Spoiling children is easy. Especially first-born children. As a parent, you have an innate desire to provide your child with everything possible. From wipe warmers to fancy bouncers and strollers, it’s inevitable to want it all for your child. But where do you draw the line? Is it possible to reconcile spoiling your child with a minimalist lifestyle?
Baby K is four months old, and his toys and items have already infiltrated and commandeered our living room, dining room, sitting room, and bedroom. This is in addition to his own nursery that he does not use yet because he still sleeps in the bassinet in our bedroom. To be honest, I am constantly getting overwhelmed by the chaos and clutter that has taken over our house and worry that it will persist as my days become busier due to work. I have started to declutter his belongings, mostly clothes he has grown out of in addition to duplicate toys and books, but it has only made a marginal difference on my mental state.
Despite how I feel, I am conflicted because I wholeheartedly do not want to deprive Baby K of any happiness, especially if it so happens that a toy I find annoying sparks joy with him. And as any parent can tell you, many of these toys and gadgets for babies are not easy to store nor are they small and compact. At the moment, Baby K is only interested in certain toys such as his activity center jumper, stuffed animals, and anything that makes loud noises and flashes. Friends and family have gifted many others but he is too young to play with them so they remain scattered throughout our house waiting to be discovered.
I’m still trying to decide what to keep, donate, or sell. My biggest concern is what will happen in the future and whether I will be able to control excess things from trespassing into our home. And if I do this, will Baby K grow to appreciate our minimalist home or resent us, particularly me, and see it as deprivation?
Justin and I have told friends and family that we do not want toys gifted to our son. Nevertheless, that has not stopped them from lovingly purchasing things for him. As he gets older, I am determined to strictly impose this request for Baby K. I plan to immediately donate all excess toys he receives. This may be harsh to some but I stand by my decision because I want Baby K to be creative, enjoy the material goods that he already has, and appreciate a modest lifestyle rather than one of over indulgence. Frankly, I rather favor well-wishers contributing the money they would have spent on toys or clothes, whether it be a fifty cents or twenty dollars, to Baby K’s 529 savings plan for education.
My stance on my son’s toys and items may not sit well with some, but it is aligned with our goals and aspirations for Baby K. Toys are transient but building him assets he can use to invest in himself is a gift that will last forever. In all, I do think minimalism with a baby is possible and beneficial. But again, there is that fine line between gravely inhibiting possessions and providing the right amount of toys and whatnot so that a child is able to thrive and entertain themselves with whatever goods they may have. For us, Justin and I trust that limiting toys to Baby K will reinforce our efforts for a minimalist lifestyle so that we may teach him to place more value on people and experiences than physical, material things.