Crunchy or stingy mama?

Looking at a pile of shiny presents, I have to ask myself – is trying to be a more humble person making me a selfish mum?

When I was expecting our son, I had all these ideas about the kind of mom I’d like to be. It was only several months after our son was born that I stumbled across the term ‘crunchy parenting’. Whilst I don’t pretend to be a die hard crunchy mama, I certainly implement my quota of crunchiness. 

As our son approaches his first birthday, it’s made me pause and reflect. We have deliberately avoided buying him lots of toys. I’m not a fan of overstimulation or overt consumerism. Several of his toys are homemade (often using up-cycled materials) or wooden items made locally within our city.

We’ve now taken it a step further. For his birthday, we’ve asked our friends to not buy him a gift, but to rather bring a new toy that we will then donate to children in need. It is our hope that this will become an annual birthday tradition. As for his grandparents who understandably want to buy him something, we’ve suggested items that he needs (and I really do mean needs.)

It’s all very well when he’s so little and unaware of the idea of his birthday, let alone the traditional trappings that go along with it. But what about when he’s older?

I often joke that when he gets older he’ll start saying things like, “Mom, can’t we just buy one like everyone else?”

How do you straddle fitting in, in a largely  materialistic and image-conscious society, whilst trying to pare down to a more minimalist lifestyle?

I myself find it challenging. I’ll readily admit that I like ‘nice’ things. But I’m making a conscious effort to cut back on ‘things’. After all, at the end of the day it’s experiences – not things – that enrich life. 

And so, yet again, I circle back to the question of how to raise a child with this mindset? I guess, like every other aspect of parenting, we’ll take it (wing it?) one day at a time and do our best… with no expectations. 

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