Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to finance your life as superwoman, part 1

I have lost count of the number of times someone has asked me how we can afford to have six children. Aside from being somewhat personal, I have rarely been offended by this question. Confused, maybe, but not offended. There was one time when I was really disgusted though.

A woman I knew casually in a professional capacity, who was familiar with our basic circumstances, asked me if my newest infant was a boy or a girl. Now, I admit, the baby was bald as a peach and looked remarkably like my 2 year old son. However, she was dressed from head to toe in pink.

I am sure I gave the woman a strange look when I answered that she was, indeed, a girl. The woman waved her hand and said casually, "I know she's all in pink but you have all those kids so I thought maybe that was all you had." As usual, the polite me took over and I just smiled sweetly. The rude side was silently screaming all kinds How-dare-yous and other more obscene retorts that the polite me can't even think about right now.

As rude and insulting as her comment was, it contained a grain of truth. Providing for a large family definitely takes some thought and sacrifice. I often think of the phrase "fix it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." I am sure many people think of extremes like the pioneers or the Great Depression when they hear this but that isn't the case. It is more about knowing what to keep, what you need, and what to replace.

During my last pregnancy I met another expectant mother who was having her fourth. As we chatted casually about having babies, she complained about not being able to find the things she needed. I agreed, thinking of finding an adeqate nursing bra or replacing my out-of-date carseat withough breaking the bank. That isn't what she was talking about.

It turned out that she had not kept a single baby item from her previous pregnancies. At first I assumed that she had not been planning on having any more children. She explained that she never kept any baby things once the child outgrew them. Not clothes, cribs, blankets, toys, or ANYTHING else! On top of this, she had not been complaining about trying to buy a new crib or find newborn-sized sleepers in the summer. She was upset that she could not find curtains to match the crib comforter she liked. HUH?!?!

As nice as it sounds, I have never had a nursery. I have not had matching car seat and stroller and playard and bedding for any of my children. I have not gotten them entirely new wardrobes or designer bottles or whatever else the popular culture of babydom tells parents they "must have". My children have not suffered in the least. They slept very well in a crib that had been used by their older siblings. They did not complain about wearing hand-me-downs. They have not been scarred for life because the stroller and car seat are from 2 different companies!

Just today Baby #6 was playing with a Noah's ark play set. I realized that I had purchased that toy for my first child almost 10 years ago. Each of the children had played with it. #6 didn't care that there is a newer version on the market or that some of the animals have been lost. She was happy. And that is all that really matters.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

thank you for this. i have never had a nursery either, sometimes i feel a little odd when someone asks me how i decorated the nursery and i don't even have one. it's nice to know i'm not the only one.