“There are of course more serious addictions. I don’t get my kids stoned from daycare: I don’t smoke, I drink no more than two glasses of wine a week and I don’t have an insatiable libido. But I do have a habit that runs off with me and detracts from other activities.
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I confess: I spend many hours a week scouring sites like Marktplaats. It started when I was pregnant with Gijs and was at home on leave. I was such a turbo-pregnant with crazy energy, was bored and was looking for something to pass the time. It started with the nursery. I am not exaggerating when I say that I bought everything, absolutely everything, used. From the dresser to the wooden floor.
My boyfriend thought it was all fine then. We have always enjoyed going to flea markets together for that one beautiful vase or something else we didn’t need. I only had to resell the much too low seventies baby carriage with awkward narrow wheels. That thing would only give us a hernia.
My friend was also not happy when he came back from a business trip and I exchanged our lounger for a not very comfortable Gispen bench. I never told you that I had to pay six hundred euros more. But he got really angry the following month when I had no money to deposit into our en-or account because I had spent it on an East German factory lamp for nine hundred euros. I promised to go on the Markplaats diet for the rest of my pregnancy: selling stuff was allowed, but nothing came in anymore.
It went well for a while. The arrival of our son and daughter Mayliss two years later pushed my compulsion to buy into the background. I was too busy being happy. When my second maternity leave was over and the children went to daycare three days a week, one day I installed the Marktplaats app on my phone again. I joined a Facebook group for vintage design and clothing. And I started visiting regular online stores. Just as your weight increases again when you stop dieting, so the packages at our door piled higher than ever before in no time.
Of course, that included clothing for the kids and benefits packs of diapers. But also an in-between coat, the umpteenth black dress and pumps that I put ashamedly next to the other shoes I never wear.
‘I am very insensitive to addictions. But yeah, that damn Facebook ‘>
My buying behavior led to another argument with my friend, who discovered on the statement of our credit cards that I had bought for a thousand euros in one month from an online department store. That’s about the amount we spend on childcare, he calculated. That message did get through. I had so longed for these two children. Now I had them and apparently felt so dissatisfied that I sat on the couch at night with an enormous urge to buy something I didn’t need at all.
Why I did that I discovered during a yoga weekend where I went with a friend. During a meditation we were instructed to think of someone you like but don’t know well, maybe not even his name. Immediately I saw someone in front of me: the owner of the neighborhood supermarket around the corner. Such a boy who is always cheerful. Who makes our children laugh and seems to enjoy life. Even if a new supermarket is opened right next to him, which causes its turnover to falter.
I started crying with shrugging shoulders. Because I suddenly realized how I was pushing my emotions under water. I was blissfully happy with my two children, but also sad about two previous miscarriages. And about the illness of my father, who was admitted to a psychiatric clinic for a year. I think I am trying to distract myself from those feelings with my buying addiction. Fatigue also plays a role: I’ve had broken nights for three years.
Free and free
After the yoga weekend, my girlfriend suggested we go for a weekly walk. Sometimes we talk about our state of mind, sometimes we gossip as usual. In any case, after such a walk, I feel a lot lighter and less tired. My boyfriend and I agreed to turn off our phones and laptops after 9 PM. Instead, we’ll watch an episode of Game of Thrones or so. And on Wednesday evening we go to bed at the same time, which also leads to socializing more often. And all of that for free and for free. ”
This article has previously appeared in Kek Mama.
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