The Conditional Minimalist

As Moms we work hard, we play hard and (who are we kidding) we buy hard! How many times have you not really needed something until you browsed the good ole buy/sell/trade (bst) universe or Amazon’s black hole of Prime Day Deals?!  All of a sudden I need that gigantic handmade, wooden, life sized outdoor play house and matching picket fence for 300 bucks! It almost becomes this animalistic, innate life necessity to obtain this thing!  If the next gal “In line” doesn’t pass I may break out in hives! This is tough stuff. My husband (like many others) is a minimalist (when I first met him he wore man-pri dress pants and was 100% fine with it because he refused to spend his “hard earned paycheck” on new ones).  Trying to convince him about the necessity of some purchases is like taming a starved lion.  However, I have discovered there is some truth to his consumer game. Only SOME!

When my first little sweet was born, I felt like she needed all the toys that made her smarter,  the childhood favorites that I had, and everything possible to not make her feel like she was losing out.  Perhaps much of this thought process comes from stuff creating experiences or recreating our own experiences with stuff. OR maybe it’s making up for something we thought we missed out on in our youth (not that I’m not youthful now, but you know what I mean). Whatever the case, when I think about the moments where my daughters have told me “it’s the best day of our lives,” it has always come back to us being together as a family and actually experiencing the life that is already there….without the stuff.  I moonlight at a nursing home a few days a week. While chatting up the residents, the most common theme is time spent (or not spent…sadly) with their families. They don’t talk about how they obtained their incredible recliner, or cute pjs. They want to tell me about their pictures or talk about their children and late spouse. It is the same with my children.  The initial excitement over a new toy is great, but to put that money towards a ball game or trip to a water park is what gets locked into their memory. That toy is forgotten in a matter of days!

My husband complained about the incredible amount of gifts the babes receive at Christmas (and truthfully, is it really that enjoyable trying to find a home for all of it once everything is said and done?). So, last year we tried a new tactic (thank you, Pinterest).  We introduced, “something you can wear, read, need and want.” Then, of course, Santa brings stocking goodies and one present. This allowed me to still indulge in my love of online shopping, maintain a budget, AND keep my husband and kids happy. We also requested family members put the money they would normally spend on a toy towards an experience.  We received ski lessons (for the girls), money towards helping us fly home for the holidays, movie tickets, a couple projects from Kiwi Crate to do together….and the list goes on.  It was neat to see what came about when gifts weren’t toy centered.

Life can get so dang busy. To see true enjoyment and love in their little faces when they get special time together, puts a type of joy in my heart that is irreplaceable. Through my trials and errors and watching other Mommies get their Moming on, I am discovering my financial/consumer/life balance (mildly forced upon by my husband).

Lauren is a 30 (and some change) years old mother, wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, outdoor enthused, coffee infused, crunchy, Pinterest junkie, Amazonaholic--the most appropriate title depends on the time of day! She and her husband Neil have three daughters, Savannah (4.5), Harper (3.5) and Paisley (4 months). They enjoy small town living with big city entertainment by living on the outskirts of Omaha in Louisville, Nebraska. She works as a full time mommy and daycare provider by day and a part time social services/medical records assistant at a nursing home by night. Neil is a food services director for public schools, and it seems that the girls are preparing for careers in persuasive negotiating. Growing up she never thought much about having kids other than "someday" wanting to dabble. Now that "someday" is here, being a parent is her number one passion. However, it can be a lonely and overwhelming place at times, so she enjoys being able to share the trials, tribulations and joys of motherhood as an Omaha Mom Contributor!


  1. So true, Lauren. It’s not the stuff and fluff the kids remember. It’s the moments of togetherness that leave the biggest and best impressions.

    • “Stuff and fluff!” I LOVE that! I may need to adopt that term in our house! Yes, togetherness is not only just meant for the holidays!

  2. My family has recently switched to “experience” gifting. Even my six-year-old says it’s better. The nursing home part was so powerful. We will remember the people not the things. It’s a great reminder for sure.

    • Yes, I feel like as we approach the holidays (wooowhoo), if we instill a passion for each other over things, a new generation of gift giving and priorities will emerge in our children!

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