I bought a toy storage system last weekend at Ikea. It was within my shopaholic budget and necessary for my sanity. Mike referred to “it” (it being the actual storage system as well as the time I spent shopping for it) as my Mommy Prozac. I thought about his comment for a little while, contemplated if I should be offended, and, in the end, decided he was right. It is my Mommy Prozac. But if you walked through my house you’d understand.
Somehow, every room in our house – including the bathrooms – has become a playroom. Over the years, I’ve bought dozens of boxes, crates, totes and baskets to tastefully hold toys. Now, not only is every container overflowing with toys, but each container is like a weed in an overgrown garden. There are so many random pieces of colorful plastic roaming around the house that I’ve actually devoted baskets just for these homeless toy parts.
Regardless of my intentions, I just can’t get stuff out of my house faster than it’s coming in. Case in point: In my laundry room lives an extra-large shopping bag filled with broken, recalled and otherwise annoying toys that I want to throw out with the bulk trash but keep forgetting to. And then the kids find them and they end up back in circulation and then I find the toys and put them back in the shopping bag. And then I forget to throw them out again and the kids find them again. You get the picture.
I’m not a hoarder. I’m just a mom – a shopaholic mom – who let the house go while I was breastfeeding, potty training and, in general, learning how to take care of two kids under the age of three on a few hours of sleep each night. (By the way, I’m still trying to figure this out!) Now that Riley has truly passed the baby phase, it’s time to get rid of a lot of stuff. But no matter how many times I go to the consignment store or donate to friends and Goodwill, the piles just keep growing. It’s a daunting task, the kind that gets more overwhelming by the day and generally induces a craving for Xanax over Prozac.
On top of all the stuff I want to give away, there’s the matter of dealing with everything that, for better or for worse, still belongs here. My patio is a big wheel/pool toy junkyard. My kitchen is a minefield of cars and puzzle pieces. As I sit at the computer desk right now, there’s a box of crayons, a pile of nickjr.com printouts and an electric train remote control to my left and a sticky spot to my right that my arm keeps touching whenever I move the mouse. Just a few feet away is the train table, covered with cars, trucks, bugs (plastic ones), a old drum (from the bulk trash bag in the laundry room!), two plastic balls and a stuffed zebra, and the trains are no where to be found.
I accept responsibility for the toy tornado that has hit my house, but, at this point, it’s not a blame game. It just needs to be fixed. If buying a toy storage system at Ikea makes the chaos in my house and in my head settle down, for at least a little while, then so be it. On Saturday afternoon, I brought home one big brown Ikea box and a 12-pack of beer, and Mike built my sanity saver without judgment (well, except for the Prozac comment).
On the bright side, I think the new piece was a good bet. I have truly consolidated the toy situation in the family room (it’s a start!), put a few more toys in the charity pile and even found the missing trains. One of my shopaholic goals is to teach the boys the value of being charitable, so I took Dylan with me to the Goodwill truck last week to deliver a few bags of old baby toys and clothing. I reminded him that we were giving the toys and clothing to families who need them more than us. He said, “Okay, Mommy. And then we can get new toys.” I think I’m going to need more Mommy Prozac.