Childhood memories, junk hoarding and'stuff'....

You know what, i'm such a hoarder! I swear i have stuff in my house that i haven't used in 10 years or more! Why do i do this? I go through the kids wardrobes and see things that'll never go anywhere near them ever again, i think to myself 'charity shop' then get distracted and end up putting them away again. It gets to the point where i think the kids have loads of clothes when in reality they have 3 pairs of trousers that fit them and the rest is rubbish! I've thought about this a lot and i think that it stems from my childhood, my parents were not well off, only my dad worked and he had 6 kids to feed. We didn't have holidays when i was small, we did have lots of days out which were great, we all piled into the car and off we'd set bursting with excitement! The beach! Water! Fun! Sand butties(sandwiches)! What more could a kid ask for? We got so excited! We'd be asking if we were "nearly there yet?" before we'd even get out of town! We never felt deprived because we didn't go away, i suppose what you've never had you never miss. I do remember the lazy days of summer, going out to play with friends, staying out all day until our tummys told us it was time for tea. I don't remember my mam going into a panic if she didn't see or hear from us for a couple of hours. We never felt scared to go out and play, wander down lanes, go play by the river or just generally do what kids do. I was readingMajikfaeries latest article earlier which set me off thinking about the difference between my childhood and how kids today play, i do think in a lot of ways they have it much harder than we did. That might sound odd as generally kids today have far more'things' and much more 'stuff'' than we ever had but i think things come at quite a high price.(poor Ela got practically an essay as a comment to this one! Sorry again Ela!) We had nowhere near the amount of stuff that kids tday have, t.v.s, gameboys, playstations, mobile phones and so on, neither was there 24/7 cartoon programmes designed to brainwash kids into needing even more stuff and the lunchbox to go with it. We relied on our imaginations far more then, we'd play all day with no input from anyone but our friends who joined in our games with us. Today kids are given stuff as a replacement for time, the hectic lifestyle of working parents who give their kids many gifts as an apology for not giving them the thing that they need most, time. We are told that we can't live without the bigger t.v, newer car, exotic holidays, better games consoles so in order to buy all these things the most common sacrifice is time. Often the kid with the best stuff is the one whose parents spend the least amount of time with them, working long hours to afford all these luxuries that they're brainwashed into thinking they can't live without. Another knock on effect of this is that as the parents are working such long hours to provide all these things they come home from work exhausted and just collapse into an armchair for the rest of the night. The kids learn that when daddy or mammy come home from work they're shattered and don't want to be disturbed so they stay in their bedrom out of the way being a'good' kid. It's just so sad, society today has moved so far away from the family unit being the most important factor, people don't sit down to eat together anymore, food is bolted down in front of the t.v. with little or no interaction between family members. Sometimes kids eat before dad gets home so they can be 'out of the way' and/or not a 'nuisance'. If we don't learn these basic social skills at home as kids when will they be learnt? I feel that todays priorities are wrong, the emphasis has moved away from family, material things are being put before human beings. What can we do to change it? I don't think it will be an easy thing to do but more and more people, just ordinary mums like us, are beginning to question the quest for material gain above all else. Do we really need a bigger t.v. than the one we bought 12 months ago? Is spending all our time at work more important than putting our kids to bed? Do they need the Brainbuster 40,000 if they've got the 23 that came out before that? Maybe not and hopefully as more and more people realise that they're working themselves to death for nothing other than next years landfill perhaps this materialistic western society of ours will start to rethink those priorities. We can only pray that this will be the case. As our little community here on blogger shows more and more of us ordinary mams are starting to move away from this hellish cycle of' 'stuff'' towards a simpler less materialistic lifestyle that puts the emphasis on giving our kids what they really need above all else, our love, time and attention.
Back to my original subject, my hoarding tendancies (stay with me here people, i'm on a roll!) i think that this too stems from childhood. I was -and still am! - the oldest of 6 kids and money was tight. We never went without and certainly never felt deprived of anything. My mam used to go to jumble sales (before charity shops or car boot sales, a very english tradition methinks) and get clothes from there, we didn't have three closets full of clothes and we looked after what we had so it could be passed on to the next kid. There wasn't all the toys and games that we have today, we looked after those to and played for years - rainy day snakes and ladders anyone?- and we managed to grow up to be pretty well functioning adults. I hate to throw anything away just in case it comes in handy at a later date. I'm sounding so much like my mam here i'm nearly screaming! I think what i'm basically trying to say in my usual around the houses 15 times way is that although many of todays kids have much more 'stuff' than we did i still feel that we still got the better end of the deal. All the posessions in the world can never replace a cuddle from mum or a day out at the beach eating sand butties. In 20 years do we want to hear our kids say "I had the Brainbuster 40,000 and the 27 before that" or "we went to the beach, got sand in our sandwiches, had a great time and when we got home mam tucked us up in bed", i think i know which one i'd like to hear the most. Here we are, ordinary mams, not politicians or world leaders but WE know what our society needs to do to heal itself of this terrible malady that threatens to engulf it. We know what our kids REALLY need and i'm pretty sure that Sony aren't going to develop it any time soon nor will all the N.A.S.A. technology ever created be able to give our kids the most important things that they will ever need. It costs nothing and knows no limits, our love is all kids need to truly grow, love, time, understanding and giving them the chance to take part in this adventure called life, no computer game on earth could ever compare to that.


karisma said…
Well said! You had me giggling at your 15 ways around the house way of saying it! Finally, someone who talks more than me! LOL!

I agree with you on all of it. We made the decision years ago that I would not work outside of the home so I would always be here for the kids. Sometimes we went without in the early days but we had a happy home.

Dinner at our house is always together as a family, its rare that we eat separately. Mind you the older kids now tend to come and go as they please. But the table is always full and usually there are extras as well. There is no sit still and shut up at our table. We hang out there sometimes afterwards to hear all the news.

As for the hoarding, I am way over due for a major overhaul. We recently found the boys also have nothing to wear considering their cupboards are full. I must get around to of these days!
hippymummy said…
Never fear, there are very few people who talk more than me! I love shared dinners and family chatter too xXx
VERY well said!
The change we have seen in our children since giving away our things has been truly incredible, and I'm not even talking about the other changes! Just the simple letting go of the toys resulted in a near immediate change in their play and sibling interaction that began to spread into all other aspects of their lives.
The way Western children are growing up by the light of the TV and piles of toys is truly frightening to me.

All things have their place... their purpose... and surely this does as well, but I can't help but wonder what state of mind all of these children will be in as adults and wonder if this coming economic chage isn't to their greatest benefit...


Cage Free Mama

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