Anger and Simplicity

May 25, 2012

I know all moms claim that they don't know what they are doing.  I sure hope that is true. Frankly, I am counting on it.  Knowing that everyone else is just as lost as I am is the only the thing that keeps me going sometimes.  Still, I always kinda suspect that I am a little more clueless than everyone else.  Or maybe everyone else is just better at ACTING like they've got it all together.  I'm not sure which.  Not that it really matters.  All I can do is try stuff and see if it works.  Usually it doesn't.  But I keep trying stuff anyway, cuz what choice do I have?

On Saturday, I made Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast.  Apparently, this was a bad idea.  Harrison DIDN'T WANT BISCUITS AND GRAVY FOR BREAKFAST!  HE WANTED PANCAKES!  HE HATES BISCUITS AND GRAVY!    It was 8:00 am and that wasn't the first or even 2nd time I had been screamed at that morning and I wondered how there could be so much screaming in my life when half of the world was still asleep?

So I sent him to his room, to which he did not want to go.  To make sure we understood this, he opened his bedroom window, pulled out the screen, and chucked everything in his room out of it.

Hadn't even had breakfast yet, and already 1/6 the contents of my house was sitting outside in my flower bed.  My poppies didn't survive.  Forgive me if I sound like I'm whining.  I AM whining.  It was a very angry morning for everyone.   Especially me.  Sometimes I feel like the rage starts to seep out through my eyes and skin, until I'm a pulsating ball of fury which takes out anything in its path.  (It's fine though.  I'm sure it is nothing to worry about.)

So this time, I channeled my anger into a garbage bag.  I had already been feeling for a while like my kids just have too much stuff: more toys than they can play with, more clothes than they can wear, more than they need and more than I can stand to pick up off the floor 5 times a day.  So I took that garbage bag (5 of them, actually)  and I filled it with all the clothes they never wear and kept only my favorites.  I filled it with all but a few pairs of pajamas for each boy (because for some reason Colin has about 40 pair, which Harrison insists on wearing),  And I filled it with Every Single Toy in the house.  Every toy.  Every single toy we own went into a plastic garbage bag and I locked them all in my bedroom.


Harrison was upset, and he was really worried I was going to throw them all away, but after he finally ate some breakfast he and Colin went outside to play and forgot about the Great Toy Confiscation of 2012.   And my temper finally burned out and I turned back into a normal person.  Still, I decided to leave their toys  in my room for a while, just to see what would happen.

It is Friday now.  It has been a week.  And you want to know what has happened?  NOTHING.  Absolutely Nothing.  They haven't asked for any toys once.  I'm not sure they even notice that they are gone.  They fight the same amount, play the same amount, destroy the same about and love me the same amount.  They watch the same amount of T.V. and play with stuff they shouldn't the same amount.  The only noticeable difference is that I don't spend all my time cleaning up toys anymore.

So NOW what?  NOT cleaning up after them is one of my very favorite things to do.  So I can't give the toys back.  Where before I would have thought "I can't get rid of this.  He loves it so much" that just doesn't seem to be the case.    I've already got my toys on a rotation system, where half of them are in a box and I pull those out and put the others away every 3 months, but clearly I can do more.  Maybe I'll get rid of all but their most favorite toys.  Maybe 5 a piece?  Maybe 5 in storage and 5 out to play with, which can then be rotated?  It feels a little crazy.  Can a Mom actually DO something like that? Like I said, I really don't know what I'm doing but despite what we have been led to believe, our children don't actually need toys to survive. Or to be happy.  It might just be possible that, unless we are talking about whipped cream, less really IS more.

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9 comments

  1. It reminds me of the conference talk -- or maybe it was just an Ensign story -- of missionaries out in some South American country, and he sees a boy playing with an empty tuna can with a string tied to it, and it was his dump truck. And that little poor kid was just super happy with his little tuna can, and having the time of his life.

    I think the moral was: Give your kids the empty food containers for toys, and then they get new toys with every meal.

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  2. I've seen my kids get rid of most of the toys and the kids not missing them and then getting rid of more and the kids are more calm and happier. They don't need SO many toys to be happy. All except Tami's kids. Once she boxed up the ones they never played with and put them in storage, and one little girl would go out there and whisper to the toys and tell them how much she missed them.

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  3. The only time I've found toys to be useful was to entertain a lonely child when the other is gone (cuz obviously I'M not going to entertain him), or in the car. But other than that, they play more with my stuff then they do with theirs. I'm not sure I could convince the husband and some grandparents that my kids don't need toys though...

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  4. *hug for you* A couple of my friends had a baby 5 months ago, and now I've seen up close how much of a rollercoaster parenting can be, even with a newborn. I don't have any children of my own yet, but if my friends are anything to go by, you're not alone in feeling like you have no idea what you're doing. :)

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  5. Man, I'm admiring your guts and feeling super jealous and also terrified. Could I actually do something similar? I haven't been able to step foot in our 'toy room' since Christmas --- and it was only cleaned (by me) before Christmas because Santa couldn't come if it was messy.

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  6. I so appreciate your honesty. I love reading about other angry moms. >:D

    You're amazing! What a brave idea-- I'm impressed. I think if I had to pick what toys my son kept, it would be his LEGOs (both duplo and tiny), his cars/wheeled things, and the tracks those go on. And...maybe his Toy Story collection. Beyond that, who cares?
    But every time I go to the toy box with annihilation on the brain, I chicken out and leave with like 3 broken toys and some trash.

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  7. My kids have been without toys for quite awhile now. I put the few we have down in the basement because they never played with them. They aren't missed. And they stay all cleaned up until the kids go into the storage room once in a great while to find something else and the next thing I know all the toys are on the floor and the kid is nowhere near them. I think they only like to dig through them and pull them out and toss them everywhere. Maybe they just need a pile of dirt outside and a shovel.

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  8. My kids have been without toys for quite awhile now. I put the few we have down in the basement because they never played with them. They aren't missed. And they stay all cleaned up until the kids go into the storage room once in a great while to find something else and the next thing I know all the toys are on the floor and the kid is nowhere near them. I think they only like to dig through them and pull them out and toss them everywhere. Maybe they just need a pile of dirt outside and a shovel.

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  9. Oh the times beyond numbering I have threatened to do this exact same thing! I just can't actually do it. I just end up getting rid of the broken ones and the McDonalds ones.

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