Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters

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.

Dr. Cornel West, occupying Wall Street
I hate money.  I know all the self-help gurus tell me I need to cultivate a "healthy, respectful relationship with money" if I ever hope to make peace with it and make a decent living, but that's a load of crap, as far as I'm concerned. It assumes that nothing in the world will ever change- that we will live in a capitalist, exploitative society forever where most people work hard and get scraps. The fact is, I hate the whole system. The fact that it seems to be going down the tubes right now, while scary in the short term is probably the best thing for the vast majority of people.

Wall Street Occupiers.
I struggle to make ends meet, like most of us (some of us more than others). I am in grad school and my partner has been unemployed for three plus years, like many folks across the country. We have a toddler to support and raise. How do we do it? We get food stamps and other assistance in addition to my financial aid. It's not glamorous* and it doesn't pay all the bills each and every month. Am I ashamed? Absolutely not. I would rather my taxes pay for helping hungry people than killing people abroad. I say my taxes because I paid more in the last two years than Bank of America. (See what I mean about hating money? Click here to change where your money is kept and who gets access to it.)

How do we do it? We are currently staying with my partner's parents (also very unglamorous) while my partner finds a job in Columbus. Once he does, we will move there and be self-sufficient. Some of my less-frequent readers may not know that we moved from the (very expensive!) Bay Area last month in order to get our finances in order, as well as make deeper connections with family (Rowan's grandparents love that they get to spend so much time with him now). We were able to put much needed money into our aging car and pay off bills because we are not paying rent. I am ever-so-grateful to them for opening their home and hearts to us and allowing us to make a new start in a new (more affordable) state.

I moved to Ohio, gleefully and gladly, for my son's future. It will be easier here. Family to help with child care, cousins to play with, a lower cost of living, and cheaper homes when the time comes for us to settle down and buy a place. This is the one thing I wish we had the money for now- a down payment on a home with a small parcel of land to homestead upon. I yearn for things that are not luxuries- instead, they smack of stability, tradition, and finally a place to call HOME.

Anyone who talks about people "sitting on their butt and collecting welfare" (and being able to actually live with a roof over their heads, feed their family, and have a phone and transportation like everyone else) doesn't know what they are talking about. 

There is not a state in the United States that allows people to stay at home and collect welfare anymore. All recipients are required to report to a "job center" and put in 40 hours a week of resume prep, job hunting, and workshop attendance until a job is found. And no job can be refused (no matter the hours and if it works for your family or the pay), or welfare benefits will stop (most do anyway- once someone starts making minimum wage). 

My schooling, which applied towards these required hours in California- do not count in Ohio. Ohio is a state that would rather see people languish in minimum wage jobs for a lifetime, creating a permanent underclass of people, rather than allow them to get job training or attend school and lift themselves out of poverty. To get cash aid of $500 per month, they want BOTH of us to report to a job center for 40 hours a week and place our son in daycare (which we cannot afford). So we declined cash assistance from Ohio. Pray or light a candle for us that my partner finds a job soon.


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 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 heeds 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 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.


  1. I got fed up with the dishonest practices of the big banks and moved our money to a local credit union last year. I didn't realize it was a trend, but I can see why! I only wish I'd done it sooner. The benefits are astounding. I, too, get aggravated at the unfair perceptions of welfare recipients. I'm sorry that there's no good option for you to receive assistance in Ohio and hope your partner gets a job soon and that your schooling continues to go well.

  2. I'll be keeping your family in my thoughts and sending lots of positive "find a perfect job" and "enjoy the rest of school" energy your way!!

  3. Your family is in my thoughts. I wish you many blessings :) we went through something like this about a year and a half ago and now we live in the state and place we have always wanted. The house itself is far from perfect but everything else is really great. Maybe this will turn out to be that way for you. Maybe this had to happen to give your family something greater. I hope it is! Keep your chin up it gets better! Hugs!

  4. Your post resonated deeply with my own situation. My husband works in a poorly paid field - nature conservation in South Africa. We are receiving a lot of help from my parents. And, most of all, I too hate money. I find I am happier without it than with it. Well done for having a plan, or a dream, and I hope it comes true for you soon :)

  5. Thanks for all the well wishes and good thoughts, y'all! I hope we all thrive in the coming year!

  6. I too resonated with much of what you wrote. We are using food stamps and government health insurance and just barely scraping by thanks to my husband's minimum wage job. However, I am grateful I get to stay home with my son, which is a luxury not all can afford.

  7. Adrienne- that is the thing that I am most grateful for as well. Our move to Ohio is supposed to help facilitate that- staying at home with Rowan.

    I am working on ways to make money from home, and coming up with great ideas. I also will be using our homesteading as a medium to educate Rowan, as we plan on homeschooling. Caring for a small urban farm is a great way to learn reading, math, social skills, and life skills, doncha think?

  8. We had a similar living situation while I was pregnant and for the first year of Peanut's life while my husband finished his degree and found a job. I also hate that people assume that you're lazy and/or stupid if you're on any sort of government assistance.

    Also, I love your blog layout. I just happen to be listening to a Harry Potter soundtrack and that owl makes me think of Hedwig! :-P


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