119 days… and counting…

I’ve been thinking about how expensive it is to raise kids. Well… how expensive people say it is. I’m sure they’re right. I mean, I’m sure it can be ridiculously, horribly expensive. It’s a fear. It’s a worry. However…

Before the prospect of parenthood came into my life, I’d been engaged in a lengthy process of dealing with, accepting and then actually welcoming thrift. Financial… um… carefulness… has been necessary, for a number of reasons, for myself and my partner – now the mother-to-be of my child – for, I think it would be fair to say, most of our mutual lives. We have learned strategies of dealing with the tightness of purse strings, of reducing our outgoings, of consolidating and managing debts, or prioritising our needs versus our wants, such that we always and constantly (more or less) discuss and deliberate over pretty much every purchase, applying numerous types of (mostly “on the fly”) cost versus benefit ratios… and things of that nature.

We love a good bargain – hunting them down can be a thrill! We seek out the local charity shops when we find a new town, as Indiana Jones or Lara Croft might seek out a hidden cavern or a lost tomb, to plunder for mysterious and forgotten treasures. Only yesterday, the missus found four lovely, barely worn baby tops for the paltry sum of £1… and the other day, on eBay, she bought a good-as-new singing/speaking rocking horse for £4.53 and a nappy wrapper bin for 99p – the joy and the bargain-y-ness of it all! And that’s not even to mention the wonderful no-money-at-all-ness of the things we have got from Freecycle, gifts from rellies, etc…

Thrift is such fun!

I am aware, however, that children want things. They need things. I was one once (a child, that is) – I was probably as want-y and need-y as anyone. Toys, clothes, nappies, school trips, various lotions and wipes and what-have-yous for babies; and it seems that nowadays (and God knows what it’s going to be like in a few years), a desktop computer, a laptop and a super-advanced mobile phone are absolute necessities for children of school-age…

But…

And this is a very big “but,” which I will cling onto with hope and determination for as long as I can cling onto it…

I know that I have myself, since entering adulthood, learned some highly valuable, life-enhancing lessons about the value of things, the joy that can be felt in not-wanting, in not-desiring, in living without surplus and in enjoying/appreciating less rather than bowing to the relentless pressure of peers and advertising and convincing yourself you want more and more and more… in being mindful… in enjoying the seeking at least as much as the finding…

And I really hope… I determinedly hope… I can instill these values upon my child… and the value in creating rather than consuming… in recycling rather than collecting… in appreciating all that one has rather than always seeking the newest, the latest, the shiniest…

I’ll get back to you on the success of my hopeful determination once I’ve experienced my first tantrum! 🙂

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nb. Weird coincidence! In finding the above link for my Art of Tea entry, “Thrift – the Brother of Slow,” I discovered that I posted this on 26 June 07… exactly one year before the birth date of our baby! I am hoping (determinedly) that this is Fate saying, “Yes, you will have a child who appreciates the value of thrift”… 😉

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