Confessions of a Squirrel

I need to admit something. I’m a bit of a hoarder, but not in the sense that I avoid throwing away newspapers and shit like that. More like, I seem to squirrel away outfits and shoes, fancy stationary and wrapping paper, candles. And for what? I don’t know. It’s not that I won’t throw stuff away – I’m happy to throw away paperwork, knick-knacks I’ve moved on from (usually get donated), stained Tupperware – that kind of thing. But I don’t know what I’m saving stuff for.

My first stash is gift cards. Maybe I’m wrong, but I bet most people get gift cards for holidays and spend them within a few weeks of receiving them? Not me. I literally just spent a gift card last week that I had since Christmas 2014. WHY? What the hell was I saving that for? I’m embarrassed to even write this, but I currently have mgiftcardsovie gift cards from summer 2016, a Belk gift card from a return last February (of 2016!), seven various gift cards from Christmas 2016, a gift card from a return from Ainsley’s baby shower and two gift cards for Ainsley from my wonderful great Aunt for random occasions. This is an insane amount of gift cards. I started hoarding gift cards before Ainsley, when I was at my first real job making $28,000. I was 22, fresh out of college and moving in with my boyfriend (AKA Adam). I didn’t want to rely on him, but could barely afford clothes from Old Navy or Target, so I saved my gift cards until my favorite stores had sales and I could get more bang for my buck. Now I have no real excuse, except I’m afraid one day I’ll really want something and not be able to afford it. Or maybe I truly don’t need anything? I think becoming a mother has made my gift card squirreling worse – now I save them for when I need something for Ainsley. It’s all about her – always!

Two weeks ago, I was recognized at a work dinner with a $100 gift card. The next day, I went to Anthropologie and spent it. I felt like I was breaking my own rules, like a fucking bad ass. I also had a Lululemon gift card from Christmas, so I went and spent that too. I was on a high! I had to text my best friend and tell her how strange it felt to be spending gift cards, especially so quickly after I got them, and shopping without Ainsley!

I also save clothing, particularly when it comes to Ainsley. Back when I was making pennies, I’d buy “going-out” clothing and work clothing. And then, I’d even save my “going-out” stuff for a big deal. Again, for what? The dress code at my current job is super lax, it’s called “smart casual,” meaning I can wear jeans and sneakers every day if I really wanted to. It also means that I’m able to wear my cute casual clothes I’d wear out also to work. Or maybe this is just what being a grown up is – I wear my nicer clothes to work because I’m usually in my pajamas by 7:30pm? But for Ainsley? I spend a ridiculous amount on one outfit and then save it, but at the rate she grows, that fancy outfit gets worn maybe once. What the fuck? Ainsley has these killer Mini Melissa hot pink sneakers. She wore them one time and got them dirty, so I cleaned them and put them in her closet. When she was an infant, my mom bought her the cutest Kate Spade outfit. Again, I saved it, and she ended up only wearing it once (of course, for a cute photo op!). I’m making a conscious effort to NOT make dumb excuses for stashing away clothing. I decided earlier this week that I need to get over that. So today Ainsley wore her kickass pink sneakers, with another outfit I’ve never put her in. She didn’t really match, but that wasn’t the point.

I remember being young and my mom would buy me fancy notebooks or gel pens, and again, I’d keep them hidden. I wouldn’t bring them to school for fear of being taken or actually using them too quickly! And then I’d outgrow my gel pen stage or my Lisa Frank notebook, and my mom would find this stuff unused and think I never appreciated it. When it fact, it was the complete opposite. I appreciated it so much, I never used it. Not much has changed into my adulthood. I splurge and buy quirky notebooks and desk accessories and greeting cards, and never use them. I have Kate Spade post-it’s that are over a year old (but they don’t really stick that well – don’t waste your money). I have the sweetest Spartina planner, but I hardly use the stickers that came with them, even though that was a selling point!

I openly admit to being a candle lover and candle stasher. People gift me candles, and I save them. I wait until my current candle burns out and then I break out a new one. I don’t think that’s as bad as stashing gift cards or clothing, but my husband thinks it’s nutty that I have a candle cabinet. In fact, my husband thinks I hoard everything. Sometimes I find myself yelling at him for eating snacks I bought specifically for me or Ainsley. What the fuck is wrong with me? His response to my yelling is usually “you know people actually buy food to eat, and we can always go buy more of it.” Truth hurts.

Time moves quickly, and feels even quicker when you have kids. Next thing I know, Ainsley will be 8 and I’ll have gift cards from her second birthday still stashed away. I’ll have never-worn shoes in her baby box. So I’m making a really conscious effort to NOT be that mom. Not be the mom who says no because time moves so quickly I might never get to say yes. When Ainsley can eventually ask for my fancy pens – yes, use them. When she might want to take a sheet of paper from a cute notebook or eat something I bought from an expensive supermarket – yes. When she wants to wear the overpriced shoes every day – yes (because why else do you spend over $50 on a pair of shoes for a toddler). Wear the damn outfit. Spend the damn gift card. I’m trying.


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