It’s been a difficult year for our family. When I found out I was pregnant, before I had announced anything, I was informed that my salary was being cut. It’s not like it was a huge financial setback, but with a baby coming, I did get a little bit stressed out. We began packing as much money away as we could. After I quit work, my husband (who works a seasonal grounds-keeping job) began to put in long hours to contribute to the baby fund.
Then Max was born and he was in the hospital for a month. My husband couldn’t bear to be away for more than a couple of days. So that was a significant decrease in income all the while chipping away at our savings eating out and paying for lodging.
When Max came home things didn’t improve much. He didn’t sleep well at night, he ate every three hours. I also needed to pump every three hours and cleaning all his feeding equipment took extra time too. I was constantly overwhelmed. I felt like this baby needed two full-time caretakers, so my husband ended up taking a lot of time off to help out with the feeding and caring for baby.
Well, now my husband is in his off-season and while it’s great to have another full-time caretaker, it’s tough not having money coming in. We’ve blown through all of our stockpiled savings as well as various Christmas gifts. So hear I am trying to figure out how to get by. I’ve read various blogs and websites on how to save money on food (food is our major expense – for the most part the rest we can live without – we just love good food!). The problem is all of these “save money” solutions take time.
- Buy produce in bulk and can and or freeze what you don’t use.
- Start a garden
- Make your own instead of buying pre-made (dried beans vs. canned, stocks, granola and granola bars)
- Cook instead of eating out
Pretty much I feel great if I have time to cook a meal. I don’t know, maybe I’m just terribly unorganized and if I could get my act together I could be a super mom like Modern Alternative Mama. But really, she doesn’t have to spend an hour out of every four feeding her baby. With an extra half hour pumping on top of that. She doesn’t have doctors appointments every two weeks and therapy visits two times a week. And I’m sure she doesn’t spend 4-6 hours of her nighttime awake with a fussy baby. Not on a daily basis at least.
Is there a way for our family to continue to consume the good quality food that keeps us feeling great, while taking care of a child with special needs and taking time to nourish ourselves as parents? Is there a way for us to stay in the black while eating healthy and giving our son the medical care and therapy that will give him the best chance to thrive? I assume at some point I will figure out how to balance time savings and money savings. Maybe (hopefully?) it’s just a phase and once Max gets a little older he won’t be as much work. In the meantime, I’m overwhelmed, I’m tired, but I love my baby. And I will find a way.