Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Moms are Sick and Tired of Cutting Corners

 

Moms are sick and tired of cutting corners.

Moms cut corners to make food last a little longer. 

Moms cut coupon corners to save a little bit of money.

Moms cut corners in personal care when their kids look like they have been in hair, makeup, and wardrobe for hours. 

Moms cut corners to afford that car, house, vacation, extra-curricular, babysitter, dessert. 

Moms cut corners by erasing meaningful relationships from their calendars. 

Moms cut corners on their work outs, because they just take too long and everything hurts so much. 

Moms cut corner in personal hygiene--that dry shampoo is a dream. 

Speaking of cutting corners, even my dog has dry shampoo. 

Moms cut corners to get the time for errands. 

Moms keep cutting away corners until there is very little left. 

Being a mom is a gift and a privilege. And it's also important to acknowledge that this privilege comes with so many challenges even today. So if you have been struggling, please appreciate everything that you do. 

 

Monday, February 1, 2021

5 Money Saving Methods that are Trash

Okay, confession time, I listen to Dave Ramsey and I also follow Jordan Page. Additionally, if there was a money saving tip of any sort, from any mama or lifestyle blog, there's a good chance that I have listened to it, clicked on it, or read it depending on the media format. Sometimes, I just like to have things on in the background while I'm cleaning.

I wanted to dive into some "user" feedback for some of the advice bits that feel profoundly out of touch to me. It felt right talking about these things seeing as the financial industry is witnessing a bit of a small ripple. 

If anyone has a money blog, or if you are an avid reader of these blogs, my general TLDR message is that most advice is out of touch or not relatable to most families. 

Here is my artwork for my rant: 

Moms are tired of cutting corners, and these recent bits of money advice are trying to make cutting corner a full time job. 

1. You are the Problem--So Change Yourself or Your Habits

There is this unwritten rule that if you are reading these resources or seeking these resources, there is something inherently wrong with your approach or your practices or you are merely a believer in constant improvement (I am like that too and it's okay, this isn't what my rant is about). There is a perceived proverbial something that a "money expert" will see in a few minutes that can change your life within a short amount of time. 

"Stop being silly and ordering avocado toast and that latte!"

Problem solved, I now have access to generational wealth. 

In reality, most single people and families that I know, are doing the best they can. The mentality that it's the 4$ latte keeping you from owning a home in America and not the 50k of college debt in a stagnant job market has been disproved. And, yet, despite this, there is a culture of "fix what you are doing wrong and everything is going to fall into place."

This mentality is very attractive. It gives the reader the perceived control over the situation. And while that is romantic thinking that you are only 3-10 steps away from a private island of your very own, the reality is that there's a good chance that struggling families are doing the most they can. Already. There's a good chance struggling families have been doing the best they could for years without significant changes.

2. The Money Fasting Technique

If removing a bad habit that costs a small bit of change, but adds comfort is not doing the trick, it is important to double down and do it for longer periods and on as much stuff as you can. Yes, let's turn buying nutritious food for your family into a sin that is keeping you poor. 

Does "No Spend November" actually help you if you need to fix your car in November? Or does it really help to miss on the reoccurring expenses that keep your household running and keep you living a certain quality of life?

Spending is one way to avoid long-term issues in ares of life like your home, your car, and personal health. In fact, one thing that becomes pretty obvious is that someone who lives a comfortable middle class lifestyle spends a certain amount of money for general repairs to avoid replacing appliances and tools.

The money fasting technique was introduced to reduce costly spending due to self-control that one could argue is a necessity to replace "time" (i.e. convenience shopping or getting take out) or  comfort (i.e. a bath bomb and a bubble bath to replace the discomfort of bad weather). Money fasting is great to some degree for nearly immediate gratification, for example, paying off a loan, or saving up for a PS5. That's great. 

In contrast, more often than not, spending fasts are used to try to tackle a fundamental problem with personal or family finances. Usually, the problem that needs broader strokes like significantly more free time, money or comfort, is instead treated with metaphorical band-aids in the form of spending freezes. And quite frankly, it doesn't make sense to have a lifelong spend freeze on an essential need.

3. Making Everything from Scratch

Let's be honest, not many of us possess the skills to make bakery level bread. Not many of us have the time needed to make that bakery level bread. So apart from extra time during quarantine or a super awesome bread machine, I can't think of a good excuse to adopt making staple baked goods from scratch week to week. 

May I also remind you that you reader are also not a food scientist. Sure, you might get away with bread here or there, but it would help to know how to make something nutritious as bakery bread. 

Maybe I will get there, but I don't like this solution full of hypocrisy. After all, many people don't make their own pasta sauce or salad dressing. Not everything has to be from scratch. So why choose something that takes so much time and skill? 

And as far as time goes, many people reading these articles are just as worried about every minute of free time as every dollar.

Perhaps a better way to re-word this tip is to suggest honing in cooking, baking, foraging, and gardening skills to be able to make more with less and make ingredients stretch across several meals for the week? 

Maybe something like, "find enjoyment in cooking again," is a much better goal than trying to cut down on a food bill. After all, finding enjoyment in cooking may mean getting some base ingredients and slowly but surely moving away from higher price, pre-made, less healthy choices.

4. Taking on Extra Jobs

Money is time, and time is your one and only non-renewable mystery resource. You do not know how long you have left. If we all knew that, we would live each day very differently; however, an overwhelming amount of suggestions include taking on formal work, one-off gigs, or completing effort that might as well be an extra job. Even something as romantic sounding as foraging or gardening equates to added hours that cannot go towards something else. It's not all bad, kids love watching things grow and with enough instruction they might water the garden or do something else on their own. 

The issues come when adults in the home are stretched way too thin. Way too thin to complete the big emotional labor tasks, teach life lessons and skills to their children, and take care of their emotional and mental needs in a way where they are thriving.  

I understand sometimes it has to be done, I have done this too, but I wish this was not the easy solution. Truth be told, time is too precious. 

5. Sacrificing Comfort

Comfort goes a long way. I should know, I had spent an overwhelming amount of my life without it. So once I had found it and worked to keep it, I cringe at the awful advice of "getting out of your comfort zone." Here's my secret, I thrive in my comfort zone. Most people thrive in environments that are conducive to their own long-term growth. 

Your mind, body, and soul are their best when you are comfortable. Sure, stressful situations may bring out “your best” here and there; however, they are typically not sustainable and the lack of comfort is noticeable.


 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

An Honest Usborne Book Review


I first came across Usborne books when one of my friends asked if I would go to an Usborne book party that she was a virtual host for.

Before that, most books companies that I was aware of were the big publishing houses that filled big book stores, used bookstores, and school book fairs alike. 

I do not need an excuse to buy children's books because we read books throughout the day. I quickly picked out some books that were interactive and accessible for my child at the time. 

I received the books and we have enjoyed many evenings touching textured pages and lifting flaps.

URSTYLE Link: https://urstyle.fashion/styles/2775628

The books vary in subject, targeted age range, and quality. The prices reflect this. 

The touchy-feely book that I own is an amazing quality with thick pages. The illustrations that accessible to babies who may not be able to see in full colors. And I appreciate that it was made for babies instead of the adults.

I want to be very honest when I say that the illustrations are not unique works of art exactly. The artwork is made to stand up to repeated wear and tear though. And that is most important to me right now. This might be a skewed view since I did not get any thematically intricate books like a fairy tale.

The drawback to these books is that they do thrive in an MLM structure. The MLM business structure makes me wary. And I will tell you why. Usborne books are everywhere online, in big box stores, and at virtual MLM parties. I feel like all of these platforms compete with one another and I genuinely feel like the "book people" should get a fraction of all generic online sales since they are the ones doing the majority of detailed marketing. 

Even as I write this, there is a list of books that I want to get and I also have a "maybe" future list depending on what my kids get into as they get older. 

All that said, I have heard some concerns and a bit of conflict from independent authors and illustrators who find that these books can overwhelm regional small business fairs to the point that it is harder for local authors to compete at the very events that were essentially designed for them. So knowing this, I hope that anyone reading this article spends additional effort sleuthing online for local authors and independent authors in addition to these wonderful books.

In particular, I think it is important to shop for books where illustrations jump of the pages, especially in this day and age where parents are discouraged from taking their children to museums. I think that illustrators are amazing and it is important to seek books that support illustrators. Also, I feel it is important to ensure that my bookshelf includes books with characters that look like my child as well as characters who that do not look like my child. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

About Your Corona Parent Friend

I had a child during the early stages of COVID-19 and am slowly adjusting to life with a bigger family. I quickly found that many of my go to activities and what I envisioned my Spring and Summer to be had evaporated. As I write this blog, cooler temperatures after some much needed rain are reminding me that Summer is just about finished.

Other parents and families may have adjusted to the same demands and new demands seamlessly, but my home life and my Mama life have shifted towards something different. I made the list below to be honest about my experience and also give those that have asked a brief window into a slightly different walk of life.

1. Things take turns being okay. 

Rooms take turns being clean and organized. Chores take turns being finished. Email chains take turns about being read through. If there are siblings or pets in the home, attention is divided and family members take turns getting attention.

 The living room might be immaculate, but the kitchen has dishes piling up, a trash can that is fun to the brim, and recycling is overflowing because we are still trying to save the planet with our small choices. Parenting in my home means that the planet will have to wait its turn to be saved. 

This might also mean that my home is ready for the very few visitors we are recommended to have, but my bedroom has piles of clean clothing that has not been folded and put "where it lives."

Taking turns also means that sometimes I am two weeks early to contribute to a Corona birthday present, but I can also be months behind another emotional labor endeavor. It happens. It is the wheel, or more accurately the expanding spiral of the mama or parent career.

2. Kid milestones happened and no one was here.

Speaking of the expanding spiral of the mom career, my small child came into this world quite alarmed and now adjusted so much that he is now trying to stand, walk, eat solids, sing, talk, and play--just like a big baby. His needs and interests have expanded to never ever again be that sleeping baby burrito. 

And almost no one was here. There were very few visitors that got to interact with my baby burrito. And while I know the interaction only gets better and better with age, I feel bad that those around me that have wished for a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby did not get to enjoy this version of my baby. Learning to cry, learning to sleep, first funny faces, first intense eye contact, first smile, first giggle, first surprise, first raspberries, first baby crunch, first standing attempt, and first interaction with siblings were only witnessed by my immediate household.  

This all means that I, like your Corona parent friend, had to work extra hard to document the milestones that are otherwise shared with family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers.

I strongly believe that even adults and teenagers have microseasons of their lives where they might try a new hobby, routine, or lifestyle. Learning new lifelong skills is an especially ongoing process with younger kids and all it takes is a few blinks and a stage is gone.

3. Your Corona parent friend wants to know how you're doing

Your Corona parent friend is rooting for you from afar. Are you learning bread baking from scratch? Did you buy a ball gown to wear inside your home? Did you get a new beard oil you're in love with? Was that COVID-19 social distancing date full of amazing chemistry? We want to hear about it. 

Also, we would love to have a zoom call with you where WE. DO. NOT. TALK. ABOUT. KIDS. AT. ALL. After 20 diaper changes or trips to the potty-- I want to clock out from wearing my mom hat (joking--like that happens) and would prefer ANY OTHER TOPIC! Are you passionate about the history of dental floss? Did you try something new in a videogame? Please share!

Most parents know that relationships are harder to keep up when you have kids. COVID-19 added an extra layer of complexity. It's another layer of exhaustion and unmet needs. I cannot have several skype or zoom calls in a row. Or it might be that I am super tired and cannot be there 100% if I am tired, but was otherwise available from a logistical point of view. 

It is this exhaustion that fuels a feeling of mild social isolation.

4. Your Corona parent friend has less references to pull from.

There are many resources online and offline, but the majority of resources circulating-- and these circulate for good reason, they're awesome-- were developed without a  pandemic in mind. Many solid articles include interacting with others without social distancing and visiting heavy traffic areas.

 As a result, parents are adjusting most answers they find to their current comfort level regarding venturing out into the world and requirements issued by public and private places. 

5. Children are missing social experiences.

Having loved playgrounds when I was a preschooler, I couldn't wait to take my toddler to a playground. He was super young and could not climb the steps very well, but he loved the slides. He then grew to enjoy other playground activities with newfound physical agility. His interest then expanded into parallel, followed by mild interactive play. 

I took all of this for granted, and now we don't go anywhere. Although we are starting to form social distancing pods, this is a new development due to medical reasons. My eldest child who loves to use his imagination and play with others is missing weekends full of interactive play and games that teach cooperation, taking turns, and eventually sharing.

We have not had a playdate in 6 months, and while we may be an extreme case, I do not believe that we are unique. 

I am not sure if I have the stamina for the rigorous social calendar that my toddler used to have before this Spring. I am out of practice and now have to adjust to new social distancing and different policies about shares spaces like playgrounds. Venturing out to fun places is less fun for parents.

Likewise, your Corona parent friend may be in a similar boat and is adjusting to the COVID-19 world after trying to wait it out completely. It is stressful to leave the house, but waiting years for a reliable vaccine seems inconceivable.   

6. Standards have gone down.

Everyone's world is different, but as a general trend, the quality of life for your Corona parent friend has gone down. It might be because of a lack of babysitters, or remote learning for a school age child, or it might be just the toll on mental health. In any case, standards have slipped. And while that is sad, chances are that your friend couldn't care less. 

Right in line with the first point of things taking turns being okay, things are also taking turns being less okay. 

It might seem that I and others around me have changed our personalities based on how we act or live our lives. So, I wanted to remind everyone that responding to stress is not a personality.

I am now less detail oriented. I am now less inclined to start conversations because I'm saving my strength for middle of the night wake ups, night terrors, and nightmares. I am now less likely to try new or challenging things. I do not have room for my full personality right now. 

7. We see you trying to connect with us and live your best life with us in it.

 Your Corona parent friend had plans for the future that are now on a definite hold. Whether big like a vacation overseas or small like organizing a low key birthday party, all plans are on hold. And it is often friends with more bandwidth and creativity who offer a silver lining in the shape of alternatives.

We see you gauging interest and availability. We see you planning. We see you organizing virtual events. We see you producing videos or podcasts. We see you hosting drive by events, social distanced events, separate, but together events. 

We see you and we are trying our hardest at setting aside time and being more present and less tired.


 


The Great Outdoors with Toddlers

  The Great Outdoors with Toddlers   One great way to ensure that toddlers appreciate out beautiful planet is by giving them increasingly mo...