Minimalism, Baby

January 4, 2017
Dear Baby,
I don’t want to seem holier than thou but I have been thinking a lot about stuff- like, literal stuff. A friend of mine recently put up a picture on her Instagram of her son in this really fancy and expensive (and so fucking nice) snowsuit and, surprise surprise, it made me feel bad. The whole social media making people feel like shit is a real thing (although not one I am delving into this second) and it worked. I began to wonder if I was failing you as a parent for not providing you with similar snowsuit- like things. Would you be as happy as you could ever be with just a moderately priced snowsuit- who knows?
And that made me mad because I am a totally rational and sane person who knows better than to get swept up in the bullshit of stuff. I know just as well as anyone that a great snowsuit does not a happy child make. I mean, I hope this kid is super happy and has a wonderful life but I don’t think it will have anything to do with the level of expense spent on his winter gear. I know that for sure and without a doubt.
Yet… I found myself on a designer baby website with a cart full of clothing that you don’t need ready to spend on you what I would NEVER spend on myself in one foul swoop all motivated by my insecurity at this fucking snowsuit. Sorry to tell you Baby, I closed the window, scolded myself for being a fucking moron and moved on with my life. You never got to own that $150 T shirt and we are all better for it.
And of course, this made me think about the way in which we as parents- and we as people- have this weird sort of under the table competition for stuff. Like, if your stuff is nicer, you will be better. People might like you more if you have nicer clothes and you will be happier with more things. This is only shot down by the way you watch a kid who just got the biggest and most expensive toy around and only wants to play with the box. This shit doesn’t matter even a quarter as much as we imagine it does.
So with some sense of “aha” I found this Podcast called “Minimalism” and a specific episode of it on parenting that discusses just this issue. The mass consumption of toys, clothes, classes and things that we “need” to have to raise the best kid possible. How do kids even become happy people if they don’t have fucking tents and fancy organic toys (again, not to sound so holy because we have a fucking Volkswagon VW tent that can fit 3 grown adults sitting in our basement with a life size “Big” piano so…)But it made me think about some of our friends who embrace a mindful and minimal life and are some of the happiest people I know. They NEVER have fancy clothing (they in fact, purchase all of their clothing at the Salvation Army because they think clothes are dumb), they don’t have any fancy toys and the kid goes to free drop-in programs for recreation. She and her mom are brilliant, wonderful people who don’t seem at all to be envious or wanting of anything.
This is contrasted by friend of ours that have EVERYTHING. Every toy (kids and adult), every clothing item, every cool new thing,- are they WAY happier people for it? I mean, maybe. I hope they are happy but I highly doubt that in the face of something bad, their awesome shoes would save them. Know what I mean?
Something that the podcast really identified that resonated with me was that reducing your consumption of stuff will, by default, reduce your overall carbon footprint. Buying less produces less. Having less produces less and this really hit home. As parents, we work so hard to better the lives of our kids but what kind of life are we leaving them? A world with infinite possibility and one that we have taken terrible care of. I want you to grow up in a world where you can actually still see the world, where it is safe to be outside and breath the air and where we have water and food. This is a pretty big statement but it’s like, who gives a shit if you have a fucking book that is supposed to make you a child genius or a cool pair of organic pants if you don’t have a planet to grow up and thrive on. So in essence, the consumption of less stuff is the single best thing I can do for you to help you achieve the greatest success I can imagine for you.
But before I drink the Kool Aid and just reject all consumerism I will be honest and say that somewhere between having nothing and having it all there is a balance. We are not going to take our carbon footprint from 100 to 0 but we can certainly do what we can, when we can to try to temper the urge to have it all. Want is a very powerful desire and one that we can indulge every now and then but if you can safely say “we have everything” you should probably clean out your shit.
I am for sure going to keep buying you (and me) things we don’t need- it’s just going to happen but I think where I can make a change is to:
1. Not do it as often as I do
2. Not think that it is going to make any of us better or happier people.
I think an achievable family goal is to understand that stuff is nice- stuff is really fun but stuff does not define you nor make you better. Stuff won’t make you prettier, smarter or more genuine. Stuff will just make you a person who has stuff.
So sure, your friend has a crazy snowsuit, you have crazy things, other people do an don’t have things but our ultimate happiness and success will be defined by who we are, not by what we have and what we wear. Even if it is a really cute snowsuit…
xo
Mom
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Minimalism, Baby

2017

January 1, 2017

Dear Baby,

New Years was a success. The tone of my voice typing this is slightly proud and surprised since I was certain that we would be crashed and finished by 10:30. We not only made it to midnight but did so without much of a try. It’s like we looked down and poof, if was midnight.

And so, we ushered in another year.

Going to be honest here: having a kid- and then especially having a kid who is sick makes the passage of a year seem like just another day. Yes, yes, New Years Eve IS just another day and just another night but in the past there has been something really special about celebrating it. Maybe it’s that we have had some really epic celebrations- contrary to what I’m sure you think, we are really fun people- or maybe it’s that this particular break sucked ass balls because we were all sick but either way, NYE was pretty anticlimactic.

But the change in our mentality means a change in everything and so while a night like New Years is pretty whatever, a day like your birthday is the highlight of my fucking year. A day where we take you somewhere new to see something cool is the best thing I can imagine and all these little days make the entire year worth celebrating- not just one night.

Because the truth: 2016 (and half of 2015) and beyond are all about you. It’s no longer about my outfit, our plans, getting saucy or going out. It is all about you and our little family. It means that when you are sick, we stay home and have a really nice dinner with friends and I wear sweatpants and stay sober (which has a lot more to do with being pregnant than you being sick but nonetheless…)

And you know what? Never have I had a better year than spending it with you as the main focus which is maybe why 2017’s coming is sort of an uneventful event- because to me it is just a continuation of what I have been doing in 2016- loving you like crazy, putting you (and our family) first and celebrating all the little moments that we get every single day.

Happy New Year, Baby.

xo

Mom

2017

By the way…

December 31, 2016
Dear Baby,
Before we head in to 2017, there is something I want to share with you. I am pregnant and all gong well, your baby sibling will be joining our family in late June. 
It’s really fucking crazy to tell you this because in every single way, YOU are my baby and I have a lot of mixed emotions as to how you (and probably/ more likely how I) will handle this all. 
The truth: I can’t possibly imagine loving anything else in the entire world as much as I love you.
I know everyone swears that once you have your second, you will open your heart and love double- and I know that this is true, I know it. But I can’t believe it.

So, there you go. 
Sorry we haven’t told you- although in fairness we have, you just don’t seem to quite understand yet.
Ok, now ready for 2017.
xo
Mom

By the way…

Later, 2016

December 31, 2016
Dear Baby,
Your dad and I are getting ready to have some friend over for New Years Eve dinner and it is only fitting that we spend a moment reflecting on a year gone by. People are really hating on 2016- and with good reason. Lots of important famous people dies, there has been a lot of world tragedies, Trump- but I have to say that for our little family, 2016 has been alright. Last New Year you were just a little nugget who delighted us if you smiled or cooed or lifted your head or napped for a normal amount of time not on me. We spent our New Years getting ready to take you on your first trip down to Florida- we left bright and super early the morning of the 1st.

In the year since, you have grown, thrived and turned one. You have become a walking, talking little peanut and life with you has been good. Work has been good, friend have been good. We lost your great grandfather Papa Paul which was a hard part of the year but we also had a lot of wonderful family times spent together. We even got to meet family in Israel.
It was a year that was for us, at the very least, worth reflecting over and appreciating.
On a typical New Year, people tend to make these very grandiose resolutions. And you kind of can’t help yourself. Like you are compelled by some unknown force to define the upcoming year with big expectations and predictions. Even if you don’t say them out loud, you secretly promise that THIS will be the year to ——.
Resolutions are pretty stupid- mostly because no one sticks to them ever but I think having some goals and ambitions for your life in a year segment is totally ok and even worthwhile so with that… here are mine- you can let me know how I did in 2018.
MOM’S 2017 RESOLUTIONS:

1. Figure out a skincare (and eyebrow) routine- I have literally been working on a proper skin care regimen for the whole year. This is the one downside to having nice skin for your whole life- you never really have to take care of it and then when the natural signs of aging start appearing and you want to begin taking a bit more care, it is fucking impossible to figure out. There are so many damn products out there. WTF I also had my eyebrows done improperly recently and I realized how bad they looked when they are not taken care of so no more of that.

2. In the same general theme- get rid of all the toxic/ chemical shit that I currently use on my face/hair/body. I have started to become really interested in ingredients and specifically the ones I put on my fucking skin that absorb into my body. It’s a slippery slope but suffice to say that certain products and chemicals- no matter what they do for you- are horrifying and super gross. I’m sure its’s pretty impossible to be 100% natural but I am certainly making the move to being 100% conscious and as close to natural as I can be- same goes for you, kiddo.

3. Find and commit to a coffee shop/workspace. I am a freelance whore. I work anywhere and I have no allegiances. I want to work even more and harder in 2017 so one of the ways I plan to do this is to find a dedicate work space (or 2- for variety) to really hunker down and get some good shit done.

4. Ug, I hate to write this one because it makes me feel so trite but I really want to at least start my book in 2017. I hope that when you read this it is a best seller or feel free to never mention it again.

5. Learn more cooking. I have a meatloaf and meatballs under my belt but 2017 calls for more mom meals so that you don’t grow up and say that I never cooked for you. Sure, I made the most delicious carrot cake that has ever been baked in life- but no one is revered for a carrot cake… or are they?

 Stop obsessively online shopping where I put a zillion things in a shopping cart and never buy them- haha. kidding- weird shopping for life!
Ok, that seems like a lot but we have 365 days to get it done.
Oh and as for you, your resolution should be to keep being the amazing, awesome, perfect little lady that you are.
xo 
Mom

Later, 2016