Guys, I really did it this time. I have been so mad at myself the last few weeks…
If you have been here awhile you might remember that one time I said something like, “my kids are spoiled for Christmas and that won’t change any time soon”. Well, I done did it again. Way too spoiled. It was WAY TOO MUCH! Between what they had already, what they got at our house, relatives houses, and my daughter’s birthday shortly after Christmas, I have seriously been taking a hard look in the mirror.
What started as a harmless idea of, “make sure they all have the same number of gifts because heaven forbid one notices” turned into WAY TOO MUCH STUFF! Not only am I upset for the money wasted, but I am also upset that I have let this become a holiday all about materialistic things. Of course their whole love for Christmas is about the thrill of opening presents.
As I had finished wrapping everything, I thought, what is this for? They don’t need all of this. Who is going to manage all of this? Why did I do this to myself? After much reflection I came to the realization that I was unknowingly in competition with other people. Obviously it isn’t their fault and chances are it was not even a thought about competing for them, but how could I compete with families able to give their kids literally everything they ask for? I wanted to be able to do that for my kids. Then that turned into, “well this kid has 5 things, another has 10, and the other has 15.” Knowing my kids like any good parent would, I knew that for some, that number matters. It shouldn’t, but they are young and to them it does. I get it.
So of course what else could I do than to make it even for all of them? 🙈
What started as a mom trying to do right by her kids turned into a mom going insane over the unmanagable mess and overstimulated kids.
My daughter had the worst of it. Between Christmas and her birthday, she had so much stuff! Even she would complain and cry when asked to pick things up that it’s “just too much”. I agree, but what do I do, this is people’s hard earned money spent on these things. I hated the idea of giving it all away.
Then I had this idea. I needed to create a manageable “mess”. I figured if there was less to dump out of the toy bins, there is obviously less to manage; to put away. But how do I get there? I had been texting my mom my frustration with the chaos. I told her I had had enough and was willing to get rid of all of it. I told her I was tired of living in squalor and the constant fight with getting my daughter to pick up even one thing. She said, box it all up and hide it. I thought, heck yes, I will do that! She even dared me to do it, knowing my daughter would likely have a serious freak out. I said, I am not scared, I will do it tomorrow! [This was this past Saturday].
I already knew Chris had planned to take the kids to see his family for our typical sunday funday festivities, while I was going to stay home and clean to my souls content. After they left, I decided my daughter’s room needed to be first. I boxed literally everything toy related up and moved it into storage. I figure, this way, when she asks for a certain toy, I will know what things to keep and what things she may not care that much about. I finished her room, went through my youngest’s room, and the living room. I basically kept the things that would fit in our bins, that I knew were played with, and was easy to keep picked up. This left me with 6 cube bins of toys, 2 playhouses, and our play kitchen (which I even went through and condensed it down A LOT). By time I was done, they were on their way back home. I was fully prepared to have my ears full of screams when they got back as they did not know what I was intending to do.
To my surprise, they were all amazed at how the house looked. Then my daughter went upstairs and I thought, “okay this is it, she’s going to lose her mind!” And what do you know, she was so happy! She didn’t even realize at first that all her toys and even her dollhouse were no longer there. Once she did, she was just sort of like, “huh, okay”. I thought at some point the realization is going to set in and we will have to deal with it.
It has been 2 days now. Granted yes, 2 days isn’t much, but…she has not asked for a single toy…not even one.
Today when she was helping cook dinner, I asked her how she felt about not having all her toys. At first she said, “I don’t know” and I asked her, “does it feel good not to have the big mess or do you feel bad that it is all gone?” Once again, to my surprise, she said it felt good to have it cleaned up. I asked her if that meant we should donate her toys to kids who might not have any or what we should do with all of it. She agreed that we should keep a few things and donate the rest. I am seriously shocked at her attitude about this! But, she has even said herself it was too much for her to clean, even before Christmas and her birthday. I just always thought she was trying to get out of doing it. But, to whatever degree it was in her mind, too much for her to manage. She noticed that.
I really need to quit letting what other people do for their families make me feel like I have to compete. I wanted to write this out as a reminder to myself going forward that it’s okay NOT to give in to the materialistic nature of things. THERE IS NO ACTUAL COMPETITION! I have even been contemplating how to go forward with celebrating birthdays so that we don’t aquire more things to manage. I want to be able to do things differently. I don’t want Christmas this year to leave me feeling so guilty and frustrated. There just has to be a better way.
If you are seeing this during the 2-3 months leading up to Christmas, feel free to leave me a comment so that I am reminded to read this. I don’t think I will forget this feeling, but, just incase, having the reminder would be helpful.