Friday, July 21, 2017

How I bought a year's worth of baby clothes for $109

I really have no idea if there are a bunch of "thrifty" baby clothes post. I know there are for cloth diapers (and I will be writing my own and covering how all my cloth diapering ideas work out). But I have noticed that people tend to buy a LOT of stupid shit for their babies, and so I wanted to write about how I'm planning on dressing Smashface and what it cost for me to buy a full year's worth of clothes and a little bit more.

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ALL the sleep sacks

When I was a nanny, I fucking hated how parents would make me change the baby out of pajamas into some stupid outfit for the day and then back into pajamas. I mean, we are talking about an infant, right? And have you seen what happens to an infant in a t-shirt and shorts or pants? The shirt rides up ALL DAY. It's basically just exposed belly, all the time. Babies in dresses are worse, because it's just basically a show of how saggy your diaper is. And socks and shoes are the most pointless gear for anyone not walking (but still pretty pointless even then). FUCKING HATED THIS SHIT.

Let me tell you what babies need :

MOTHERFUCKING ONESIES

That is it and that is all.

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Clothing for 0-3 months is put away in the dresser

So when it came to Smashface, I mathed it out :

I live in an apartment building and I don't have my own washer and dryer. I do my own laundry once a week and it's usually one load. (Unless I'm doing bedding, which is two loads.) I want to keep Smashface to the same routine as I. Since I'm using cloth diapers, which are super effective at avoiding the dreaded blow outs, and because I don't really give a shit if a baby happens to drool on his clothes, this was my theory : At most, three changes of clothes per day due to vomit or poop or whatever. (But not because I want to waste time and money on cute outfits. One for each photo shoot will do.) Multiply three by seven days in a week, and you have twenty one outfits. Add a couple for padding, JUST IN CASE, and I stuck to this routine per age group...

TEN pjs (onesies with long sleeves and footed pants)

TEN onesies

FIVE pants with footies

Sleep sacks for safety in bed (blankets are a no-no because SIDS)

THAT IS IT. That's all I bought or kept.

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Clothing for remaining size fits in ONE medium sized Rubbermaid container

I was SUPER LUCKY to receive a MASSIVE donation from the mother of a girl whose senior portraits I did. I mean, SO MASSIVE. This included disposable diapers, which I'm not using. (I kept some, just in case.) In fact, she gave me SO MANY clothes that I didn't have to buy any clothes for 0-3 months and I didn't buy any sleep sacks. In fact, I have no idea how many sleep sacks I have or would've bought, because they gave me an entire drawer full.

Because they gave me so many clothes and diapers, I was able to take what I wanted and sell the remaining lot for $50 (why make it expensive, you know) to a couple in a red pick up. I used that $50 to buy the bottles I needed. So basically, this lovely woman furnished me with the first three months or so of Smashface's life. So generous and so helpful.

I bought almost everything else at yard sales or the Goodwill. I TRIED Once Upon a Child and it was AWFUL. Too crowded and the ladies weren't nice. I had trouble finding footed pants, so I did buy a bunch of those online from Babies R Us, for super cheap! (They were $5 for a pair of two, I bought A TON.) I also splurged at Target when I was, like, two pj sets away from completing one age range and I just wanted to finish! When I regained my patience, I was picking up Adam from the island (about a two hour drive) and we stopped at two Goodwills on the way home. I learned that most Goodwills are organized by county and that stopping in two separate counties gave me cheaper options than I can find here and also more options. So don't be afraid to drive!

I have the above formula for every age range from 0-12 months and more than half of it done for the 12-18 month age range. My total cost was $159. Since I sold some of the donation I received for $50, that brought my total cost for ALL clothing for Smashface for the first year (and then some) to $109.

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You can see my method and record keeping

Y'all, babies are only expensive because we make them expensive.

I promise, I'm not some super sleuth, either. I hit up one yard sale on one day and then went to a Goodwill where I was annoyed that the onesies cost $2 ea., but was too lazy to shop around. Hence the splurging at Target, where I spent $20 on three sets of pjs, the most I spent for such a small amount. I kept a list in my phone of exactly what I needed and, excluding the confusion over Carters' sizing (hate them), I was really good at sticking too exactly what I needed. I shopped for a total of five days in order to furnish everything because I am LAZY and shopping makes me tired, so you really don't have to work that hard, I promise!

P.S.

I know that not everyone can receive an awesome donation like I did, but you'll find that Craiglist, Facebook Marketplace, and yard sales often sell in lots. By far, the most cost effective option was buying in a lot. ALSO, churches and other organizations often have resource rooms available...and some people are open to bargaining for the cost of their lots. I was not going to lower the cost of my lot, because it was a MASSIVE haul and I needed bottles, but I definitely know that some people will take lower than what they have marked. If I had to buy the clothes I was given, I expect I would've spent another $50-$75.

Should I find that this formula didn't work and I NEED to buy more clothes, I will keep you updated! (Eventually, I will do a "cost of baby for one year" post.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WIC and Baby Registries are a waste of time

Early on in my pregnancy, I applied for and received WIC. The purpose of WIC is to provide food for pregnant ladies. As they like to assure you, IT IS SUPPLEMENTAL. Meaning, they aren't going to give you all your food, just supplement your food supply. Supposedly, they are supplementing you with HEALTHY food to create a BALANCED NUTRITIONAL DIET for you and your impending spawn. This is because food ain't cheap and poor people eat for shit.

WIC WAS A MOTHERFUCKING JOKE.

I believe what I received FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH, was 16 oz of peanut butter or an equivalent amount of beans, 5.5 gallons of milk, 2 boxes of cereal, 1 dozen eggs, and also $11 for fruits and vegetables.

Look at that list and realize, it's FOR A FULL MONTH.

Ok, so 1. I could never eat that much peanut butter! I'd have to eat it for every fucking meal. Now, I could call or visit and change it to beans before the beginning of the next month. So, in order for a poor person to get the food supplements she needs to provide for her growing fetus, that poor person has to make arrangements to change the options before the start of every month. There's a disconnect there. I gave away some peanut butter because it was way too much.

AND LOOK AT THE MILK! 5.5 GALLONS!!!??? Also, it had to be 2% or skim, because I'm fat. (Look it up and you'll see this actually reduces the positive effects of milk by making it more sugar, which leads to more fatness.) The cereal had to be special cereal and I always got Whole Grain Cheerios, but marvel for a moment at how WIC thinks super processed cereal is HEALTHY. I could eat a dozen eggs in a week, almost, so that was just a joke. Also, ELEVEN DOLLARS FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH!??? You have got to be kidding me!

These decisions were made based on my race and fatness and income level. I'm guessing some women also get Food Stamps. I don't know. All I know is this list was alternately too much and way too little. Also, since natural peanut butter wasn't an option, and organic eggs and organic fruits and veggies were forbidden, WIC skewed the food to actually be more unhealthy and add to my fatness.

I was supposed to go to a second appointment a few months in, or lose my WIC. I lost my WIC. It was fucking pointless.

You know what else is pointless? A fucking registry!

Let me tell you, I was not interested in creating a registry. I think registries are outdated and smack of desperation. I was not having a baby shower, so making a registry just seemed like begging for gifts. But man, EVERYONE ASKED FOR ONE! Seriously. After the sixth request, I was like, "Maybe I should make one." And all the people asking were like, "OH, I WANNA BUY YOU SOMETHING YOU NEED ... AND YOUR FAMILY WILL TOO!" After being bombarded with requests for a registry, I gave in, and I made a very practical registry with a few fun things.

I have since received one gift from my registry, and it wasn't useful.

I really don't know what I was thinking. My mind went something like this, "Ok, I wasn't going to make a registry, but since so many people are requesting them, maybe I have missed the social cue here. If people are asking for my registry, they must want to help me supply items I need for the baby, so I will make this registry very practical and affordable. I will put the absolutely necessities and just a few fun items on this registry. I do not expect anyone to buy me a $400 stroller or $300 pack n' play, but surely they will want to buy me a $30 starter kit of bottles? Maybe this will work out and I'll receive items I really need."

Clearly, my mind has no idea what anyone else is thinking.

Almost immediately, I received a toy. I should not really have been surprised at this, but I was. Because it came from a really good friend who knows I don't have any kids, and I just thought she'd buy me, like, bottles. To be fair, she says her own kids love it, but it still sits in the box, because I'm still not sure if I'll return it for diaper rash lotion.

MONTHS passed and I received nothing else. And you know what, I was mad about it! Being mad about it made me feel incredibly selfish. Who the fuck was I to EXPECT gifts from people? What was I thinking that my own relatives might actually want to furnish necessary items for my future spawn? I mean, these fuckers didn't knock me up and they don't pay my bills, so why the fuck would they buy me bottles or cloth diapers? And why did I expect any of my friends or my acquaintances to lay down their hard-earned cash on something for me and for a person they have never even met? Honestly, what an asinine, foolish asshole you are to think that anyone would care. But I was also confused, because the same people who BEGGED me for a registry and were quick to give me their e-mail address so they could buy something for my baby, were the ones who didn't do anything.

You know who did something? Y'all, I can't even believe it. The mother of a girl for whom I did senior portraits had a friend with a BUNCH of baby stuff that she no longer needed, and so they passed it on to me. And it was a FUCKTON. It was so much stuff, that I didn't even keep all of it. Instead, I went through it and took what I needed and then sold the rest so that I could buy bottles. Which means that a near stranger basically furnished me with the first three months of stuff for Smashface's life. Another friend sent me a bunch of her bottles and her breast pump and will be sending me cloth diapers. Also, my mom bought some of the baby furniture.

Two people single-handedly did more for me than almost all of my relatives and all of my friends.

And I feel SO STUPID. I feel stupid for being anxious every day since I made an announcement and distributed my registry. Because I feel like I made an assumption that people would want to help and then they didn't. And I feel so mad and cheated by all the people who asked for a registry and then never sent me anything. But I feel selfish and disgusted with myself that I would even EXPECT help from anyone. I feel like I did it wrong, like without a baby shower, I'm not supposed to receive gifts. In order to receive gifts, I have to hold up my end of the social contract and host an event I don't want to host and invite a bunch of people over and feed them and play games with them and answer invasive and uncomfortable questions from them and since I didn't do that, it serves me right that no one sent me anything. And I feel like I intruded on the friends who didn't ask for a registry but received the announcement with the link anyway, because other people made me think it was what people wanted. And I feel so confused and cheated by my own culture for not understanding this social contract and having it turn out in such a negative way.

I also feel incredibly selfish and stupid for spending TWO MONTHS being anxious and nervous and angry and confused about the registry that I updated only because I went out and bought things for myself.

Clearly, there is a whole social order to being pregnant, and I do not understand it at all. But from now on, I'm not participating in anymore cultural events that I don't like or don't understand.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The list never ends...

When I let my to do list go for two weeks, it's kind of amazing what I end up accomplishing! But I have to say that I'm bummed because there are things that I STILL HAVEN'T FINISHED, that I wanted to be done last month! I don't have a lot going on this week. I have a couple of appointments and that's it. No commitments with friends, and I've recently lightened my friend load, so I won't feel obligated to reach out to those not-friends to make commitments with them. No commitments with Adam, because his schedule just isn't great for that. This is not a week with ten million doctor's appointments. I went swimming today, and I finished a virtual 5K last week, so I don't feel like I have to do a lot of "summertime" things that I've been missing out on (which I haven't, I've really been sticking with enjoying the summer). I also did a bunch of cleaning projects when Adam was home last week, so I don't have a ton of those. And, I've gotten about 99% of the baby stuff done...almost everything needed for when Smashface first arrives, so I'm all caught up there. All in all, I'm in a really great place...but I have neglected projects I really wanted completed. So this week is a dedicated to me. If I do NOTHING but finish up these projects, I will feel awesome and in an amazing place!

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This week :

01. Walk and do some yoga, but don't stress about it
02. Blog at least something
03. Finish sewing dolls
04. Catch up with planner
05. Figure out game plan for big poster boards of photos
06. Clean up studio and sweep floor
07. Download Karina's latest photo shoot so it's on your computer, pitch old memory cards
08. File everything on desk, record financial stuff in planner
09. Buy dresses for hospital and pack hospital bag
10. Sew remaining XS diaper covers
11. Sew pants to ensure pattern is proper size, cut out next pair of pants
12. Sew final pair of pants
13. Find Snappis
14. Call Wooster doctor
15. Buy at least one bra, and one pair of shorts
16. Go shopping for final flannel sheets and enough fleece to finish cloth diaper covers
--->Turns out, I had an old flannel sheet waiting to be washed and I used it for the remaining baby wipes, because I didn't need more covers!
17. Buy (or bookmark for next week) PUL diaper covers
18. Delete that fucking registry that no one gave a shit about anyway

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Revolving Door

A note before we begin : I live in Ohio, so this takes place in Ohio. I am aware of other states and other laws, but my experiences are here. I am not a doctor, so I will assume that if I write anything medical that resonates with you, you will do research on your own. I'm very comfortable with the decisions I have made because I am a very thorough researcher. However, my decisions are FOR ME and should not be taken as an edict for you. Look up your own shit, is what I'm saying, I'm just writing out my experiences!

So, after my second fight with the OB in Orrville, I tried to get into another midwife practice in Orrville so I could deliver in Orrville. When I had sent my records to this practice, the previous practice refused to give me copies of my records. They told me the new practice would do that. So I drove over there to confirm this information. But more than two weeks later, I hadn't heard anything, so I called the new midwife practice.

HOLY SHIT! They acted FUCKING CONFUSED that I had sent my records over. Even though I CALLED them and VISITED THEM IN PERSON, they received my records and just sat on them, as if people randomly send their records over all the time. On top of that, when I requested a copy, they told me they couldn't. They said that because the records weren't from their office, they were NOT LEGALLY ALLOWED TO RELEASE MY OWN RECORDS TO ME. So I hung up on them and never went there. I mean, because honestly, if you can't even perform basic office duties, how the fuck can you perform medical duties? I just cannot.

So then I called a well-known midwife practice in Akron, Paragon. I got in, and it was kind of shitty. In my first visit, the midwife basically asked me why I was even bothering with all of this medical crap and why wasn't I just doing a home birth.

Like, really lady? You're seriously trying to kick me out of your office and send me to the not-really-legal-but-also-not-explicitly-illegal world of lay midwives and home births? I mean, I considered a home birth, but there are some potential complications that, while RARE, aren't even always fixable in a hospital. If it's possible for me to encounter a medical situation that a hospital would have trouble fixing, then I don't want to put myself in the position of encountering that without immediate access to the best care. But, how dare someone basically ask me why the fuck I'm in their office and suggest that I just go without professional help?

By this point, I could not even fucking care about how rude this bitch was. I had already gone back to the Orrville "birthing center" and asked if I could get my prenatal care somewhere else but show up in Orrville to deliver. While it's frowned upon, it's not illegal, and they would have to care for me, so I knew that delivering in Orrville was still an option. My entire plan from here on out was to refuse treatment I didn't want without trying to get anyone to give a shit about me and fucking lie about where I'd want to deliver.

I had two appointments with this midwife and she FINALLY started to listen to me on my second appointment. As we were going round and round YET AGAIN about why I wasn't at risk for any STDs, she actually LISTENED to my entire history and said, "Huh, yeah, you're really not at risk." I felt like I was getting somewhere even though she was basically incompetent.

She measured my uterus at my first visit and did it wrong. Because of her measurements, I had to go for the fetal anatomy scan (what most people call a "routine ultrasound"). I had to see an OB to read it, because she can't read ultrasounds. Everything was fine, as I knew it was, and all the scare about my measuring big was just that, another fucking scare tactic. As well as not being able to measure a uterus properly and not being able to read an ultrasound, she also doesn't deliver. I mean, what her purpose was, I can't really surmise...to run a doppler over my abdomen for the heartbeat? Fuck, I can do that myself. To lecture me about my personal choices and bully me into doing finger sticks because of gestational diabetes? I guess that's what she does. Nevertheless, I was getting care from someone I didn't totally hate, so I was going to continue to go to her.

Until I showed up for my appointment and found out it was canceled because my midwife had to go on 6-12 months of medical leave. I came back later that day to a SUPER SHITTY OB who was actually due on the date that she saw me and ultra pissed about it and just generally weird and sure as shit not interested in listening to me. After I survived her stupid appointment (although, she did give me information about another hospital that is still open and smaller than Akron, so that was useful), I transferred to YET ANOTHER midwife.

HOWEVER, the new midwife doesn't deliver at the new hospital option. If I want to deliver not in Akron, I have to transfer YET AGAIN. Which I have done.

I now have an appointment with a male OB (who is a DO, so that's good) at ANOTHER practice. And I literally could not care less. I haven't established trust with any care giver throughout this entire pregnancy and I'm so close to delivering that it doesn't matter at this point. Smashface has over 90% chance of surviving just like any full-term baby if I deliver right now. I've gotten the one vaccination they recommend. I've passed the gestational diabetes point. I'm totally comfortable just telling doctors what I'm not doing and not giving them any explanation... though they are happy to give me more threats, which is exactly what my last midwife did.

She told me I had to take the Group B Strep test because "it can come on REALLY FAST". WHAT CAN? A FUCKING FEVER? Yeah, I'll go ahead and pass on an inaccurate test that doesn't guarantee anything will affect Smashface but does increase the chance that I'll have to be on fucking IV antibiotics throughout my entire delivery. No thank, asshole, sell your bridge to someone else.

I literally don't give a shit about this doctor or anything he wants to tell me. What I know is that Smashface moves every day and will likely survive delivery from this point on, unless there is something unpreventable and unforeseeable and totally uncontrollable happening. I also know that I'm not actually guaranteed the doctor I'm seeing to deliver me, so what the fuck does it matter anyway?

Maternity care is a fucking joke in the US, y'all. A LITERAL JOKE. Anyone who puts any trust in any part of the medical field throughout their pregnancy is a DAMN FOOL. Everyone is feeding you lies and propaganda basically ALL THE TIME. Insurance and the fear of being sued drives literally every medical suggestion, which were all created by men who aren't even capable of having babies anyway. It is fucking sexist, ignorant bullshit with zero evidence to support it, and the people trying to tell you what to do haven't read the latest studies anyway. They are ignorant fucks who do what they're told, driven by hospital conglomerates trying to make as much money as quickly as possible. And what's worse is EVERY WOMAN BUYS INTO THIS BULLSHIT.

If I hear one more woman go on about how great her doctor was or all the tests she submitted to because of the fear her doctors put into her, I'll probably just laugh in her fucking face, honestly. Women perpetuate the problem by not being educated and not asking questions and submitting to whatever they're told to do.

So yeah, I'm pretty fucking jaded by this point, and I don't even know if I'm gonna end up seeing this doctor until I deliver. But whatever happens, I'll definitely write about it here.

I did hire a doula. We are paying out of pocket for her. I told her my ENTIRE story and she doesn't think I'm insane, didn't straight up tell me that I'm lying to her, and doesn't seem to care if I wanna go all guerrilla delivery and just show up somewhere with my medical records and have them take me in. We have a meeting next week, and I'm trying to get excited about it...which is easy to do when I think about how cool she was and when I don't think about the shit show that has been my prenatal care.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Keep doing shit

I was doing really well last week until every one of our sewing machines broke at one time. But now I have a new sewing machine and I can get back on track just at the right time when my sewing projects grew! So this is a week that's all about trying to get shit done in the middle of going to a million doctor appointments. It should be fun...ish. Whatever. Gotta keep doing shit.

This week :

01. Run/walk four times
02. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
03. Sew ALL the dolls!
04. Keep up with planner
05. Figure out game plan for big poster boards of photos
06. Finish up that Care.com profile
07. Edit ALL the photos
08. Stay on maternity blog posts
09. Get photos off phone
10. Continue with organizing your hard drives
11. Cut out pants
12. Cut out all cloth diaper stuffs
13. Find Snappis
14. Make those fucking phone calls
15. Finish restoring those cross stitch projects

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Werk

This week, I'm going on a little trip to Cincinnati to visit a couple friends and go swimming in a HUGE POOL!!!

Posting on a Sunday, 'cause adventuring is gonna take me out of town Monday!

So, obviously my MAIN goal is to have fun in Cincy. But I also have to keep working on other stuff. July is not very far away, and I still need to finish all my sewing projects...which should've been done by now. 'Cause I also have to make cloth diapers and also maybe a diaper bag. So, I gotta keep on that list!

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This week :

01. Run/walk four times
02. Go swimming...or just do something gym-like
03. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
04. Sew ALL the dolls! <--- Sewing machine broke, so I couldn't
---> 04a. STUFF all the dolls!
05. Keep up with planner
06. Figure out game plan for big poster boards of photos
07. Finish up that Care.com profile
08. Edit ALL the photos
09. Stay on maternity blog posts
10. Get photos off phone
11. Continue with organizing your hard drives
12. Cut out pants
13. Shop for cloth diaper fabric

Friday, June 23, 2017

A revelation

I had a revelation of sorts last night while talking to Adam. It wasn't driven by Adam, it was driven by my own internal struggles.

Adam and I are (attempting) to build a somewhat traditional American household where he is the "bread winner". (What a shitty term.) It's something we've talked about a lot; my desire to pursue art freely and his desire to have a steady job. It's been a bit of a struggle lately, because Adam has been trying to get a job within organizations that tend to be very highly competitive and difficult to break into. Also, not having a child, we've both been available to work. So I've gigged it a little harder than I usually do and he's worked seasonally while spending the off-season trying to break into one of these organizations. It's been fine with both of us, though not ideal, but with the addition of Smashface, things need to change.

Right now, Adam is working up at Put-in-Bay, which means we are living apart. I've gone to visit and he's come home, but in order to work on our financial goals and with having only one car and just life stuffs, we've seen each other less. He's the only one working full time. I've pursued various gigs, but I'm not bringing in a significant amount of income.

I feel SO GUILTY about this...like, all the time!

I've always felt pressured by my decision to have a more free spirited lifestyle. I've chosen to live with my mom because it made sense for a variety of reasons, including cost of living. I've always handled my own bills, I've just been very good at not creating a lot of new debt. I usually have no credit cards. I had some credit cards for about a year, and then I closed them all and paid everything off. (Adam has a couple of credit cards, and our goal is to pay them off. We've already closed one of his accounts, because we know credit cards aren't necessary.) But I've endured commentary from "friends" about the way I live. From the outside, according to American culture, I just look kind of lazy. I've had friends assume my mom pays for everything, because I live with her. It's so funny to me that anyone would make an assumption about something no one can see. No one can see every single hour I put into any given job or gig. No one can see my bank accounts or what's in my wallet. So people really just judge on an external facade.

It's an interesting way we judge each other in America; based on material items, many of which require debt. So if you don't have those things, you're viewed as not having much income. And if you have those things, you're viewed as having more income. But a bunch of nice stuff might just mean a boatload of debt...it might mean that even for people who don't have many nice things. I watch people constantly spend just to the reach of their means, and I'm no exception. I've made mistakes and run up debt, but I've always paid it all off. Nevertheless, I can tell from the way people talk to me, that they think I'm irresponsible with money and lazy and mooching off my mom. Heaven forbid anyone see my mom and I as two partners in a shared household who make shared decisions.

And now, I'm in a similar situation with Adam. He's working right now, and I'm not employed full time...and I don't want to be.

People have made comments about my working while pregnant, which I am certainly physically and mentally capable of doing. But that's never the kind of parent I've wanted to be. I don't think the situation in America with two parents working is ideal. That doesn't suit my personal philosophy. To me, having two parents working is less than ideal, and I know it is often the result of need, though it is also often about choice as well. I've never wanted that situation. Especially after years of nannying, I know just exactly how I want to parent. It's something I have spent a LOT of time considering as I've raised the children of other families. I WANT to stay home and I WANT to home school...things Adam has known since the start, things we've discussed, a lifestyle we've chosen.

But man do I feel pressured otherwise often! None of that pressure comes from Adam. Almost all of it is internal. So what I've done over the years is keep score. I've kept a personal tally of setting up our living places; painting, cleaning, buying and moving furniture, grocery shopping, and so on. I sometimes bring it up to Adam, so he knows that I'm pulling my own weight, even though he has never required me to explain myself. It's something I've found myself doing yet again, in this period where I am less employed than I have ever been.

I'm pursuing a lot of projects; working on restoration projects for his dad, FINALLY getting around to all those sewing projects that have been lying around, finishing up production for merchandise for Larry and Boo's Emporium. I've also been gigging it, so I can earn "spending" money or just feel like I'm contributing.

But then, I was looking at the "nursery" (it's currently a breakfast nook) last night. And I was looking at the budget I've made to clothe our child for the first year (it'll be well under $200, excluding cloth diapers). I was thinking about everything I've done to set all of this up, and Adam has had to do nothing. I'm sure he would help if I wanted, but I didn't really need help. I already knew everything I'd need. I mathed out the number of times per day we might change Smashface's clothes and how often I'd want to do laundry, since we don't have our own washer and dryer, and I created the clothing budget and went out and shopped for all of it. I figured out the nursery set up and bought everything and set it up. I tested the strollers and car seats and figured out which would be the best for us. I've also made sure to care for my body properly while growing an actual human being inside of me, something Adam couldn't do even if he wanted to.

And I just had this AH-HA! moment of what I'm "worth" in terms of hours worked and wages earned. I happen to know what I'd charge to provide someone else with these services and what it costs for a surrogate. I know what I'd charge for the childcare I will provide once Smashface is here and for the education I will provide. I know what the cost of a housekeeper or cook is. I mean, there are actual ways to break down my labor and my wage and what is reasonable market rate in Ohio for privatized domestic care. This is a legit economic situation that is easy to completely break down monetarily.

So I've decided that's something I want to do in this blog. I don't know where you can find this information (not that I've done a ton of googling yet). And I just want to write it out, because it is common knowledge that stay at home parents are undervalued. But I think that even the cost of growing and preparing for a child is totally undervalued. While any parent can stay at home and do household duties, men can't grow babies and can't breast feed those babies. That's something only women can do, and I'd like to know what the worth of that is.

So I sent Adam a Facebook message about it, with the cost of what my nannying services would be. But I don't have all of the information yet. I want to finish collecting everything we'll need for Smashface's first year so I can put down a hard budget. And I need to do some more research about the cost of things during pregnancy. But I'm definitely going to write it all out here...maybe in several blogs posts or in just a few, not sure. Because I finally was able to settle that inner dialogue I have about how I have to prove my worth with what I do around the house. I feel so much better having FINALLY figured out my own, actual worth. Not my personal worth regarding self-esteem and as a partner in a relationship, but the actual economic breakdown of the domestic services I provide.

It was very freeing, and it was something I really NEEDED to work out.