Monday, October 7, 2013

the thing that stressed me out the most - day 7

Okay, so I told you that I would share what stressed me out the most in all of this . . . 

scroll down to see

Cora's clothes!

Isn't that crazy???

This is a picture of her closet before she was even born.  We have been HUGELY blessed with clothes for her.  Hand me downs brought to church, mailed from Texas and Alaska, vintage items pulled out of storage from both my mom and my sister-in-law's mom's house on loan, gifts from wonderful, thoughtful friends and family, things I picked out and bought because it is fun to get to shop for your very own little girl, things I bought before I was ever even pregnant hoping I would have a little girl one day.  (Am I the only one who has done that???  Please tell me I am not alone!)

When I began to consider doing a "clothing fast" and narrowing down each of our closets to seven items, I decided not to include Cora's.

The most practical reason was that between diaper blowouts, spit up, etc., babies can go through a lot of clothing.

Another reason was that she had *so* many outfits in the 3-6 month size range (at one point I counted 60!) that she could hardly wear them all if she wore a new outfit every single day.  

Also, I just plain didn't want to because this is my chance to dress a baby girl and I wanted to indulge in all of the cuteness I possibly could.

And you know what?  Before, during and after "clothes month" I have felt stress over Cora's closet at times.  It is not that I have not enjoyed dressing her and being blessed by all of these things at all because I certainly have but at the same time there have been multiple times that I have stressed out that she might not "be able" to wear everything before she outgrew it or the weather turned cold.  I felt bad if someone gave us something and I didn't get it on her.  I have felt stress in my being over these sorts of things.  

What sense does this make???

A quote from Ann Voskamp:

“Stress isn't only a joy stealer. The way we respond to it can be sin.”

I don't need any joy stealers in my life, do you?  I don't need things that help to tug and pull my gaze off of God.  

I am not quite ready to chuck everything in her closet out.  I am so, so very thankful for all that we have.

I did take a stricter inventory of what she already had before I went on my bi-annual fun girls' night/shopping trip with my sister-in-law to the Just Between Friends kids' consignment sale and tried to stick to reduced numbers of things (I still bought two more pair of pajamas than I had written down that I thought she "needed" for the winter because they were cute and I wanted them but I did underbuy in a few other categories - to be honest, not virtuously but because I didn't find something at the sale in those categories) but it's at least about acknowledging and taking baby steps, right?

And, all of this is changing the way I look at the things we are done with.  I guess at least one perk of her having so many things is that they are very gently worn!

It was a joy to go through the things she has already outgrown recently and to sort them into piles for hand me downs, for the pregnancy center, for babies in Zambia - it was awfully fun for me to imagine little African babies wearing some of her things - very few things to save sentimentally, things to return to their owners, etc.

I am not saying this to say "look at me, see what good things I'm doing".  I am just learning, taking baby steps into this whole thing.

I do not know the answers but I would love to process some together in the comments.  

First, do please tell me that I am not the only one who has bought clothing for children not even yet conceived.  :)

Also, is there an area in your life where you are blessed with excess but that it stresses you out?  How do you deal with it?  

What other thoughts does this post bring up?

How do you decide what is "enough" in various areas of your life?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading my gut level honest here.



Kori said...

"is there an area in your life where you are blessed with excess"
I can honestly say that there is not one area where I am NOT blessed with excess. Maybe not excess love, patience, godliness...but as far as material things, not a single area where we aren't overly blessed with an abundance. And I believe that is true for nearly every single American. Even Americans in poverty are far richer than those in some countries. An example? The cereal aisle at the grocery store. Cereal has zero nutrition and is a luxury (it's fast and easy only). But we have what feels like a thousand choices every time we enter the store.
What do I do about it? Besides stress? Sometimes ignore? Enjoy? Try and try to not want, to be content, to share - but it's a daily struggle I am sure I will never master.

Rachel said...

Areas I'm stressed out by excess: baby and toddler clothes handed down to us by a generous friend (all brand names but more than I can store), toys and books (most gifted by grandparents, and just stuff in general. It would be difficult for us to have everything put away at once. We moved to this house with 1 child and now have 5 so I'm feeling cramped and overwhelmed, though our home is not what I'd consider small. I definitely need to purge things again, but I also have to make peace and accept that even at its most streamlined, this home is never going to be magazine, catalog or Pinterest worthy.

We are absolutely blessed to get lots of hand me downs, but at the same time it seems like we could live with far fewer items if I would be able to shop for the wardrobe needs of my kids because I would buy things so there would be tons of ways to mix and match with the limited number of pieces I would select.

I have to admit that most often my desires to simplify do not come from altruistic motives, but rather, wanting to make life easier on myself. Ugh. I should pray about that.

Great series!

Karen Gibson said...

You are far beyond your mom in this area. I am proud and inspired by your quest.

Mindy S. said...

I am going to have to make several comments because I can't remember all the questions at once. :-)

Yes, I have bought clothes for children not yet conceived. The ones that stick out in my memory the most though, were never used by me. With all three girls I bought a blue sleeper, just in case the expected girl turned out to be a boy. I did not want to have to bring a boy home in a pink dress. :-) And there were another one or two boy outfits that I bought early on, just in case we ever had a boy. And as luck would have it they weren't even the right size/season for a single one of my many nephews.

Mindy S. said...

And in a house with three girls it is definitely all of the girl clothes that are ridiculous. Occasionally I do get overwhelmed by it, but I feel like I have come up with a pretty good system that most of the time I don't get too stressed by it. It helps immensely that I both buy and sell most of their clothes at Just Between Friends. I pay so little for most of their clothes that if they don't end up wearing it it isn't such a big deal--especially since I will just turn around and sell it back and it is still in good enough condition that I can sell it back. Katelyn is the hardest as the youngest, because she has so many hand me downs from her sisters and yet I still want her to have new things and newer styles. I am learning to be brutal when I unpack the next sized tub of hand me downs to just pick out my favorite things and go ahead and sell the rest so that I have the money to buy her newer things of her own. But all three girls' closets are still ridiculous!

Mindy S. said...

How do you decide what is "enough" in various areas of your life? This one makes me laugh because I have been thinking about this one since you first said that you pared down to 7 outfits. I immediately thought 7 is not quite enough. I could probably do 8-9 though. And the reason for that is that what is "enough" for me is for us to have enough outfits to get through one week without me HAVING to do laundry (in case I get busy and it just doesn't get done) and still have one to two extras in case of spills or the messes that often happen with kids. So, when I go to buy the basics like jeans for school in the winter, I like to make sure that they have 6-7 pairs that fit just to give me a little bit of breathing room when it comes to the chore of laundry. So in this case, "enough" and what is less stressful for me is to have a little extra. Right now it is still pretty warm here and they have outgrown some of their shorts. We are down to exactly 5 pairs for each girl. I am praying for cooler weather soon! This morning I sent them off unhappy in jeans because it is going to be pretty warm today and I hadn't kept track of how many shorts were still clean. Oops! They are all dirty. (And while they weren't happy they were pretty good about it and didn't throw a fit. It is a good learning moment for them, but I do feel bad knowing that they will get pretty hot at recess.) And that reminds me that I need to go put those shorts in the washing machine. :-)

BR said...

Keep rockin, mama!

Jessica H said...

Your discussion is particularly pertinent in my life right as we moved this summer (the ultimate reminder of how much crap you own). We are living in a furnished condo where daily we are surrounded by a stranger's towels and sheets and forks and only brought a limited amount of clothes (period) with us. AND we are moving again in another few weeks to be reunited with our stuff after 3 months.

So I see applications all over. We have been so "free" without all our stuff while missing things like a citrus zester and clothes for our boy in the next size up because he grew faster than predicted! And craving that sense of "home" that comes from your own belongings. But knowing in the end this too shall pass and isn't the meaning of life. Knowing this world is not our home.

Mandy said...

Its been so fun getting caught up here! So glad you read 7, I am loving your thoughts about it!

Julie P. said...

Sorry for contributing to your stress. ;) I don't remember purchasing clothes before we conceived, but I do remember keeping baby girl clothes because I just knew you would have a girl.