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Are you drowning in stuff and worried about the impending presents coming at Christmas? This episode is for you!
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Hello my friends today, we’re talking about stuffed animals. And stuff in general, so many use stuffed animals. As the. Topic for me to teach you how we make decisions as a family about the stuff that comes in and out and how I talk to the kids about it. Because I’ve actually done coaching on stuffed animals a few times this week. And so I just know when God brings me the same topic with several different people. We’re doing a podcast on it, stuffed animals.
My children love stuffed animals. My twelve-year-old 12. Still I’m like, what do you want for Christmas? A stuffed animal. So first let’s just talk about our judgment judgy, parent thoughts. Okay. And this is true, whether your kids want stuffed animals or Pokemon cards or whatever ridiculous thing that they want. Okay. We judge what they want don’t we? We’re like, why do you want that? You have so many of those. It’s cheap plastic. Okay. So we have a lot of judgy thoughts about what they want. Hey, but I want you to think about what you used to buy and get excited about buying with your money.
Hey for me, I remember being very into music in middle school and high school, and I don’t even want to know the amount of money that I spent on 9. 99 CDs. $10 CDs. What was the name of that CD store in the mall? I feel like that was such a huge deal when I went there so many times that I cannot believe I don’t even remember the name. Can’t think of it. Just probably thousands of dollars on CDs. At least a thousand, maybe two or three. Okay. And of course, I don’t have any of those CDs anymore. Okay. We don’t even have CD players. Those CDs are gone. I also perhaps got rid of them because they were inappropriate once I became Catholic and my children should not listen to them. So there was kind of a culling that happened because of that. But. Was it ridiculous to me to buy those CDs? Did you want me to put my money at 15 and to the S and P 500 as an investment? And to save it? I would have so much money now.
Right? And we just know that young people are going to get money and they are going to spend money on some things and probably most of the things that they spend their money on will be consumable. In the way that they will not have it by the time they are 30. Okay. And so you thinking, and I’m really just talking to myself. Hey, they shouldn’t have any more stuffed animals. That’s so ridiculous, why do they want stuffed animals? Okay. I just remember, like, why did I want a bunch of CDs that I was going to get rid of later?
And I didn’t see it that way at the time, but it would have been so crushing if my parents would’ve been like, why are you in the music that is such a waste of time? You’re not going to like this music when you’re an adult, you shouldn’t buy those at all. You should put your money in investment account. Now part of it is we have mismanaged money and we have a desire to teach our children to steward their money well, or the money that we spend on them well. And that’s a good and holy desire, but just check in with yourself about what you think it should be. Should they save all their money? Should they only buy heirloom quality things and then take really good care of them? Like when you force yourself to answer it, you’ll feel a bit ridiculous. Okay. So just notice the judgments and that’s what they are. They’re not like facts, the thoughts, the judgments that you’re having about what your children want to buy. Okay. Then you are the parent. You get to decide what comes in the house. And maybe you have a good reason for not wanting them to buy a particular thing. So we have one of those stuffed animal hammocks. Okay. If you don’t know about the stuffed animal hammock, you need one. Okay, maybe I’ll post it in the show notes. And so it’s just like a hammock that fits into the corner of a room and the girls have it above their bed. And I just have this rule that all the stuffed animals that they have to fit in the hammock.
Except they each have one larger stuffed animal that they sleep with. So all the squished, mellows and beanie babies and whatever else that they have, one of the bug guide ones. I don’t remember. They have to fit in the hammock. And when they don’t fit in the hammock, they have to trade out. So if we’re going to get them a stuffed animal for Christmas, which probably we are. I’ll be like, okay, who’s coming out of the hammock.
And usually, because at first they’re like, oh, can’t get rid of any of them. And I’m like, oh, but you have to, and then they will.
And so we don’t just let children have whatever they want. Okay. And they asked me for stuffed animals all the time. And a lot of times I say, no, all right.
So we still get to control some things, but just make sure you understand why. Love your reasons and make sure that they are instilling the thing that you want to instill. Cause my friend. You buy some ridiculous things. Your husband’s like, why does she keep buying coffee? Why does she need more throw pillows? Why do we have to have fall decorations? That’s just the adult version of stuffed animals. Okay. And so what do you want to teach them about money? So there’s like what you buy them for Christmas and holidays and birthdays is one category and then there’s they start making their own money. What do you allow them to spend? Their own money for the things that you buy them. Just decide. Like it’s a consumable thing anyway, just get there. It’s a consumable thing. It probably will end up at a thrift store at someone else’s house or in the trash.
And so once you make peace with that, do you really even care what they buy? No. Do I want loud Fisher price toys? No. Do I want toys that have a hundred pieces? No. So those are some reasons that aren’t judging what the kid wants. Where I might say no. I just, I was just looking at something the other day and there was a ton of pieces and I was like, no, we’re not doing that. I was looking at it by myself, but in my mind, I was like, the boys would love that, but no, I’m not buying a thing with lots of pieces.
And you can decide what kind of things you want to bring in your house? But I like to use this example. I bought these beautiful wooden toys made in Germany. They were so gorgeous. They were farm animals, wooden hand painted farm animals. They were just like amazing. And the kids did not like them. The kids did not play magical make-believe farm like good Montessori children like I wanted them too. Okay. Which is fine. And I think I kept them for three or four years. Because, I mean, I feel like I spent $70 on them, like not an insignificant amount of money where I like thought about it and really invested in this thing and they were so beautiful and I love them so much. I love wooden farm, animal toys.
And, eventually when we were minimalizing toys I was just like Sterling, are we going to keep these toys that the kids don’t play with just to make you feel better? How many more years are you going to keep these toys that the kids don’t like? Just to make you feel better. Right. And that’s the kind of thing that I would sell on Facebook marketplace for $30. I be like, this is really nice. I’m not dropping this off at a trip at a thrift store. I’m either giving it to a friend so her kids can not play with it. No, some kids really do like wooden farm animal twice or I’m selling it.
But it would have been easy for me to judge the children. Ah, Like, why don’t they want to play with these toys? Why do they like plastic dinosaurs?
Tape with their children. Of course, they like plastic dinosaurs. Of course they liked things with Blinky lights. Now that doesn’t mean we give them everything that they want, but you can stop judging their choices. And I just kind of reversed it in my mind I was like, isn’t it amazing that my children want stuffed animals and not iPads. Like my twelve-year-old is not asking me for a phone. That’s amazing. To be fair she’s a very old iPhone that plays audio books so you may have heard me say she has a phone, but it is barely a phone. Okay. It doesn’t really do anything and she doesn’t know. That other 12 year olds. Ask for cell phones for Christmas, she wants a stuffed animal.
And so that’s amazing. I love that about her.
And so I just have to check in that my thought they shouldn’t want this. They have too many. This is a waste of money. It kind of feels like a waste of money to me to keep buying them blankets and stuffed animals, but I’m like, so was all the money I spent on CDs.
So hopefully that gives you a sense of you get to decide but checking with your thoughts and your judgements about you, the kids, all of it. And just go, is this true or not? Do I want to keep believing this? Because we just actually want to have peace in our homes and as long as those stuffed animals are in the hammock, I’m at peace with it.
So then the next thing is when they make their own money. Hey, when they make their own money, they’re going to want to spend it. And we also, usually don’t like what they spend it on. Okay. You still get to control that? No, you don’t get to go to the store and buy five candy bars with your own money and eat them. Okay. I don’t let them do that. I might maybe let them buy one. So far, they’ve not discovered that they can use their money to buy candy. I don’t know. But I remember one time someone was having a birthday and my three girls wanted to pull money together, $20 each of their own money to buy a friend, a $60 present. And so I sat them down and I said, I love you guys. I love that your hearts are so generous. That’s an inappropriate amount of money to spend on like a little girl’s birthday present. And it’s not about this girl at all. That’s just not appropriate and, you know, I don’t want you spending that much of the money that you guys worked for on that. Okay. And that’s a very delicate conversation to have I said, is it wrong to spend money on people? No. But my girls actually are. Much more willing to buy someone else a present than to buy something for themselves. And as women, I want them to learn how to work for their money and spend it on themselves.
I want them to know what that feels like and that it’s okay. Because society conditions, women. To like never buy anything for themselves and to feel really guilty about anything that’s spent on them. I’m not creating materialist kids we’re still talking about what are we buying? Why are we buying it?
And then. Sometimes I say no, like we had this traveling company from, I think, Israel where they make beautiful wooden things out of cedar wood or olive wood. And they were gorgeous, but they were extremely expensive. A tiny statue would like a tiny wooden statue the holy family would be like $35, which is fine. It probably is worth that. But I was like, listen, I don’t want my kid buying this kind of overpriced statue with $35. Like she just didn’t have enough information really to make that decision well, And so I pulled her off to the side and said, listen, you know, I’m sure I can find something for you on Etsy. And I just told them, I said, these are adult statues and they’re meant to be special they’re meant to be expensive, but also adults will take care of them and you will probably throw yours on the floor in your room, and that would not be appropriate. All right. So that’s another example of ways that I talk my kids out of buying something and how I talk to them about it. Right. But if they want to go to the dollar store and buy like a headband with goofy bumblebee at 10 a on top. I’d be like, all right, you’re going to break that in three days. But you’re right, it’s I just put it in that CDs category. Now we also, when the kids make money, we have them put money for tithing. I put money for saving, put money for investing and put money for spending. So saving means save up for something. Investing means, put it somewhere and never touch it.
And when it comes to kids and wanting things I just want you to know whether it’s your five-year-old or your 15 year old, that is just completely normal to want things. Young people spend money poorly. You have to kind of spend money poorly to learn how to spend money well. And I wouldn’t let that go forever without talking them about it, but I would let them buy a few things and then check in with them later and be like, how did you feel about spending that money?
Let them learn.
Now, if you’ve got a kid who’s I want everything that I see everywhere then maybe we need to have some consequences for asking, and you could tell them in the beginning, if I was walking into the store and you’d be like, Hey, we’re not going to buy any toys today you can look at things and just love it in your heart, but you may not ask me for it today. Or I might say. You have $11 in your spending envelope if you see something for that much and you want to buy it, we can talk about it. Because it’s not an automatic. Yes. Right. But you may not ask me to buy a toy for you today and if you do, here’s the consequence.
I was just trying to think of what my consequence would be it wouldn’t probably be leave the store. I wonder if I’d be like, you have to pay me a dollar every time you ask that’s kind of funny.
And if you’ve got a kid, that’s asking all the, and my kids go in and out of this. Okay. They go in and out of being like whiny and entitled and wanting things. That’s a human thing. Like humans want sugar and television and toys. We want all the things that create dopamine for us, it is not wrong of your children to want that. But we want to educate them about it or curb it or make it appropriate and so when my kids get kind of askie, I’ll sit them down and be like, Hey, you guys. Your dad and I we’ve done some really fun things for you lately. We have this amazing family look at this life, look at our house, look at these things. And I call it control your wanter. I need you to control your wanter a little bit more. Okay. And we are not going to do special things every day, and we’re not going to buy things all the time. We’re not going to go out to eat. We rarely go out to eat, but then we took them out one time and then my eight year old, no, my 10-year old. Started asking all the time, can we go out? Can we go out? Can we go to that restaurant? And I had to sit her down and be like, listen, we have six kids. That is a very unusual experience. That’s like a once or twice a year experience for us. And I just had to explain that to her. So her brain could understand oh, okay. And I didn’t shame her and I didn’t make her feel bad for asking of course. And I just tell her, I want to go to a restaurant every day. I would love to order a chicken or salmon Caesar salad at a restaurant every day.
And so I just validate for them. It’s always fine to want things, but we need to be appropriate about expectations or how we’re asking or when we’re asking.
And you got to control the stuff that comes into your house. And check in with yourself about the judgements that you’re having, about what your kids want. And then what do you think that they should want instead? Do you think that they should want beautiful hand painted farm animals from Germany? To do imaginative play with?
Maybe they don’t, maybe they want Nerf guns. Can we be okay with that? Maybe you have other reasons for not wanting the Nerf guns, like just check in with it. But I see these young kids. I know some teenagers and like they both are always complaining about money and then always eating out. And I just like my initial reaction is it just irks me? I’m like, oh my gosh, why are they doing that? And then I’m just like, oh yeah, I totally did that too. Totally did that too. That’s what young people do they get money? And they spend it on pizza and coffee. And they got to figure that out for themselves. And we can have like kind conversations with them. I’m going to be like, I totally did that too, until I figured out I wanted other things.
But, They’re just humans having a pretty normal human experience.
And then, I would just say to wrap this up about asking for things and presence and all of it. I really do expect like respect and charity for my kids. So if they speak to me disrespectfully or in an uncharitable way, we’re definitely talking about that. I don’t shame them, I don’t yell at them, but I go, oh, honey hold on. We can talk about that in a second, but the way that you said that to me right now was not okay. You may not speak to your mommy like that. You may not speak to people like that. Right. It was disrespectful or is uncharitable. And so I think sometimes that’s the real problem that we have. It’s not even that they’re asking for the things or the thing that they’re asking for. They just did it in a rude or uncharitable way.
And then you can talk to them about that, but all of this will feel so much easier to manage if you stop judging the whole experience as something that shouldn’t be happening. Right. Of course kids want sugar. Of course they want movies and restaurants and toys. And all the things. I mean, my ten-year-old wants a horse so bad. Can we have a horse? I’m like, no, we can not. It’s just not going to happen at all. And that’s okay. And I love her and I love that she has a heart and she wants things and I tell them girls, I love that you want things. It’s good to want things, but there’s a difference between wanting something and expecting it or demanding it.
Okay. So I hope that’s helpful. Whether it’s stuffed animals or I don’t even know what the teenagers are buying these days. You know, But. You can educate your kids about what to buy. You can enjoy them while they’re making young people buying decisions and just be at peace with that. And you get to control what comes into your house.
Right. So we don’t just say yes to all the things and have all the toys pile up. We can say no. And speaking of that, there’s a whole minimalism course in the Catholic mom, calm community. If this is you come join us. We’re doing this great program for November and December called prepare the way. And in November, we’re going to prepare our hearts for like relationship things and drama and like feelings and money and all sorts of things like preparing our hearts for the holidays we’re going to do that in November. And then in December, we’re going to prepare our souls for Christ to come.
So that’ll be kind of like a lovely, kind of quiet, thoughtful reflecting advent thing, but the whole thing is, you know, for two months we call it prepare the way and it kind of comes in these two phases. So we will definitely cover some minimalism stuff in there. And, but there’s a whole program right now, an eight week program and a 40 day version of it. If you want to clean out your house before all this stuff comes, I want you to come join your community. And I promise you that money will be the best money that you’ve spent because it’s going to bring you so much peace before Christmas. All right. You guys love you and praying for you. Thank you so much for listening and have a blessed day.