MAYD to Birth: At Your Doorstep

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Fun, Thoughtful Wedding Gifts For Every Couple

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Buying a wedding gift isn’t always easy. Everyone wants to be the gift-giver who sails in with a memorable, ever-so-thoughtful gift! A wedding gift seems so weighty; we always want them to be perfect. We’re saying something with a wedding present and we’re sending out our best wishes to the couple for a happy future together. Forget the nesting bowls and the napkin rings. Is there anything more depressing than wrapping silver-plated napkin rings that you know will languish in a drawer somewhere, slowly tarnishing? Let’s think about more personal options. 

 

NHTD

Image: kudumomo via Flickr

 

Not every couple wants- or even needs- housewares. With about half of couples moving in together before marriage, many people already have their homes together by the time they tie the knot. Even if they are looking for that magical KitchenAid stand mixer, the truth is that some people didn’t end up using it for years. Is isn’t exactly what I have in mind when I’m thinking about giving a gift- and, honestly, I can’t afford to give a $400 mixer to everyone who is getting married. My favorite gifts all center around two basic ideas: experiences and sentiments. 

The experience gifts are all things that couples can enjoy together. They’ve just gotten married- spending time together is key, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy, especially in today’s world. These gifts help carve out that time. It’s not unusual for friends or siblings to group together to make some of these experiences happen.

 

  • Weekly housekeeping services for several months allow the couple to relax and just enjoy being married.
  • Pre- paid couples massages allow for joint relaxation. (Many wellness centers will give excellent rates when purchasing packages.)
  • A family membership to their local symphony, museum, aquarium, or zoo- any local organization that you know they enjoy is great. This might be their first chance to have a family membership and now is the perfect time to mark that moment.
  • Are they sports fans? Do they tailgate, or have the biggest Superbowl party in town? A pair of season tickets for their favorite team might be a huge hit!
  • Think about offering the gift of classes. Learning a new language, learning The Tango, or mastering new cuisines might be just what the couple wants to try.

There are also the sentimental gifts, of course. These can be a little trickier, but when done right, they’re perfection.

 

  • Contact relatives and friends and solicit recipes, memories, photos and advice for the couple. Websites like Blurb.com and Bookemon.com make putting together the best cookbook ever a breeze.
  • Have the wedding invitation framed! They took time to choose exactly how to tell everyone about this event, and the invitation is a small reflection of the couple themselves. Try your local framers for the best options- and better pricing than big- box craft shops.
  • Speaking of crafts, are you a creative craftmaker yourself? If you have a skill, now is the time to use it. Knit a wedding afghan, create a painting, make something!
  • If you aren’t into making crafts, but you’re looking for that personal touch, turn to Etsy. There are plenty of artisans who make personalized gifts that bring extra warmth. Art prints can be purchased in a couple’s favorite colors, and move from romantic to pop culture references. Many artisans are happy to work with clients on custom items, too!

Thinking outside the box with your gifts can be a little scary, but it’s definitely worthwhile. You’ll feel great gifting the happy couple with a present that genuinely reflects how you feel about them- and your hopes for their shared future! What are the best, unexpected, non- traditional gifts you’ve ever received?

Sunday Surf: Luna Park

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Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I’ve read throughout the week.

Sunday Surf: Luna Park == Hobo Mama
A café near us has enchanting vintage entertainment possibilities, like this shake-’em-up ride with Batman that I decided was akin to the spin cycle. Throw up your fries and shakes, kids!

Sunday Surf: Luna Park == Hobo Mama
This clown will sing and dance for you for just a quarter! That’s some old-school entertainment.

Sunday Surf: Luna Park == Hobo Mama
Mikko was so taken with the juke box (I helped him choose the Beatles’ “Birthday” since it’s one of his favorites) that he wants to build his own. He was fascinated when I told him I actually have a record player stashed away somewhere. No records, but a genuine player.

Not bad amusement value for 75 cents total!

Good links to share!

Carnival news:

Calling for submissions for the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity
Theme: Learning About Diversity: Diversity surrounds us — our family make-ups are unique, our abilities and goals differ from our friends, we have different standards of living and sets of beliefs … both across our communities and around the world. How do you teach your children to embrace and respect diversity?

DeadlineTuesday, July 2. Fill out the webform and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at} NaturalParentsNetwork.com

Surf with us:

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaWe love following along with fellow Sunday Surfers. If you have your own post of reading links to share, please link up your post on Hobo Mama or on Authentic Parenting. The linky will go live every Sunday, and you can link up any day that week. You only need to add your post to one of the sites, and the linky will automatically show up on both sites.

You can get the Sunday Surf button by Jenna Designs and some code to add to your post from my Sunday Surf page.

Check out previous editions for good reading, and you can find more shared items during the week at my Tumblr blog, Hobo Mama’s Shared Items.


Thanks for subscribing to Hobo Mama. Please feel free to comment on the post & share it with friends by clicking the links below. If you
also write about natural parenting, I’d love to have you consider writing a guest post!

Interview with NüRoo Pocket founders

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As co-founders of NüRoo, Hope and Daniela have 8 kids between them, are certified by the US Institute for Kangaroo Care (USIKC) and passionate about attachment parenting. Hence the tagline of their brand, “Closest to Mom. Best for Baby.”

Hope, Daniela, and their eight children

Q: Tell us about you..

Our path to parenting couldn’t have been more different. Hope struggled with conceiving and found her way through IVF, adoption and in the end natural child birth. Daniela became a mom to her husband’s 1, 4 and 6 year olds prior to delivering their last two daughters. Our families are big, boisterous and nothing short of inspiring. Among the madness, we found each other and found NüRoo from our shared passion for the tie between mom and baby. Society does a good job making us second guess our intuition, and ironically medicine has further complicated the natural process. Instinctively, innately, we KNOW how to care for our babies, and our bodies are equipped with all the tools needed to do so.

Q: What made you think to create the NüRoo Pocket?

Hope: I was introduced to the practice of skin-to-skin contact by a nurse midwife at my time of delivery. Following the birth of my daughter, Elle was immediately placed on my chest, and my midwife began telling me all of the amazing physiologic benefits that skin-to-skin offers. I learned that in order to give and receive all of these advantages, she needed to be on my skin for an uninterrupted 60 minutes. That seemed reasonable until I arrived home and was greeted by my two very excited three-year-olds. I needed something that could help me give my baby the benefits of skin-to-skin, but allowed me to be active with my family.

Daniela: When Hope shared her thoughts for the Pocket, I couldn’t stop spouting off ideas. I too practiced Skin-to-Skin for the benefits offered to me and my babies but not nearly as much as I wanted to. I loved the promise of the product and envisioned a brand designed to offer early advantages and foster the bond between mom + baby.

The NüRoo Pocket helps baby transition from the womb to the outside world.

Q: How did you go from concept to finished product?

Over the course of a sleepless 9 months, we conducted countless test fits with moms and newborns, using their feedback and working with a seamstress to perfect our design. We took the final prototypes to an industry veteran to help us land at the right factory . There are so many things to consider (price, standards compliance, labeling, quality of construction, turn around time, duty fees, etc.) that working with someone to guide you through this process is invaluable. To those mompreuners in the making, if you don’t have existing relationships that can help with this, seek out a sourcing agent who can see you through.

Q: You refer to Skin-to-Skin Contact as a “practice” — why is that? 

Believe it or not, there’s a right and wrong way to do it. The benefits of skin-to-skin are derived from stimulating the c-afferent nerves. There are a lot of misconceptions around this. Not all skin-on-skin contact delivers the same benefits (i.e.: baby across mom’s belly or their cheek to her chest). Because there’s a proper position and suggested duration of time, skin-to-skin Contact is intentional and thus said to be a “practice.”

Simply by holding baby vertically on your bare chest, you enhance your baby’s immunity, improve sleep and weight gain, and stabilize their heart rate and breathing, all while speeding your own recovery time, reducing your risk for postpartum depression and increasing your milk supply. The benefits begin immediately with less crying/colic and temperature regulation. During the 60 minutes after the birth, skin-to-skin contact accelerates your baby’s brain development.

The newborn stage is coined the 4th trimester because of how immature baby is. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends skin-to-skin immediately after birth until the first feeding and throughout the postpartum period. 40 years of research tells us that skin-to-skin should happen for as often, as long, and as frequently as possible.

Q: With 40 years of research behind the practice, why now?

As you’ve said, “institutional inertia” is all too common. (Daniela): “With my delivery in 2009, baby was separated immediately after birth for routine procedures then placed skin-to-skin until the first breastfeeding. The benefits of Skin-to-Skin weren’t talked about. Thankfully, with the baby friendly initiatives, the surgeon general’s call to action and the CDC’s recommendation for Skin-to-Skin, hospitals are finally implementing new protocol. After the birth of my youngest in 2011, my baby was immediately placed on my chest and the benefits of skin-to-skin were explained in the mom + baby unit.”

In an effort to drive awareness, we’re on a mission to educate both moms and providers. We’re attending key national organization conferences (ILCA, ACNM, USLCA, etc.) and have met and spoken with amazing women doing tremendous things for the well-being of mom and baby. We’re collaborating with those trying to evoke change. There is a direct correlation between skin-to-skin and breastfeeding rates in relation to initiation, duration and exclusivity ties. The research speaks volumes, and finally our nation is responding. Every mom wants what is best for her baby. Once she has the knowledge, the product gives her the time.

Stay tuned for my review of the NüRoo Pocket in a few days!

Women on the Right Unite to Elect More Women

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Today the Republican National Committee, alongside the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican Governors Association, the Republican State Leadership Committee, the College Republican National Committee, and female leaders from the state and national levels, will announce an initiative to get more Republican women into office.

We’re calling it, “Women on the Right UNITE.” This is absolutely critical work. America needs more women in public office, and Republicans are making a commitment to do our part.

Why? Because the best way for women to be better represented in America is to have more women representatives—from the town council, to the governor’s mansion, to the Senate floor, to the White House. 

Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day speaks at Women on the Right Unite press conference, Image Credit: RNC

America needs our voices—whether in elective office or as activists. Women today make up an increasingly large share of the workforce, but it’s not quite reflected in what I call the “elected work force.”

Let’s face it: men have been at this longer. The political system has long been male-dominated. It wasn’t until 1948 that a woman was elected to the United States Senate for a full term without having been first appointed Senator. (That, of course, was Republican Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who later became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major party convention.)

To this day, we women still have some ground to make up. There are 24 states which have never been represented by a woman in the United States Senate—almost half the states in the union.

Encouraging more women to get involved in politics doesn’t mean putting pink elephants on websites or patriotic stilettos on posters. It means training and resources and recruitment. It means making sure more women serve in leadership positions in both parties.  It means making sure that as women, we are there to mentor and to help other women that choose to run for elected office with both our encouragement and our tangible support. That’s what this new project is all about.

One thing we’ve learned is that women are more likely to say they feel the need to be asked to run—not all of them, but many of them. I won’t attempt to explain the factors that conspire to cause this. But I do know that I wouldn’t have been a precinct committee member if I hadn’t been asked. And if I hadn’t been a precinct member, I wouldn’t be Co-Chair of the RNC.

That’s why the RNC Co-Chair’s office has developed the “Ready to Run” initiative, to help female candidates and potential candidates navigate the complexities of launching a campaign. That’s in addition to the RNC’s campaign school and campaign finance school that educates candidates and campaign staff on every aspect of running for office.

The Republican Party certainly has challenges to overcome. And we have to stop treating women like a coalition. As I visit with women all across the country, I remind them that we are not an interest group. Based on last election’s numbers we are 53 percent of the voters, and we need more seats at the table. There are also people, in both parties, who talk about a singular “women’s vote.” You don’t win the—quote—“women’s vote.” We have more than one vote. We don’t all get together and cast our one ballot, and we’re certainly not single issue voters.

So I look forward to our party doing things differently and doing things right.

We have a long history of strong-willed women leaders in the G.O.P. When Susan B. Anthony cast a ballot in the 1872 presidential election–an act for which she was arrested–she proudly voted the Republican ticket.

Of course, I’m not worried about how women voted in 1872. I’m more concerned about how they will vote in 2014, 2016, and beyond—and I’m hoping they’ll have the chance to vote for more Republican women.

 

Immigration Bill Passes the Senate, Now What?

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Thursday afternoon, the Senate voted 68-32 in favor of the bipartisan immigration reform bill. Fourteen Republican Senators joined the 52 Democrats and two Independents who supported this bill.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Image Credit: C-SPAN

While there were chants of “Yes We Can!” in the Senate galleries immediately following the vote, reactions on social media were mixed, with immigration reform supporters cautiously celebrating and opponents criticizing the bill:

President Obama on #immigration reform: "We have a unique opportunity to fix our broken system … We just need Congress to finish the job."

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 27, 2013

Thank u, U.S. Senate. Now our future is tied to the House of Rep. Again, the question is: "What do you want to do w/ us?" #immigration

— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) June 27, 2013

Senate passes immigration reform. I feel bad abt not being able to get more excited. Just being honest my amig@s.

— Maria Hinojosa (@Maria_Hinojosa) June 27, 2013

#Immigration Compromise = Militarized Border http://t.co/DIbOfplJ14 via @LatinoPolitics #latinos #CIR #latism #CIRfloor

— Sara Inés Calderón (@SaraChicaD) June 27, 2013

Sadly, this bill won’t fix problem w/ immigration system & will encourage more illegal immigration & human suffering http://t.co/Cbi3koG3ft

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 27, 2013

Some immigrant advocates praised the bill for including provisions that protect women. Pramila Jayapal, Co-Chair of We Belong Together says:

The bill contains a road map to citizenship for millions of people who have long lived in the shadows. It includes important workers’ rights protections, an end to the family visa backlog, a provision that would allow deported parents to reunite with their families, protections for survivors of violence, an accelerated path to citizenship for DREAMers, and other positive changes to our immigration system that will improve the lives of millions of women and families.

“What’s more, it contains provisions that have never before been in an immigration bill –including provisions that allow spouses of those on employment visas to also work, and provisions that open up employment visa categories to recognize professions dominated by women.

However, Sandra Fluke writes on The Daily Beast that the bill still falls short in some areas that affect women more than men:

Specifically, it eliminates the opportunity for siblings and adult married daughters and sons over the age of 31 to come to the U.S. Instead, employment-based immigration is prioritized. Unfortunately, the industries emphasized in our employment-based system are primarily male-dominated sectors.

David Brooks from the New York Times describes the ambivalence some Americans feel how immigration reform might change the nation’s culture:

In other words, immigration reform won’t transform America. It will just speed up the arrival of a New America that is already guaranteed.

As we stand on the cusp of this New America, it’s understandable to feel some anxiety. If you take sociology and culture seriously, it’s sensible to wonder whether this is the sort of country we want to be. Can we absorb this many immigrants without changing something fundamental?

The immigration bill will now go to the Republican majority House of Representatives, where it faces an even tougher fight. From Colorlines:

The House begins its immigration reform process with an already conservative Senate bill as a starting place. The Senate legislation moved significantly to the right earlier this week as the bipartisan Gang of Eight Senators that drafted the legislation agreed to a Republican-proposed investment of billions of dollars in additional border security measures, including doubling the number of guards on the US-Mexico border to 40,000 and building 700 miles of fencing and walls. The bill would also buy additional drones and other military technology for the region.

The House will take up SB 744 on July 10, which Politico calls “the most important day for immigration reform”.

Watch the Senate vote here:

What are your feelings about the immigration reform bill? Tell us in the comments.

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.

10 Reasons I Don’t Want to Be Pregnant

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I was really good at being pregnant. I adored that belly and I loved my babies.

And I loved my plan.

And my plan was working. Three. Done by thirty. Concise. Succinct. Beautiful. But what if my plan wasn’t the “divine plan” and heaven thought I should add to my horde?

I have spent the last three weeks in a cloudy fear that I have become a statistic — one of the 1% — betrayed by bodies we thought were controlled by modern medicine.

(Please don’t let me be pregnant…please don’t let me be pregnant…oh, dear God, please don’t let me be pregnant…)

10 reasons I don't want to be pregnant
Credit: alphaone.

As I was dropping him off for work this week, he mumbled all melancholy and afraid, words dripping blue, “I sure hope you’re not pregnant…”

AAAKKK!!!

This is my most selfish truth:

1. I want Noa to be my baby. I want to end on the girl who dollops the world with her sweetness everywhere she steps. I don’t want to impose a crib in her bedroom or a crunch on her time with me. She is my forever baby — I don’t want anything taking that away.

2. I don’t want to steal anything from Liam — not time or patience or grace… wouldn’t a baby steal every bit of what I had left and leave him hanging like an unpaired sock in the laundry? Wouldn’t he snap somehow, anger boiling over into a jealous rage that leaves a Sharpie rebellion smeared across the bedroom wall I so lovingly painted?

3. I want to notice Zander making that transition into adolescence — I want to mold him and form him and grow him up right with my full attention. I don’t want to be distracted by diapers and breastfeeding and Liam getting into trouble just to get me to notice him and Noa begging and crocodile tear’ing just so I’ll take five minutes for a tea party and cleaning toilets and laundry and onesies and crying my own snot-boiling tears because I just. can’t. take. another. minute. And suddenly he’ll be this fumbling adult and I’ll have missed the whole thing by the time I get that surprise baby on the school bus for his first day of kindergarten in five years.

4. Those jeans that finally fit me.

5. I want to shower every single day — not just because I have to do it to get the vomit smell out of my hair — for as long as I please without interruption, without guilt, without fear of what could happen in the measly five minutes I have the door closed.

6. I like peeing all by myself.

7. All the good names have been taken by Brangelina.

8. I want to write and garden and decorate and craft and play the piano and read awful vampire/zombie novels and rearrange my furniture and go for long walks on the beach and raise chickens and sleep in and travel to Italy and watch birds and bake pies and debate the merits of Jian Ghomeshi and solve homelessness and play shows in coffee houses and join a writer’s group.

9. Hemorrhoids.

10. Giving birth is gross. (Sure, it’s beautiful and wonderful and blah, blah, blah — IT’S STILL DISGUSTING!!! — and it HURTS and after you’ve mentally accepted (vowed) to never do it again you just can’t wrap your head around the very real possibility of having to do it again and so doing is a sure-fire ticket to the crazy floor.)

I am guilty.

I am an awful, terrible, SELFISH woman.

But I love my three and I don’t want to love more than that.

And so the moment came to prove that indeed, I need only love three and I was the fool in the ladies room — arms raised to heaven in a victorious hallelujah — I’m high fiving a million angels!

I text him, all caps: NOT PREGNANT!!!!!

And his response says it all: Phew!

 

First posted over here

Alanna Rusnak writes honest blog posts reflecting her world as a mother of three, wife of one, employee of a church, and a lover of beauty over at SelfBinding Retrospect

PVC Pipe Princess Dress Rack

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[Editor's Note: I'm that mom that keeps the dress up clothes tucked away in a bin. I'm the first to admit when that bin comes out, the kids dress up. If only there was a way to keep the clothes tidy, yet easily accessible for a 4 year old. Enter Simple Simon and some PVC pipe. My prayers may have just been answered. - Jen]

DIY PVC Pipe Princess Dress Rack—A How To

As a woman with several pairs of printed denim jeans in her closet I totally understood when Dude Mom said: “we literally have had at least one girl in a dress at all times since we built the thing.
(Which is fine by me. These dresses were bought to be played in…not kept tucked away…at some point this might get annoying but I doubt I’ll get tired of it anytime soon. Play away I say! Play, before you grow up and I’m wishing we had spent more time frivolously dressing up.)”

 DIY PVC Pipe Princess Dress Rack---A How To

 

Nie Asks: What Do You Do With a Crying Baby?

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How do you get any work done around your house when you have babies?

Nie's baby Lottie

And what do you do when a baby cries?

Tell me — I want (need) to know!

The Microwave Generation: What Are We Doing to Our Children?

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“I want to give my children everything that I didn’t have when I was a kid?” Have you ever heard someone say this? Have you ever said it yourself? Every time I hear that statement I wonder two things, a) what exactly does it mean? and b) why? As a parent of twenty somethings, I see a lot in them, their friends, and their generation in general, that suggests that we parents may be giving them entirely too much.

Microwave Generation
Credit: jmv.

When we say that we want to give our children everything that we didn’t have growing up, my sense is that we are referring to “stuff”: more toys, more gadgets, more vacations, more luxuries than were at our disposal as kids. And, when I say “we,” I am really including myself because although I have never made that statement or actually even thought it, I stand convicted of being an overly indulgent parent. Sometimes I try to rationalize it and sometimes I don’t. I just do it because I can, and it’s fun. Fun, that is, until my children — through their behavior and/or attitude — point out to me that I have done too much. Here’s where my experience as a mom of twenty somethings comes into play because it wasn’t until years later that my husband and I realized the mistakes that had been made as they were growing up.

I am the product of an overly indulgent mother. My father was the one who was reasonable and frugal but, Mom, not so much — although, neither one of them told me “no” very often. So, when I became an adult and graduated from college, life stepped in and slapped me right in the face. And it was brutal. Suddenly, my parents expected me to be responsible, pay my own bills, set goals, save money, chart my own path… things that I had never done before. Then I found out that I was pregnant and that, my friends, has been the single most grounding and defining moment of my life. The fact that I was going to become responsible for another little helpless, beautiful person put my feet firmly on the ground — and quickly, I might add. Thankfully, none of my children have found themselves in this position (and I implore them to keep it this way), because I often wonder about their ability to adjust to the real world.

The real world. The world where you can’t call home and ask someone to put money into your bank account because you spent it all over the weekend (but, you had a great time!). Where you can’t come home on break from college to your comfy, fairly large bedroom that you don’t have to share with anyone. You know, the one that connects to it’s own private bath or, maybe you share it with your sibling and it connects both rooms, (Did I mention that this is all really well decorated?) Where you can’t sleep until noon or 1:00 then go out to the back yard and dive into the pool. The real world, where you pay for your own car; mommy and daddy do not buy it for you. They don’t owe it to you. In fact, they don’t owe you anything. See, I have had to tell my adult children this very thing more than once, “We don’t owe you anything!”

Do you watch House Hunters or My First Place on HGTV? Every time I see these shows, I am amazed by the first time homeowners who really are insistent on buying a house that has a gourmet kitchen complete with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, four bedrooms, a master suite complete with a whirlpool tub in the bathroom, all in a 3,000 square foot home. No one, no matter what their age or stage in life expects to have to work and save and plan for anything. Instant gratification. We live in a microwave society where we expect to put a few loose plans into motion and expect instant success. And it’s all our fault, parents. We have created a generation of people who feel entitled.

Why? Why do we do this? What is it that we are trying to make up for? Were our childhoods that bad? I can recall playing games of “Pickle” in the yard across from my house until the street lights came on. Or, asking my dad for a quarter to walk to the store and buy a soda to drink while reading Tiger Beat magazine in the aisle. Or, walking down to the new cinema (notice, there was a lot of walking?) with my friends to see the first Star Wars movie… nine times. Nothing elaborate, but it was all good.

Why do we feel like we have to go bigger with our own children? What was wrong with what our parents gave us? I know that times have changed but, I submit that it’s because we have artificially upped the ante. We have become so obsessed with “stuff” and status that we have forgotten that we, parents, have a bigger purpose than just keeping our children entertained and coddled.

Tell me, do you put as much effort into teaching your children how to be altruistic? Do you realize that kindness and compassion have to be taught, they are not intuitive? Do you feel the need to teach your children the value of hard work resulting in delayed gratification? This is hard stuff and I must say, that I find it just as daunting 16 years later than I did when I had my first child. Fortunately, or unfortunately if you look at it from my younger children’s point of view, I am parenting from the rear view mirror and I can see clearly. To set the record straight, my older kids are good kids. They have their bumps and bruises but, they are figuring it out. So am I.

The Truth About Combined Finances

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This whole “what’s mine is yours” concept seems all la la la and fairy dust and stuff, but in reality I find it’s more like, “I would like to share, but at the same time, this sucks a little bit too.” My husband and I have been together for nine and a half years, married for almost three, and we are STILL getting the hang of this combined finances thing.

Why? Because it’s not a teddy bear’s picnic–it’s real life.

 

calculator

Image: Images of Money via Flickr

 

The funny thing is that before we decided to get married, we had a talk about money. We decided not to combine our finances. We had a system that had worked for six years, and there was no reason to change up the game, right? Yea, in theory, it was a great plan. But when we got married, I quit my nine to fiver to become a penniless writer. So let’s just say that plan went right out the window thanks in large part to me.

That first year was quite the adjustment for both of us. I went from having all my own loot to having, well, none at all. And at first, the jobs weren’t exactly rolling in. Slowly but surely we learned how to share. My husband gave me a budget and I had to learn to live with that. Pursuing my dream and having less money to show for it was a trade off, but one I was willing to make.

Now, almost three years later, we are still juggling. I have more writing jobs, he is getting a new job, and we are still learning how to divvy up these shared funds. It’s a work in progress. When I am short for something like gas or groceries, I have to ask him for money. It is still really hard for me to ask for money and that was one of the biggest things I needed to get over when we started this whole combined finances thing. I’m still not entirely over it.

Sometimes there is a distinct groan and that’s when I like to say, “Hey, babe, I am just asking for some of ‘our money.’” But the concept of “ours” is still hard, even after all these years. People like to maintain some sense of independence, and if you’re asking for money, you’re not as independent as you might think. We also have different spending habits and different ideas about what we “need.” For me, if it relates to the kitchen (food, accessories, etc.) then it’s for me. For him, if it is a power tool, or a record or a concert ticket, well, he thinks we “need” it.

In the end, though, we are sharing this life together and that sometimes means our cold hard cash. A lot of couples fight about money and have different ideas about how finances should work; it’s normal to disagree about these things, but in the spirit of marriage, it’s important for everyone to bend a little.

I refuse to be too stressed about the issue of money, and certainly don’t want to fight about it. We have learned to bend, as well as how to stretch a dollar because in a marriage, it’s all coming from the same pot–for better for worse.

So tell me, do you have budget issues with your spouse? Is it hard to talk about money or do you do a great job as a team? Leave it for me in the comments section below!