Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
It might be sacrilegious to be an attachment parenting advocate and say this, but if money were no object, I would hire a live-in babysitter.
I can just hear the clicks away from my site now! No, really! Stay here! I’m not a monster. Let me explain!
I don’t mean I want to farm out parenting to someone else. I don’t mean that I would have someone attend to my baby in the night instead of nurse her, or that I wouldn’t feed an infant on demand, or that I wouldn’t babywear.
I just would like to do all of those things and also retain my mental and physical health.
So what I really want is a village. If I said that, or if I just said “I would get help to be healthy,” would that sound better?
After two easy pregnancies (one ending in a c-section and one a homebirth), I’ve had a rough time the second half of my postpartum years. My thyroid disorder has returned, and I’ve got psoriasis so bad on my knees I’ve been scratching them to bleeding. With my first child, the skin cleared up when he began sleeping through the night at age two. Whether because of my getting uninterrupted sleep or my hormones finally settling down, I don’t know. For a long time I thought it was in large part due to the holistic medicine and energy clearing work I did, and maybe that did help a lot.
The thing is, I couldn’t pursue those healing modalities until I had space and time away from my son. And, with intense separation anxiety, I couldn’t get that time because I just couldn’t invest in a sitter who would be around for him to feel comfortable.
When my daughter came along, I didn’t get to nap with her like I did with my son because now he was an active, social four-year-old with a preschool schedule and a constant desire to hang out with friends or at least with me. Leaving him to play on his own while I got the baby to sleep has never been much of an option, and his willingness to rest alone in his room is about nil.
For many months, I felt like no one’s needs were getting met. I didn’t get to focus on the baby, I didn’t get to focus on my son, I didn’t get to focus on me. The one place I couldn’t cut corners has been with food: I will literally get sick if I don’t make all my food from scratch. A mama who has to plunk her baby in the pack n play while she sits on the potty is not exactly what I envisioned for myself.
So I cook. A lot. And I struggle with modeling the mindfulness I want my children to see when I am constantly doing three things at once. I want to be attentive, but when my mind is so muddled and my body so tired, that’s hard.
Last spring, I got a sitter to help out for a low rate since she can’t drive and the baby might be asleep a lot. But then she ended up being such a help in the house, cleaning dishes and chopping vegetables, folding and putting away laundry. I felt like I could breathe!
And this fall, I’ve found a great sitter — a client of my doula — who wears my daughter. I’m told that Baby A likes to feed the sitter’s son, and I get cute texts on occasion.
Having this help and my son in kindergarten has made such a difference. I doubt we’ll be blessed with a third child, but if I did have to do newborn time all over, I would try to fit in a lot of tutoring and as much freelance editing work I could so that we could justify a lot of help before and after. After seeing other moms benefit from having an au pair who is just around all the time, I covet the ability to just go for a walk or accept a last-minute opening for an acupuncture class without having to spend an hour looking for 80 minutes of childcare coverage.
Other folks I know have family visit periodically, or they live near family members who can just pop over when need be. I wish this were the case for us, but it’s not. One grandmother has more years of travel and help left in her, but the other doesn’t. We just enjoy the time we can spend with her without putting her health over the edge. My sisters have been able to offer some help, but they each have their own three children.
I realize I’m lucky to be in a position that we can afford the healthful food I need to eat and the healthcare appointments I manage to actually make. But if someone handed me an open checkbook, I would fill it with support so that I could really be my best self.
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$ — 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… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
- Show Me The Money! — 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 — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family’s realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
- If I Had a Money Tree — 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 — 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 — 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 — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
- Money Matters — Witch Mom hates money; here’s why.
- Money? What Money?! — 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. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
- Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
- Poor People, Wealthy Ways — 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 — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget – and her perspective on creating and mothering.
- Jemma’s Money — 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 — 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 — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from realizing her dream.
- Total Disclosure and Total Reform — 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 — 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 — MudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
- ABBA said it — 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 — 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 — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
- 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
- Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family’s lives at the same time.
- Conscious Cash Conscious — 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 — 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? — 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 — 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 — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old’s learned from having his own spending money.
- How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — 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. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
- “Making” Money — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living – and her surprise at what she learned.
- Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems — Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family’s finances.
- The Importance of Food Planning — 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 — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family’s approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.
Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says
I don’t think that makes you selfish or less AP – we *all* need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. It’s pretty simple! I am currently holding my breath in the hopes that the local preteen homeschooler is going to work out as a “mother’s helper” – we have a trial run this week, and it will just be a way for me to have some breathing room while Kieran plays with someone else. Fingers crossed I get *my* me time! And I hope you start feeling more yourself again soon too :)
I think if we were honest, we all would admit to wanting help around the house. I’ve only got one baby so far and have already had times when I called my mom and asked her to come watch him for me. Thankfully, I am surrounded by family. I admire you for doing what you do without that kind of support network nearby.
I relate to all of this inc. the mama health stuff. We hired a live-in nanny who only gives fifteen hrs of childcare a week. That is enough for me to go alone to drs appts, and has somehow quickly helped me manage to multiply my income because I have a dedicated period for my work-at-home work. I can also now cook for myself and she also cooks for my food issues! It started as a dream I put out into the universe “I want a part time au pair” We found one, just a nice nanny from another city who wanted to live in a little room in a new city. It is so affordable if you have the space and you can still be a AP mom ;) I hope your dreams come true!
Zoie @ TouchstoneZ says
Great post for CarNatPar. I hate that is has to be a choice for health and money, but that is often the way it is. I got help when I had PPD. I had, and still have a lot of momguilt, that I need, and still need so much help. I’m a sahm, homeschooling, and recovering my health. Without that village, the outside help is needed. I don’t think it’s outsourcing parenting. I think it makes the time you do parent turn out to be better connected and more mentally healing for everyone.
And I’m adding you to the list to join the Crunchy Commune! (the mythical support group where we can all coparent together on permanent retreat)
Deb @ Living Montessori Now says
I think it’s great that you’re aware of what you need to have balance in your life. Your dietary changes are awesome! Finding what works for you and your family is what really matters … I totally agree that taking care of yourself will allow you to take the best care of your family. I hope you’re able to find a perfect solution for you and your family.
Oh, yes, I totally get it. We’re expecting our second (and last) this February/March, and I don’t know how we’re going to manage everything. Any money we’ll have saved by that point will be for my maternity leave. How do I balance my need for that time off with our need for help?
I’m glad you’re finding ways to get everyone’s needs met — including your own!
Ronald Hampton says
everybody has need fulfilled including yourself, and they are just as important as anybody else. How could you manage to be a good parent if you were completely insane in the process. I am glad you could find a helpful solution and i don’t anybody would pass up the chance if they could.