Fonticulus Fides

Friday, October 01, 2004

Lesson of the Week

So on Tuesday, my husband was home with the kids and I had a whole hour and fifteen minutes to myself. I went to a thrift store and found a few items for Zooey (two school shirts, a Batman shirt), a dress for Edyn to wear next summer and a few things for the preschool room at school. Then I went to the library and perused the grown-up section, checking out books for grown-ups! It had been a long, long time since I had that privilege.

Well, a few of the books I wanted were out, so on impulse, I subbed with 30 Days to a Simpler Life by Connie Cox and Cris Evatt. Now, I’ve always been a bit of a simple-life kind of person, but I’m also a “Messie” and with three kids, a small house, and more tasks than time, I figured I needed a little help. I chose this book because they had a daily task that is meant to take an hour or less, plus tips for the “serious simplifier.” I figured I read it all the way through once, then start the daily tasks.

Day one was fill up a shopping bag with stuff you no longer love and use and donate it to charity. Easy enough. I try to do that once a month anyway. Day two, dejunk a drawer. I’d been doing that once a week all month, so I was way ahead (still had three more drawers to go, though). So far, so good.

Day three, think before you buy. Already do that, so I guess I’ll dejunk another drawer. Day four, create a serene bedroom. Don’t worry, they provide tips like “limit yourself to two sets of sheets per bed.” That threw me. I thought two sets per bed were practically a luxury, since I grew up with only one set. But I want to keep two, because it makes laundry more flexible. Well, there are plenty of other things I should do, like empty my dresser of threadbare t-shirts and solo socks.

Day five, organize your closet. I think that will take ALL of day five, but I can at least start it. Day six, dress with less. Day seven, transform the bathroom. Day eight, streamline your kitchen. All good stuff. Really starting to think in terms of WEEK five, week six, etc., but hey, one thing at a time.

Then I get to day 9, which is “Fix quick and healthy meals.” Now I realize I’m dealing with at least one hard-core new-ager. Raw foods, vegan diet. And that’s fine. I can adjust the theory a bit. I like raw foods and serve them often, but a little warm baked something is comforting, and I’m always carnivorous when I’m nursing a baby (or pregnant, but only the first for now).

Days 10-17 are all about organizing and saying no and all that. There’s a few more new age things popping up, but I just edit them mentally and come up with an appropriate substitute.

Then I get to day 18, “Go for financial freedom.” I sit up a little straighter and read more eagerly. This is a top priority for us. Should get some good stuff here, right?


Raising Kids Costs More Than a Ferrari

Children bring a lot of laughter and love to life. They also bring worry, fatigue and expense. When you think about having children, consider the cost in blood, sweat, tears and dollars.

Having children is no longer a financial benefit. We do not need them to work on the farm. Today, becoming a parent is optional. To learn about life without children, subscribe to this newsletter…

Somehow, I think their editor made them add all the words in between “bring” and “worry.”

While I agree that couples should do what they can to plan the arrival of children in accordance with their finances to a certain extent, I don’t think it’s wise to place a “dollar value” on a child like this. First of all, I’m raising all three of my kids for a sum total that is considerably less than one Ferrari. I don’t skimp on fresh healthy food and good car seats, but I thrift for clothing, buy bedding on sale, give them experiences instead of toys, barter for music lessons or other amenities, and encourage brain development so they’ll all be smart enough to get college scholarships. We live in a modest home, drive a modest vehicle and don’t go on expensive vacations or eat out much.

The “Having children is no longer a financial benefit” think is so nonsensical for me, I don’t know where to begin. “We do not need them to work on a farm” makes me stutter with indignation. My father-in-law lives on his family farm. That farm’s been in his family for over 100 years, and it’s still a source of income for him. But he wasn’t born to be a farm slave of some sort. His parents had children because they wanted to participate with God in the act of creation. Did his family “need” him to work? Sure, same way every family needs to pull together to keep the home running.

Is becoming a parent optional? I don’t think so. But then, I’m Catholic. To me, when God says, “And the two shall become one…” I’m thinking that’s best done when husband and wife come together and make a baby. Two individual humans, each offering DNA in an act of love that results in another completely unique human. It’s part of marriage to have children.

I’ve been in a month-long discussion with a guy on the Internet who thinks Human Vitae is a joke and that the Church should allow everybody to use artificial birth control. When I said that this would put the conjugal love aspect of sex on a higher plain that the procreative nature of sex, he responded, “So?” He just doesn’t get it.

Our society has deteriorated to the point where sex is for pleasure – and typically personal pleasure, not self-sacrificing pleasure. Artificial birth control has made that possible. It’s made childless marriage possible. And so it’s changed the idea of marriage – doesn’t have to be between a man and a woman if there doesn’t need to be any offspring.

But this is what “marriage” means – the marriage of two bloodlines to form a new family.

I’m not going to finish the book. And I’m not going to follow their program. There are other books out there that suit my Catholic philosophy better.



Post a Comment

<< Home