I always hear other people say things like: “babies don’t need a lot of stuff, just love” or “we don’t need a registry, we have everything we need now!” Um…huh? That would be an amazing philosophy for our checkbook!
I know minimalist parenting refers to a lot of different aspects of parenting. For the purpose of this post I’m specifically discussing the anti-materialistic aspect. I recently read an article about a minimalist mom who didn’t buy anything for her new baby or toddler for a couple years (with a few exceptions she noted). Wait...what?!
But where does the baby’s poop go? Even if you use cloth diapers don’t you still need to buy cloth diapers? Where does the baby sleep? In your bed…for eternity? How does your baby eat when your boob is unavailable? You cannot be available for every feeding for the baby’s entire first year. If you are how do you leave the house without the baby?
Speaking of leaving the house, what do you do with your 9-month-old on a walk? Do you carry your 25 lb nugget everywhere?! What if you are running errands without a car for 3 hours? Doesn’t he/she get really effing heavy?? Speaking of cars, how can the baby be in car without buying a car seat?
How do you get anything done around the house without a carrier or a play pen that you bought? How does the baby eat food without a spoon his/her size? Do you sew all the clothes that they grow out of every month?
As you can see I have an endless list of questions for minimalist parents, especially the extreme ones that claim to buy nothing. I get that I’m over the top-that’s the point of this post. However, I would argue that even parents who don’t have an excessive amount of stuff (like me) still have a lot of stuff!!
At minimum babies need to eat, sleep, travel, and go to bathroom. Those activities require things, don’t they? Anyways, I clearly missed the minimalist memo. In order to totally out myself I’ve made a list of reasons I make minimalist parents cringe:
I designed my child’s nursery.
Yep. I bought shit for my kid’s room strictly to make it look cute. Gasp. I bought bookends that are literally useless aside from ascetics and propping up a couple board books that don’t need to be propped up. I bought a lamp that matched the “color scheme” of his room.
Yes, his room has an effing color scheme. I also purchased foam mats so he doesn’t smash his head on the wood floor and toy bins that aren’t complete eye-sores. That’s a ton of stuff right there and we aren’t even discussing essentials.
I have two strollers for one child.
I have two baby items with the exact same purpose and I stand by my decision! Why? They have different functions. One is massive, durable, and spacey. That wondrous device can fit 3 bags of groceries. You know what it can’t fit? Itself on a bus. That’s why I have the second stroller: a lightweight, easy to collapse, umbrella stroller that can’t fit my diaper bag let alone groceries.
I occasionally rely on devices to compensate for my lack of availability.
I need to shower. I also need to unload a dishwasher without Nate smashing one of the plates over his head. I need shit to distract him while I’m doing other shit! Plan and simple. A play pen, a swing, a drum set, a television; whatever it takes!
I make my life easier with extra stuff.
Guilty. I buy stuff I don’t need just to make my life less stressful as a parent. I have swaddles, pacifiers, sound machines, even a freaking formula dispenser! I know, I’m the absolute WORST. I told you I’d make people cringe. I don’t care! My life is less stressful and I’m that much more tolerable when my husband gets home from work.
I’ve bought stuff I never even used.
Before you crucify me I donated everything I didn’t use, but yes I had so much stuff I didn’t touch some of it. Why? Because your child has a mind of his own! He may not like the type of pacifier, onesie, teether, swing, or carrier you bought. Before you say I’m a crappy parent because my child shouldn’t run the show try putting a 3 month old in a carrier he thinks is the antichrist.
I don’t think buying toys for your kid is a negative thing.
Aside from the fact that many toys are actually designed to help children develop during different phases and milestones; I think it’s fun. I loved making a list for Santa, getting a birthday gift, or sharing toys with friends as a kid. I don’t want to deprive my kid of that same fun!
That’s why I always donate to toy charities at Christmas. I don’t think any kid should experience the holidays without getting a toy. Maybe I’m overly materialistic or my priorities are out of whack, but I view some material items as fun parts of being a kid.
Yes they need to use their imagination, play outside, and learn not to rely on a store bought item every second of the day; but why not occasionally buy a toy just for fun?
So there you have it! I’m that mom who screams consumerism at its worst. All joking and sarcasm aside, I do want to improve as a parent and take some pages out of the minimalist book. Currently I’m cutting myself slack as a new mom and embracing the type of mom I happen to be at this moment; not a minimalist (in the materialism sense). For now I still view parents who avoid buying a baby item when they welcome a child into the world as enigmas.
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