Minimalism in Parenting

I Breed, Therefore I Am (Broke). Welcome to ParentalGrit, where we are spending this week (new posts every Mon/Wed/Fri) focused on a few topics surrounding Minimalism and family. Minimalism has been a trendy buzzword the last few years after a documentary and miniature movement swept through the social stratosphere. For those living under the rock, Minimalism accelerated on the backs of two friends committed to as few owned possessions as possible; these guys, Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, started sharing their lifestyles via a documentary, conferences, a blog, writings, etc. The trend proved sticky and modern day Minimalism has been circulating through the social consciousness for several years. What does this have to do with parenting, being as this is a parenting blog? Well, I stubbed my toe in the middle of the night on a Lego yesterday and I’m ready to throw out all these toys!

While we won’t detail the Minimalism movement in much more detail (visit theminimalists.com if you’re interested), it’s worth mentioning the premise in a bit more detail:

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

So this Minimalist thing apparently isn’t just about a justification for hippies to live out of their backpacks. It’s about taking a very close inventory into your possessions and finding what truly brings value.

Anyways, back to parenting and the tagline: I Breed, Therefore I Am (Broke). I recently read that raising a kid from birth to age 18 will cost $233,610 (2015 study): YIKES, that’s some serious coin. Plus, with the way my daughters eat, I’m sure that number will double or triple. Since I caught that statistic last week, I’ve been calling my oldest Eliza A QUARTER MIL, my second Everly A HALF MIL, and my wife ONE MILLION, because of course a wife has to cost at least four times as much as a child…just kidding honey! In all seriousness, however, kids are expensive. There may be ways of lessening the burden, but never believe anyone who says otherwise. Kids inhale way more than tacos, they inhale 18+ years of familial income.

Before I settled on ParentalGrit, this blog was going to be named Dual Income Disaster; since both my wife and I work, I was going to focus on the unique challenges two working parents presents. While I broadened the scope a bit, that is still the perspective I adopt most frequently. And when it comes to finances, there’s no getting around a $25,000 daycare bill. Somehow I think that quarter million estimate is a little conservative, given that hefty childcare tag. If the daycare bill hits $25k, I think our diaper and wipes ticket has to be running at around $1.1 million for a year. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but it sure seems like we’re always bankrupting ourselves to preserve tidy bottoms for our daughters.

While some families are much more fortunate than others, the reality is that there is a financial transition that comes with kids no matter your income, no matter your preparation. The untimely medical bills, the clothes that fit for less than a month, the school activities, the food, the food, the food…did I mention my daughters eat a lot? Having a kid is presumably a lifelong highlight; it unfortunately can often be accompanied by initial and ongoing financial stress. Making the baby was the fun part. Paying for the baby? Not so much.

Come back Wednesday as we talk about some Minimalism-ish things that may make parenthood a bit more tolerable for your bank account. Thanks for stopping by!

7 thoughts on “Minimalism in Parenting

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  1. Taking a close inventory of possessions and finding the things that have real value ❤️ This is a statement that is beyond important to me, to teach my children, to live by

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  2. It helps to unplug. The fewer tv commercials and parent/family magazines ads you see the better. And shop the perimeter of the stores. Fewer isles the better. But then you guys know that already. And finally with each non food purchase ask yourself, do I want to clean it, step on it, store it, fix it, and keep it until I sell it, give it or throw it away? My answer is unsually… forget it! I’m thinking about pretending that we are moving and then stage the house… box up all the items that can’t stay and haul them off. And then relax and live happily. Why am I keeping all of this stuff again?

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