Mom Talk: The Great Pink Avalanche

Not long ago, I read a wonderful post by one of my favorite blogg…ists? (Is that a word?  Bloggist?), the great Michele of Frugal Granola, as she was guest blogging on Amy’s Finer Things.  Her lovely post, which you can read here, was titled Preparing for Baby.  One of the highlights of the article, for me and my simplistic mindset anyway, was the following:

Clothing and Blankets:  I know, this is the fun part of shopping, as you prepare for the baby. But shop wisely. Don’t get too much; they’ll outgrow everything quickly, anyway. Borrow (or buy used) what you can; babies rarely wear things out!

The Rule-of-Thumb is the quantity of 4-6 per item. This is usually enough of each item to allow for a few clothing changes per day (spit-ups and diaper blowouts will happen!), while doing laundry every few days. Add in a few extra warmer things for winter babies.

Stock up on gender-neutral-colored basics (And your little ones don’t have to be stuck wearing yellow ducks; my babies were adorable with items such as denim overalls, red sweaters, tie-dyed t-shirts, orange pants, star-print gowns, and peapod-print onesies). If you end up having a girl, you can toss in a couple dresses and/or bows. The pink will certainly make its way into your life; it’s irresistible to Grandmas. :)

This inspired me.  Frankly, poor Naomi’s closet was bursting with clothing.  We hadn’t spent more than $10 on her entire wardrobe.  Just after she was born, I sorted everything by size and seperated it into those boxes that hold packs of printer paper.  In total there were 10 boxes, with a huge tub of unisex things I hadn’t even gotten to look at.

So I gritted my teeth and dove into her closet.  I took all the boxes that were there.  I took out things that I actually liked and asked Michael his opinion of other things.  After the first box, though, it became apparent that this was a “Mama job” because everything Michael saw, he either said, “Oh that’s so cute” or “I could go either way”.

So after one box, I tackled the rest, keeping in mind that she didn’t need nearly as much as was there.  I kept the things I liked (or that I thought Michael would like) and packaged up the rest.  In the end, I was able to whittle it down to 1 box per age group, a small box of shoes, another small box of socks and halved the blankets.  There are still some things in the big tub as well, but they are mostly snowsuits and two adorable unisex outfit sets that I didn’t take apart yet.  I will save them and regift them sometime in the future.

What really shocked me was how much pink pink PINK there was!  I am not a big fan of the almighty girly pink.  And it drives me nuts when people think that just because I have a little girl, everything has to be pink.  I begged my mother to please not buy me anything pink from hereon out, and if anyone asked what they could get Naomi, to please tell them anything but pink clothes.


What I did discover, however, was a wonderful series of adorable animal-printed things from Carters that my mother-in-law had purchased for us while they were in the States last year.  Browns, beige, blue, yellow, orange, green!  Ducks, frogs, alligators, giraffes, birds.  So many beautiful colors!  Warm, wonderful pieces that suited my baby girl so much better than frilly bows and Sesame Street characters.

There were two sets of a Minnie Mouse outfit as well.  I have never been a big fan of cartoon characters or brand names, either, so they weren’t sticking around.

After I had sorted and divided things up, I discovered I had enough to dress two other baby girls while still keeping my own baby girl in stitches without any complications.  I agree with Michele, you don’t need nearly as much as you have.  After redistributing I have enough clothes to donate to both my sister-in-laws for their babies (hopefully they’re girls, because if so, they’ll have enough to dress them for a year each!  If they’re boys, well…).

I do not desire to create another little consumer.  I desire to have created a beautiful human being who understands the value of her possessions and treats them with respect.  I want her to understand that just because we can run out and buy another piece of clothings doesn’t mean we should or will.

We were immensely blessed when we were given all these beautiful clothing items by friends and family.  Now we will immensely bless someone else with these pieces.  And hopefully our home will regain a bit more peace.  And become a little less pink.

Gifts for other little gals to enjoy!

Dear 2011…

Happy Birthday! I am so glad to experience you! I cannot waitto share so many joys and adventures and lessons and developments. You are going to be quite popular, let me tell you!

Let me give you a little history, so we get to know each other better. I want to be good friends with you, 2011, so I want us to be perfectly clear and honest with each other.

I will admit, some of your brothers and sisters who have come before you were not very kind to me. I have met 29 of them before you, but really we need only concern ourselves with the last seven.

2005 and I found freedom in this year. I left an unpleasant, mentally abusive marriage and reconnected with family with whom I had long been distanced by via my ex-husband.

2006 and I found wonderful happiness. I spent the next two years with a wonderful man who I loved dearly and was well connected with. But I knew it wouldn’t last forever.

2007 and I learned a lot together. We discovered frugality, green living and tried out education again, with excellent results.

2008 and I found rock bottom as the rug was ripped out from under me and my relationship with the
Man I thought was my soul mate ended abruptly and I was homeless, penniless and lost. I was so lucky to have my loving family to help me through the toughest year of my life. I tried several other venues but never found what I was truly meant to be and do.

BUT 2008 was kind to me, at the same time. I graduated (with Honours) from my course; got a great job that no one said I would be able to get; made some great new friends, and met a man who made any other pale in comparison. I met a man who was intelligent, compassionate, gentle, kind and the true soul mate I had never known (and it didn’t hurt that he was oh so handsome!). I met a man who resected me, challenged me, forced me to grow and experience things outside of my own little brain. But the best thing I found in 2008 was Jesus. When nothing else an no one else seemed to stop the pain, he came along and held out His hand. I have held on and never looked back.

2009 ns I experienced many Firsts! First date with that wonderful man from 2008; first time in a “grown up” apartment; first true understanding of my faith. That wonderful man proposed to me on May 31 (the birthday of his good friend, a priest, who would later marry us in September). First real honeymoon. First trip out of the country. First trip to Texas. First trip to New Orleans. And (drumroll please!) First pregnancy!

And 2010 and I have experienced bliss. I gave birth to our beautiful daughter on May 31 (exactly 1 year after our engagement). We have been happily and emphatically raising her together, striving to love her and teach her to be a caring, nurturing person who respects herself, her planet and the people around her. We have also determined that I will stay at home with her and not return to my previous job, and will find other ways to subsidize my contribution to our income.

And now, dear 2011… What do you have in store for us? Let’s make a commitment to each other to be kind, respectful and honest with one another. We wish to fulfill each other’s goals, don’t we? Let’s work together to make this a wonderful year for both my family, me and you, dear 2011.

Help me to provide for my family as both a homemaker and a nominal breadwinner. Help me to stop focusing so much on things that don’t matter like my iPhone, my hip size and the dust bunnies in the corner. Help me to enjoy my family as they deserve, with fun activities, quiet cuddles, and lots of hugs and kisses. And finally, dear 2011, help me to love myself and make my health, sleep, diet, exercise, motivation, attitude and faith a top priority.

What would you expect from me, dear 2011? I hope I don’t disappoint!

Love,
Nada

A Warning!

Please be advised, I have updated and imported another blog (thelittlesheepsays.blogspot.com) I had been writing in recently into miniMOMist today. Hopefully you enjoy my past ramblings too!

The Meaning of Excess

“I am a little concerned with the things you have been writing,” my husband commented today when he called me on his morning break. “I am concerned about your definition of ‘excess’.”

While he can be so funny and charming, Michael also has a sharp sense of logic and a view of the world that I only wished I could experience. When he says he has a concern, I try very hard to listen because what he says usually makes sense. And because I love and respect him.

“You keep talking about all the ‘excess stuff’ we have,” he continued. “but don’t forget, everyone lives in excess. If you have more than a roof over your head, a change of clothes, somewhere to sleep, and more food than you can eat in one day, you have excess. You can’t get rid of it. And if you try, you’re just going to end up giving away things you actually wanted to keep. And then we are going to have to spend money to get them back.”

Hmmm.

He’s right. Mainly because he knows me. I am one of those black-and-white, all-or-nothin’, “Remember the Alamo!” types. I decide I’m gonna do something and I dive in head-first, without really checking to be sure I can swim in the pool. I expect water, but more often than not, I find myself swimming in pudding, when I discover the challenge I’m involved in is just too difficult for me (at the time). I am also one of those hyper-focused, insanely driven “For the Shire!” types who blocks out all distractions around me and zones in on the task at hand, forgetting to acknowledge anyone or anything around me. It can be bad when you forget a pot on the stove and supper is ruined. Or you leave your wallet at home. Or you forget to fill the tank.

The result? My home, online folders, iPhone, craft desk, video game library and desktop are full of unfinished projects, ideas that haven’t panned out, disorganized jumbles, and “when I have time to…”

The problem is, I will never have time. I never will have time to keep my home spotless, weigh 110 lbs, hand sew all our clothes, grow my organic produce, cross stitch a lovely wall hanging, read every attachment parenting book, hold down a part time or full time job, dress like a supermodel, be perfectly rested, knit all our Christmas gifts, scrub the floors with a toothbrush, and write the next great novel. I just won’t. My poor brain, body and soul can’t handle it all.

Here’s the thing, though. What I just described above? That’s excess too. It’s mental excess. It’s the excess of perfectionism and social influences that tell me I have to “do it all”. In truth, however, I don’t care to do it all. I don’t. I don’t care to do everything listed above. I would like to, don’t get me wrong, but there are other things that I have to shower and lavish my attentions on.

Remember my Priorities post a couple days ago? I listed the five things that are my priorities:

  1. Jesus
  2. Family
  3. Health and well being
  4. Financial freedom
  5. Our environment

All of the things I said above can be part of my priorities, but they cannot my priorities. If these things cannot be shared with or benefit my priorities in some way or another, then they are not helping me. What’s more, if they take away time I should be spending on my priorities, than they are dangerous. If I spend all my time working on my organic garden while my family sits around waiting for me to make them supper, where have I gotten us? Nowhere.

Excess is not just material things. Excess can also be how you focus your skills, time and money. If they hamper you or prevent you from paying attention to the things that are important, they are not going to contribute to your overall happiness.

I need to change my word. It isn’t excess I need to be rid of. It’s distractions. Things that distract me from my priorities. That is what my sweet, wise husband was saying — to not focus so much on my excess. Because I will never be completely rid of it. Instead, he wanted me to focus on the distractions. The things that I waste time on that keep me from my priorities. He doesn’t want this new path of minimalism I am striving towards to become another distraction. He’s afraid I wish crash and burn and get myself in trouble again.

I am trusting in myself and my focus on my priorities to keep me strong. If something is taking away from them, than it’s time to let it go.