Want, Need, Wear, Read

I used to be a “wanna-be-Pinterest-mama.”

I’d Pinterest all the things, especially around holidays and birthdays.  I’d pin away and attempt to recreate, and holidays/birthdays became these keeping-up-with-the-Joneses extravaganzas.

Fast-forward to now, a now that has me as a single mama to three kids. A now that has me as a single mama who has had to both lower and simplify my expectations.

Because HELP.

I can barely keep my head above the laundry, and I am too busy staying afloat in the constantly choppy waves of life/work. Truthfully, even opening the Pinterest app on my phone feels too laborious.

So, these days I’m all about outsourcing parties, picking up some juice boxes and some Hot’n Ready pizzas from Little Caesars, and calling it a day.

In fact, at my daughter’s last joint birthday party, my friend and I joked that it looked like a party straight out of the 1980s. Capri Suns, half-sandwiches, a bowl of grapes, and a homemade, lopsided cake.

And you know what? Kids were laughing and playing and blowing out candles and opening presents and they still turned a year older…

Having to simplify in my current season of life is also related to my current financial state. Elementary school teacher + single mama to three littles = an Excel budget spreadsheet and lots of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Because of this, my attempts to pare down have also trickled into gift-giving.

Gone are the days of my kids having mountains of gifts on their birthdays.

Instead, they get FOUR.

1.  Something they want

2.  Something they need

3.  Something they wear

4.  Something they read

It’s actually been refreshing for all of us, I think. The gifts feel intentional and purposeful. The kids know this expectation and get excited to see their four things. And in a world that feels full of so much entitlement, greed, and materialism, it is so hard to raise kids to be appreciative and selfless and mindful outside of their own little universe.

As Christmas approaches, I’ve been trying to figure out how to translate our gift-giving-rule. The mama in me wants to do a little more, because it is Christmas, and they are kids, and this time is so magical. So maybe I’ll do two of each category? I’m still figuring it out, trying to keep myself grounded (and keep my eyes on the Excel spreadsheet!) while not getting too swept away in the lure and magic of alllllllll the temptation to buy them allllllll the things for Christmas.

Do you have any rules you follow for gift-giving for birthdays/Christmas? How do you keep things from getting too over-the-top as we dive headfirst into the holiday season? Please share with us any tips/tricks you have!

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Jessie Peele
Jessie is a happy-hour-loving, cupcake-eating, running-obsessed, reality-tv-addicted single mama, currently living in Carrollton, GA. She was born and raised in Columbia, SC, attended Clemson University (Go Tigers!), and taught elementary school for about ten years in Winston Salem, NC. Life brought her to Carrollton in January of 2014, and after four years in Georgia she's still getting used to living in a small town. Jessie was a stay-at-home mama for 3.5 years, but when life took an unexpected turn, she became a divorced mama who found her way back to the classroom. With three kids in tow (Cameron Kate, 7, Everette, 4, and Brooks, 2), she is now a full-time elementary school teacher and a part-time skincare business owner via Rodan + Fields. In the nooks and crannies of her day, she loves running (bonus if it's WITHOUT the stroller!), binge-watching on Netflix, baking and eating anything sweet, drinking a good craft beer/vodka cocktail/cold margarita, and blogging about all things mama-hood on her blog Cupcakes & Running Shoes: http://cupcakesandrunningshoes.blogspot.com/.