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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life Changes

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

Since I wrote my last post here, I've become a mother to two beautiful children, a daughter and a son. Life has felt anything but simple, green and frugal. In fact, I'd go so far as to say like has been somewhat complicated, definitely the opposite of green and more expensive than it has ever been [aka I am leaking money]. One piece of advice has carried me through, from a seasoned parent who I really respect: focus on survival until it feels like you can do more.

This whole experience has taught me so much about understanding people who feel the simple, frugal or green life is beyond them. I've heard friends, co-workers and people in the media say that they feel overwhelmed at the thought of making their own soap, recycling, composting or cooking from scratch. While I've long held the belief we should all start slowly, being a mother for just shy of three weeks has really given me a level of compassion and understanding about why changes can feel so challenging.

Almost three weeks in, we are doing well. I can't say I'm cooking every single day, I certainly can't say my laundry situation isn't scary. But in terms of small successes:

- I am using green soap and green cleaning products, even if I didn't make them myself
- I am composting, even if the bucket is in a sorry state and needs to be dealt with
- I am ensuring we get three meals a day, even if they are simple or from a favourite independent store instead of more complex {what I would do for a roast!!!}
- I can see where I want us to be (a more simple, green and frugal life defining parenting choices) and I know slowly we will get there...

One of my favourite quotes is this: "All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Anatole France.

So if you are struggling with life changes, just know part of embracing the single, frugal and green life is to be simple with yourself and your needs. Don't be harder on yourself than you would be with others. Understand sometimes focusing on survival is the right thing to do.

I feel hope our new life is emerging and I'm sure as long as we are together it will be a grand one. I hope wherever you are in your life you see hope to.

11 comments:

Quatrefoil said...

Congratulations!

I am in awe of the fact that you are managing to do this at all. And while you might not be as simple, green or frugal as you might like, just for the moment, I'm willing to bet that you're still a long way ahead of most people in most rich western nations. Hang in there!

willywagtail said...

I've always loved how the Famous Five got to go on adventures and I like to treat lifes challenges like that. I may not get to thwart gypsies or smugglers but my adventures are still packed full of fun. Enjoy yours! Cherrie

Lorraine Butler said...

What a wonderful and healthy way to cope with one of the biggest changes in life. Way to go! At the end of the day the important thing becomes, "Hey, look, we're all alive!" And that's so okay.

Denimflyz said...

Please just take baby steps. Please do not let others, (friends, co-workers etc) discourage you in any way, shape or form on your quest for a more productive life. Do only what you can afford and can handle in any one day.
I have been doing this for many years, but because I was raised by Amish grandparents, so the lifestyle was already instilled in me, but then grew up to live in several urban cities and working a corporate life, thinking that that is the life but as you grow older and have life changing moments, you want to cocoon into life more slow and has meaning instead of things or material items that mean nothing but just making you work more to have more.
You will do fine, just follow your own heart and the bloggers who follow you will be there if you need us.

Anonymous said...

don't be too hard on yourself as you adjust or you will come crashing down hard... children are a huge adjustment and there are times when you have to just do what you can...

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

Beautiful post from a very busy mum, love the quote. I have the rule of one at home - set one thing you would really like to get done in the day and be glad when it is done. Forget all the stuff that still needs doing, a small goal set and achieved feels pretty good.

Hopewell said...

I think people have to see that "change" can be cooking ONE meal from scratch per MONTH, then per WEEK, etc. Changing to ONE green cleaning product this YEAR is change. So many folks think it's throwing out everything and living in a "weird" new way. Just take it slowly. The more you do the more you'll want to change even more!

Joanne said...

Congratulations! You will have so many joys! Pain too, and tiredness like you wouldn't believe but so much happiness. Motherhood does change the way we look at and think about almost everything.
Whatever happens, enjoy your children. It's so easy these days to begin to think of them as an inconvenience- preventing us from doing what we'd like to do. I know I've fallen into this trap at times and sadly, some parents all but admit to feeling that way.
Instead, our children can become one of the most powerful reasons we do what we do so we constantly tweak the balance of what is important and what our priorities are.
What is a neglected compost heap to a getting to know a small human being and being their guide to the world around them?

Bel said...

Congratulations and go gently. Love, Bel x

Sarah said...

Thank you for your post. I find myself constantly forgiving myself, as there is certainly an ideal that I strive for that is simple, green and frugal, but life gets hectic. Sometimes a piece of recycling doesn't gets washed and is thrown in the garbage or we have pasta three nights in a row and...., but instead we read five books together laying on the grass as the day is winding down.

DramaMama said...

LOVE THIS POST. I can be guilty of judging myself too harshly at times! This is also a great post to point beginners to...also, we are foster parents so our #s change on occasion. There can be weekends where we are a family of 8 or it's just the 4 of us! Survival is definitely key - do what you can when you can =) And I will echo everyone's sentiments about enjoying your time as a mother and going easy on yourself. Thank you for this post! I will be sharing!!