Tuesday, October 11, 2011

If I had a money tree

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.


This month's natural parenting carnival is about finances. As my regular readers know, our finances are usually pretty tight and we try to be frugal. That means giving up a lot of things we could really use. I could lay out our budget, but why get depressing? Instead, I'll spend some time daydreaming of the things I would buy if we had a money tree growing in the backyard.

For Marko:

*More clothes. That kid grows out of his clothes like nobody's business ... to the point that, money tree or no money tree, I'm going to have to get him some more pants before too long.

*Toys. Most people seem to have too many toys. Other than stuffed animals and baby teethers, Marko doesn't have many. I'd like to get him a ring stacker, a shape sorter, one of those toy lawn mowers that makes noise, and maybe a car he could ride on. Every time we're at other people's houses, he gravitates toward toys like that.

*A big-boy bed. I want to get a regular twin bed, but the kind from IKEA that's low to the ground. We have one in our bedroom and I much prefer it to our tall American beds that I have to climb in and out of ... and it would be safer for Marko. I'd probably add a bedrail, too.

*A few more books. That's more for me -- I'm a little tired of Dr. Seuss these days, but Marko isn't. What we should really do is go to the library more often.

*A pair or two of moccasins. I got him some Rubberoos (which are like socks with a rubber sole) but they're hard to get on and off, plus he's already growing out of them. He needs some good comfy shoes as the weather gets colder -- barefoot is great for now, but soon it's not going to cut it.

What I would buy for the new baby:

*Adorable clothes, especially if it's a girl.

*A woven wrap. Those things are so versatile, not to mention pretty. And, hey, why not a pretty sling or a mei tai, just to accessorize with my outfits?

*Some really nice cloth diapers. There are so many to choose from!

*Baby leggings, to practice elimination communication without getting the baby cold.

*I would love to see if the Amby baby hammock lives up to its reviews. Why don't they sell those for grown-ups, too?

What I would buy for both of them:

*Some time off for Daddy so that we could actually spend more time as a family. I'd give up all the rest if we could get that!

What I am actually planning to buy for them:

*New pants and shoes for Marko.

*Clothes for the baby, if it's a girl. Otherwise, we have plenty of boy clothes. Even so, I think a girl would probably end up wearing a lot of boy clothes anyway ... they're so cute, we have so many of them, and we could just put a pretty bow on the baby's head and call it good. Or, you know, a mailing label on her onesie that says "FEMALE." There are cheaper ways of identifying your baby than a whole new wardrobe.

*Some more prefolds, if Marko's not potty-trained yet, and some more newborn diaper covers.

*A second carseat. Can't avoid that one!

I hope this isn't just an exercise in envy for those who have more, or in dissatisfaction with what we do have. I don't feel that dissatisfied, though. Kids need so little. For instance, Marko would love more toys. But he is also so happy pushing around a laundry basket or stacking books that I don't really feel he's deprived. He has enough clothes to wear and a good place to sleep. And the new baby has so many things of Marko's all lined up: the moses basket, the crib, the bouncy chair, the high chair, the moby wrap, the sling ... she (or he) won't need much else. He (or she) will mainly be interested in eating anyway, so as long as I keep her (or his) bottom dry, toes warm, and tummy full, I think he (or she) will be fine.

(Man, it's hard to have a kid and not know what pronoun to use! I refuse to use "them" unless and until I find out it's twins ... because them is plural. *fixed stare of peeved grammar teacher*)

Most of what I would buy for my kids is really for me. I want things that will make my life easier and make me feel good. The kids themselves? They don't care. Babies haven't changed much since caveman times, when they played with rocks and sticks and went naked.

So, I'm perfectly happy with what we have in the baby-gear department, though I won't deny a few wistful glances at websites selling toys and clothes. We have what we need. Still, if anyone has a money-tree seedling they would like to give me, there's plenty of room in our garden for that!

What would you buy if you had a money tree?


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 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 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 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 said...

I tend to use s/he when I don't know gender, much faster ;) At any rate, I'm hoping #2 is a boy, simply so we won't have to buy many clothes! But you're right, kids are content playing with just about anything - we hardly had anything for Kieran when he was a baby/toddler, but he never complained just playing with pots/pans, etc.

mrs green @ said...

Wonderful and so true; I too could see that much of that stuff was for you and you're right - our children really don't need much. It's not so much about stuff as being loved and kept safe. On my list would be a steiner education, but you'll know that if you're read my list :)

Unknown said...

Isn't that just so true about babies and them being happy with their lot... we should learn a thing or two from them :)

I would buy books... more books :)

Sheila said...

My library is probably getting tired of my constant desire for ALL the parenting books!

Amy Phoenix said...

Hi Sheila! Nice to meet you here as you dream with a money tree. I like dreaming that way, too. Sometimes I find items that I didn't even know I wanted and I realize what's really important to me.

Thank you for sharing and reminding me to continue dreaming. :)

I'm a full-time mummy said...

oooo.. I want a money tree too!!!! Anyhoo, I'm all for the idea of more daddy time, in giving up the rest just to have more daddy time for the kids!

When I was pregnant with my 2nd child, we only found out her gender at 37 weeks, so we go by naming her Spicy Baby thanks to my ermmm... notorious spicy food eating during the pregnancy :P

Btw, thanks for dropping by my blog earlier!

~ Jenny ( )

Lauren Wayne said...

It's so true — babies don't care much, do they? Our baby registry for the second child, which I made just to amuse me, was of one thing: a car seat. And then we got one free as a hand-me-down! :)

One way to get cheap toys is through giveaways. I've gotten some fun things that way, without a money tree!

And I finally did indulge in a woven wrap for this baby, because I was dying to try one out.

You can make your own baby leggings pretty easily from women's knee socks, if you sew even a little. (Or, heck, just cut off the ends & call it a day if you don't!)

Unknown said...

I had too chuckle at your post because I find myself saying "if my money tree actually would grow I would..."

Your lists were spot on in my opinion. You spend where you need to and where it is important and pull back in those areas that really do not matter much. What parents forgot so often is that our children are not born knowing anything about "new" or "used". They know nothing about "stuff." They don't need it or care about it.

This post is a good reminder of what we can do without!

Kelly said...

I love your point about all the stuff being more for us than it is for them. :)

If I could really spend whatever on anything, I would want to travel and go places all the time (the zoo, out to eat)...but I don't deny a desire for all kinds of beautiful handmade wooden toys and organic clothing either. :)

Anonymous said...

A few suggestions on how to get the things that you'd like if you had a money tree: first off, consignment stores. They're great. We buy nearly all of Peanut's clothes at consignment stores and most of what we don't get there is hand-me-downs. They work great for toys too. Also, when it comes to toys, I bought Peanut a ride on car because she loved it so much everywhere we went, but she never loved the one at home as much. Seems like that's how it goes when I get her any toy because she's liked it elsewhere.

As for the bed, just get a mattress! Peanut sleeps on a twin sized mattress on the floor (no box springs) that we bought for less than $200. We figured since we weren't getting a frame that we could splurge a bit more on the actual mattress. When she rolls off (which isn't often), she doesn't even wake up. :-P

Lastly, no matter what you dress your baby girl in (assuming it's a girl), people will call her a boy. I used to dress Peanut in pink and purple and she'd still get called a boy. Might as well take advantage of the cute clothes!

Phoebe said...

Visiting through the Carnival of Natural Parenting links (yes I'm still reading through them all!)
I'm lucky to have had loads of big toys handed down, such as the toy kitchen which is played with lots every day, and the wheely bugs. But to be honest, my little ones really are happiest making things out of old toilet rolls and sellotape, or playing outside. We have toys coming out of our ears (only grandchildren on both sides syndrome) and they hardly touch half of them.
I think you're completely right about wanting things to make life easier, because the little ones just don't notice. I've been lusting after some smart winter boots for my eldest to wear with her dresses and skirts, but she already has wellies, walking boots, trainers (sneakers) and pumps, so it would be a waste. She's comfortable, so it doesn't matter.
We've got a dreaded car seat purchase coming up too.
I enjoyed your post :)

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