just read this article in the Washington Post. it makes me want to run screaming. with scissors in hand, too.
here you have frugal mama (check out her site.) she has some neat recipes and ideas. she also has some lovely photos of her beautiful children. i’m sure she’s a really excellent mom, and i don’t take issue with that end of things. such a clean, nicely-decorated house! such well-scrubbed kids! and how big of her — she saves money by sending her children to the public schools. that’s what passes for down-to-earth, you know.
there’s this wonderful fantasy moms, especially urban ones, foster: the one about the simple life where they grow their veggies for the kids, watch little to no TV, and have this contained existence over which they have perfect control. this seems to be the idea this mom blogger is perpetuating. la la la — see my house, organized with categorized mason jars, toys all contained in container store containers, my kids eating natural veggies and fruits from the farmers market. pinterest feeds on this sort of thing; i’m guilty of harboring the fantasy myself at times. and who doesn’t want to spend more time with their family? (okay, let me rephrase that: who doesn’t want to spend more quality time with their families?) however, as a mom (and a blogger since 2002, long before most of these mommy bloggers were mommies, i would add), i find some aspects of this existence head-scratchingly irritating.
for starters, i cannot bring myself to take any sort of financial advice from a woman who has no retirement savings. unless she expects her children to come circle Marmee and support her in her old age, she’d better start contemplating that idea or else hope that these frugal ideas get kicked into high gear for her future blog where she extols the virtues of being a frugal senior citizen (with hopefully no medical issues to speak of.) i don’t know how fashionable it will be to eat cat food while waiting for your social security check to come in.
secondly, life can be controlled (to a certain point) until kids hit their teen years, when pop culture and hormones intermingle in such a way where you may ultimately be making the choice: have your kid conform to your TV-free lifestyle (not that TV is a treasure, but put yourself in the shoes of the average teen) and be ostracized socially, or relent and let those new demons into the home. lady, do you remember middle school? it’s tough enough because everyone is different (and different, as we all know, is so horrible at that age) — but you might be setting your kids up to be sitting alone in the library at lunchtime… well, maybe they won’t be alone. they may have the tiger moms’ kids in there, though they’ll be too busy studying to talk to your kids.
you don’t go grocery shopping anymore; you do all your shopping online with amazon prime. i know that’s a tip that will work well for folks on food stamps.
finally, how freaking frugal are you, really, when you can afford a house in NW DC and afford renovations? Why not move into a less tony area and see how much you enjoy the perks of frugality. not saying that frugality isn’t a noble idea. but I do wonder about this patina of elegance that this sort of idea has gotten these days. it’s a frugality that appears to come straight out of a Pottery Barn ad. like your home decor.
let’s call this all what it is: upper-middle-class fluffy fantasy of slowing down your family life. that’s nice if you can afford it. unfortunately, a lot of people in this world cannot. they are actually working to earn money for things, and not just $1000 tables (which you just had to have. hopefully, you aren’t one of those who frowns on welfare families who buy things that are frills when they cannot even afford the necessities.)
it’s awfully easy to be frugal when you have money.