Oh, my Belle or Luca would love that toy, Isha would love that jewellery and look gorgeous in that outfit I hear myself saying as I wonder around the shops.
The struggle is real to want to over buy, especially at Christmas time.
Although I know most of the ‘stuff’ that is making me goo and gaa is the very stuff that goes against what I believe will make my kids the best versions of themselves and I know it contributes to making our planet very sick, the pull to buy it all is like a heavy duty magnet that has special powers to erase all common sense, intelligence and my very good intentions.
I think most of us know that consumerism is out of control and causing us big headaches. I’m sure we’ve all experienced buying fad toys made in China (with little care) that fall apart in 10 seconds or get played with for a few more then forgotten about, left in the bottom of one of way too may toy boxes until we eventually send it to land fill with the rest of the plastic junk.
Don’t even start me on picking up the millions of toys that the kids get out and soon get bored of and leave on the floor from one end of the house to the other. Why, why, why? Why do we do this to ourselves is a question I’m sure we’ve all asked many times, that we seem to forget when pulling our credit cards out to get more stuff we really don’t need.
The question I think has helped me improve on my over buying ‘stuff’ is remembering to ask why I do this to my children when I know it’s not good for them? I know I’m responsible for showing my kids that they are enough, and know they’re better off getting bored sometimes, using their imagination with what they have without instilling in them the belief that they need more, bigger and better to have fun.
When my 4 and 6 year old discovered they could watch others playing with toys on YouTube they would’ve easily sat their watching those clips for hours on end, and would store those ‘I must have those amazing toys’ for the next time we were at the shops, which wasn’t going to happen so you can imagine how the next part of the shopping trip went down.
Another thing I learned, limit the time and content on the IPad, but that’s another story!
I’ve realised buying them all the things is all about me. A quick fix, a fleeting moment of joy for me to see their faces light up. Then reality sets in. Racking up the credit card debt putting pressure on the amount of work needed to be done to pay for all the things, the time and frustration to stay on top of cleaning up the mess and the realisation I’d much rather provide them more opportunities to make their own fun with what they have, play music, perform dance concerts on the lawn and make friends with kids in our street.
Around six years ago I stopped filling up Christmas stockings with the junk we know is not far off hitting our land fill, and it felt really good. However I noticed how tempted I was to fill it with some ‘non-junk’ items instead. I missed the process of filling their stockings and watching them pulling out more stuff on Christmas morning. Again all about me. So I now put the couple of gifts they get in their stocking or if it’s a big box I lay the stocking over it. Incredibly, I have survived.
My consolation prize for my effort is making sure we make some time to play together with what the kids get before heading off to our family gatherings. Doing this brings me even more joy. It’s an adjustment, but I know it’s worth doing what I know is best and being true to myself. Doing my best to live mindfully really challenges me to stay true to my beliefs and I am so grateful.
From the bottom of my heart I want my children to be happy and to grow into well grounded and happy adults, to be the very best versions of themselves which means as a parent it’s my job to show them how to live simply, be creative and to be grateful with what they have in life. I need to recognise the desire to put the things in my trolley at the time and walk away.
Note to Self: Buy less, save money, save planet, work less, stress less, free up my time to give more of what matters the most ‘us time’. Buying less means my husband can get home a bit earlier, less sore, I can get better quality products, buy meaningful things and make it special, encouraging my kids to take better care of what they get. Teaching them to care, sounds good to me.
I’ll end this on one of my favourite quotes “Everything in moderation, including moderation”. Oscar Wilde
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