Just Don’t Buy It?

Toys are so overrated. And expensive. And messy!

The kids play with them for about five hours less than the time they play with the box it came in. Our stomachs growl in hunger for the lunch we skipped to pay for that toy (and its box). Then, to add insult to injury, we find the toy and its brothers everywhere.

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And so, I have concluded that we need to no longer fund this operation. My husband decided that long ago, and continually reminds me of this resolve every time he has to walk in the house.

I’ll hear his voice from the boys’ rooms: Who left all these Legos on the floor! We need to put these all away till they learn to clean up!

Then there was the time of The Battle of the Art Cupboard. I’d hear everything from, Who painted the floor? to Who didn’t clean up after his papier-mâché? to Why is there confetti all over?

I tried. Sort-of. I limited birthdays and Christmases to number and cost. I encouraged thrift and order. I devoted about a decade to teaching (yelling at) our miniature houseguests the meaning of “Clean up.” I cleaned on my own; again and again and again.

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In frustration, I moved most of the mess out of general sight and set up a toy room in our unfinished basement.

As my husband and I snuggled in to immediately fall asleep all romantic-like, he said, We need to keep the kids’ toys in their closets. The basement is getting too messy.

Photo Credits:
Markus Spiske
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Pinterest Mom or Sane Parent?

Not too long ago, I had a side job. It entailed scouring the internet for pictures of birthday parties, home décor, and craft how-to’s; stealing copying those pictures; and writing about them using keywords and sponsored links.

Before I had that job, I didn’t have a Pinterest account. I didn’t have an Instagram account. And, honestly, I didn’t even have a blogging account.

Before The Job I planned birthday parties for the sole intent of celebrating someone’s birth. I had little that was superfluous for decorating. And I hadn’t ever made a cardboard tombstone or flocked a Christmas tree.

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After nine months of writing the articles, therefore, I knew a lot more about the back-alley world of Pinterest. I knew that there were at least “11 Classroom Games for Room Mothers,” that I could look up “10 Minecraft Party Ideas,” and that there were “12 Ways to Pumpkin-Up Your Porch.” (That last title was my idea.)

And I felt a bit disturbed.

Were all the moms out there really doing birthday parties like that, or houses?

What I’ve seen in real life confirms my fears. Joanna Gaines is all over magazines, Target, and my neighbors’ houses. Party favors, games, and backdrops for one-year-olds follow a coordinated theme. I scrolled through a thread on TwoFacebook recently about installing pallet board walls, headboards, or ceilings. Women in my area show up to parties in low boots, tight pants, front-tucked-in shirts, and long-curled hair; carrying magazine-ready plates of organic foods and centerpieces that would shame Martha Stewart -for an afternoon lunch.

Over-the-top, much?

I know how lovely a well-planned party looks; how much creativity cred a mom can get from other moms for sticking to a theme. I’ve seen the white sitting rooms, silver candlesticks, and fur rugs that make a house look like a family never even breathed in it.

Yes; it’s a nice look.

No; it’s not worth it.

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Why? Because we have to live in a house. We have to raise our children to be balanced and not assume perfection. We need to be present more than give lots of presents. It is possible.

The reason I have a birthday party is not to show off.

The reason I decorate my house is so the kids can look forward to a holiday and so the house itself feels dressier.

The reason I run through a how-to is so that I can get the battery changed in the car without electrocuting myself. If I read a crafting walkthrough, it’s so that I can make an awesomely scary ghost with the kids.

Parents have enough on their plates without worrying about plating the food. They have enough mess to clean without trying to get handprints onto paper plates or shiplap onto walls. Do we really need to make parenting more difficult?

No.

So, don’t feel guilty with a Wal-mart cake and singing. Don’t sigh over mismatched furniture. Don’t worry that you can’t make an American flag out of a pallet.

You just might be human. Plus, your little humans will learn to be reasonable, too.

 

Photo Credits:
Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash
Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash
Photo by Hedy Yin on Unsplash