Making Ends Meet


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.


Although I work a job that is clearly white collar, I think of myself as blue collar since that’s how I was raised and all of the people that I care about most are blue collar. If there’s one thing I inherited from my dad, it’s his work ethic. I’ve always worked, with the exception of my maternity leave. Here’s what I wrote back in February of 2010 when I stopped working before Joshua was born:

When the doctor told me that I needed to make tomorrow my last day, I burst into tears. I think hormones may have been involved… I felt a combination of sadness (I thought I had one more week!) and relief (I’m exhausted!).

It’s going to be strange not to go to work next week, while my students and colleagues are still there. It’s not like a regular vacation, and it will feel weird to have life go on there without me. I’ve never NOT worked. But I’m sure that I won’t have time to worry about work once the baby makes his appearance.

Everyone tells me that becoming a mother is a life-changing experience, and I suppose leaving work is only a small fraction of that (since, of course, I will go back to work next year!). It just hit me that it’s so real now, the baby is coming soon, and life will change forever. I’m really excited for our new adventure into parenthood!

And I did miss work, for two weeks, until Joshua arrived. Then I forgot all about work for the next five and a half months and relished my time at home in my new role as Mommy. But I recognized that no matter what, as frugal as we could be, I’d still have to work to make our mortgage payments.

Ed and I have always wanted to provide the best possible life for our children. We got married relatively young (I was 23 and Ed was 25) and planned to wait a while to have children. I wanted to finish my M.S. degree and earn tenure, while Ed wanted to own our own home before adding to our family. We lived over my parents’ garage and scrimped and saved our money, which was easy for two people with good jobs and no expenses. We built our dream house, and when we decided to build I realized that any fantasy I ever had of staying home with children was gone. I’d always have to work, that was that. And I was okay with it. After five years of marriage and settling into our home, we decided to have a baby, and I embraced the job of working mom.

So we have two incomes and live a relatively comfortable life. I have job security, great benefits, and a perfect schedule for a family. Our frugal ways have continued, though it’s harder to save money than when we had no expenses, but other than the mortgage we have no debt. We try to live within our means and we’re so happy we’re able to provide Joshua with a warm, safe, loving home.

Though I’m happy to be a working mom, it’s not easy. There are trade-offs. I’m more sleep-deprived than ever, mornings are often frantic, supper time is crazy and of course I miss Joshua while I’m at work.

Although I’m away from Joshua during the hours of 7am to 3pm on school days, I still consider myself to be a natural parent. I don’t believe that Joshua has to be physically attached to me in order to form a strong bond, and the same is true with Ed. I value the time that we do spend together and make the most out of it. I have so much fun playing with Joshua on afternoons, weekends and vacations, and we all curl up in the big bed to snuggle and read books every night.

Though earning money is a big part of our lives, we’re not overly obsessed with wealth. We like to live simply and comfortably, not extravagantly. We’re not interested in wasting money on stuff for Joshua (though he has plenty of toys), we’re more focused on providing him with experiences to help him understand the value of family, friends and hard work. We hope Joshua will know that money’s not the most important thing in the world, but we want to give him the skills to provide for his own family someday.


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.

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Filed under Blogging, Living from Scratch, parenting

21 Responses to Making Ends Meet

  1. Pingback: How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune |

  2. Pingback: An Unexpected Cost of Parenting: The Medical Journey | MamaLady

  3. Pingback: » Two Hippos and Ten Euros: A lesson in budgeting. MudpieMama

  4. Pingback: Money On My Mind | Diary of a First Child

  5. Pingback: 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money

  6. Pingback: Co-sleeping parents: What did you do when your little one started to crawl? | Parenting QnA

  7. It’s really interesting to hear the perspective of parents who’ve continued to work. I wish our culture didn’t make it such a tough choice for women, but I’m glad you’re making it work for you and your family. I know Joshua has a wonderful, attached life with you, and that he’s learning the lessons of hard and meaningful work just as you did.

  8. Pingback: Making Ends Meet | Farmer's Daughter

  9. Pingback: It’s Not a Baby Crisis. It’s Not Even a Professional Crisis.

  10. Pingback: Conscious Cash Conscious « TouchstoneZ

  11. “we’re more focused on providing him with experiences” – exactly! This is what I tell anyone who asks “what can we get Kieran for _____?” I would so much rather a) do something with the person or b) have the gift of time or an activity than a *thing.* And of course I agree with you 100% that a “natural” parent does not have to have a child attached 24/7! :)

  12. Pingback: Making Ends Meet | Farmer's Daughter

  13. Pingback: Parenting While Owning a Home Business | Natural Parents Network

  14. Pingback: Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers « Intrepid Murmurings

  15. Pingback: Crunchy Chewy Mama » Blog Archive » Money could buy me … a clone?

  16. Interesting to read the other side of the story… I should be working, we cant really afford for me to stay at home, but I feel I would be too stretched to try parent and work. Big up to you for making it work so well :)

  17. Pingback: Total Disclosure and Total Reform « The Adventures of Lactating Girl

  18. I think that teaching is a perfect job for a mom, which is part of the reason that I decided to be a teacher (of course, just one of many reasons). I wish I would have finished college before having children, but we make due with what we get in life.

  19. Love this! Wish I could pass it on to some of friends who are working moms who feel there is some major chasm between our parenting styles and who think because I consider myself “natural” or “attached” it must mean that they aren’t when I would never imply nor think such a thing. Great post.

  20. Pingback: Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance | Vibrant Wanderings

  21. Pingback: The Green Stuff

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