Posted by: ButterflyMoms | July 8, 2010

TRAVELING with NO TOYS! Are YOU Kidding?!

Dearest ButterflyMoms,

On our summer adventure to Portugal, I am traveling alone with my three girls, ages 2, 4 and 6 for seven weeks and I DID NOT bring one toy, stuffed animal, or doll. YUP, you read this right, NOTHIN’, NADA, ZEN ZEN, NIENTE! NO TOYS!!! The only things we brought were a jump rope, educational workbook for each girl (so we can play “schoolie”) and music for the girls (which they did not listen for more than a couple of minutes.)

My youngest cutie pie...

There are many reasons for not bringing lots of toys. One, I wanted to pack as light and as practically as I could for this type of flight (by that I mean one in which I’m COMPLETELY outnumbered!!! 😉 )  Two, the house we are going to is modest in size as most city condominiums are so transferring our clutter here is not something that I want to be any part of. The main reason, though, is that back home, we have fallen into the American trap of having a WHOLE HUGE ROOM dedicated just to toys!!!! The thing is that they RARELY play most of them which is shocking to me because if I had that room as a kid I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven….and that might be the point. I read somewhere that with our generation we want better for our kids than we had.  That might seem like a natural thing but because we have so much ABUNDANCE around us (by that, in this situation, I mean we have access to crazy amounts of STUFF like no other generation had before.) Whatever we “suffered” as children we wanted to “fix” for our children. (take the in….deep breaths) Let me say that again, whatever we “suffered” as children we wanted to “fix” for our children. The result is that we OVER COMPENSATE, oftentimes a colossal ways! Our toy room is an example of how we are trying to fill in the whole we have from our childhood by taking the STRUGGLE from our kids. By doing so are we taking away their ability to FLY? (BREATHE DEEPLY – LET THE FEELINGS WASH OVER AND THROUGH YOU). Now this is not good or bad, it just is. Just notice it and go from there. This reminds me of a story….

Have you heard of story of the writer who was sitting at her desk one day and saw a cocoon? Every day she would look at the butterfly inside struggling to get out. After days of watching this “suffering” the writer “thought” that the most merciful thing to do was to DO SOMETHING. The “something” she chose to do was to cut the butterfly free from the cocoon. That butterfly NEVER flew because her “savior” could not see the whole picture. She only saw from her limited view-point. By wanting to “fix” the situation she actually killed the butterfly’s ability to gain strength. A vital part of the butterfly’s life is the struggle to get out of the cocoon. Just like going to the gym and lifting weights “hurts” but builds muscles, the butterfly was building its wings’ ability to fly. When the STRUGGLE was taken away so were the chance for the butterfly to FLY!

People who are happiest on this planet can get to the simplest core of their life. One of the core elements is simply noticing. With a childlike curiosity just notice what is going on with you around this. Are you doing this for you or for them? NO Judging, just LOVE. Have fun with it and you will uncover the most amazing TREASURES in yourself. Clean them off. Get rid of the ones that no longer serve you. Keep and honor the ones that serve you. It’s your life to create as you wish. Have fun creating!…remember that BREATH is always there ready whenever you need INSPIRATION!! It is the MOST VALUABLE (and under-utilized) RESOURCE you have! REMEMBER USE YOUR BREATH!

Great big hugs,



From Lisboa, Portugal


PS If you like what you read please share with a friend! MWAH!

 PPS Nothing from the OPRAH Network yet. 😉


  1. Mariaaa, You inspire me – I find myself sitting up taller and breathing deeper when I read your blog! Thank you for that! You are so right – we have adopted something in our house – when something comes in, something must go out! So, if a new toy comes in, a new toy must be donated. Joanne

  2. Great writing today. I like Joanne’s rule. Something, something out to be donated. I can work on this with Chris or I can wait until you get home to get the donations together.
    Love you……

  3. Happy & safe traveling with your beauties, Maria! We have a slightly different rule. We donate a lot, but in the instance of this weekend, we are having a yard sale, and a lot of toys and stuffed animals will be leaving our house forever. What we have taught our children is if they want something, they have to give something up in return. If it cost money, they can sell something they no longer need/want that has value and recycle the money to buy what they want. That way, it has more meaning for them because they are vested in it too, not just having us spend on things they may never use again. It helps them decide really how important these “things” are to them.

    When we travel, something we never leave without is a sketchbook and journal for each person. We discouraged having coloring books in our home, from the start, because we believe that they inhibit creativity and teaches us to STAY IN THE LINES. (Although I do agree that it can be very therapeutic to color.) There’s too much “staying in the lines’ going on in our society already. Drawing and making fairy houses, boats and other objects out of nature has always been fulfilling for our children, and us adults, and the natural items can be left behind for others to discover & enjoy while on their family walks.

    I hope to see more adorable pictures!

  4. Judit – I LOVE your idea about sketch books and no more coloring books!!!!! I agree, way to much staying in the lines in our community! I too make fairy houses in the woods with my kids, and encourage them to use what is around them to create things – the day I met Maria my kids were making a small fort in our garage with firewood and 2x4s that they found in the garage – painting them, stacking them – working together, planning and using their imagination – that is better than any piece of plastic that I could have bought them in the store!!!!!

  5. I have learned so much from this blog and the comments, thank you everyone. I believe in no clutter and life can be so much simpler when you travel with less…thanks all!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: