Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners!

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This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how a co-parent has or has not supported us in our dedication to natural parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My husband always says that if we had a million dollars our life would look a lot different than it does now. (No crap Matlock). But he actually means that if we had a lot more money than we do now our lives would be that much crunchier. We don’t always agree on parenting tactics, but I do agree with him on this.

What? More crunchy than breastfeeding a toddler? Babywearing? Bed sharing? Being vegetarian? Wanting to save the Earth? Wearing handmade clothes from Etsy? (All of which we agree on by the way).

Why yes. We could do so much more.

Of course all of the above would still apply. That goes without saying. We’d still practice attachment parenting principles (and hubby would still question whether they really apply to our specific children), but having a million dollars would give us the freedom to do it really well. Oh, perfection, how I love thee! And I would have that many more resources (one being time!) at my fingertips to further convince him that attachment parenting is relevant to parenting toddlers and older children. And I’d argue that it would give a number of other families the freedom to do the same, and breastfeed longer too. You know that darn lack of maternity leave in the United States that ensures moms have to choose between pumping or weaning? Millions of women wouldn’t need to make that choice if they got paid time off for a year. But I digress….

For starters, if we had a million dollars, we’d definitely homeschool/unschool. Right now, for a number of reasons, our oldest daughter goes to public school. Mainly because, although I’m a stay-at-home mom, I’m a working-at-home mom who takes care of other people’s children. This means that if I were to homeschool I wouldn’t be able to do it the way I think homeschooling needs to be done. She wouldn’t be able to attend all the extra-curricular activities I think homeschooled kids need, like music, art, and a sport. We wouldn’t be able to attend the homeschool meet-ups with other homeschooling parents and their kids or go on the naturalist field trips I heave heavy sighs over missing every time my homeschooling friends go. No, I need to stay home and be concerned about the nap, feeding, and school-attending times and creative and cognitive development of children who aren’t my own. However, if I didn’t have to contribute to our income, and my husband had a way better paying job, or someone were to give us a million dollars, we’d be teaching our kids the way of the world from the back seat of a dusty jeep, the top of a tourist bus, or the bow of a boat; on the Serengeti Plains, along La Champs Elysses, in The Gulf of Mexico.

My husband feels that if we had a million dollars, he would feel differently about how we spend money on food too, as this is where we differ. Ninety percent of the time I do the grocery shopping, and even if the figures in my bank account are dangling somewhere below zero I buy organic. That’s just the way I am. I want my family to eat as healthy as possible and I’m very committed to shopping as locally as possible and reducing our impact on the environment. My hubby, on the other hand, who has the burden of carrying the male gene that’s in a chronic tizzy about the financial state of his family, will buy the cheapest non-organic food there is. It’s not that he thinks it’s just as good as its organic counterpart or that we’re not worth the extra $2.25, he just wants to save money. And he says he doesn’t like to support a system that decides it’s okay to make the healthiest food more expensive, or even decipher between organic and non-organic. “It should all just be called food,” he says. “And it should all be organic.” So who’s wrong? Me for putting my family’s nutritive health above our finances? Or him for putting the finances before saving Mother Earth? I’m sure that depending on your own beliefs and values you’ll have a different opinion.

Now I know that some of you are thinking that this is a total cop out. If we all had a million dollars, all of our lives would be better. But since we don’t, we do the best we can. And it is possible to live your values and dreams without being rich, isn’t it?

Some homeschoolers will tell me that if I really valued homeschooling then I would find a way to do it. Well, what they fail to realize are all the other reasons I send my daughter to public school. The thing is, what I most value are the unique traits of my particular daughter and how to best school her.

As far as food goes, I could just make my husband not shop. Yeah right! Or I could grow my own veggies (check) or tie him to a chair and force his eyelids open and make him read about how he’s poisoning our family and the Earth with every non-organic loaf of bread he brings home. Um. Didn’t I already say yeah, right?

Moving right along then. Doesn’t everyone know someone who found a way to travel to foreign countries with their family on a shoestring budget? I know it can be done. Some people even travel the world with their families, unschooling their children all the way. I suppose we might be able to find a way to do this if we really, really tried to come up with a portable way of making lots of money. But since we both got the wrong kind of degrees when we went to university it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Although I did just apply to do my Masters degree, partly for this very reason, so I guess we’re already on this one.

I think what a million dollars could do for us that our current financial situation doesn’t do, is give us time and authenticity. Right now, like many families, we’re riding middle class on the coat tails of credit, which means we’re constantly paying off debt and squashing any likelihood of traveling to even see our relatives let alone the European countryside. Being in debt makes us argue and disagree on parenting issues, when at the root of them, we really, mainly agree on everything. So that’s why I think having a million dollars would solve our parenting disagreements and help us reach our parenting goals. Financial freedom equals less stress, less stress equals more happiness, more happiness equals living authentic lives.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated Feb. 9 with all the carnival links, and all links should be active by noon EST. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.)

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23 Responses to “If We Had A Million Dollars”

  1. #1 Lauren @ Hobo Mama Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm
  2. #3 Jamie Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm
  3. #5 Interview with a Daddy « Navelgazing Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm
  4. #6 » Breastfeeding Father Strocel.com Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm
  5. #7 Dionna Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 2:20 pm
  6. #8 Natural Parenting Fathers » Natural Parenting Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm
  7. #9 Amber Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 5:11 pm
  8. #10 BluebirdMama Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm
  9. #11 CaroLyn Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm
  10. #13 TheFeministBreeder Says:
    February 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm
  11. #14 Moments in time: a love letter « Raising My Boychick Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm
  12. #15 Michelle Says:
    February 9, 2010 at 8:11 pm
  13. #16 Paige Says:

    February 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm
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    February 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm
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  16. #19 Claire Says:
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  18. #21 Zoey @ Good Goog Says:

    February 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm
  19. #22 Sarah Says:

    February 21, 2010 at 12:57 am

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