An Arkansas mother says her entire outlook on motherhood has changed after she decided to give away all her children's toys.
Allie Casazza spent most of her days cleaning up after her children, just to watch the mess build up again, ABC News reported.
“I had this huge room in my house, dedicated to toys,” Casazza told ABC News. “Bins overflowing with stuff. A $150 light-up unicorn no one played with. The playroom was the bane of my existence.
“I’d send the kids into the playroom and they’d dump out a few things. They’d be back moments later, saying they were bored and asking for snacks.”
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Cleaning up after the kids caused Casazza a considerable amount of stress. She found herself looking forward to naptime and bedtime.
“I didn’t enjoy motherhood,” she told the news station. “I didn’t enjoy [my kids]. They were a bother to me.
“I thought that was ‘just the way it was.’ I was in survival mode.”
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Then one day, Casazza decided she had enough. She gave away nearly every toy in the house. She said the decision “saved” her motherhood and her marriage.
Casazza’s decision was even well received by her children, who were excited that she had cleaned out the room. She said things in her home changed overnight.
“I had been so resentful of my husband, telling him, ‘You have no idea what I go through all day,’ but after the toys were gone I immediately felt lighter,” Casazza said. “I had so much less stress.”
Casazza wasn’t alone in her struggle. According to a 2012 study from UCLA’s Center on the Everyday Lives of Family, an excess of belongings can have a negative effect on mothers.
The study found that managing a high number of possessions “was such a crushing problem in many homes that it actually elevated levels of stress hormones for mothers."
With all the newfound space, the family decided to downsize and Casazza even started her own business. The Purposeful Housewife is a consultation site dedicated to helping mothers “unclutter” their lives.
“I'm all about helping you purge the clutter that's clogging your joy, rediscover the purpose in your days, and live with intention,” Casazza wrote on the website’s description.
Casazza’s kids are currently being homeschooled. She says they now use their imaginations to make up games.
“That’s all they do all day. Together,” she said. “There’s no more, ‘I was playing with that,' because they don’t have those things anymore.”
“It’s such a short season when your kids are young,” Casazza added. “Now I can enjoy it.”