I visited my very pregnant friend, Alison, today to wish her well before she gives birth to her second child in a week or two. I couldn’t resist the urge to take a peak at the nursery complete with coordinated bedding, curtains, and cute little ballet accessories. A little slice of baby-heaven just waiting for its new occupant to arrive.
Our family is now complete (God willin’!) with our son and daughter, but sometimes I miss those months of pregnancy–thinking about being a mom, watching my body change, wondering what our children will look/act/be like, spending countless hours flipping through the Land of Nod and Pottery Barn Kids catalogs, wanting one of every adorable item pictured within. I did my fair share of shopping while preparing our nest and wanted only the best for our precious little ones. Clearly, children born in the new millennium require a lot of beautiful, expensive, safety-inspected stuff.
My, how times have changed. When I was born in the early 1970s, my parents were both still in college. They lived in a single-wide trailer in Cary, NC. My crib (with slats a perfect baby-suffocating 8″ apart, I’m sure) was in the kitchen/living/dining room of their trailer. My “room” was decorated with a Budweiser poster thumbtacked to the wall above my crib, and a guinea pig nested in a cage underneath. My parents still refer to these as the good old days, when the person who had hot charcoal in their Weber grill was the most popular person in the trailer park. I survived these humble beginnings without a single 5-point harness, and have gone on to raise our kids in a very different world.
Now that we’re through the baby phase, I’m starting to see that the big spending days have just begun. Diapers are cheap compared to iPods and designer jeans. Our 2 year old already yells “I NEEEEED it” when he sees something he wants or thinks he wants. Our 5 year old can wear out a Mini Boden catalog in a matter of days. I seriously think she might be taking it with her to the bathroom. To be honest, we don’t buy tons of toys and clothes for our children. We’re very fortunate to have a neice and nephew who are exactly a year older than our kids and we receive loads of hand-me-downs. Yet we still have SO much! How do we get off this consumer machine at this point in the game? Is there even such a thing as “enough” for kids — in their eyes or ours? It’s going to be a little tricky to teach simple living when we’re still trying to figure it out for ourselves.