It is 9.45AM. I sit at my desk in my bedroom. My three year old daughter has been fed, dressed and safely deposited in nursery. I have another hour and forty-five minutes until I must pick her up. For a new mother or parent of several young children, I am sure what I just described is heaven…and in some ways it is. But after almost twenty-three of a large, noisy, messy and expensive family; it is also a bit frightening.
I am sure that for some of you when you joined my new Facebook or MySpace wondered what I am up to now. Some of you might have even scratched your head wondering why you received an invite…you probably sign-up through my doula website to receive my updates or through my Ezine articles on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. In complete honesty, I am still working out what this will become; but it is an idea that has been brewing in my head for some time: one that I think is timely.
It seems after over twenty years raising six children, four to adulthood now, that it would be a waste if I did not find a way of sharing what I have learned along the way with new parents. The doula and childbirth educator is of course part of that, but as any of my former clients will tell you…parting is such sweet sorrow. It is hard for me to leave when this long, frightening, exciting, funny and expensive journey is just beginning. I want to be there to offer comfort, advice and a listening ear; and not just for the few families that I can help through Special Start Birth, but families around the globe that are facing the challenges of this trying and very scary time. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but sometimes just knowing the questions and sharing them with friends is the best we can do.
This Frugal Family blog and the articles and videos that I will post on YouTube and Ezines as well as hopefully the print articles and fingers-crossed book that I hope to write as well are based on four central keys that I feel have been vital to my successful parenting over the past twenty-three years. Those core values, if you will, are:
Family first. I believe that the family (and modern families take many forms…lord knows mine is odd enough) is the central building block of our society. If the family does not prosper, then our societies can not. Of course hardly a day goes by without some article in the newspaper, a magazine or television bemoaning the break-down of the family. I feel though that they have put the cart before the horse. Over the past forty-three of my life, I have seen the family unit increasingly devalued by society. We have learned to rush from appointment to appointment always trying to have more or do more than others (greed) and we have drug our children along or left them in the care of others. Now I am not bashing two parent working families…I have worked while my children were young…what I am saying is we need to slow down a bit sometimes.
Saving money. I once heard a preacher say…’When your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep becomes your downfall.’ We have become a world of conspicuous consumers. We have to have the newest and the best as soon as it comes out; never mind that the old one still works just fine. We will borrow to do it. But the truth is that in the current…I’ll say it if no one else will…Great Depression we can no longer afford to do that. We must learn to evaluate our purchases, cut back on some things, and give up others.
Environmentally friendly. Just as we have gotten ourselves into financial debt, we have put our planet into a resource debt as well…one that our children and grandchildren may or may not be able to repay. We need to begin to stop and even reverse that. Equally important we need to give our children the tools and mindset to continue the task. We must learn to become wiser stewards of the limited resources that we have been given.
Healthy living. Our societies face a growing epidemic of obesity. More shocking still is that our children are increasingly overweight and mal-nourished. This is a trend that if left unchecked could bankrupt our healthcare system…and short our life spans.
Down off of my soap box now. Those core values may sound like I am advocating a return to another time or radical changes to our families and societies. I am not. What I hope to do through these blogs, articles and videos is offer some simple and effective solutions to these issues. It is about moderation as well. Some ideas offered will not fit into your family’s lifestyle…and I am sure that you will offer ideas that might not fit into mine. But the more ideas we share, the more that we will find that works and allows us to save money, be environmentally friendly, live healthier and have more time for one another. That is what this whole thing is all about.
So what can you expect now that you have hit that confirm as friend button? Like I said, I am still working this one out, but I have some ideas. First of all, it seems to me that we modern women have lost some ‘homemaking’ arts that our grandmothers once used: things like making a delicious meal from leftovers or a few scraps in the cupboard, mending old clothes or even sewing new ones, bargain shopping, and even things as simple as ironing instead of taking it to the drycleaners. What about the famous victory gardens that provided so many war families with fresh fruits and vegetables? There are also modern ideas such as recycling that have value. And as you saw from the core values, there will also be times when I feel so moved by topics in the news or pending laws that I will preach a bit…forgive me.
I will be writing an entry five times each week…Monday to Friday. Sometimes those entries will be commentaries, sometimes it will be instructional, and other times it may be videos, especially my cooking ones since I never follow a recipe. Basically I will invite you into my kitchen to cook along with me. Or perhaps we will go out to the charity shops bargaining hunting. I even plan to re-decorate each room of my house…on an extreme budget. Whatever idea I share with you will be rated on those four core values though:
Does it give me more time with my family?
How much money can I save with it?
Is it green?
Is it healthier?
I really would like to use little symbols such as pound or dollar signs, a smiley face, a planet and a piece of fruit, but I’m not that good at this yet. If anyone can show me how to do that…please help.
So give me a try for this week and decide for yourself if Frugal Family has something to offer you. Tomorrow will be Sunday chicken…what to do with the leftovers. And hopefully by Wednesday, I will have my first video recipe for you…chicken soup.