Before my children learned to walk, I’d let them go without shoes, even when we went out. When a friend asked me about it, I laughed and said, “Baby don’t care.” That became an inside joke in our family because many times, moms fall into the trap of doing things for our kids that actually matter to us, not to them.
Of course, sometimes our kids, especially older ones, do care about things we know don’t matter in the big picture. But since they don’t have the maturity yet to discern that, we can lovingly guide them. In the meantime, here are 5 other things you shouldn’t care about in parenting.
1. A fancy nursery or expensive bedroom furniture?
Baby don’t care—and kids don’t either. All they need is a safe place to sleep. What they will care about one day, and what will give them a less-stressed home, is the financial security that comes from buying less stuff that’s mainly for looks.
But I do want to give you a heads up: Your child will probably want to redo his or her room one day. When my daughter wanted a more grown-up room, we gave her a budget and let her choose what to buy. There’s a difference between indulging in excess and allowing children to express themselves through their personal space and style (see #2). It’s up to us to know the difference.
2. The latest graphic T-shirt?
Baby don’t care. As long as her clothes are clean and they fit, she’s fine. It can be tempting to buy the newest and cutest because our kids look so adorable in them. The same goes for our older kids. It’s easy to get caught up in having the latest. But it’s better for the environment and our budget if we buy less.
We also can talk with our older kids about how marketing plays a role in making us think we need a certain brand. While trends are among the things you shouldn’t care about in parenting, you should care about what influences a kid to adopt those trends.
3. A big birthday bash?
Baby don’t care. I confess: My babies’ first birthday parties were over. the. top. And you know what? My babies would’ve been just as happy with a smaller crowd. In fact, they got a little overwhelmed with all the craziness—and so did I.
Even older kids don’t need a birthday party that’s more style than substance, the substance being celebrating our children with the people who matter most to them.
4. Luxury transportation?
Baby don’t care if he has the hottest new stroller. Now, in all fairness, moms do care about this one with good reason—we need a stroller that’s not only safe but is also easy to push and put away. But, don’t feel pressured to go top of the line. I checked out Consumer Reports and there are strollers that are great for a lot less money.
What about our transportation and car choice? I’ll let financial expert Dave Ramsey’s advice in this video about never having a car payment make the case. Because even though it’s fun to have a nice car, it’s a lot more fun to have a lower car payment or none at all.
5. A huge collection?
Baby don’t care. You don’t need a massive library of books or a closet overflowing with clothes or so many toys the kids need a collection of toy boxes. Babies don’t care if you own the book or if it’s from the library. Kids can’t possibly play with that many different toys in a day. The same goes for other things we think our little and big kids need a lot of. Too many choices can distract kids from the good things they already have.
So what’s on your list of things you shouldn’t care about in parenting?