I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing in my head on the subject of money lately. It’s just such a hard topic to discuss really, without people becoming uncomfortable, or the subject actually causing rifts in friendships. But a few things have happened in my life recently that I thought I could share with you and while in effect there are three different thought processes, they’re what’s been milling about my mind, so here goes.
1) Soon after Ameli was born, I started thinking about money and about how having it or not having it affects my parenting â€“ or at least the things around my parenting. If I had limitless means, or even enough means to justify it, my daughter would have only wooden toys. She’d eat only organic food, and wear only organic clothing. She’d probably go to the best school just so that contacts with the â€œright peopleâ€ could set her up for life.
But those aren’t our realities, and certainly for the first year of her life, I didn’t buy a single item of clothing for her, or even one toy. Everything was given to us. We were spoiled for being the first of our friends, and the first of my family to have a child. Whereas I’d have little to no pink in Ameli’s cupboard (both because it’s not a colour I’m fond of, and because I hate the stereotype that girl equals pink) but within days of her birth, the pink clothes began trickling their way into her wardrobe.
We were spoiled, and blessed to be given everything including toys, and I wouldn’t even dare be ungrateful for a moment, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a small little part of my heart that wishes for that organic, best of the best life for my little girl.
2) Standing in line at the supermarket the other day, I felt sorry for the woman in the queue in front of me. Her basket was stacked high with follow on formula milk, disposable nappies and bottles upon bottles of pureed food. When her basket was rung up, the amount made my heart sink on her behalf. I know from our own recent use of disposables that her supply would last her no more than two weeks. At 3 bottles a day, the jars of puree would last about the same. I’m not sure how long the follow on milk would last, but I’d imagine about the same again. Her total for two weeks worth of baby supplies was almost that of our two weekly food budget.Â I would be bankrupt if we had spent the same instead of spending money on reusable nappies, which can be used for Squidgy too, and even resold later, practicing baby led weaning, and breastfeeding. I’m so grateful that we found a different way.
It’s no wonder people think babies are expensive.
3) Someone told me recently that I was lucky to be able to stay at home with Ameli. This annoys me. I’m not lucky. I’ve made different choices. I drive a ten year old car that my husband and I share. She has an out-the-box new car every couple of years. She has a standing fortnightly appointment with a nail technician and hairdresser. I haven’t had my hair professionally cut in over two years. My sister paid for me to have my nails â€˜done’ once in the last two years. She has a designer wardrobe and has more clothes than I’ve owned in my life. I haven’t bought anything new or non-essential since my maternity wardrobe (which consisted of four breastfeeding tops and four dressesâ€¦ all of which are still in my wardrobe and in â€˜circulation’.)
No. I’m not lucky. I’ve made different choices. If the house with two rooms to each person, the car, the clothes and the appearance were my priorities, I can assure you I would also not be â€˜lucky’ enough to afford to stay home to raise my child. (I know that it’s not an option for everyone, and some people simply have to work to make ends meet. I’m just saying that each person’s idea of what those ends â€˜meeting’ involve is different. )
Money. Something I’m finally realising about money, 32 years in, is that while it does makeÂ the world go round, and it doesn’t buy happiness or love, having an understanding of money as a resource rather than a reason is essential, otherwise you’ll spend your life never having enough, and that’s a sad and frustrating place to be.
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon October 11 with all the carnival links.)
- Money Matter$ â€” Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
- A different kind of life… â€” Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
- Show Me The Money! â€” Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
- Material v Spiritual Wealth – Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids â€” Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family’s realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
- If I Had a Money Tree â€” Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
- Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family â€” Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the “real cost” of working outside of the home.
- Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial â€” Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
- Confessions of a Cheapskate â€” Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
- Money Matters â€” Witch Mom hates money; here’s why.
- Money? What Money?! â€” Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she’s made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
- What matters. â€” Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
- Making Ends Meet â€” Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
- Poor People, Wealthy Ways â€” Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
- The Green Stuff â€” Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget – and her perspective on creating and mothering.
- Jemma’s Money â€” Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen’s monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
- 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier â€” Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
- Belonging in the Countryside â€” Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also heeds her from realizing her dream.
- Total Disclosure and Total Reform â€” Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
- Save Money by Using What You Have â€” Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she’s lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
- Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in Budgeting â€” MudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
- ABBA said it â€” Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children’s financial future.
- Money vs. Time â€” Momma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
- An Unexpected Cost of Parenting â€” Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
- 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money â€” Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
- Frugal Parenting â€” Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family’s lives at the same time.
- Conscious Cash Conscious â€” Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
- Money, Sex and Having it All â€” Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she’s willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
- Money could buy me … a clone? â€” With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
- Spending Intentionally â€” CatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
- New lessons from an allowance â€” Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old’s learned from having an allowance.
- How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune â€” Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
- It’s Not a Baby Crisis. It’s Not Even a Professional Crisis. â€” Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
- “Making” Money â€” Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
- Money On My Mind â€” Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
- Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance â€” Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
- Accounting for Taste â€” Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
- Money Matters… But Not Too Much â€” Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
- Parenting While Owning a Home Business â€” In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
- Crunchy Living is SO Expensive…Or Is It? â€” Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living – and her surprise at what she learned.
- Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems â€” Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family’s finances.
- The Importance of Food Planning â€” Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn’t always do it.
- Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers â€” Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family’s approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.