Thursday, May 13, 2010

Save money, keep your spawn healthy & save their childhood

The other day T-Roy, J Bone, and I were on our way to GG's (Great Grandma C) house. GG lives in a post WWII neighborhood where all the houses were built for service people returning from the various foreign campaigns. They are all pretty small - at least under 1,600 square feet - and most only have 1 bathroom.

I'm not sure how we got on the topic, or who brought it up, but the Troyster and I were discussing how small of a house that is by today's standards. How can a family a four live comfortably in such a tiny house? Well, my baby daddy and I discussed and determined the following:

1) In post WWII people were happy to just be alive, let alone have a house to call their own. They didn't need a McMansion in the best neighborhood to be content.
2) Back then, people didn't have stuff. Stuff wasn't necessary to make you happy; you had your family, your health, and maybe a Buick with giant tail fins in your driveway. Others didn't judge you if you didn't have latest gadget, rather you were judged on how hard you worked, your honesty, and your famous potato salad recipe that was always a hit at the block party's Fourth of July BBQ
3) Kids didn't need giant rooms to house their 53,481 toys, X box, Wii, and lap top. They probably had a few dolls, a bat and a ball, and maybe some coloring books. Why didn't they need tons of toys...
4)...because they got off of their asses and played outside where kids belong. One benefit to this is that obesity rates for 1950-1960 were 9.7% of the American population. Today? Around 30%.

After our discussion, I've made a few decision about my life, and the health of my family.
1) I don't need a giant house. I don't want to clean it, and I don't want to feel pressure to fill it up with junk that I'll eventually donate to Goodwill. I don't have the money, and I certainly don't have the time.
2) I need to stop defining my life and my worth by the cost of the crap that is accumulating unused in my house. "If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can't buy" (author me at least and I'm too lazy to Google that shit).
3) Jack doesn't need so many damn toys. He just doesn't. He plays with a handful of them, but mostly chooses to read books, clean the floor with rags, or dance.
4) Jack will never have a TV in his room until he can earn enough to buy one himself. I want him outside enjoying the fresh air and embracing childhood, NOT inside being exposed to crap that is way above his age bracket.

So, maybe I'm weird (I know I am) for shunning things that society tells me I need to live a "better" life . I cook a lot from scratch, I garden, I can (home preserving), I make my own bread, jam, and apple butter. But guess what...I'm ok with that. Finally.


Connie said...

Great post, Sarah! I grew up in the late 50's and 60's and remember playing outside a lot...using our imaginations instead of toys to have fun! I was always kinda chubby, but I guess it could've been a lot worse if I had been inside playing with video games and watching t.v.! We also rode our bikes or walked everywhere.
I agree, simple is good. "Stuff" = lack of freedom.
Stuff takes time out of your day to clean, dust, maintain, repair, replace or recycle. "Stuff" clutters your mind. It's hard to relax and have a quiet mind when your house is full of "stuff" cluttering every corner. Those shows about Hoarders make me feel very anxious...I cannot imagine living that way!

I can remember the shift to consumerism and how people suddenly felt the need to have the best car, house, etc...and have it NOW...which sent so many people into deep debt and misery!

So, I am glad you have hippie tendencies, Sarah!
Jack will have a great childhood and life!

E said...

I totally agree. Most of my students laugh when I tell them to go outside and play over the weekend.

Lyla will never have a TV or a computer in her room. I just don't get letting kids have that stuff.

flojat said...

I love you! I've had more than one person tell me we're going to have to move now that the twins are on their way. Since when can't four people live comfortably in a 2,100 sq ft, 3-bedroom home???? I don't get it.

My brother's first bedroom was the size of a walk-in closet. And he had a great childhood!