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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The "New" Old School

I recently described myself as the new - old school type of mom. Let me explain.

For those of you who are recent followers, I am a 28 year old first time mom. I like to do things like they did in the "good 'ol days" - you know when things weren't so fast paced and we didn't need two incomes. However, I also like some of the conveniences of today's world. For example, I am a HUGE advocate for staying at home and cooking and having a sit down family meal with the television and cell phones off. I like being a home body and spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy hosting events and parties in my home. To me "old school" brings visions of family values and a "back to nature" way of living. I am a stay at home mom... part time.

Here's where the "new" part comes in. I must work part time outside of my home to help make ends meet. To me this is a compromise that I am willing to live with for now. I work two to three days per week as a public school educator and my dad keeps Judah for me. The other days I get to be home with him, giving him my undivided attention. While I would love to be a full time "old school" stay at home mom, this is what works for my family at this time. And, luckily I like what I do outside of the home so it isn't so bad when I have to go to work. I also cloth diaper my baby - sometimes. We use cloth diapers at home and disposable diapers when we're away. This is again, what works for us. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge with others be it about reading at work or saving money on this blog. Blogging is yet another, "new" part of my new- old school character. This "new-fangled" bloggin' business has opened doors to new like minded friends and exciting opportunities for me and my family.

I am a quality over quantity type of girl. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have to have the top of the line in everything I buy. Typically when I purchase home goods or linens I purchase good quality so that it will last, but I still hold out for bargains. I search for the good stuff when it goes on sale, hits the clearance, or at bargain/discount stores like TJMaxx, Home Goods, and Marshall's. However, when buying groceries I typically buy some store brand items - when I know there is little difference between brands.

To me, it is all about making choices. I choose to save my money and make educated purchases. I don't shop often (going to stores gets me into trouble). I only go when I need something with the intention to buy - window shopping is dangerous for me. When I truly need something, I can't use something I already have or it is no longer repairable, I typically buy something that is going to last rather than buy several of a cheaper version. This is why if you visit my home I don't have a lot of knick knacks. I save my money and buy a few large, nice pieces that I will be happy with for a long time, something timeless and classic, not trendy. The same goes with my clothes. I purchase quality - not quantity. But, like home goods, I purchase my clothing on clearance and/or at bargain/discount stores. If, and only if, it is an article of clothing that will be the center of my entire wardrobe I will pay full price. The few times this has happened, I have literally worn it until it had holes beyond repair!

I am full of oxymorons and misnomers. I enjoy cooking from scratch but don't always have time. We typically don't eat a lot of fast food, buy we do occassionally enjoy a frozen pizza. I love blogging, email and all the fun new technology we have at our fingertips, but I simply must send handmade and handwritten invitations and thank you notes. As I mentioned previously, I cloth diaper my son and use disposables. I stay at home and work outside of the home. So, I guess I'm no June Cleaver, but I enjoy the thought of being home and raising my family in an home that takes time to smell the roses in a world that moves at the speed of light.

So, I'm bringing back "old school." I want it to be glamorous to be a stay at home mom on a fixed income. Family values should never go out of style. Our kids need us, not gymnastics, dance class, and kindermusic. It is the time we spend with them that they'll remember - be it during the week or on weekends, not the stuff that we buy them. The same goes for ourselves. I challenge you to re-evaluate how you're living and see if there are things you could live without.

I'll bet there are lots of you out there who are choosing quality of life over quantity of things.

I hope you'll weigh in and let me know how YOU are the "new - old school type of mom." What are some other ways that you are like/unlike your own mother or grandmother?

This article is meant to share MY opinions. This is not a forum for judging or bashing others. Please keep your comments upbeat and positive. Thank you! =)


kelly said...

I totally agree. I watched Oprah today and it was about how much we waste. I felt guilty and realized a lot of areas I need to cut back and that I need to be a better role model for my kids. I'm a school nurse ,so I have the summers off with my kids. I need to use the time with them wisely. My goal this summer is to turn the tv & computer off more often and actually play with my children.

jskell911 said...

We too insist on sitting together for a family dinner each night. It is sometimes, the only time we all have to give each other our undivided attention.

Katy said...

Great post!

I think as a new mom, it's really important to figure out who you are... lots of people are going to try to tell you who you should be- I think it's great that you've made it clear what works for you.

I was a public school teacher until I had my first child. I REALLY miss it- but found doing my own thing part time ( has been more financially beneficial than teaching part time. Every mom need to find her balance.

I will say that I do not regret any of the choices I've made as a mom thus far- especially leaving my job. It's cliched to say, but they just grow up too fast.

Sorry about the novel!
Katy :)

Brandy said...

Love the post, you hit the nail on the head with this one! I will be getting laid off in the coming months, and both my girls will be going through some major surgeries, so I too have been re-evaluating our lives. I completely agree that it is our time together as a family that my children will remember most. I think that the single biggest thing a family can do together is to eat dinner together as a family, and like you said, with the TV and cell phones OFF! Some parents don't understand you can learn a lot from your children if you can have a conversation during dinner with them.
Thanks for the great post!

The Coxes said...

I feel like I could have been reading a description of myself. What's funny is that we are rarities these days especially in our consumerism society. Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone.

One thing I'm doing too is making my own baby food. It has been really easy, fun and has saved a bunch of money!

Summer said...

I'm a long time reader and I love this more personal post!

You and I are A LOT alike in our family values. I too am a stay at home mom. I run a blog design business from home and do cake decorating at times through word of mouth. I am constantly seeking to enrich my and my families life by learning new things.

I have long loved "old ways", doing things myself and making things from scratch and I strive to teach others as much as I can about these things. Doing them as a family really brings us together.

I always bake with my kids and try to include them in everything I do, even if they can't yet do it "right". Like folding laundry. If they want to help there is no denying that eagerness. I want them to love learning like I do. I can't wait to teach them how to can, crochet, cook, cake decorate, bake, etc.

We have dinner together every night and immediately thereafter we gather on the couch for scripture study. Sometimes it's a hectic day or night and the things that are best for us don't always happen but we're trying.

Michele said...

Growing up all I planned on doing is being a stay at home mom. Well that is not how things worked out. I am a single mom of 3 and work full time. I don't make too many things myself and with a 17 yr old and 12 yr old twins who are always on the go it is hard to have a family dinner every night. But I do insist on one night a week we eat as a family. Life is what we make it. I can't complain.

Micah said...

You are exactly right. We need to focus on our families. Too many activities can stress out your kids. My kids, now teenagers, will tell you how stressful their lives can be. They are actually limiting their own activities so that they can have quality time with the family and have more home time. The reward will be a home filled with family.

BECKY! said...

I quit my job the day before son #1 was born over 3 years ago and have been a "stay-at-home" mom ever since. I never thought or desired to be the "homemaker" type - it just sort of happened. I grew up with a working mother so the whole concept of a "stay-at-home" mom was never really in my mind as something people actually do.

I think a lot can be said for the part-time worker/mother. I know when I get to "escape" for a few hours without the kids, I feel refreshed and feel like a better mother. I think I would enjoy the part-time working lifestyle - but we don't have any family members available to watch my kids and I don't think I would be able to make enough money to really justify being away and paying someone to watch them.

I think one of the ways we make it work is that we don't really buy that much stuff - and we find that holidays & birthdays are just filled with gifts that are needed - for instance, our ShopVac broke a little while ago and instead of running up to Home Depot to buy a new one, my husband just says "Well now I know what I want for Father's Day!" Christmases are filled with new underwear, socks and clothes for everyone. Normal people just go out and buy these things - but we let Santa take care of our basics! ;)

Kelly said...

I'm a full time working mom of 2, but my family comes first. I cook meals at home, we eat dinners together every night, and make the most of our time together. I also make sure my girls know that their house is a home and we do things together that help them learn to appreciate the little things.

I have been enjoying your blog, keep it up!

JusFrugal said...

Great post... I really think your old-new mom ways encompass the way a lot of moms are and have to be these days!

KristinBrianne said...

This is awesome! And no bashing here but Kate Gosselin could learn a LOT from you about family values. I miss the old days where families were the first priority and everything wasn't so commercialized. Judah is a very lucky baby to have you as a mom.

stacey814 said...

I am so glad that I found your and Alyssa's radio show. Thanks to you, I am now a hard core CVSer and Walgreener :). I too am a christian, and sometimes you feel alone in this crazy world, you all have been so uplifting to me, and I also have a new baby boy too! Take care and you are so blessed to only be working part-time!

Luchen Foster said...

Great post Denise! I'm not a mom yet, but I can see myself slowly becoming my mother and I love it! For example, I go to a "fancy" pilates studio, but I wear my old college tees and sweats since I can't imagine buying one of those useless matching yoga outfits.

Felicia said...

Very well put! I am in very much the same situation as yourself! We see eye to eye on all of this. I am also very fortunate to be part time as a school counselor (such a blessing).

Just curious, how has the economy effected the School system where you are? Here in NC we are loosing many, many positions and it is devastating. We are also all taking pretty large pay cuts as well as not receiving our yearly raise.

Melanie said...

Thanks for the article, Denise! I have a full time job but am able to work from home (although I have to go into the office one day a week - an hour & a half commute @ 4:30 in the morning). So I'm kind of a stay at home mom! Especially here lately since work has been steady, but the type of stuff I can do while the kids are napping or when my husband has them outside playing or whatever. I feel so incredibly blessed to be at home with them while they're still babies (2 and a half and a 4 month old). I try to remind myself of how blessed I am when I'm frantically trying to finish a work project and my two year old is just as frantically trying to climb on top of my head! It's funny about the old school/new school stuff. This morning I had an "I'm turning into my mom" moment. Ordinarily I do NOT iron (and have a pile of stuff to iron that I grumble about and move from place to place instead of just doing it). But we're going to Derek's wedding this weekend so I broke out the iron... and actually [gulp] enjoyed it! So much so that I ironed for an hour and a half while the kids were napping yesterday then again this morning for a half an hour... :) I agree with the quality vs. quantity stuff. It's funny, though - before I had my kids that wasn't always the case. Now I do a lot more research about products than I ever did before - checking to see which product is best as well as where I can get them at the best price. It's amazing how being a mom changes every aspect of your life! I'm constantly discovering things that I've totally changed my mind about since having the kids. Or things that I do differently now without even thinking about it really, just because of my little ones. Being a mom is so much more life changing and fulfilling than I ever dreamed it would be! Like I said, I am truly blessed.

Frugal Home School Mom said...

I really enjoyed your post. We too choose quality over quantity. We enjoy our children and being a family over spending money on silly things. I am a stay at home mom and we gave up many things years ago and I do not regret it one bit. Our lives are happier now that we have cut out all the "stuff". We don't suffer a bit. We enjoy many outings, vacations, and having friends and family over. The new and popular things that are out don't really appeal to us. Going out to eat doesn't appeal to us like it used to. I do enjoy blogging and I just started being a consultant for Usborne. So, go us (SAHMs).

The Deal Diva said...

Your post ready hit home. I'm a full-time working mom (who also loves to blog!), but my family always comes first. I try to prepare a sit-down homemade meal as often as possible - whether it's using my crockpot or preparing the meal the night before - I've got a lot of tools in my toolbelt! I especially loved your comment that our kids need us, not activities. Time with our kids is #1 in our household! Love your blog! Keep up the great work, Denise!

Denise Sawyer said...

I teach in Georgia and while we too have been hit hard with the economy our incomes have not changes. I still make the same amount as always but we did not receive our raise either. We have been making cuts in faculty size though and class size numbers have been temporarily changed - not too much though. In the county where I work they have worked very hard to rearrange faculties to keep everyone who HAD a job in a job. However, we haven't hired any new teachers in my area due to this. It has been scary and tough but we've had it pretty good compared to surrounding states and schools.


mary said...

great post! bravo on your efforts; hope it all continues to work out well for you.

April said...

I'm no June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray either.

Even though my kids are 12, almost 10, and 2 1/2, I've only been a SAHM for a year and a half. I was raised by my grandparents and even my grandmother worked. She worked ALL the time as a nurse. She told me to never be dependent on anyone, so that's why I was always working myself.I'm the mom that was back to work a week or 2 after giving birth. Some days I feel guilty staying home because I wasn't there for the older 2. Right now, it would definitely be easier financially if I was working but my husband knows the kids all love me being home. The internet helps me pick up some extra in ways of gift cards and what have you but a more significant, dependable income would be nice sometimes.

Wani said...

This is great! I think there are more of us "new old school" moms out there than we realize. Keep up the good work!