It comes with the territory, I know, and I can hear, as if on cue, parents of older children telling me, “You will miss it. Blink, and your young boys will be grown men.” Yes, yes, I get it, but right here, right now, in these days where my boys are young and untidy, it feels like my life is being overrun by plastic.
Plastic pieces, large and small, are everywhere in my home. I feel overrun with the stuff. Legos, Playmobile people, Star Wars ships, ping pong balls, Nerf darts and blasters and bump stocks (oh my!). It does not matter how much time is spent trying to contain the plastic, the attempts are futile.
I know my Mom used to complain of the same thing. The difference, I think, for my generation of moms is that I can’t just scoop up the stuff and throw it out. Nope. Anytime I move to dump a piece of plastic, a forlorn piece of Mr. Potato Head, a set of legs from a Lego minifigure, or its decapitated head, that flame from the Playmobile pirate ship — I have to hold the guilt of knowing that plastic is going to end up in a landfill somewhere, sitting, and decidedly not decomposing, harming our planet.
Oy, the guilt is real.
A solution escapes me. I could go hard core and start putting all errant plastic pieces in a bin that gets donated when full. That makes me wonder if I keep the bin out of sight, would the kiddos even miss the stuff? And how do you donate a bin of random plastic pieces that are basically of no use to anyone without their mates?
“Nothing on this earth lasts forever. Except maybe plastic.” Patricia Dunn
Some parents, I know, don’t allow new toys into the home until old toys go out. Pfft. That sounds like a lot of effort. Do I really want to spend that much time thinking and arguing and wrangling over bits and pieces of plastic with two boys who legitimately believe that each and every piece is necessary to their very existence? I’m too lazy for that ish.
Layered on top of all of this frustration is the reality I live with every day that having healthy children is a miracle that I take for granted. I know that kids get sick and sometimes die. Little pieces of plastic should be nothing to me. I should feel lucky to have those errant environmental hazards in my home. And it is never, ever lost on me that I have pieces of plastic in my home that have been here three times as long as my dear girl.
The voices inside my head, influenced by a lot of Catholic guilt, tell me that those plastic pieces that drive me mad are a sign of my truly blessed life. How dare I not cherish each and every single piece of plastic that crosses my path roughly 1,397 times a day? And, yes, it can be pretty exhausting inside my head.
So, long story short, school me. Or, pun intended, Playskool me. How do you manage the plastic in your life? What are your tried and true tactics to live harmoniously with the plastic? Teach me your ways, oh mother better at this stuff than I am, cause I need help.