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Tips from an Experienced, Financially Savvy Mom

  July 16

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plunged in debtI’m so happy to welcome Catherine from Plunged in Debt to the blog. Catherine is someone I’ve always looked up to. She has the most beautiful little girl, and she works so hard to keep her budget straight and enjoy her family all at the same time. I asked her to share some of her expert mom tips, and I hope you love them as much as I do:

I’m not the first to say this but being a mom (parent) is the hardest job you will ever have. This is something you have to experience to really understand but basically take the hardest thing you’ve ever accomplished in your life pre-kids and multiply it by about four billion. That’s almost as hard as it is being a mom.

When your child is born, you’re suddenly changed as person into a superhuman being. I don’t know what causes the exact changes but you suddenly find yourself capable of more in a day than you ever thought possible. Once, of course, you get over those initial first few days where you’re in a total haze of accepting that you’re now responsible for caring for, raising and providing for another human being.

Being a parent evokes emotional levels you didn’t know you had, and tests them daily.

I was fully prepared to have my daughter be born and be totally smitten and in love with her. Like I couldn’t breath without her and have tears pour down my face like I see in the movies. While I had grown close to the little girl growing inside me for nine months, at the time of her birth I was not overwhelmed with emotion.

Maybe it was the semi-scary situation going on around me (emergency c/section, minor postpartum complications). I knew I loved her but not like I was expecting. At first I thought there was something wrong with me. Then I realized two things. One, I was emotionally overwhelmed with everything. The pregnancy, the birth, the acceptance that I was now no longer pregnant (a strange emotional stage for me), the whirlwind of events that had just happened. And two, love grows.

I loved my daughter but not the way I do today, the way I expected to at her birth. Today when I think about her, I am totally overwhelmed with emotion, love, joy, happiness. The day of her birth I loved her but she was still a stranger to me.

Be prepared for all emotions. The changes of pregnancy to childbirth to postpartum are something NO one can prepare you for. Whatever you feel is normal. It’s ok to not have everything go the way books and movies make it out to be. It’s your body and your baby.

People love to give advice.

I can’t imagine what Cat’s going through with twins so be extra prepared, girl! People love to voice their opinions about everything related to babies, boobs, and bellies. Learn to keep your cool and more importantly keep doing whatever is working for you and your family. So many people, people I didn’t even know, had me second guessing my choices in parenting. We co-slept for 10 months. It’s something I never thought I would ever do but it just worked for us, and I wouldn’t have changed this experience for anything. Much against what others told me, my now almost two-year-old daughter sleeps fine in her own bed and won’t still be breastfeeding in college.

Stop reading whatever parenting book is currently sitting on your bedside table.

Seriously I read every. single. book/website/podcast/you name it. I was obsessed with getting as much into in my head as possible and it drove me crazy. You will learn your child, trust me. No general book can help you. I really think these books instill irrational thoughts in our heads. We’re constantly looking for things, crazy milestones, developmental issues. It gets overwhelming. Stop reading and start getting to know your kid, on your time, with no interference. If you have genuine concerns, chat with your doctor, midwife, professional, or another mom face-to-face, kid in tow. While there are a few amazing resources out there to help (KellyMom.com for breastfeeding comes to mind) these are meant to help with individual questions, not a manual about how to raise your child. You’ll just ”get it”, trust me.

Being a mother is hard. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything. While it’s not a job filled with monetary bonuses or paid vacations, the payoffs are more than money could possibly buy. Good luck Cat, you’ll do amazing!

Editor’s Note: Thanks, Catherine! I so appreciate the honesty, which I find is pretty rare. The experience for me has been so challenging but so rewarding, just as you’ve said.

Does anyone else have any parent tips? Anything you wish you would have known before in terms of money, scheduling, or even the emotional aspect?

I'm not the first to say this but being a mom (parent) is the hardest job you will ever have. This is something you have to experience to really understand but basically take the hardest thing you've ever accomplished in your life https://www.catherinealford.com/2014/07/16/financially-savvy-mom/

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22 responses to “Tips from an Experienced, Financially Savvy Mom

  1. My favorite emotional ride is the battle between wanting her to grow so she can talk and walk and stop crying when she wants something, and really, really, really wanting her to stay a baby! It’s tough….but you are so right! You can read and prepare for parenthood all day long, but at the end of the day you have to let it go and do what works for you and your kiddo! Loving your honesty!

  2. I wasn’t really expecting it, but I was surprised when I instantly was in love with my daughter when she was born. I don’t know why I hadn’t even thought of it before hand, but it just took me by surprise how enamored I was with her. I had plenty of troubles with childbirth, breastfeeding etc. so maybe it was God’s way of preparing me for a rough ride. But having said that, I know that everyone is different. Just before my step-daughter gave birth, eight months ago, I assured her that she would feel instant love for her baby and to not worry about it. I was relating it to my own experience. But after I said it, I wondered if I was wrong. I was worried that she might have post-partum depression or something. She was always a bit lukewarm about having kids until recent years. Anyways, I held my breath, and she did have a lot of breastfeeding complications which was rough on them but I could see the love emerging amongst the setbacks and Nama breathed a silent sigh of relief. Today I see her love grow exponentially. He is a good baby, and I’m sure she counts her blessings too.

  3. I was a much better parent before having a child 😉 Right now, I’m teaching my 4-year-old how to use the remote control … something I would have shook my head at pre-child!

    No, but seriously — just roll with the punches. What works for you and your family won’t work for others, and vice versa. I’ve learned to say “thank you” to unsolicited advice and just move on to a different topic!

    But since you asked for advice … I do wish I shopped at consignment sales sooner. They are semi-annual sales of gently used children’s gear, and the infant gear is always the most pristine and the most discounted — because there are fewer moms of infants to buy them and a lot of new moms buy them new. Don’t buy a new jumperoo when you can get it for 70% off at a consignment sale! 😉

  4. Haha, I like the “stop reading” tip Catherine! I am absolutely, 100%, the type of person who would do exactly what you did: read everything I could lay my hands on and not feel like I read enough!

    1. I still catch myself sometimes but then realize to just stay in tune with what I feel is right. I don’t need constant validation anymore.

  5. I definitely agree on not reading books and trying to raise your child based on someone else’s experience. Each child is completely unique and you can’t try to fit them in a box. My son did not and still does not fit into any box but it is part of his charm and one of the many things I love about him.

  6. I’m actually crying and smiling while reading your post right now. Memories way back 2 years ago are brought back to me again— that was the day I delivered a healthy baby boy! T’was one of the happiest days of my life. And you are absolutely right, I was transformed into a superhuman being right after! LOL. It’s never easy being a mom but it’s all worth it! 🙂

  7. This is absolutely right. Being a mom, a wife and working online at the same time require patience, determination and a whole lot of passion. I do read a lot of parenting books but not to follow every single advice they give but rather to innovate them base on my own beliefs and experience. I also love hearing people giving me advice and I thank them for it but still at the end of the day it’s just between me, my daughter and my husband.

  8. I agree with throwing the parenting advice away. Most of that stuff preys on maternal anxiety just to sell books. Beyond the basics of food, shelter, love, and attention… it’s really up to you and your baby. Not what anybody else says. And, even in the same family, what works for one kid may not work for another. Your own instincts are far superior to what any other random person (IRL, on the internet, in your family, or published in a book) says. They really are.

    Here’s our parenting philosophy: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/our-parenting-philosophy/

  9. I had a very hard time when I gave birth to my only daughter that was seven years ago that’s why maybe we’re not yet planning to have a second baby. Being a mom is one of the hardest job and most enjoyable one, all the tears, joy and laughter are totally priceless moments!

  10. Great article! When it comes to parenting I think the WWW is a blessing an a curse!
    As a new mom my experience was a little different because I went the foster / adopt route.
    I felt so inadequate until I held my STBAS in my arms —- I still didn’t know everything (still dont) — but I knew somehow I would manage. It’s amazing how instincts kick in…and some things you just know….

    Doesn’t mean I don’t spend my fair share of time researching EVERY LITTLE THING online….
    at what age should this happen
    what does this symptom mean
    diapers, eczema, developmental milestones on my!!!

    The web is good for general information but can’t tell me about MY son. That I learn day by day

  11. I’m at the stage where letting go is more and more what I have to do. My youngest is a teenager, and it’s all about the social scene. My middle daughter is just about to leave her teens and is in her first long term relationship – so it’s all about her boyfriend. My eldest is off on her own and doesn’t “need” me at all anymore as a child needs a mother. But I’m so happy to say she chooses me : ) And our mother-daughter connection has morphed into a wonderful friendship. All the best at navigating all the stages ahead – even letting go.

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