(Parental) Consumerism

Okay – everyone put on your serious face. Seriously.

I’ve been thinking. And, by the way, I always preface REALLY important topics (in conversation) with “I’ve been thinking…” so pay attention, folks.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about my marriage. I have the privilege of being married to a really wonderful guy who has an insane amount of patience for the silly things I do. I love him and have committed myself to a lifetime of preferring him. I would do anything I could to show Ryan that I’m dedicated to loving him. I want to take care of him, feed him, stock his closet with clean underwear, make him coffee, have his (many) babies, appreciate his hard work, encourage him, bless him, and persistently adore him despite any shortcomings. That’s only a glimpse of my heart for him.

It would make sense, then, to invest in my relationship with HIM more so than any other (person) – after all, I AM going to spend the rest of my life with him. It would also make sense to invest in my children – but NOT at the expense of my relationship with my husband.

Anyone?

You see – I came to a conclusion the other day. It is so easy to get sucked into parental consumerism (that’s what I’m calling it). It’s easy for me to say that I live simply because I homebirth, breastfeed, wear my babies, cloth diaper, cook/bake from scratch and with healthy, organic ingredients, and intend to homeschool. That all sounds pretty simplistic, doesn’t it? The truth, however, is that Consumerism is always calling our names, and he just wears a different disguise in this situation.

I love cloth diapering. It’s healthier than wrapping my baby in plastic and toxic chemicals, it’s economical, it’s environmentally responsible, and cloth diapered bums are CUTE. It’s EASY to convince myself, unfortunately, that I need the cutest, hippest, most up-to-date diapers. I have found myself spending hours upon hours thinking/researching/planning my cloth diapering journey. It’s easy to think that I need to extend my stash and try one of everything. It’s also easy to pity myself if I can’t afford to cloth diaper with anything other than prefolds, flats, and wool covers (although I do love me some wool covers).

But this begs the question: does Jack care what kind of cloth I diaper him in? Does Forrest care if he has 12 BumGenius all-in-one one-size organic diapers WITH SNAPS alongvwith his Indian prefolds?? No. They don’t care. They probably wouldn’t even notice if I diapered them in an old t-shirt.

The point is NOT that I shouldn’t want nice, high-quality things for my kids – the POINT is that my relationship with my kids will not suffer if I diaper them in prefolds as opposed to Fuzzibunz.

However, my relationship with my husband WILL suffer if I am so extremely obsessed with adding to my cloth diaper stash, owning all the different types of gorgeous slings, and dressing my kids in Lucky Brand clothing that I never invest (time, energy, AND our money) into him (and us).

My children’s emotional and physical well-being rest in my husband’s and my hands. We are responsible for loving them, disciplining them, educating them, and guiding them through their early years until the reach adulthood. But after that? It’s just me and hubby, honey. I cannot forget that the MOST important relationship I have here on earth is that which I share with my husband. My children need my love, but they won’t be under my roof forever. They were born to become independent adults.

I’m assuming that there will at least be someone out there who feels a bit skeptical because this topic is often misunderstood. Far be it from me to suggest that my children are unimportant, I can assure you. Simply put, I do not believe their well-being depends in the brand of cloth diapers they wear, the sling they’re cradled in, the diaper bag their things are stored in, the stroller they’re pushed in, or the clothing brands they’re dressed in.

They will find far more value in parents whose marriage is intact and even FULL of deep intimacy than they will in their parents’ insistence that they “only buy the BEST” for their kids.

That’s why I have made it my personal goal to invest in Ryan. Instead of taking any spare money and applying it toward a new sling, new cloth diapers, yet another diaper bag, or an expensive designer double stroller, I will consider our true needs as a couple. If those need are met and satisfied, then I will consider the items I can use for parenting my children in an efficient, natural and cost-effective way.

I’m laying in bed typing this on my iPhone’s WordPress app, and honestly, I’m tired now. Surely there is more to say. But I’ll leave you with that.

Discuss.

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5 Comments

Filed under on being a mama, tea-timing

5 responses to “(Parental) Consumerism

  1. When I saw the word “consumerism” I knew you were going to say something that applied to me. I am so guilty of this, and I have realized it in the back of my head for a while. It IS easy to feel better about it when you’re buying fairly traded items than when shopping at Wal-Mart. The funny thing is, we don’t waste money in a conventional way by going out to dinner, subscribing to cable TV, etc. My problem is mostly with slings, but also with cloth diapers. I have always wanted the cuddliest, softest, most brightly colored fabrics and beautiful designs. Most of my cloth diapers are used, but I did get some new ones for Ivey, and I did insist on having a new Moby Wrap for her. (My friends at work ended up buying it for me as a baby gift.) You would be appalled at the number of carriers I have. I’ll leave it at that. I am working on this, though. I have to, because at the end of this month I am quitting my job to be a stay at home mom. We will have to be more careful with our money. There are times when I realize I don’t need to buy something for the kids because, like you said, they don’t care. We were going to buy Suzi a Mini Moby Wrap to carry her dolls, but I thought, do we really need to spend $15 on that or can I make Suzi a wrap out of some fabric I already have for free? Hopefully I will be able to tell myself this more often. For us, it’s not that we need to invest any money in our marriage per se, it’s just that overspending is such a strain. We need to invest it in the form of savings and paying off the car and things early. When a couple has to worry about money, it puts unnecessary tension into the relationship. Anyway, great post! It’s a lot to think about.

  2. Amanda McCoy

    GREAT post Rissa. seriously. I had Ewan 10 weeks ago on Monday. I have recently started to think alot about what you just posted. funny. I agree that our marriages are super important and a healthy marriage will speak volumes to our little men. And, I believe we will mother our boys better when we take the time to invest in our husbands and continue to grow and maintain intimacy as a couple. I am further inspired, by this post, to take the extra time, even when tired, to serve Brandon in whatever way he needs. thank you for sharing your thoughts. you are a beautiful mama and wife.

  3. Can’t think of a lot to say, but you are right on!!! It is easy to get wrapped up in our kids– especially when they are little and demand our time– but our husbands are the ones we will be spending our lives with!

  4. Lindsey

    You are right on my friend, right on. I feel like I am here. With you. It is SO easy to get caught up in the little things that come along with having children. SO EASY. But, you are SO right that our most important relationship (except for the one we have with Jesus) is the one we have with our husbands! You are spot on! I always pray that God shows me how to love John well. Love him in the way that speaks to his heart and shows him that I love, adore, cherish…etc him! You are one smart cookie Rissa Roo.
    XOXO

  5. Karen

    I stumbled upon your blog a couple of months ago and have REALLY enjoyed your take on life, and have appreciated many of your thoughts and reflections. This particular post especially hit home with me. My husband and I have been married 17 years with our first child blessing us with her presence within 2 years of being married. 5 children later I can say that due to financial limitations (I’m at home with the kiddos) we have never been able to live up to what society has deemed “necessary” for children to succeed ie…..the right clothes, classes, activities, electronic assessories…..etc….however what we have been able to give our kids in abdundance, is an example of a loving, devoted, sacrificial marriage. It has come at a cost, but devoting much time and energy into our marriage and protected us from the storm of many issues “modern” day couples have. Our 15 year old daughter now, states that she wants to marry HER best friend, to marry someone who is SO devoted to her, who obviously adores and respects her…she wants what her parents have. In the end isn’t that what we want? To send our children into the arms of a partner who will lift them up toward Jesus but also love them unconditionally, walking hand in hand in confidence ?
    So, those are my thoughts….I wish I had come to understand what you have “nailed down”
    much earlier in my journey of mothering…I look forward to your insightful posts!

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