Too many young parents struggle with financial hardships when they are starting out as a family. This is an age-old story that most of us know all too well and one that will be repeated for the foreseeable future. It isn’t that it is a bad thing, this is where most of us learn to make and balance a budget, learn to deny the unnecessary purchases, and become more responsible adults. This is also when I learned a great lesson when it came to buying baby items that served many purposes and covered many moments. One of the best examples were baby shoes for all occasions.
One Pair – Many Designs
If you are familiar with the starving students’ phase in life, you probably understand the sacrifices that are needed in order to pay the bills, keep up a job you probably don’t really want to be at, live in an apartment that has a leaky faucet (or the equivalent), and trying to make your relationship thrive. When a baby makes his or her way into this struggling atmosphere, you find just a little more strength and patience, and you make it the best home that you possibly can.
We did this too and found that we were much pickier about the baby things around the house. Having the latest and greatest toys, swings and educational equipment wasn’t a priority; I spent time with him, sang songs, created my own flashcards and read lots of library books. I don’t think that he suffered any for not having all of the expensive gadgets that other families purchased.
I also found that when I bought things that were a little pricier that they were able to serve multiple purposes. The best example to explain is with his baby shoes. Because his feet, like every other baby’s feet, grew quickly, I made sure that I bought them a little big, especially before he was up and walking, and then bought shoes that could be worn with almost every outfit. Though I wasn’t the most fashionable mom at the park, I knew that I wasn’t unnecessarily spending on something that wasn’t going to used for very long. And, by the end of his use of the shoes, a few of those pairs showed quite a bit of wear and tear, but they served their purpose and I had no problem moving on to the next pair.
Socks Are My Favorite
Maybe you are lucky enough to live in a place where it is summer almost all year long, but for the rest of us, there are many days that having a young one outside is just not a good or recommended thing to do. Wyoming has its great outdoors, that we love to explore, but there are some days that just require us to bundle up and hang out inside. On those type of days, I don’t worry about putting my little boy in shoes, but we both enjoy the great indoors in a snuggly pair of socks.
Toddlers really do need their time either barefooted or slightly covered in a sock; this allows them to feel the environment that they are in, learn the nuances of balance and even pain, discover their abilities and keep in touch with their own body.
I have heard of parents that see their baby’s footprint and worry that it is flat-footed. This is perfectly normal and shouldn’t be any other way. The arch in the foot has not begun to form, and in fact, their little feet don’t full become structured until about the age of 5. To try and force the foot to be and look more like an adult could be detrimental to their foot development throughout their life.
Second Hand is First Class Smarts
If you grew up with older siblings I’m sure you had your share of hand-me-downs. There isn’t anything wrong with this, and in fact, when it comes to your first child, running down to the local thrift store is nothing to be ashamed of. I have found brand new clothes at amazing prices.
All too often, families either buy too many pieces of clothing, or receive them as gifts, yet their baby grows out of them too quickly, and they are never worn. They are then donated, and I have been the benefactor of those over abundant moments.
I would caution that when it comes to baby shoes that you don’t invest in overly used shoes. There is something about shoes that adapt to the individual’s footprint and could be forcing your baby’s feet into a different structure. Obviously, if it a soft-soled shoe or bootie there isn’t anything rigid inside that would take on the characteristics of that baby’s foot, but you need to be careful as they grow up. It may be best to not go second hand for something this important.
Make that Phone Call
I’m sure that you probably have your pediatrician on speed dial, but have your mom up there, too. If it isn’t your mom, find someone that has gone through all of this and isn’t going to make you feel bad about decisions. What you need is someone that you can turn to and cry a little with, share your bad moments, compare stories and bounce ideas off. You can’t keep everything bottled up, and sometimes your husband isn’t the most understanding of what you are going through all day at home.
I was absolutely blessed that my mom and I are good friends; I turned to her for just about every good, bad and ugly moment. Not always was I calling her for advice or specifics on how to handle some problem, but just to vent and hear her say, “Your doing a good job.” This helped me to make it through those rough times when I felt like it wasn’t going to end, and I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in too many days.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
None of this lasts forever, even if it feels like it won’t. I’m sure that you can already look back on months or maybe even years that you’ve had with your baby and it feels like it is going by too quickly. Time only seems to go by faster as they get older, and you will treasure the good moments, which may be their only saving grace when they become teenagers and you wonder if they will live to see 18.
Most likely your little family won’t be in the same financial stresses that you are now in, and you won’t always have to budget every penny that you make, but what you are learning and going through will serve you well over your life. These babies won’t always be the alarm that wakes you up in the middle of the night and won’t always tell you no to everything you ask of them. Take time to make memories with them, journal your experiences and take lots of pictures to remember them, because one day, you will probably be a grandparent and be able to spoil those children rotten, then send them home.