Free our kids - Parenting Manifesto Part One


If you haven't already stumbled upon it, then you need to check out the blog Free our Kids, which I have been reading quite avidly of late.

I love this blog because it's basically what I want to do for Little Miss O.  Free her from all the crap with which little kids (and their parents) get bowled over from birth.  All the things that we are made to think that if we don't have or do, then we are bad parents.  Sure - it's not exactly what I would do, but everyone has their own spin on things, right?

Thus inspired, I started to think about my own manifesto for how I want to free her (and me too) from this cycle.  The cycle of consumerism, of electronics, of plastic, of sugar, of commercialism, of helicoptering, of one-upmanship of...of...of....insert your own ideas here.

I want the sweet little girl who told me today, "You don't need to worry ever again mummy because I am saving you, and I am going to save you for a very long time" to feel safe, loved, healthy and happy and to have a simple childhood.  Hmmm.

As I am on a bit of a roll with the old Money's too tight to mention thang, I thought I would start by addressing spending as it relates to my new parenting manifesto.

1) Don't buy toys.  Little Miss O has plenty of toys, and she is happy to play with them over and over again.  We get to play Duplo almost every day (oh the wonder of Duplo!  Yesterday, it was a castle, today a museum).  And she is just as happy with a cardboard box and some scraps of fabric as she is with anything that came from the toy store.

Possible exception: Birthday and Christmas

2) Keep special occasions simple.  At present, she gets gifts for every occasion conceivable from Hinamatsuri right through to Christmas...and beyond.  Not necessary.  From now on, lesser occasions will be celebrated with something like a picnic or a pizza in a restaurant.  Birthdays and Christmas will be celebrated with gifts that are preferably handmade, swapped, bartered, thrifted, hand me down and as a last resort - ethical, eco-friendly or organic.  And on a faaaaaar lesser scale than previously.  Birthday parties will be old school - cake, sambos, lemonade, pass the parcel and musical chairs.

3) Don't buy clothes.  She also has plenty of clothes, and although she has an opinion about them and likes to pick them out, she doesn't need the volume she has.  After all, there is only one little body wearing them and she wears a uniform.  She just needs to be comfortable, clean and climate appropriate.  When she outgrows her clothes, I will either have to make them from fabric from my stash or up cycled fabric, swap them, barter for them, get hand me downs or try to get some from freecycle.  I can also sell her old ones and use that exact amount of money to buy some.

Exceptions: Underwear, socks, tights and shoes. Allowed to use thrifted, free or organic fabric if unable to access fabric in any other way to make her clothes.  Allowed to pay for secondhand or organic, eco-friendly or ethical if need is urgent and unable to get them in any other way.

4) Don't buy books.  GASP!  Of course, we are huge book lovers in this house.  HUGE.  There is always a pile of books from the library next to Little Miss O's bed and my spot on the couch.  When I grow up, ha, I want to work in a bookstore.  However, that's just it.  We have the library, so I can borrow books and not have to bore myself to tears reading the same ones over and over and over.

Exceptions:  Birthdays and Christmas.  These should ultimately be secondhand books though.  Another possible exception would be when travelling - a beautiful book on the place we are visiting is part of my travelling with a kid arsenal...and so much nicer than a t-shirt or key ring.

5) No plastic.  I don't want to spend any more money on plastic for Little Miss O.  

Exceptions:  Art and craft supplies.  Textas come in plastic tubes.  So does paint.  However, she has ten million textas, so we should be right for a while.  I have tried natural paint, and it sucked.  It also came in plastic bags.  I will try to get as much of that secondhand/freecycle etc. ' though.  And Lego.

6) No child-specific products.  I am talking about YOU, squeezie organic fruit tube things.  I am talking about YOU special body wash.  Be gone.

These are my aims and mine alone.  Although I plan to gently discourage grandparents and so on from making purchases etc. not in line with this manifesto on spending, I can't expect to control everyone completely.  Or control them at all, actually.  So. 












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