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Kids Aren’t So Expensive

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?

Let’s Ask Facebook for Medical Advice

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.

Things I Learned From My Son

It’s amazing how a life can change when you put a child in it. How people you know become someone else entirely around a small child. That guy you’ve always thought to be a huge jerk answers a toy phone when a child says “It’s for you!”. All of a sudden you think, well he’s not all bad I guess. Or maybe the person you thought was always sweet and kind completely throws you through a loop when they tell a small child to get away from them and explain that they hate children.

Most of us can’t remember what it was like to be a child. Growing up has destroyed our imagination. It has taught us that we must always be in a hurry. That there is always something that needs to be done or a bill that needs to be paid. We can never stop just to take a moment to breathe. A moment to look around and see the world we live in. A moment to dream.

Today’s society has also taught us that there are so many things we need to be part of. That kids are burdens and they hold us back from living a dream life of seeing the world and doing amazing things. That kids will put us in a slump. Drag us into debt and be an endless drain on our life. So we should wait to have kids until we have achieved everything in life we have set out to do. Because once you have a child there is no going back and you can’t do any of those things.

Having my son, has taught me that society is wrong. I certainly didn’t plan my son. I was 23 and a week away from doing a physical to approve my enlistment into the Air Force. Am I unhappy that I had him? I was unhappy about the news at first, but I know that I am far happier now than I ever would have been if I had followed my plan.

I learned that life never goes according to planned and that’s okay. It’s not about planning life, but about being happy with the life you have. I have never been happier with my life. My son has enriched my life beyond my imagination. And my life rarely goes as planned anymore. Nap time doesn’t always happen. He doesn’t always want to eat the food I have prepared(even when I spent a week planning it and all day preparing it). My son gets sick. I have to cancel plans to take care of him or because I couldn’t find a sitter. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

My son has taught me to see the good in everybody. To not immediately judge them. And be open to new friendships. Friends can come from the most unexpected faces. And a simple smile can open up so many doors.

I now know that I need to be careful how I word things. It can make the world of difference. And never get stingy on the “I love you’s”. It’s important to let those you love know how much they are cared for.

Snuggle time is a must every day. Preferably several times a day. A hug and a kiss can be the perfect thing to help make someone feel better. Even adults.

I used to always be early, now I am lucky to on time. I have slowed down. My son loves to stop and look at things. Smile and wave at people. He wants to see the world and experience it. I don’t want my haste to stop him from that. And giving him time to explore allows me to take time to notice the world around me.

Having a child gives me an excuse to use my imagination again. If I want to color or do childish things, it’s not weird. I have a child. I can color horses green and make them eat pink grass. I can play with legos and make fancy buildings.

Poopy diapers should be celebrated. Having had to change a colostomy bag for my son’s first three months, I can honestly say that I still love seeing normal poopy diapers. And it helps me not take things for granted because I have been on the other side. At least here, so I try to put myself there in every situation.

Having a child is not the end of the world. Is the beginning of a whole new world. If you are able to open your heart and your mind, you will see how amazing life can be. Hoe much love you can truly feel. I am lucky to have such an amazing child.

Destroying a Person

Children. Children are vulnerable people. They are easily destroyed by our words and our actions. Often children are not treated with respect and expected to behave in a manner beyond their years. They are punished, yelled at, and torn down. If, as an adult, people were treated the way children are, they would most likely remove the person tearing them down from their lives. Children often don’t have that choice.

Instead of talking to children on their level, we talk down to them. Make them feel like less of a person. If they make a simple mistake, like spilling their glass of milk, we make it out to be the end of the world. But why? Why do we spend so much time making our kids feel like they are not good enough when we should be making them feel they can do anything? Instead of praising them and letting them know that we are proud of them any chance we get, we are making sure they know every mistake they make and every flaw they have.

When you talk to your kids, do you ever think of how your words are impacting them? A simple “Oh you’re okay.” when they feel hurt can just add to the pain. Dismissing the child’s feelings as if they don’t have any. You certainly wouldn’t do that to an adult. Most people don’t mean it that way, but that’s what it says. A better way to say it is “It will be okay, I’m right here.” Validating the child’s feelings and comforting them to help them past this moment in time.

Don’t get angry with them because they are upset for, what seems to you to be, no reason. Adults get upset all the time. Sometimes they don’t even know why, but they aren’t told to “get over it”, “better stop that crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”, Oh’ you’re fine. Quit being a baby.” Those words hurt. Those words sound like the words of bullies. Why are parents being their child’s first bully?

I guess I just don’t understand how a parent can tear down their child so much. And I don’t understand how they can’t see that they are doing it. When your child comes up to you all excited about something, take a moment to listen to them. Be excited with them. Don’t justify it. Just be excited.

You go to the kitchen to find them trying to make you breakfast in bed. The kitchen is a mess with milk spilled on the floor and eggs shells and yolks everywhere. Don’t get mad. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Join them in cooking and cleaning up. And request that next time, you would love it more if they came to you for help so you can cook together. Very simple and it doesn’t dismiss they had good intentions, they outcome just wasn’t what they had planned anymore than you. But coming in yelling and screaming is just going to make them think doing nice things like that always ends badly.

And this doesn’t stop with the kids. These kids grow up. They become adults. And as adult, many of them can’t shake the idea that they aren’t good enough. They are still trying to please their parents whom, often times, are still tearing them down. But instead of removing this negative person from their life, they feel they can’t. It’s their parent. They have to make them proud. They have to keep trying.

And they surround themselves with negative people. They feel that what these people say about them is true because it’s how their parents make them feel. And their parents do it out of love so this must be what love feels like. It’s a never ending cycle of negativity. Slowly tearing us apart. Making us feel worthless.

My MIL is one of these people. My fiancee is dealing with cancer and deals with things in his own way, alone. Instead of accepting that and being happy that he is keeping her up to date and that the news is good, she makes sure he knows that what he is doing his killing her. He is fighting a cancer diagnosis and mom is guilt tripping him. Something she does everytime he makes a decision she doesn’t like. How do you think this impacts his life? I can tell you. It takes me days, weeks, sometimes months to build him back up. To make him feel worthy again. That’s just not right.

It is possible to move away from this. Many people do. But many others continue to feel trapped. They have no idea how to get away. Every decision they make is wrong in the eyes of their parents. The people who, for so long, were the only people that mattered in their lives. They have literally spent their whole lives trying to please these people just to come out on the bottom, EVERY time.

Words matter. The way you say something. The way you word a sentence. The tone of your voice. Your body language. It is all saying something. But is it saying what you want it to? Or is it telling people they will never be enough for you? That no accomplishment in their life will ever help them win your love? Make you proud of them? Next time you speak to a child, think about your words carefully. It can make a difference.

Image(Photo found on pinterest)

Taking a different approach…

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Family.. We have many disagreements. The biggest I have learned would come with the arrival of my son. My amazing, handsome, smart little boy. Because of him, I have chosen to take a different path. I have decided that I would not be like my parents or the ones before. Not because they were bad, I love my parents. I just don’t think they had the best idea of parenting. Not one that fits myself and my growing family.

Because of this, I often hear that my child will be a spoiled brat. How can a child learn respect if you don not spank him? How can he learn independence if you do not leave him to cry alone sometimes? I am judged by all those around me as I come from a small town in the middle of no where. New approaches are not always accepted with open minds, as there aren’t many open minds here to accept it.

We have chosen not to spank because spanking is no different than hitting. How can I tell my child it is wrong to hit someone and turn around and hit him? That makes no sense to me. It didn’t make sense to me growing up, and it still doesn’t. I can’t punish my child if he spanks another child for doing something he has been taught is wrong. He’s just trying to teach that child what he has been taught.

It also doesn’t make sense to me that I could go to prison if I hit my dog to discipline him, but it’s more than okay to hit my small, fragile, vulnerable child to discipline him. It’s not okay to spank an adult for punishment. Or to do so to an inmate or a terrorist but it’s acceptable to do so to a child? If someone smacked my bottom, I could press charges. It could be considered sexual harassment or assault. So why am I allowed to do this to my child? Is he not a human being too? Does he not deserve the same protection and the same respect as I?

My dad really hates that we don’t spank. He doesn’t have much patience when it comes to kids. He spanked my brother for the first time when he was 6 months old. Is that okay? My brother was in his crib crying at night. He was 6 months old. A baby does not know how to manipulate. They cry because they need something. Even if that something is just the comfort and familiar presence of their parent.

I often hear that “if more people spanked, there would be less violence in the world.” First off, how does using violence end violence? Secondly, that statement is ridiculous. Go to a prison and ask those inmates if they were spanked as a child. Go ahead. I bet over half of them were. Third, you only think there is more violence because of the vast media coverage we now have. So you have the ability to hear more stories from all over the place vs just what’s happening in your quiet little community. The holocaust happened in an era in which spanking was the norm and it didn’t stop Hitler.

More spanking will not stop crimes. Active parents will have a better chance of that. Parents who talk to their kids. Who know what their kids are doing, what they like, how they feel, and who they associate with. Even if you spank your child, it will not have much of an impact if you spank them and just go about your day.

Another thing I’m often ridiculed about is attending to my child’s every cry. He is two. He is very independent. When he cries, it is because he needs something. Maybe he’s hungry, thirsty, or he just needs a hug. Hey, I have been there. I have been so upset to the point I was crying and I didn’t even know why I was crying. If my fiancee just left me to cry by myself instead of comforting me and telling me I was going to be okay, I would feel abandoned. I wouldn’t want just anybody but it would hurt to know that the people I trust to be there for me, just left me to be confused and hurt alone. The next time I probably wouldn’t reach out to them at all. I would just hold it in until I blew up.

A child will be no different. They don’t fully know how to express their emotions. We must teach them. And part of teaching them is showing them that it’s okay to feel. That they have a right to feel. And that you care about how they feel. That you want to help them feel better and to do that, they have to continue to let you know how they feel. As they get older, they will be able to more adequately express their feelings in a way that you can understand. It won’t be so traumatic. But they will still have their moments. There will still be times when they feel they need to break down. Just hug them and say, “it’s going to be alright. I’m here.”

No, my child does not get everything he wants. I don’t give him toys at the store so that he will stop crying. I don’t go back on my words. When I say no, I stick to it. If it causes him to throw a tantrum or cry, I just pick him up and talk to him. He’s only two. He doesn’t understand. But I still explain why he isn’t allowed to do or have whatever it is I’ve said no too. He quickly calms down, and we move on.

Now, I’m not saying that these choices are wrong or right. This is just what is right for me and my family. And I am so glad to have made this decision. I love having a peaceful house. It’s even helped communication between my fiancee and I. And there is no yelling in our home. It can get crazy hectic, but for the most part, it’s pretty calm. For a two year old, my son is extremely well mannered. I’m excited to see the trials and tribulations I will have when the next one arrives. I am already prepared for the worst. I know that we got extremely lucky with our son.