Sunday, February 20, 2011

A different way to live

My husband and I have made our careers working with people who have varying developmental disabilities. We love our line of work, but unfortunately, it is not the kind of job that will support a growing family without a little creativity. Now, our situation is a little trickier, as I will soon stop working and Husband’s company is facing budget cuts, not to mention our rent has just been raised and -biggest financial challenge of all- we will have a whole new person to provide for in less than three months!

So, what’s a mama to do? First, and I think this is the most important thing to remember, I will NOT panic. As tempting as it is to take a look at our financial situation and head for the hills screaming, I won’t be helping anybody if I let stress get the better of me. So, now that I have made a conscious decision to stay rational, I can consider my situation proactively.

Very soon, our household income will primarily consist of my husband’s paycheck. So where do I fit into that equation? How can I make this a positive thing for our family?

Actually, I can turn this into a surprisingly positive thing for myself, and my growing family. Having less income means doing more myself, and relying less on outside sources. There are a lot of ways I can turn my home into a source of production, rather than consumption. For example, there are a lot of items we buy at grocery stores because we just never learned to do anything different. I can make my own bread, yogurt, baby food, and cleaning supplies, to name a few off-hand. These are all things we never think to make ourselves, but in the end have HUGE benefits when we apply ourselves to them. It gives us the power to control what we put in our bodies by not using any additives or other chemicals, it saves us money, and it reduces our carbon footprint.

Awareness of the environment and how every thing we do impacts it in some way is not just something I want to teach my future children, it is something I want to demonstrate every day. Reverence for nature, for the one Earth we have, is something that I want to incorporate into the way I parent. What better a way to live my values than to make toys out of recycled household materials and make cleaning supplies out of homemade, non-toxic ingredients? And hey, whaddaya know, I’m saving big money while doing it.

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