Well, I can't possibly be the only mother overwhelmed by STUFF. And by stuff I mean: toys, clothes, books, and treasures (otherwise known as rocks, dirt, small pieces of paper and tiny, plastic objects). Where did all this stuff come from? I have probably, in seven years, bought my children collectively one toy and ten outfits and yet my house teems with it.
|Photo by Bill Longshaw courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.
I wish I could look away. I wish it didn't bother me so much. I wish I didn't want to live in the 1850s when kids had three toys and all slept together in one bedroom. But let's be honest, life with children IS different now than it has been for, essentially, the entire length of human history. The kind of product rich lives even children with parents of modest incomes enjoy didn't exists one hundred years ago. Sometimes I think about how hard it must have been for women without washing machines and dishwashers. On the other hand, they had a two room house and instead of ten balls for the kids to toss, they had one. Also, how hard was it to clean the outhouse? Just let it stink!
All of us have to spend some time cleaning up and putting away and taking care of the things we possess and love. And it's great for kids to have toys and enjoy them. But I'd venture to guess that a lot of women's lives--mother's lives--would be easier if the house didn't froth with objects. Can we give ourselves permission to have less? Can we begin to redefine a good life? Can we pass on what we don't need, get rid of what's broken, and let children enjoy the best and simplest of toys: boxes and blankets?
I don't know about you, but I need permission to free myself from some of this stuff, and if you need it too, Mama, I want to give it to you. Your life is good and full of love. Let's fill our houses with the stuff that doesn't get dusty, use batteries quickly, break under pressure, or end up forgotten on the floor. All that good stuff: love and time and laughter and peace.
Now there's some good, free advice that won't clog your toy box! Are you with me?