My daughter just turned five. For the first time, we threw a party where we invited other little kids her age. For most people, that probably seems like a very long time to hold off on the friend birthday parties. But the truth is, I strongly dislike kid birthday parties. It’s all too much — the planning, the mess, the chaos and… the stuff.
I really love the idea of a “No Gifts” kid birthday party. But I’ve discovered, like so many things that sound great before you have children, it doesn’t work out so well in reality. (Remind me later to tell the story about the “No Gifts” birthday party that my son attended where he was the only kid who didn’t bring a gift. Awkward.)
I also love the idea of collecting donations for charity in lieu of gifts… but my kids are not very excited about that one either.
I’m working on it.
Anyway, my point is that I’m wiser now… and I’ve given up on the no gifts idea. So I bit my lip for my daughter’s party and just let it happen. And it certainly happened. Dolls and beads and sparkly pink stuff are spilling out of my daughter’s room.
There is too much stuff in my house. There was too much stuff before her party. Now there’s more. And Christmas is around the corner.
Now, my mother would have taken care of this little problem by cleaning out my room while I was at school. It might take me a few days to clue in, but eventually I’d figure out something was missing and work out what happened.
And I’d feel betrayed.
As a result, I have packrat tedencies. And I really hate cleaning out stuff. It puts me in an extremely bad mood because it reminds me about the ridiculous amounts of money people have spent on this stuff that just sits around and never gets used. Oh, and don’t get me started on our society’s emphasis on consumerism. Not to mention how most of it will end up in a landfill one day.
Ugh, just writing about it puts me in a bad mood.
Now that I have kids myself, I do understand why my mother did what she did. However, now that I’m the mom, I feel the need to involve the kids. To help them understand why we do these things. To draw their own conclusions about what they value and when it’s time to let things go.
Yeah, remember those things that sound great before you have children, but they don’t work out so well in reality?
Wish me luck.