Why are those Tates so weird and particular about baby items?

12:20 PM

I've felt compelled to write about this for a long time. It's one of those subjects that feels a bit touchy, but at the same time it's so much more than just a post about an opinion, it's a post about a lifestyle that we feel we have been called to.**

Chris and I didn't live together before we got married, so upon getting married we tried hard to pare down the things we had to make the transition towards living together easier. Our wedding registry made this easier because we were able to register together and decide the style and things we were looking for. We tried hard not to keep doubles and triples of kitchen gadgets and furniture and etc etc because 1) We felt that that would be silly and 2) We moved into an apartment under 500 square feet. Yep, UNDER 500 square feet. Our queen sized bed barely fit into our bedroom, we couldn't cook together in the kitchen (if you can call it that) without touching a LOT (I didn't mind) and we could fit one couch and maybe an end table in the living room.

And let me tell you-it was AWESOME. We were humbled, it was easy to clean, and we had MORE than what we needed. Much more. Absolutely a first world situation and we recognized that we were far greater off than much of the world.

From then on, every time we moved we got rid of more and more stuff. We didn't aim to "fill" each apartment we lived in but rather have what we needed. We were able to host a dear friend in our guest room for 9 months without forcing her to squeeze her stuff in around piles of unused stuff and furniture, and we realized that even though we always pared down...we still had too much.

I will say that I do have one care about our possessions and that is that I like to decorate because it's a passion of mine. It fulfills my need to be creative and there is something really beautiful about creating a living space that fits your personality. Is it necessary? No. But if I'm able, I'll always have a love for decorating our home.

So anyways, you've heard me talk about it before, but we moved 6 times now in a matter of three years. This is mostly because we're hardcore against commuting (if we can be) and less time in the car means more time together. So we would move to be closer to work/school/etc if a lease came to a close and we felt we were too far away. Plus..less gas money and saving the earth! Duh.

It is no surprise, then, that this philosophy of minimalism crosses over to how we want to raise babies. Don't roll your eyes just yet. When I tell people that, I typically get the "oh, just you wait" response (my favorite). But--God being the awesome provider that He is, has always provided us with friends and loved ones who modeled this WELL. With multiple children. Living in not-huge spaces. We always have felt a deep connection to these kinds of people, because they were already modeling the lifestyle and parenting styles that we have felt attracted to. (Anybody seen the 'Babies' documentary? That's our jam.)

Now--when we have teenagers who want to buy their own stuff and fill their rooms with posters and other thingamabobs, are we going to force them  not to? No. They can decorate their space and do what they will, but they will be doing so with the values we've instilled in them. And whether they like them or not will not be up to us, and I'm okay with that! Trust me--my room growing up was an epic DISASTER. My parents did an awesome job parenting us! My room didn't match the nature of our household. But somehow I became somewhat of a neat freak later in college and now I love to be clutter free.

Back to the point- the reason why we've registered for such specific items and why we have intense opinions about the clothes and toys and things that our children will have has everything to do with wanting to have what we need and love and get rid of the rest.

I talked to a dear friend about this because I couldn't pinpoint quite what makes me so upset when people challenge us on this view. And she mentioned spot on one of the factors (isn't it awesome to be known so well!) Part of it has to do with my love for a peaceful home. In so many words, the idea is that as a mother we will be surrounded by our children and our home environments more than anyone else, even our spouses (if referring to a stay at home parent.) If looking at toys upon toys upon toys that are solely made up of plastic and primary colors and clothes upon clothes that I don't like to look at, it DOES affect the home environment in that it isn't peaceful or calming to me..and we're the ones raising the little people.

I don't know why I don't love frilly pink dresses, but I don't. And it's not an injustice to my daughter to not put her in these things just because other people who don't live with her want her to wear them. Go ahead, ask your baby if they love their outfit. They don't care! Dressing and playing with your children has everything to do with their growth and attachment and health and also our sanity. Who wants sane parents? Yep, everyone.

Some people literally could care less what their child wears and it's more important to them to just accept anything they've been offered. There's nothing wrong with that. For whatever reason, it does matter to me. I can't "turn off" my desire to have a home that I love living in and looking at. It's not about the physical stuff but everything about how the space feels. Maybe it seems trivial and silly that massive amounts of plastic and primary colors make me feel weird--but we don't want our home to feel like a daycare or a giant children's play place. We are adults and we live here too. Children adapt to the environments they live in (again--watch the Babies documentary!) and sometimes less is more.

The bottom line: our kids are going to have everything they need and more. And we hope to instill upon them the value of minimalism and peace. Are we going to have toys around? YES! And they are going to be ones that we love. This won't look like a childless home and it also won't look like solely children live here. :) This will be a shared space where unnecessary clutter is mostly non-existent. We never want to be in a position where we feel tied down and immobile because of stuff. What if God calls us out of the country!? What if he calls us to house another guest? We want to be able to do these things on the fly.

The end.


**Just because we've been called to this particular lifestyle does NOT mean we pass judgment on those that don't live this way! Each family is different and each loves different things and different styles and each family should be able to choose the way they want to parent and live with their children. We don't walk into houses unlike ours and roll our eyes in disgust. We think the world would be a super boring place if everyone was just like us.


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3 comments

  1. I really, really loved this. Especially as a mama who isn't as enamored with pink as everyone else seems to be. :) My girl wears tons of things from the boy's section just because it happens to fit my style. And I don't wear ruffles. Like you, I am sure we could pare back more- so much more. We live so richly compared to so many. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful for what I have and what I can pass on to my child in terms of values. Best wishes to you and your family.

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    Replies
    1. Shopping from the boys section for your little girl! YES! That's inspiring. :) I always see cute stuff in the boys section that could totally work on a girl depending on what else you put on them. Bold move. I'm totally doing that.

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  2. I came to your blog to read the above post, but then got to reading more. I am trying to be more of a minimalist thanks to my sister! She has 4 children and lives in less than 900 sq. ft! It's awesome! She doesn't blog as often now with 4 kids 6 and under (one special needs), but you can find her at myhometableau.com. Based on what I've read of yours, I think you would enjoy her blog! Donna

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