A different kind of life…
Once 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…
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 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 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 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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