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I often hear how expensive it is to be a parent. It makes me really sad to watch people putting off having kids until they’re “financially ready”. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad plan. But as I’ve often been told, if you keep waiting to be ready(especially financially), then you’ll never be ready. And I think it’s a very common misconception that having kids and starting a family is crazy expensive when in reality, it’s only really expensive if you make it so.

Think about. Think about everything you just have to have. Do you really need them? Are they necessities? Could you have survived without it? In most cases, the answer is that it wasn’t necessary. It just made things more convenient.

But having kids isn’t about convenience. It’s about raising a human being. It’s about unconditional love and always being there to support this child. It’s about watching them grow and be who they wish to become. And giving them all the tools they need to make it in this world.

“All the tools they need? That’s expensive.” No friends… It’s really not. Let’s take a look at a few ways to save lots of money.

 

Research pregnancy. Everything about pregnancy and birth. Know your rights. Know what tests can be refused. Which ones aren’t necessary to have. Don’t go crazy on ultrasounds. I didn’t see a midwife until I was already 16 weeks along. There were no risks and it wasn’t necessary. Minimal visits means minimal costs. Very simple and so easy for those with low risk pregnancies.

Have a natural birth. Don’t get the unnecessary interventions. Remember that you are paying for every thing they use during labor. Having an epidural costs more than doing it naturally. And if you can go without, do it. A woman’s body was meant to birth. Yes, there are instances where that just doesn’t work but stop trying to find excuses or allowing others to find them for you and trust in yourself and your body. Many women come out of natural births feeling completely restored and empowered.

 

Breastfeed. Yes, breastfeeding is a HUGE cost reduction. If you are able to do so, and most women are, then why wouldn’t you? It’s better for baby, it doesn’t carry the risks of formula, gives baby antibodies and other things to boost immune system, and it’s free! Baby can live off breastmilk up to the age of one. Food isn’t necessary before the child turns one. Think of how much can be saved during that first year if you aren’t purchasing 25+ dollars of formula. Probably several cans a month. That’ insane!

 

Feed baby what you eat. Just get a baby bullet or something similar and feed baby regular vegetables and fruits. No need to buy baby food. Baby food is more expensive than just doing it yourself as you are paying for the service and labor that goes into it. And parents often have jars of baby food left over. If you just use the food you eat, it’s already something you plan to purchase so you aren’t spending any extra or wasting any money. Before you know it, baby won’t need baby food and will be able to eat food cut into little pieces. Baby food is really just a transition process.

If you you breastfeed for a year, baby food is only going to be for play in most cases as all their nourishment comes from breastmilk. Solids shouldn’t be started before 6 months giving babies tummy time to develop and properly be able to handle digesting solids. Holding off longer doesn’t harm the baby in anyway.

 

Cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are an amazing investment. Looking into cloth diapers you may think it’s crazy to spend 10 bucks or more on one diaper, but you will be reusing this diaper. You can’t reuse disposables. You can also resell cloth diapers when you’re done with them or use them on your next baby. A good cloth diaper can last about 5 years or so.

My cloth diaper stash consists of 46 diapers for 250. 46 diapers is enough to cloth two babies! A large box of disposables is about 40 dollars. If I only go through one box a month, that’s 480 dollars a year, 960 for two years. That’s money that you’ve just thrown away. If I choose to sell off my cloth diapers right now, I could probably get 175 back. And I spend nothing extra because I use the same detergent on my diapers as I do our regular clothes. You can also get cloth wipes.

I truly encourage all new parents to look into cloth. It’s no longer the same as the horror stories you may have heard growing up. My parents used plastic bags to cover our cloth diapers so we didn’t leak. I’ve heard some horror stories my self, but I love our cloth. They even work as pants so my son can just wear a tshirt and a cloth diaper when it’s warm out.

 

Clothes. Clothes is a big one I think. Parents go over board when it comes to baby’s closet. Why? The child will grow out of it really quickly. My son spends most of his days in nothing but a diaper. We could probably get buy with 7 different outfits. He only wears clothes if we leave the house. I know for some people, that’s a lot more than it is for me, and that’s fine. You can still save. Buy hand me downs. Don’t be to proud to buy cheap clothes. What does a baby need brand names for? What does anybody need brand names for? If you are more focused on image than your actual needs, then you have a whole nother problem.

 

Toys. Does your child need all the toys he/she has? Does he/she play with them? Probably not. We have downgraded immensely on toys. We have a box of toys in the closet and a toy box filled with toys. When he gets really bored with the toys he has, we swap them for the box in the closet and it’s like all brand new toys again. He also plays with random things in the house. Measuring cups and utensils. Boxes. Laundry hampers. Sticks. Kid has an imagination and we let him use it.

 

Those are just a few ways I can think of to save money but there are many many more. I may make another post in the future about it but for now, I’ll leave you with this.

Why I Apologize to my Son

When you were growing up, did you ever get blamed for something that wasn’t your fault? Did your parents ever take their frustrations out on you? Ever hear the phrase “Because I said so.”, or “because I’m the parent and I’m always right.”? What did you learn from these times? What did it teach you? Anything?

I heard many of these arguments growing up. I got blamed for many things. Like one of my dad’s tools would go missing and then all hell would break loose. He would come in yelling and screaming and pointing fingers. But it never once crossed his mind that he could have simply misplaced this object. It just wasn’t possible.

Even if my parents had discovered that what they accused my brother and I of something that was not our fault, they never told us about it. They never admitted to being at fault. They were the parents. That meant that they were always right, even when they were wrong. It’s something you learned to just deal with. There was no point in trying to fight it, it would never change.

Now I am a mother. I have a 2 year old and although he doesn’t really understand everything yet, I apologize to him. All the time really. If he walks in front of me causing me to knock him over, I apologize. After all, that’s what I would do if he were an adult.

We practice peaceful parenting in our house. That means no spanking, no cry it out, and no yelling. It isn’t always easy and sometimes I lose my cool. If I raise my voice, it almost always ends with my son terrified and in tears. It’s not normal behavior for him to endure. And I always apologize to him for acting out of frustration. Always.

We haven’t gotten to the age of the blame game, but if I find I have made incorrect assumptions, I will apologize. Why? Because that is what you are supposed to do. That is what you would want someone to do if they accused you of something you had nothing to do with. That is how you would want to be treated and how you want your child to treat others. We teach by doing.

Apologizing to our kids also shows them that we care about how they feel. It lets them know that it’s okay to admit to being wrong. That everyone is wrong at times and that we all have faults. Nobody is perfect, not even parents. There is no reason to pretend to be.

It teaches them to forgive. And to ask for forgiveness when they should. That being stubborn and full of pride is not always the best thing. I have more respect for those who can admit that they were wrong than for a person who continues to deny it even when they have discovered they were wrong.

Apologizing is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. It takes strength to admit that you are wrong. To own up to your actions and accept the consequences. It allows people to see that you don’t see yourself as perfect and makes it so others are more likely to let you know when they were wrong as well.

Why do you think parents are afraid to apologize to their kids?

False Lover

She gave up her children to stand next to a man
Who really doesn’t care and puts her down with his hands
Two little boys growing up without a mother
Because she believes in a false lover
She fell for his words, so cunning and sweet
But she ignores the way his actions speak
Countless nights she cries herself to sleep
Can’t stand the guilt she feels when her little girl sees her weep
Asking her “Mommy, are you okay?”
And watching her cover the bruises she got today
Leaving Pennsylvania she left so much
To live with a man she can’t trust
She knows he hasn’t been true
And he says I’m sorry with a bruise
But she forgives him and takes him back
Without a thought, just like that

The Things I Love

Often we overlook the things that bring us the most happiness. We take them for granted or we don’t notice them at all. We are to busy focusing on the negatives in our life. And yes, I am very guilty of doing this as well. So today, I am going to make a list of all the amazing things I love and have to be so happy and grateful for.

I have my “furbabies” whom have been with me for a lot of ups and downs and have never wavered. They are always happy to see me with wagging tails and big smiles. Even the ones that have to live with grandma on the farm. They love road trips and running free. It’s always relaxing and fun to watch them run through a pasture and jump through tall grass. Or try to swim. I say try because they aren’t the brightest. One inhales water as he paddles and the other just doesn’t have a clue… Both would drown before leaving the water if I weren’t going with them. So very loyal.

I have the most amazing mother. She tries to be very understanding of the choices my family and myself make even though they aren’t what she’s used to. She continues to make sure that i do not go without even though I am 23 and have a family on my own. The most loving, caring woman I have ever known.

I get the luxury of being a stay at home mom because I have a supportive, hardworking, and dedicated fiancee. He even comes home and starts dinner and does the dishes if I haven’t gotten to it. I don’t know how I got so lucky.

I get to wake up to smiles and giggles down the hall. I get to listen to my son try to sing. I get to watch him grow and become a unique individual. I get to be here to soothe and comfort him when he’s having a hard time. Go to bed after hugs and kisses every night.

I get to create and carry life. I can feel it moving inside me. Every movement a miracle. Everyday a gift.

This is just a small list. I could go on for days. All the amazing things I get to feel and experience as a mother often render me speechless. How lucky am I?

Unseen Love

Tiny little fingers
Holding you tight
A love that lingers
Forever out of sight
Though you cannot see it
Doesn’t mean it isn’t there
You can feel it in his longingful stare
Just a little boy, wrapped up in his fathers arms
Forever protected, completely safe from harm

So it’s become a thing among parents and other people to ask for medical advice over Facebook. A very disturbing trend if you ask me. It makes me wonder how many kids are sitting at home and suffering when they should be hauled off to the ER or at least the doctors office for real medical attention. But instead they are taking pictures and asking strangers if they should be worried about their child’s rash or a video of their child breathing abnormally wondering if they should take him to the emergency room.

Since when did we stop trusting our instincts and started leaving our lives and decisions in the hands of total strangers on the internet? We ask people how we should dress or wear our hair. What baby name sounds better or what birthday/nursery theme we should choose. We hold so little value in our own opinions anymore.

In the past, we would have called up or mother or a close friend for advice, not post a status about it or try to get a page to share it for us. And if we couldn’t get them on the phone we went with our gut. How many moms are trying strange remedies for their kids because someone on the internet said it works? They are postponing their trip to the ER for their child who can barely breath because they are waiting for someone to validate their concerns. What if nobody ever does and the child stays in serious condition?

People are asking strangers what they think is wrong with them and getting mad when those people come up with a different diagnosis. Not only that, but you have hundreds of people commenting and many different options as to what they feel it is. Some say it’s an emergency or you need to seek a medical professional soon but others say it will clear up on it’s own and it’s nothing to worry about. Who do you listen too? Which stranger do you trust with your child?

Why have we become so disconnected with ourselves? Why do we not trust our instincts? Our children’s cues? We are getting all our advice from strangers. Even taking advice when it feels wrong to them. I want to leave this by encouraging everyone to start listening to themselves. Give yourself more credit and confidence in your instincts. Don’t go seek advice from strangers. Especially in emergencies.

Influences

I try to stay out of the mainstream gossip as much as possible, but having a Facebook account makes that nearly impossibe. I can guarantee if I didn’t have Facebook, I would have no idea who Justin Bieber is. But i do know who he is and I have heard of all his horrible antics. Driving under the influence is just so cool….

Lots of people are talking about how he is just a “poor kid” and needs to be “saved”. That we shouldn’t judge him and that we should pray for him and embrace him. They want to see him released and let off. He’s just a kid. To that I say, RIDICULOUS!

He is 19, an adult. And he made decisions that could have killed someone. Have you ever seen someone die? I have. I watched a man, a father and loving husband, die right before my eyes. He was hit by a drunk driver. That driver was 19. Would people still be feeling sorry for Bieber if his actions had killed someone? Do they realize a slap on the wrist will only validate his feelings of invincibility. Being untouchable…

Another thing people often say is that Miley and Bieber are not influences on our youth. If they do have an influence on our youth then it is the parent who has failed to do their job. How is that so? Everybody is influenced by their environment. The media is part of that. Unless a parent keeps their child with them 24/7 and don’t allow them to watch TV, leave the house, or visit friends, it is impossible to keep them from being influenced by something. Even Bieber and Miley.

If you say that these people are not influences, I’d have to say that you are completely oblivious. If a stranger told your child that they shouldn’t play with this toy or that one, you would likely step in and say something if you disagreed because you know it could have an impact on your child. Have you had your child come up and ask you why someone said something or announce that so and so said that this is true. Clearly they are being influenced.

Even adults are highly influenced by the media. They are getting plastic surgery to change their image. They are scheduling cesareans because it’s what the celebs do. They are having botox and practicing parenting techniques they heard their favorite celeb talk about. To say that our kids are not influenced when we adults are, is absurd. And to say it’s all the fault of the parent? So even when they are influenced as an adult it’s still because mom and dad failed us? 

As a parent, we do our best to ensure that are children are surrounded by positive influences. We cut people out of our lives to prevent them from being an influence. We change our lifestyles to make sure we are good influences. But the media is everywhere. Magazines at the store, Miley and Bieber dolls, TV, radio and etc. We can try to steer our child in another direction but our kids, just like you and I, are unique individuals. They are capable of coming to their own conclusions and thinking their own thoughts. Not everything we say is going to get through to them. 

I agree that it is not Bieber or Miley’s responsibility to care for our kids. I would never EVER ask one of them to or want them to. But unfortunately they are influences. And they started out as influences to our youth targeting the younger generation. I’m not saying their life is easy trying to leave behind the childish image but I don’t feel sorry for them for all the negative backlash they are receiving. They chose this path. They chose to be in the spotlight. They should just accept that spotlight and fame come with people being in their business. 

They should also, as should many celebs, take responsibility for their actions. Sadly we don’t have many people in the spotlight that we can look up to. And if we do, I may just not be aware because I try to stay away from all that. But feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

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