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I'm Jessica (my friends call me Breezy) and I am a photographer serving the Sioux City area.
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This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, and I am a work-in-progress. So, this post will be more of a commentary on a thought I had, not so much a solution for it…yet.
Here’s what I’ve had an internal struggle with: the idea of minimalism and having small children are hard to mix!
The more I’ve embraced a minimalist-ish life, the more I’ve observed how my son doesn’t quite have the same beliefs. I can declutter all I want. I can get rid of dishes, books, piles of magazines, and clothing, but the toys remain. Now, I have made some progress with my son, meaning he knows that if he has duplicate toys we can always donate the second one to a kiddo who doesn’t have any. Even with this progress, though, he is still in a constant state of “I want this, I want that.”
So, as I noticed him constantly wanting toys, telling me year round what he hopes Santa will bring, and sometimes even asking complete strangers for a quarter to buy a toy (full of shame, here), it didn’t just annoy me at the amount of stuff we have, it has down right worried me that I am raising him with values opposite of what I hope for him! How am I embracing the idea of buying and needing less, yet raising a child who is completely enthralled with consuming goods?
There are a million things I could answer this with, but the one that makes the most sense, also hurts the most.
I have created that in him.
Yes, it hits me right in the gut to admit that AND write it for the world to see. Ultimately, it’s a fact that my Love Language has turned my sweet kiddo into an entitled child.
Let me clarify two things: I absolutely agree with the idea of Love Languages (you can learn your Love Language here) and my personal love language is “receiving gifts.”
We struggled for three long years to have a baby, and when we finally met him I knew in the depths of my soul that I would give him the world! And I’ve literally done so ever since. When I have felt that I spent too much time away from him, I wanted him to be instantly excited when I came home because I was usually carrying a gift. When we had “mom and son days,” I would find myself often treating him to an activity as well as a new toy. I’ve loved seeing the excitement on his face when we continue to buy blind bags and try to collect the entire set. Giving him gifts is just my natural way of showing him how much I love him.
Over time, the excitement and gratitude he felt turned to expectation, and now he gets downright angry if we aren’t showering him with gifts and toys, and this is heartbreaking for me! My way of showing him love has come at a price that I am not sure I am comfortable paying anymore.
Now, I am stuck trying to figure out how to show my son love in a different way, a way that won’t foster a love of “things.” I’ve thought of three approaches: studying HIS personal love language, focusing my efforts on showing love in other ways, or finding “gifts” for him that are not necessarily toys. I am not sure which one will be the solution or if it’ll be a combination of all three. The cool part about parenting, though, and life in general, is that it is never too late to make a change. I plan on altering the way I communicate my love to my son so that we aren’t focusing on material things. If you’re feeling the same way, as if you are instilling a value in your kiddos that you don’t want to, rest easy knowing that you still have time to pivot and take a new path. There’s always a way!
So tell me, is there anything that you’re seeing in your children that you don’t love but know that you created it? I’d love to hear that I am not alone in this realization.
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