For quite a while now, I’ve enjoyed The Minimalist Mom’s blog posts. Her straightforward approach to keeping life simple and raising her son really resonates with me, and I often find myself nodding my head in agreement when I read her blog posts. No birthday presents for a one- or two-year old? Same here! The first time we got a birthday present for our son was this year, for this third birthday. He and my husband drove to a nearby town to pay $20 for a bike we found on Craigslist. Then my husband spent the afternoon fixing up the bike and we let our son start riding it around that day – a few days before his actual birthday. We try to make every day great rather than focus our energies on birthdays and holidays, and we’re also fully on board with the idea that very small children really don’t need much in the way of toys.
I didn’t come upon the idea of minimalism and having less stuff until about a year and a half ago. But I’ve been frugal my whole life and that quality went a long way towards keeping our baby clutter to a minimum and sharply limiting the amount of money we spent on baby stuff. Nearly everything we have for our boys is hand-me-downs from friends and stuff we got at thrift stores and on Craigslist. Now that our baby is starting to outgrow stuff, we’re able to pass it on to other friends or list it for free on Craigslist without worrying about how much we spent on it – because we didn’t spend much.
We prefer to keep things very simple when it comes to our boys, and to life in general. We know that we don’t need to spend much money or have new things in order to be happy. We let our son pick out toys at Goodwill and then choose which of his current toys he wants to donate in order to keep the toy clutter from multiplying. For our baby, things are even easier: he wears simple clothes, hangs out near us all day, rides around in the sling whenever we go somewhere, and sleeps next to me at night. He nurses whenever he’s hungry and is just starting to sample some of the food we eat at meal times (so far, he’s not impressed). He needs almost nothing in terms of physical stuff. We have a stash of cloth diapers, the hand-me-down clothes that his big brother wore, and a couple of slings. He’s seven months old, and that’s pretty much all he needs so far.
Since I’m obviously convinced that simple is better and less is more when it comes to raising small children, I was thrilled when Rachel asked me to contribute a section to her new e-book, The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year. I just finished reading the book, and it’s excellent. For anyone who is planning to have children or already a new parent, this book is the antidote to the frenzied marketing that is directed at new and expectant parents. It would also make a great gift for any new or expectant parent who is feeling stressed by the expenses and clutter that seem to go hand-in-hand with having a baby.
As an added bonus, Rachel is contributing $5 from each sale between now and November 12th to Care. Care is raising money to build two new maternal health clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The time I spent as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa makes causes like this particularly close to my heart, and I’m grateful to Rachel for her commitment to helping with this worthy project.
I hope you enjoy The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year. I hope it helps you slow down and enjoy your baby. I hope it frees you from worrying about buying all the right stuff for your child. I hope it reminds you that lying on the floor playing with your baby is far more important than scouring the internet looking for the best deals on baby leg warmers. And I hope it inspires you to follow your own intuition about what your baby needs rather than looking to big box stores for answers. Happy reading!