I have had so much fun over the last few weeks, returning to my child mind, by working with a few of my clients and assisting them in organizing their kids’ toys.
One of my clients laughed with me when she said, “I feel sorry for your children; they are going to have no toys!” we laughed about it but when I think about it further I actually agree!
I have recently become a godmother (he is just the most delicious little creature – proud fairy godmother here) and I have to actively stop myself buying him every little cute toy or shark outfit that I see, (they are just too precious for words) but then I think back to my clients (most of them) and we work through a cupboard and find that lots of the valuable storage space is taken up by gifts bought for future birthdays and special occasions AND unopened toys from past occasions.
We are living in a time where we are driven by consumerism, following trends and keeping up with the Jones’. It’s so easy to get sucked in and feel the need to buy all the knickknacks that we think will make ourselves and our family happy, when we all know that a first birthday – the baby is more interested in the wrapping paper and is asleep for a portion of the party.
I look back on my childhood and I remember my mother saying NO, and I knew she meant it and that was that, I don’t remember dying inside because I didn’t get the toy, or the tantrum I threw, but I do recall understanding that there were more important things that money was needed for AND I treasured the gifts I was given – that amazing pink outfit my gymnast Barbie had, with all the ribbons and my Polly in my Pocket; I remember the day we brought her home I remember shaking the box and listening to all the bits inside, knowing that when Christmas came – ahh, bliss – it was going to be magical!
Anyway, before I recite all my toys to you, I just want to say that every parent is the same, they love their little ones and want them to be as happy as they can. But just think about yourself too, after a long day at work, the kids’ toys have exploded everywhere and you want to run away. It’s hard to say NO but it’s also not the worst thing in the world – ‘Mom is going to put the price of the toy into a saving spot so that when you are older it will benefit you more’ (they will hate that I’m sure but they won’t in a few years), or heck – make them work for it – tidy room for a week and we will revisit the toy. I sound like such a meanie…
I have a friend who has had her third munchkin and he arrived while their home was being built and she said for the most part he hasn’t had a room, he has just fitted in. She said in fact they don’t need the space, their needs are basic, to be loved and cared for which doesn’t require stuff! This made me DELIGHTED, great! My kids won’t need toys OR a room!
I am not suggesting a colourless, toy-less childhood for your children at all. I just think we are indoctrinated to feel inadequate without things (look at black FRIDAY). Family is far more important than things (you know what they say, less is more) and so are experiences AND your bank balance will be grateful too.
Something else that made my heart sing – friends teaching their children about the less fortunate and taking them to donate the toys they had outgrown– what a magical and humbling life lesson!! It’s often hard to find the time to go through your kids toys and to donate them, why not get the kids involved and make them feel proud to do an act of kindness?
I am just looking at it from the other side, from the driver’s seat of a car FULL to capacity with donations of toys that have been forgotten or outgrown.
In short, just be mindful of your purchases – or give me a shout and I’ll sort through them for you!