by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Welcome to the Chronicles of Parenting by local author, freelance writer, blogger and parent-of-toddler Jocelyn Jane Cox. Read on for advice you never knew you needed and the chuckles you know you really need, tailored to those who live in the Great State of Parenthood.
It was comedian George Carlin who said, “A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.” That pile only gets higher and more insurmountable when you become a parent. It doesn’t seem to matter how much of a minimalist you were before kids, as soon as you procreate, your house suddenly becomes crammed with items you can’t seem to part with.
If it’s becoming increasingly difficult to walk in a clear path through your own home, or find anything you need when you need it, then take heart, because you are not alone. Here are six perfectly legitimate reasons why parenting is a gateway to hoarding:
- Sentimentality: If you’re like me, way too many pieces of your child’s clothing tug at your heartstrings. You justify, Perhaps my children will enjoy having these tiny garments when they’re adults? The truth is that you probably just want to caress these little duds on occasion and remember when your child wore exactly what you chose for them with no resistance, no eye rolls, and no outrage.
- Documentation: There was a time when photos spoke a thousand words; maybe because we had pictures of items, we felt we could let go of them. But we all have so many thousands of photos now (this is its own kind of hoarding) that it’s entirely too overwhelming to scroll through them. Basically, if you want to remember that rocking horse Aunt Amy gave your son when he turned one years old, then you better just keep it front and center in your living room for the rest of time.
- Pride: For many of us, throwing away a piece of paper featuring our little artiste’s scribbles is simply unthinkable. Opening that trashcan would feel like a form of abuse, or a wordless way of saying, “I don’t love you.” Of course, your refrigerator provides a pitifully finite amount of display space: once that space is covered, you can start hanging these masterpieces on the walls, or the ceiling, or piling them up on the floor. Gradually, your home will begin to look like the insane asylum that it is.
- Indecision: There is a certain period of time (for some of us it’s longer than others) when you still might add to your brood. You’d be wise to hold onto all that baby and toddler gear until you’re 110 percent sure you’re done having kids. Who wants to go through the hassle and expense of purchasing all that stuff again? Once you’re really done, it’s still hard to decide how to allocate these items: Give to friends or family who are still procreating? Donate to children in need? Hold a garage sale in order to recoup some funds and raise money to buy your kids even more stuff? Oh never mind, it’s easiest to just let it gather dust in the basement for a few more years (or decades.)
- Fatigue: The higher the pile, the more energy it takes to excavate it. Who has the time or motivation for this while paying a mortgage, sprinting after toddlers, or carting grade schoolers to 47 birthday parties and sports activities every weekend? If you ever get a free moment, it’s all you can do to clear off a bit of space on the couch and prop your feet up on some nearby toys. Closing your eyes and dozing off is really the best way to ignore those encroaching piles.
- Celebration: Whether you dread the holidays or look forward to them, they punctuate the year and tend to require (or encourage) boxes of tacky decorations. Somehow, as religious and cultural traditions get more watered down, it seems more important to set that quirky witch with the striped socks on your mantel every October. After all, without these seasonal knick-knacks, how will your child truly understand the passage of time? And, really, what else are they going to remember you by?
On that note, rest assured, you’re going to be passing all of this wonderful “memorabilia” onto your kids and with these things, these wonderful things, the cycle of accumulation can start all over again…
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a freelance writer and author. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.
The Chronicles of Parenting is sponsored by The Palisades Center, your one-stop-shop for fun. Come to the Palisades Center for Munchkin Mondays, childrens’ concerts throughout the summer in the East Court. See the complete schedule of summer events at PalisadesCenter.com.