Millennium Mom

Sunday, March 1, 2009

MM Blog 3/1: Sharing and Hand me Downs

Children teach you many things each day, more than you will ever imagine. Their unconditional love, raw emotions, and pace of development are awe inspiring and you have to catch your breath every now and then to soak it all in.

Having children also makes you aware of all the things you need when you have children. From maternity clothes when you are pregnant and expecting the baby, to the "tools" and "gadgets" for the baby, books and toys, certain furniture and more. It is truly amazing the amount of money you spend in those 3-5 years.

As most of you know, I was in Europe when we had Ben, and the cultural "necessities" for babies were significantly less than in the US. There were not bottle sanitizers, wipe warmers, video cameras (though maybe that was just a sign of the times) and so on. There also wasn't any friends to get hand me downs from. Shipping maternity clothes to Belgium didn't make a whole lot of sense.

So when I returned from Europe, and had my next two kids in quick succession to Ben, I knew I wanted to share what we had. It seemed so wasteful that my maternity clothes were packed away somewhere. They had been put to good use, but in the grand scheme of things had been worn less than 2 years. Heck, I have sweaters from high school still and that is 20 years ago. I knew these clothes had more life to them, particularly the nicer ones that only got worn a handful of times. Any good friend that was pregnant I would immediately ask if they needed clothes. I didn't really care if I got them back, I just wanted them to be put to good use. From Suzanne, to my sister, my cousins wife, Elika and Kristin. Each time they got lent out, it was a heartfelt moment knowing the joy they were going through.

The same is true for the baby "gear" all know it...the bouncy seat, swing, Bjorn, pumpkin seat, stroller, boppy pillow, baby tub, changing table, cradle, high chair, monitors and so on. You use it for about a year and then it goes in the basement. Thankfully for us by the time one child was done with it, it was only about 6 months until the next one was in it, but then what? It was such a waste just sitting in our basement. So we did the same thing again. First, the gentleman who worked from Arnie's wife was pregnant. They had just moved form Eastern Europe, knew no one and could use some help. We brought everything up and they took what they needed. With no family and hence no shower, it was a little bit like a shower for her. They were so thankful, it brought tears to my eyes. Next was Elika who worked for me and now Kristin who I work with.

At this point we really don't want it back. We tell people to donate it when they are done. We know we are not having any more children (I couldn't have said that even a year ago) so it makes sense that they pass it along to someone they know who could use it.

Now I am doing the same with the clothes from the kids. I held on to them for a while, not knowing what the genders of our children were. Would I need boy or girl clothes. Once I knew we were done, it was perfect timing as my sister had just had a boy. I began to send bags of clothes to NY with my parents when they came. Anything she didn't want would go to my cousins wife who had a boy 9 months after my sister. Again, the message was "please don't send it back."

My girl clothes are a bit more worn, as I have two girls, but I am now giving them to people at work if they want them. Anything not taken goes to women's shelters. The same with our toys. We donate them all to crisis centers and places that have children. I try to clean them as good as I can and share them with others in need. This makes my husband very happy whenever I have a box ready to go.

I encourage you all to pass along our stuff to others. Yes, you could sell it on EBay, but I would much rather give it to others. The money is not worth all the thanks and gratitude you get and knowing you helped someone else.


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