Moral dilemma of a first worlder: Let’s talk about the ethics of the goods we buy

What with recent events in the news about Foxconn, the Chinese company that produces gadgets for Apple, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and others, I’ve started to sit down and wonder if I really want to be purchasing products that were made by people living and working in poor conditions. But I need tech. What do I do?

The generous materialist’s confession: I give stuff away so I can get more stuff

First confession: I am a materialist. I like stuff. I like acquiring it, I like having it, and I like organizing it.

Second confession: I am a preener. I need to interact with my possessions — I need to use my things, touch my things, smell my things, and wear my things, to fully appreciate the things. This love of interacting with my stuff combined with sharing a one-bedroom home with my family of three means that I am a hoarding materialist. I need my possessions close at hand — if it’s stored, I can’t touch it and I might as well not have it. My friends with overstuffed, intimidating storage units packed tight with crap will tell you this quirk is a blessing. As much as I love something, if I’m not actively engaging with it, then it’s time to get rid of it. And if I want to get something new to preen over, then I need to get rid of something old. One in, one out.

This means I give a lot of stuff away.

Why we shop at our dingey local grocery instead of the place with all the possibly-better food across town

While we have several quality grocery stores that sell all kinds of delicious, organic, 100% good-for-you kind of food, we tend to opt to shop at our local supermarket instead. And by local, I don’t mean locally-grown, I mean… right down the street. We don’t do this because it’s close per se — the location is part of the appeal, but that’s because John, the man who owns the store, employs people who live in and around our immediate area. His store services people who live near us, and we routinely see the same people working and the same people shopping.

Walking the parent consumerism line: how much is too much?

What did you get while you were pregnant? More importantly — what didn’t you get. How can parents STOP with the rampant consumerism already?

Reducing amount of kid-detritus

Like the alcoholic who will always be recovering and never recovered, my problem isn’t in the amount of crap I have but the heavy, painful WANTING I sometimes experience.

What the hell is wrong with me? Probably a combination of the marketing of the “Baby Industrial Complex,” and too much of that quasi-free time I have, in which my body is doing something like nursing a baby, but my mind is free to wander through an imaginary toy aisle.

Resist the urge to compare

It’s OK to absolutely freaking love being a Mom. You can do that, and embrace it, and that experience can define you as much as other experiences in your life. It’s not mutually exclusive to being your own woman and your own individual.