How To Break Up With Buying

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I’m cutting it close, I know, I’m sorry, we’ve had some stuff going on.

To catch you up on this topic though, May was amazing. Life changing and eye-opening. I stopped buying anything I didn’t need and it’s been incredible, for me and my bank account. Starting June 1st I’m challenging you to stop the consumerism. Stop giving in to the emptiness that we’ve created in buying.

Here are my suggestions to stop buying:

  1. In the last 2 days of the month buy what you want. At the end of April, I bought 3 things before I knew I couldn’t just buy: cheap mascara (awful) a book (wonderful) and a clearance shirt to wear for family photos. I kept it in my head that if there was something I really wanted, it could wait until the end of the month and if I still wanted it and could afford it then I probably won’t forget or regret it. Surprisingly there is nothing on my list at the end of this month.
  2. Buy as much of your groceries as you can online. Sams club and Family Thrift near me offer online shopping and easy pick-up. This saves overall time as well as prevents impulse buys.
  3. Rediscover what you already have. Think you need more stuff on your mantle? A new pair of shorts? Look through what you own already and find ways to repurpose it or just use it (see my conditioner issue at the bottom). A great inspiration for this is listening to Joanna Gaines in her book The Magnolia Story (the audiobook is free on many library apps).
  4. Get thrifty. Buying second-hand and used items not only makes you work a lot harder to buy but it also saves you a lot of money. A little trick I used was I would sell things I needed out of my house for garage sale money.
  5. Find hobbies. Instead of browsing through Amazon, read a book. Instead of wandering Target go for a bike ride. Do things with your time that enrich your life not empty your pockets.
  6. Go places besides stores. Museums, parks, a friends house, getting out doesn’t have to mean going to a shopping center. Explore the culture and not the aisles.
  7. Be kind to yourself. No one is disappointed in you if you end up spending money on something that you want, but practicing mindful buying, in general, will make you more aware and considerate of the purchases that you do make.

On a side note, I’ve needed hair conditioner for over a month now. I’ve used up all the old bottles in my house (good for decluttering) but I’ve also had to use some really awful stuff. I googled home-made conditioners, but somehow it doesn’t seem worth it. And, if you’re wondering if I held fast through the entire month, I’m sad to say that I did not. I bought my husband and myself a pair of nice athletic shorts, they weren’t cheap but they are very worth it, no regrets there.

Only a few days in you’ll start to notice the freedom that you gain. It’s as if you are finding out who you are again because you are no longer your possessions and shopping/buying is no longer your pastime.

Buh-Bye Buying

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Four weeks ago I was at Target perusing the aisles, as is the norm for any female over 10 when at Target. I happened upon a severely discounted Dyson cordless vacuum. Because it was 75% off and I didn’t own one like it yet, I put it in my cart. Ignoring the inner-voice reminding me that I already own two, working, Dyson vacuums, but, they had cords. This one didn’t. I called my mom for should I?/ shouldn’t I? but she didn’t answer. I went back and forth in my head and eventually put the vacuum back and bought a $9 broom.

I’ve been a long-time consumer. I like nice things and buying nice things makes me briefly happy. The problem is: having nice things doesn’t make me a nicer person. Buying new shoes doesn’t make me more fun to be around. I’ve been a happy, self-inflicted, victim of American capitalism. Having the latest and greatest does not make me a better person in any part of the spectrum and here’s the real truth– buying things (generally) does not make you happier so what do we buy the things we don’t NEED?

There are some things that I’ve bought that have made my life easier or more fun- maybe those are okay, but I have now made it to a place where buying things is second nature: She moves, she loves, she buys.

I reached the point of disgust in the last week of April and vowed that May would be the month of not buying. Starting on May 1st, I wouldn’t buy anything new that wasn’t a need. I mean nothing. If it was a desperate want I allowed myself to buy it if I could find it used, meaning thrift stores and garage sales are still fair game but only for things that are actual needs and not because it’s a good deal.

It’s been just over two weeks into the month, the halfway mark. I’ve adjusted by ordering all my groceries online to prevent impulse purchases, I have yet to step foot in Target, when I have free time I spend it on something deliberate, if I need coffee I try to wait until I get home to make my own.

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I have broken the rule twice. Both because of special occasions and with limitations.

I expected to feel restricted, instead, I feel free. Free from the pressure of society and advertising, free of the restrictions of my bank account, lesser a slave to money and what it means in our society today.

Giving up buying has shifted some things in the way I think. I’m sure I’ll elaborate as I go on but as for these two weeks, like a diet, weights have been lifted by cutting things out and it feels so good I’m not even anxious for the end. Instead, I think I’ll add another month, this time as a group.

Before the end of May, I’ll update with a more thorough list of how to avoid the spending and shopping hole. If you want to join us, you should! It’s the best kind of life-diet I’ve experienced in ages. I’d suggest you begin preparing your heart and mind now, the week before May started I did make a couple last-minute purchases in order to carry me through, and while I don’t regret them, I know they also alleviated any temptation I may have experienced in those first few days. So say goodbye to mindless shopping and buying and let’s make June a month free of consumer-void.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

What I Wish I Knew as a First Time Mom

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I was one of the first people in my peer group to have a child, which meant that when friends became mothers, they often came to me. I found myself walking a tight-rope between too much info (intimidating them or scaring them) or too little info (not adequately preparing them as a confidant would). Handing out advice can be tricky and when you are pregnant you scour the internet for advice and ideas of what your version of motherhood might look like. There is never any pregnancy, experience or child that is the same but there are some tidbits of advice that do tend to stick true. These are the ones I’ve found that I wish I knew the first time around:

1. You will do things you promised yourself you never would, it’s fine. We all do it, and while we remember you saying “I’ll never cosleep when I have kids” we aren’t judging you when it happens because we did the exact same thing. My most memorable one was saying that I’d never wear pregnancy jeans- I LOVED my pregnancy jeans! Give me all the comfort and stretch, just not the full-panel, I don’t care what pre-mom me said, she had NO idea.
2. Get comfortable calling your pediatricians nurse or the on-call nurse. You don’t need (or want) to take your baby in for every cough or sniffle, talking to a medical professional will help calm your nerves and you can do it without putting shoes on. The sooner you get used to calling them (for anything!) the better because you’ll have YEARS of “is this an emergency?” or “how many days do they actually have to stay home from school for?” questions for them. They will give you advice, putting you at ease and keeping your co-pay in your wallet. If your concern does warrant a visit, you feel reassured knowing it’s not an overreaction.
3. Stay away from your pre-pregnancy pants for at least 6 months!!! Unless you love torture.  If they never fit again, who cares?! Even if the weight falls off like it was never there, your hips will not magically go back to what they were 9 months ago. You now have baby-carrying hips, love them, use them as a shelf to continue carrying your baby (or laundry). And if those pants never fit again, embrace it. Mom jeans are in style for a reason, be comfortable and be confident in your mom-bod. Being slender doesn’t always equal being confident but being confident can stretch out to all aspects of your life, making a happier you and baby.
4. Let go of perfection. Your house will never be perfectly clean again, your car will never be free of crumbs, your hair will never be brushed. None of us have it all together, we just don’t like admitting it to Instagram. Ask anyone. Let go of the perfectly clean counters and get down on the floor and talk and play with your baby.
5. When frustration hits remember, we’ve all been there. For me, when the point of understanding why people shake babies hit me (this sounds harsh but you will understand at some point in parenthood the utter frustration that babies create, I promise), I would return to the thought that, this too, will pass. These babies are only babies for a very brief period. I learned to embrace the period in all the mess, tears and blowouts and knew that one day I would miss how small they were and how much they needed me. And if you find yourself struggling often, get yourself a sponsor. Like in AA, BA is a rough road and we all need a cheerleader, and a coach that has been down that bumpy road before.
6. Don’t stress the breast. People FREAKED me out about breastfeeding. Everything I read online was warning me and prepping me for the big battle of the boob. When it came down to it all that pomp was for nothing and my kids ate like it was the most natural process there ever was. I get that it’s not that way for everyone, I ended up doing it because it was easy (and free). So if formula is easy for you than do it. Don’t feel guilty. Keeping baby and mom both alive, happy and fed is what matters. No one goes to kindergarten or college comparing if they had the breast or bottle.
7. You do you. Get off the internet. Figure out your groove with your baby and come back only when you need help getting them to sleep through the night. Just don’t look at me for that advice.

 

Photo by: Heritage Photography

I Don’t Like Christian Culture

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That’s me in my church-shirt. I loved it because it was purple not because it defined my reliegios beliefs and therefor who I was.

This last week I’ve had 3 people ask if I heard if so-and-so was coming to town. Each time I answered “no” and they got excited and responded that she is performing at my (small) church. Even after hearing the question for the third time my first reaction was that this was a person I was somehow supposed to be connected to, it is a small town after all, not a somewhat-known entertainer.

Here’s the thing. I don’t like Christian music. And if you get into it, I’m not a big fan of Christian culture in general.

My car presets are on NPR, alternative and rap stations. My Spotify and Apple playlists are filled with hip hop and rainy day Decembrists music. If I feel like I need to talk to God I do so in silence, not through mediocre (just my opinion) praise songs. Usually the first time I hear a contemporary christian song is in church, when the band plays it. I am not opposed to God, Jesus or scripture in music, I actually love when I hear pieces of if in contemporary music; Chance the Rapper and Sufjan Stevens are two of my favorites. The point there is just because I don’t like christian music doesn’t mean I don’t like music by christians nor does it have any real statements on my faith.

When you walk into my house, there is no visible sign of religion. No Jesus poster (Mormons know), no crucifix (Catholics know), no scripture on my walls (every woman from 25-65 knows). There is no visible sign of our beliefs, and there doesn’t need to be. The fact that we are welcoming in our home, that we show love and kindness to everyone is bigger than any vinyl lettering you slap on your wall.

Just because I don’t wear a cross on my neck or have a letter board of this weeks scripture on my walls doesn’t make my beliefs any weaker. It’s just not me. And if it’s not you either that’s great! If it is you that’s great too! (Just don’t do it to show off, because it doesn’t mean anything to anyone else but you.)

I love my God, I love my church and I love my community. Listening to Post Malone over Hillsong doesn’t change that at all.

That’s all. Nothing else to say.

Mom’s Growing Up

When I turned 30 I had people sharing that their 30’s are or were the best time. They all had the same reasonings: you just care about the little things less and you understand who you are more. It doesn’t happen right away, maybe it happens over the entire 10 year span, I don’ t know.

A couple of weeks ago I turned 32. Although, according to Willem, because there was no cake, wrapped presents and no one sang “happy birthday” so with no supporting evidence, it didn’t happen. That’s okay too. Not because I care too much about staying young (though I am considering Botox for that damn permanent frown line) but because 31 ended up pretty fantastic. Looking back, it may have been one of my better years.

In my 31st year I:

Bought a mom car. It is a Toyota but I resisted the minivan. If there is such a thing as the  anti-bucket list, this is on mine.

Said good-bye to the baby-years in our family. It was a happy good-bye.

Had a happy 6 hour day date with my husband for the first time in 7 years.

Made a commitment to myself to live life for the fun that can be found. This means letting go of the dishes in the sink to take my kids climbing, but still doing the dishes eventually.

Attempted to learn about homeowners claims, construction companies and what depreciation value means.

Worked my first full motorcycle rally. Amazingly tiring and fun.

Saw motorcycle races. Insanely cool.

Allowed myself to enjoy other flavors of La Croix besides coconut. It’s sill #1 though.

Went on my first permanent, daily medication. Okay, this one kind of sucked and I’m awful at doing it but it sucks worse when I don’t.

Had my first endoscopy. This is on the list because I know I’ll have more.

Went whitewater rafting.

Flipped in whitewater rafting. Such a fun experience for me, luckily I listened to the instructions in the beginning. Feet up!

Went to my first dispensary. It was intimidating.

Went on my second permanent, daily medication. This is a sign that I truly am getting older.

Landed a dream job.

Went snowboarding for the first time in 11 years.

Went skiing for the first time in 20 years!! And it was hard.

 

Helped build a deck.

Put a hot tub on that deck. This one is a dream fully realized.

Weaned my last baby. Such a sad and happy thing to do. Twenty-two months is long enough little dude.

Explored, remodeled, went camping, got outside,

Made a bunch of adult like decisions.

That was my 31. I’m okay to stay in it a little longer but 32 is looking like it might be a little bit of a ride so I think I can embrace that. I’m always up for an adventure.

In 32 I’ll try to have more photos of myself. Although, my first thought is to document the lines on my face as they are now and how the might change. (cough*botoxbetweentheyes)

#momlife

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I’ve been wondering lately if people asked Mary (mother of God) what she did? Did she have an outlet? Besides being a mother WHO was she, what was her purpose?

There’s this new wave of individualism that I’ve been feeling. It’s a rat race of branding yourself, setting yourself apart from the pack by what you “do” : your talent, art or outlet. Who you are based on what you do for you. I don’t love the way it feels, like we are one-upping or searching for whatever comes next and not relishing the moments of where we are now:: who we are now instead of what we are becoming.

A few months ago I took the deliberate step away from teaching yoga (still teaching Sat mornings), I did this mostly due to a change in Chad’s schedule but also as a choice to slow down my own life in order to focus more on being a mother. I am enjoying the slow down, it is a luxury I never afforded my mind to even step towards before.

There are so many windows of life that I enjoy, so many things I can do, that I love to do but the thing that comes before all others is being a mother, it’s what takes up the majority of my time, my thoughts, it’s the thing about me that will never change. While I have other dreams and outlets, it may just be that my main purpose in this life is to be a mother to my sons and there is no shame in that. So the next time I’m asked what I “do” for me, what makes me an individual, I will answer with no shame that I’m a mom to 3 very busy boys and I might not claim to do anything else and that is more than okay.

Especially because my kids are awesome. Most of them. Most days.

 

Looking for Fun

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A month or so ago a friend who babysits for me was telling me how she took a kid that she babysits to gymnastics and was sitting in the bleachers listening to all the moms talk about their house renovations.

The next day I myself was surrounded by (other) moms who were talking about their house renovations.

When did we become so boring that our daily life seems to revolve around our homes? To be fair it’s where we spend most of our time and is a fair representation of ourselves (sometimes, I am not as messy as my house can be) but it is no who we are. Your American contemporary-modern home with concrete countertops and glass subway tile backsplash is gorgeous but it does not make me think any more or less of you. Same goes for your hunter orange, “hasn’t been updated since 1973 but the dishwasher works” kitchen, I think you are awesome as well. Unless your home is filled with 36 cats I will find something I admire about it, houses are cool, homes are wonderful.

In ways our millennial love for minimalism has allowed us to move our focus from simple consumerism to hyper focus on how and what to improve on the few things we want to spend money and energy on. You don’t need all the books anymore but you sure as hell need that shiplap.

My house reflects my style, my preferences, it also reflects my baking experiments and my children’s love of art on both appropriate and inappropriate canvases. My home and myself are unfinished and full of potential. My home however, is not who I am, it may define my style but it does not define ME.

Caught up in our own home renovations Chad and I looked into getting our single pane bow windows replaced in the front of our house. This is no small expense. We still have our quote hanging on the inside of the cabinet and for 2 days we were excited about this change in our house. After the install we wouldn’t be getting any noise from outside, less draft/energy loss and it would be more aesthetically pleasing. Six years from now we would put the house on the market and make some of that money back but our excitement about the windows would be long gone.

After the 2 days of excitement over new windows (this is 31 y’all) the idea of a trip/vacation crept back into my mind an after a brief discussion we had a change of heart. Instead of putting all of that money into windows we will put it towards a trip, an experience. We won’t be getting any money from a trip back as we would in selling a house with new windows but when our time on earth is up for either of us we won’t be thinking back to that time we picked out windows together.

This brings me to the big point:. houses, kids, when did life get so… not fun? It’s beautiful and there are fun parts but I find myself looking for rest or finishing chores more than fun. I’ve been so caught up in chasing my kids and attempting to get enough sleep that I forgot what the rest of life looks like. I’ve started a new chapter where life is going to revolve around fun (and Jesus) for me and my family, basing my decisions on the questions “is it fun?’ and “can I make it fun” (okay and also “is it safe” because I am a mom now).  This means choosing taking my boys swimming instead of finally finishing laundry, concerts instead of countertops and making memories over sweeping floors.

So starting (really about 2 weeks ago) now, I am in search of fun. Sometimes my kids will have to tag along with me and there will be times where they will inevitably make it not fun, the weather could turn, circumstances will destroy bridges to fun but I will pursue joy and fun and happiness. I’m done being stagnant. Though I will still lust after that mid-century modern home on Berry Pine Road. (and try to update with a pic soon).