Thursday, July 8, 2010

Material Girl

I only have about four million things I have been meaning to blog about. I have caught myself meaning to do a lot of things lately, but life gets in the way. Some things I don’t really miss; cleaning toilets has never been super high on my list of priorities. However, I need to write, need to be working my side business more, need to make sure that every decision I make for my children is the right decision. That leads to this blog which is probably going to be a plethora of random thoughts.

In Texas during July, I seek shelter. When I’m pregnant in Texas in July, I really run from the heat that seems to saturate every part of the state. No matter how much Wren says “outside”, I have to say no. We find an alternative, and I’ve noticed lately that the alternative seems to be the mall.

I am not a shopper. I hate shopping, even for groceries. All my maternity clothes were given to me by my sister, and we’ve been passing them from friend, sister to sister, back again for years now. I love that this kept me out of a store. That’s how much I hate shopping. But our mall has proven to be an entertaining place for my daughter that also happens to be air conditioned. There are all the future ice skating champs practicing in the morning, the carousel, play area, and Barnes and Noble story times. We go to the mall and essentially roam around for free for hours. Maybe the $2 spent on the carousel counts, but that’s the extent of our spending. My daughter runs herself into a nap and no one breaks a sweat. Sounds like a good day to me.

However, I read that if you want to teach your children not to be consumed by a materialistic world, all your outings should not be retail based. Not all of ours are. We go to the library, play dates, the water parks, but the mall offers the ability to shift gears when Wren gets bored without actually having to leave the building. Some of our play dates are at the mall because other moms have caught onto this fabulous idea. And we are very much outside, walk everyday people when it is not mind numbingly hot. Plus, I never buy anything at the mall. Am I still teaching Wren that retail therapy is good? Am I, the most non-shopper ever, teaching my daughter how to be materialistic because we go to Pottery Barn Kids, push around the doll stroller and buy nothing? By the way, I’m sure those employees love us!

This leads to another issue I’ve been having about overall physical wellness. Dennis and I are pretty picky about what we feed Wren and what we eat ourselves. I think what we eat has a lot bigger effect on our health than people want to admit. Lately though, I’ve been making sure Wren gets her broccoli and carrots, but I have then been throwing down cookies on top of mine. I don’t think almost 20 weeks into a pregnancy hormones can be blamed, and I have lived with essentially no sugar in my diet before. I was blissfully happy that way. It’s just hard once you start again. Plus, Wren is going to get too old to play with blocks while I hide behind the fridge with my cookie, and the little boy in my belly needs good food for brain growth, not chocolate chips. We have to regroup.

Adding to the list of things I worry we aren’t doing enough, I read Eco Bear Wears Green while Wren and I visited the library this week and was convicted about how not environmentally focused I am. Yes, I was convicted by a children’s book. I want to teach Wren to be environmentally responsible but when I looked at the list of eco things that the eco bear does, I fell short on almost all. I don’t think of how the decisions I make affect the environment all that often, so my daughter is not getting a great example.

All of this stuff is fixable. It’s just a matter of tackling one issue at a time. However, the constant conscience parenting sometimes just makes me feel like a bad parent. It’s easier to think about the things we are doing like finding a great church or Wren completing her library program already this summer. Unfortunately, there is so much room for improvement on my part that it’s na├»ve just to focus on the couple of things I have right. Parenting is my most important job and I need to make sure I’m doing the best for both of my kids that I can. In that spirit, I will tackle one improvement a week so I’m not overwhelmed and can see progress, and this week is cookie elimination. I eliminated most of them before dinner, so my job is half complete as long as I don't bake anymore! It’s a start.

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