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Home » Green parenting

A different kind of life…

Submitted by on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 Loading Add to favourites  36 Comments

school-childrenOnce upon a time I used to beat myself up a lot for not being ‘perfect’.

When I say that it was because I voted with my money in some areas of my life but not others. I had high standards and principles about some things, but often let them slip when it was convenient for me.

Then I had an epiphany.

I realised that we are all part of a jigsaw…

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.

***

I have a friend who recycles absolutely everything; so much so she doesn’t need a trash can, but she feeds her kids junk.

I have another friend who cooks everything from scratch and buys only organic, but she drives 1/2 mile on the school run every day instead of walking.

Another friend adopts a strict ‘make do and mend’ policy at home, yet makes a couple of long haul flights every year for recreation.

Put all my friends together and you have a fantastic array of convictions made up of recycling, cooking from scratch and being resourceful.

And I decided from that moment that it was better to focus on what we CAN do, rather than what we can’t, don’t or won’t.

In my ideal scenario I’d have an eco build home with land for an orchard, year round fruit and vegetables, some goats, bees, chickens and rabbits.

The house would run on a combination of solar, geothermal and wind turbines.

There would be a spring-fed stream that we drank from, our electric car in the driveway (next to the bikes of course!) and we’d buy local, handmade, organic, fairtrade etc

Our home would be part of a community with like-minded families where we share parts of our lives together in a loving, unconditional space. Elders would sit side by side with babies and toddlers. Children would run barefoot through streams. Women and men would get all the emotional support they need and everyone would be revered and respected for who they BE!

But my ideal life hasn’t yet manifested.

Instead of looking at what we haven’t achieved, the dance of life requires that we learn to compromise with joy and integrity. It’s a balancing act, an act of celebrating, of gratitude, of looking on the bright side of life.

There are many, many things we ‘can’t afford’, but we’re resourceful people and we make do where we can here at Chez Green.

This month’s question asks us what we would change about our situation if we had the money to do so.

If I’m honest, number one on my list would be a different education for Little Miss Green.

We began life with her at a Steiner mother and toddler group
From there she went to a Waldorf kindergarten
She had a place at a local Waldorf school but we couldn’t afford the transport or the fees
We tried to barter but they were having none of it!
We tried to move but that didn’t happen either!
She did years Reception and Year one at a local, village mainstream school instead
It was a f*** up so we took her out and home educated her for three years to try and rebuild her confidence
Last year she flexi schooled at the local school
This year she decided to go full time

I compromise all the way with her education. Some of the values clash deeply with mine and they hurt my soul. I appreciate the SCHOOL and the TEACHERS do their best with the limited resources they have, but, in my opinion, the SYSTEM is wrong. It doesn’t seek to serve the child it simply tries to get from them what it wants.

School wants to turn my child into a ‘good citizen’ which basically means an unquestioning consumer.
It teaches her to rush quickly through tasks to get to the end and tick the charts.
It teaches her to bully or be bullied, to feel crap about herself, to feel inadequate and flawed.
It shows her how to shove her food into her mouth at lunchtime so the tables can be cleared quickly.
It teaches her how to make packet bread mix in a microwave and they call it ‘cookery’.
It teaches her to compare, judge and criticise.

But it’s my daughter’s choice for now and I accept it. In the words of Kahlil Gibran:

“You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

So for now my daughter’s thoughts are that she wants to go to the local school and I am the bow from which my child, as a living arrow, is sent forth…

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama 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 MattersWitch 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 wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
  • 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 BudgetingMudpieMama 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. TimeMomma 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 IntentionallyCatholicMommy 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 an allowance.
  • 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.

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36 Comments »

  • Nice! I love when you said “it was better to focus on what we CAN do, rather than what we can’t, don’t or won’t.” And your Kahlil Gibran’s quotes, just lovely!!!

    Have a great day!

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • It’s hard to let your heart go with them. But, trusting her to take with her all you’ve shared together about what you value into this system will help, I hope.

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy: Thanks Jenny; always better to be the optimist, don’t you think?

    @Zoie @ TouchstoneZ: Thanks Zoie, that’s very comforting.

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • It’s so true — we all make compromises. And as you’ve found (and you’re ahead of me on this path), when our children become old enough to exercise their own opinions and preferences, sometimes yours have to take the back seat. We’ve had a similar situation in needing to take Mikko out of a school that I’d like him to be in, but you have to roll with what’s right for them (and to them) at the time.

    And I love that poem, too!

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • Amy (from Anktangle) and I were just talking about “natural parenting” guilt that so many of us harbor, but you’re right – it’s rare that anyone is living an ideal life! It’s great to dream, but there’s no need to have guilt about where we’re at now. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Lauren @ Hobo Mama: It’s certainly interesting compromising over these things and we all learn in the process. Hope things work out with Mikko.

    @Dionna @ Code Name: Mama: You’re welcome; I’m not saying I always get it right mind you :D

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • the daily road to self-sustenance is a long and wide path, there is no stream and windmill in my lucid life, but for the dreams, the lucid dreams, but i still enjoy striving for it all–while cooking from scratch, growing my veges and mending everything and making do..

    as for your child, she will share essential ideals with a few classmates and perhaps become the light on the sustainable life we all need…i would like to quote your superb assessment of institutional schooling on an upcoming post on my blog, very clear and accurate…courage to mothers and daughters who hold their heads high..

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • Melissa says:

    Spot on!!! You just described my utopia as well!!! My goal is to buy all fair trade, home made Christmas gifts this year. I did it a couple years ago and everyone loved them!

  • My belief is that by the time a child is able to make such decisions for herself, she’s had a good “base” from her parents. Regardless of her situation, she has lived with you … parents who live their values in everything they do. Even though some of her school experiences haven’t adhered to your ethics, I’m sure that you took them as opportunities to share your beliefs with her … which helps her to see such activities as they truly are. And here’s a thought … perhaps she will be a positive influence on others in her school and show them a better way. I think your “arrow” will fly straight and true!

  • Anti Claus says:

    Love this attitude – that’s exactly right! Keep up the good work! ~Anti Claus, the “green” Santi Claus

  • Alicia C. says:

    I know exactly how you feel about education. I had envisioned unschooling my oldest all the way through until college. I never expected him to beg me to try “real” school when he was only 6! So, I made a deal – you can try the local public school, but you have to stick it out the entire year. He didn’t like it about a month in, but I made him keep his word. I figured a year in a classroom would leave enough of a bad taste in his mouth that he’d be done with it once the year was over. It backfired – he’s just started 9th grade.

    I am hoping that my little one will feel differently. His characteristics seem to point toward a very curious child who would absolutely hate being told that he must learn what the teacher says, rather than what he needs to know.

  • I love your words: “Instead of looking at what we haven’t achieved, the dance of life requires that we learn to compromise with joy and integrity. It’s a balancing act, an act of celebrating, of gratitude, of looking on the bright side of life.” I found that to be so true when raising my kids. We were lucky that homeschooling was the perfect solution for our family, yet there were still many things I didn’t have the time or energy to do as I wished. I’m happy to say that my kids turned out great anyway. Thankfully, unconditional love and just trying to do what we can goes a long way! :)

  • Amy says:

    I could have written this post myself. I have felt *so* similar! The oldest three attend the public school and I feel *so* similar! Oops, I said that twice. ;)

    I want what you want, and… here I am. Loving what is, loving the kids, doing what we can do now, saving and dreaming for the future. Maybe you and I ought to talk a bit more. My husband and I vision often about the community you mentioned…

  • Thanks for this great post! I agree the schooling topic is definitely one of the difficult ones. I too love the Waldorf and Montessori schooling methods but have a really hard time weighing the options of that and homeschooling, as yes, cost definitely is a huge factor and depending on how much longer the infertility battle rages on will be a huge factor. Thank you for this open and honest post! It certainly helps to weigh each side!

  • In our dreams, I would live in the community you describe! Alas, real life…sigh.

    I think you’re right on about focusing on what we CAN do, rather than what we’re not doing perfectly. Your daughter, for instance, has YOU to come home to.

  • Lucy says:

    Love the way you share your friends contrasting “good” bits and “bad” bits – great!

    Totally with you re school

    And your utopian life.

    Love Gibran -

    Loved this post!

  • I really loved this post as I am struggling with the whole “school” idea myself. I went to private schools, my husband went to public schools, I taught Waldorf preschool and I want to homeschool. So thank youfor sharing your experience of letting go.

    I also ADORE your utopian ideal lifestyle. My goodness wouldn’t that be beautiful! I think all of us NPNers need to create a little commune! ;)

    And finally, my mother painted me a picture using those exact words from Gibran when I was little. I have it hanging in our hall today. So very true! Thank you for your post and as usual..love all the work you put into your site!

  • Claire says:

    I think that the examples you used of your friends in the beginning shows that we chose what’s important to us and stick with it. Maybe for your friend who scrimps and saves all year long, but takes big vacations, it’s really important to her to be able to take those vacations? I think that part of finding where we want to be financially is deciding what’s important to us and getting rid of the rest.

  • Robin Easton says:

    You are SUCH a wise and beautiful soul. This post moved me to tears. There is so much depth in it. It reflects your incredible sensitivity and awareness, and gives hope even when it may not be easy.

    LOVED your line about what we CAN do. Maybe focusing on that might encourage all of us to do more, be more. Either way, this really touched me. YOU really touched me. Thank you for being who you are.

    You move me deeply and inspire me just as much.
    Hugs, Robin

  • Ah, lovely post. Yes, the school issues can be so difficult! I am wrestling with this too, at the moment. I totally agree that you can love & support the school and the teachers, but still hate the system. We’ve only been “in the system” a few months but I am feeling it….

    Your utopia is fabulous, by the way! I’d like to live there too!

  • I share that eco-build dream, it would be wonderful!
    My eldest has just started pre-school (only 3 mornings a week) and I’m still working out whether it’s the best thing for her, but she seems happy with it at the moment. I too don’t think that the system is particularly great… You’ve pinpointed exactly how I feel about it. I can really identify with your post.

  • Rachael says:

    Oh yes, I’m hoping to find a great SCHOOL with great TEACHERS (and a great PRINCIPAL — that’s crucial, too) for our Critter, but egads the SYSTEM around here is godawful. Oh, I hear you.

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]

  • [...] A different kind of life… — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one! [...]