncing around in my tired brain it is almost impossible to grab just one and start writing without sounding like I need to be committed. Let's face it, there is a good chance that I do need to be committed, but I can still strive to sound coherent while I babble to myself, no??

So here is today's rambling...

On the one hand, I want my kids to have it all. More toys than they could ever play with, adorable outfits for every day of the week, and an endless buffet of sweets and goodies. On the other hand, it is all just so much. It is all wonderful but more than once this Christmas I felt a little sick about the over abundance.

I imagine I am not the only mom out there feeling conflicted.

I want my kids to have an appreciation of their things, AND I want them to be just as excited about the experience. I know...I know, talk about projecting. Right now they are obviously way too little to understand any of these feelings. But how on Earth do I raise kids that are not greedy in a world that places so much emphasis on having stuff? Let it be said, that around here, materialistic is not necessarily a "four letter word". Dingle loves his possessions and has worked hard to earn each and every one of them. Personally, I don't care as much about owning stuff and, as if the post hadn't already alluded to this, too many possessions make me a little uncomfortable. It is really interesting to me that growing up in households where money was sometimes tight shaped Matt and I very differently. I like knowing we have money in the bank and he likes knowing he can buy just about anything he wants! I will say that over the past five years we have both shifted towards a middle ground. He almost never makes an impulsive big purchase anymore, and I no longer break out in a cold sweat if we put something extra in the shopping cart. None of this changes the fact that our kids will have more than either of us did growing up, and some days I am convinced we are going to ruin them! Add to this the fact that we live in a community where I regularly see toddlers in UGGs and moms accidentally pick up the wrong Coach diaper bag at the playground. I don't care if other people think my Graco stroller is ghetto, but some day Lily will. It is overwhelming.

SO, in addition to all of the wonderful traditions I mentioned in my previous post I have two new ones to add. Both are post-Christmas traditions that I hope will restore some balance to the kids' lives in the wake of the new toy tornado. First I would like the kids to make/write thank you notes. I know that this will be super time consuming for me, but leading by example when it comes to expressing gratitude will hopefully make all of the getting easier on me too. Second I want them to "help" sort through the old toys and choose some to donate or sell (we will donate the money) to make room for the new toys. I know it will be more than a few years before either of the kids understand any of this but getting an early start can't hurt.

Ultimately I am glad I waited a few weeks to write this post. Now that the craziness of Christmas has died down I can appreciate it for what it is. A once a year indulgence, even if it does go on for weeks! All of the things we did to make the holiday memorable made me so happy. And it makes other people happy to buy kids stuff. Were they totally spoiled this year? Yes. Will it ruin them forever? No.

Moral of the story: Two weeks before Christmas is not the time to stress out about living more simply.

Hopefully this post will serve as a reminder for next year, or maybe it will just highlight how neurotic I have become. Either way I now have one less free radical bouncing around in my brain, so that is good.

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