One of the hardest parts of parenting for me (aside from sleepless nights and crying jags) is separating my own desires from those of my children. This came up over the weekend. My sister was visiting and in a moment of inspired assistance volunteered her help and her daughter's influence (she's eighteen…that's practically god-like when you're eight years old) in clearing the clutter from my daughter's room.
I'm a devotee of Kim Payne's Simplicity Parenting. And though I'd done a decent job keeping most of the excess at bay, there was no denying when looking at the Littlest's room that more could be done. Needed to be done. She was beyond able to tackle the job herself. She wasn't interested in my opinions. Enter Auntie MJ and Cousin R.
Knowing the Littlest's temperament and her insatiable desire for control we let her do the directing while we did the heavy lifting, so to speak. It was here that I found myself biting my tongue. Sucking in deep cleansing breaths. Counting to ten. Repeating my mantra, "less is really more."
Some of those things being summarily dismissed from her room were "mine." My toys/things that I'd oh so carefully chosen, saved for, ordered. Toys/things with value. Woody, earthy, soft, wooly, silky, warm, soothing, or otherwise "nutritious" things.
Breathe. Count to ten. Less is really more.
But I wanted the "less" to be what I chose to be less. Not what she chose. Here's some of what's left: dozens of gaudy looking little stuffed animals crammed into a wicker basket (another day's fight), tiny plastic animals with giant heads and their various abodes, all that American Girl stuff (oh, how I longed for her to be a Waldorf doll carrying rebel), plastic doll furniture for miniature fuzzy rodents, miniature fuzzy rodents.
Now, I don't want to get into a debate over what toys are of value and which are not. Everyone has different opinions and I'm cool with that. My only point is that as of late I've tried to make sure the purchases I made were ones that didn't hurt the earth and were somewhat open-ended. She has free reign to buy what she wants with her allowance and keep what she gets as gifts. Where I was getting stuck was letting her let go of some of the toys that I thought were "good" for her. It was hard I tell you. But I let her.
Less is really more. No matter what is left behind, those are the things that have most meaning. I am not the one playing with her toys. And really the whole point of this was to free up some physical (and mental) space in her room to allow for more creative play and care (i.e. able to put her toys and books and clothes and hairclips put away).
A middle ground was struck for both mother and daughter. All things went into the basement. Purgatory. At some point I'll cull out the few precious things I can't live without and let go of the rest.
Low and behold we could see the carpet in her room. Breathing space. So worth it.
Littlest looks at me with a gleam in her eye, "I need a rug now Mommy." Always more.
Count to ten. Repeat.
Related reading--check this post out. It gave me the much needed strength and courage while "weeding."