I had always assumed the harried look was due to a lack of sleep.
But perhaps that is only part of the truth.
Perhaps the harried look of parents with little kiddos could also be attributed to stuff. Way. Too. Much. Stuff.
Yesterday, I very excitedly began a book called Stuffocation, by James Wallman. In his work, Wallman proposes much of the western world is suffering from an suffocating amount of stuff. I'll be honest. I've only cruised through the introduction so far and heard his interview on public radio. And I'm looking forward to spending more time in the book.
Wallman refers to the rental of storage units to hold our stuff that does not fit in our home, or the unlikelyhood of people using our three-car garages for vehicles and not stuff. And what is the impact on our kids, growing up in such an overabundance of stuff?
And that's the thing. My spouse and I did not have an abundance of stuff until kids entered the picture. When the picture included only one kiddo, we had an abundance of wonderful gifts, boxes and boxes of hand-me-downs, and all kinds of cumbersome equipment we were glad to have, like a pack-n-play, stroller, and excersaucer. So much stuff!
Is that part of the harried look of young parents? And as the number of kids in a family increases, so does the amount of stuff. As life goes on, so does the accumulation of even more stuff, until you are sneaking Oriental Trading items your kid just brought home from a birthday party into the garbage before the stuff even enters the house.
So I'll end this with some questions.
- Do you, like me, wish you had less stuff?
- If you do, how much of your time and energy is consumed by the overabundance of stuff in your home?
- How does your stuff shift your focus away from the really important stuff, like your relationship with God and the people whom God has placed around you?