Money Can’t Buy Happiness (It can buy chocolate…and thats kinda the same thing)

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But seriously, money isn’t of much use as far as adding joy to your daily life. Some of the most self-focused, miserable souls are loaded down with so much cash they could use twenties as toilet paper and never notice a dent in their bank account. Some of the most content, joy-filled folks I have met have slim possesions and not much else to brag of. But what they do have is love. Peace. Laughter. Creativity. Family and friends. Faith.

That’s basically all it takes.

My family is poor by societies standards. And Ive ealt with plenty of people who have been ignorant in their understanding of my focus on life and they have given me advice like “Put the kids in daycare and go get a career.”

Thing is, I’m HAPPY.

Are there portions of my life I am working towards bettering and developing over time? Of course. Because I believe if you do not continue to learn and grow and evolve as a human, its pretty pointless for you to be here. But I refuse to waste my time embracing what society claims is important. I don’t give two craps about money, other than  eh fact that right now I need enough of it to cover the bills. (someday I’d love for us to be commune living so that can be done away with.) I know so many have been brainwashed into believeing the entire point of life is to get a degree sop you can work to pay money into corporations and the government until theday you kel over from stress and/or exhaustion. And by all means, PLEASE understand I in NO WAY support being lazy and expecting others to support me and my family. My ultimate goal is to be able to live off of the land. To grow my own food, o hunt the rest, to educate my children (I hold knowledge in very high esteem), to help others, to spread peace and love, to share what I know, to live in a community of like-minded souls where we can all lift eachother up as needed. That way of living is actually harder. There won’t be any strolling into a grocery store to buy foods. It will be hours of labor to grow and can and cook meals from scratch. Im not talking laziness here by any means.

What Im talking about is getting back to the nitty-gritty of living.

What does a family of 8 do with no vehicle and limited financial means?

Are we neglecting our children?

Not in the least. In fact, I think its pretty sad when parents toss video gaming consoles and computers at their kids intead of spending TIME with them.

Its all about time. That’s how you build relationship with your children and your significant other. Time together. Time to discuss differences, laugh, tickle, debate, read, dance, play…..

And that’s what we do.

Someone requested I blog about ideas to stretch a dollar and spend time with kids. So, here’s my list of the things we do as a family here. A lot of these things are stuff my own mother did with my brother and I when we were kids. She was a single mom. She has expressed regret in the past for her feelings that she somehow caused us to lack “stuff”. I don’t remember it that way though. What I hold dear to my heart from my childhood are thinsg like going to the beach with my mom, taking walks in the evening, sitting and listening to mom read The Hobbit aloud to us….those are the sorts of things I carried on in my own parenting as an adult.

My family is blessed to live in the mountains in a house with a big yard and a dirt road behind our house that leads to an old abandoned farmhouse that has a path behind IT that leads off into the woods. So, we do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. Football, basketball….any sort of ball out in the backyard. Frisbee. Badminton. sack races. (I found burlap sacks for really cheap on Amazon) We go on walks a lot. We go on hikes even more often. I grew up in the city up North so hiking is still a pretty new concept to me. Aside of the mosquitos and creepy spiders I find it pretty darn awesome. I strap thebaby into his sling and away we go. We find cool bugs (aside of those mosquitos and spiders I mentoned), my boys bring home treasures like pine cones and petrified mushrooms. (No, I don’t know why they are so scared.Ask them yourself) Nature is an amazing thing. We tend to forget that sometimes when we get caught up in the fast pace of life.

We do a lot of picnics too. Picnics are a great way to do a date as well, by the way. If youre ever lucky enough to get a sitter for the Littles and you need an idea for a free date. Picnics rock. 🙂

Outdoor activities that require movement and noticing the world around us are top of the list. But rainy days can throw a kink in those plans. In which case we let our creative juices flow. I adore Pintrest for giving me some realy groovy why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas for crafting or baking with my Littles. Even the 12 year old, who is quickly becoming “too cool” for many things, will willingly get down and dirty with some painting or clay making goodness. Google recipes for homemade playough, homemade paint, homemade chalk, etc….. Have the Littles MAKE their gifts for Fathers Day. Bake bread together. My boys LOVE kneading dough. They beat the CRAP outta that dough quite efficiently. They adore edible playdough. (Its peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. Google it. Its fun to play with and yum as well.) We do fingerpainting on table tops or windows with shaving cream. We do scavenger hunts. We do kickboxing workouts and yoga together. (Even the 10 month old does a great “Downward Dog” pose) We read. That’s a big one. we read and read and read. I read stacks upon stacks of picture books to the younger ones. With voices and sound effects. Because that’s hwo my mom did it. I ead chapter books to all of them. All of them. I hear parents say they cant get their toddler to sit still. But if you make reading together a habit you begin at birth, you will be surprised to find they WILL sit. For a long time. The first time I read a book as a Mommy, my firstborn son was two days old in the NICU. Ive been reading aloud ever since. We all gather together in my room or in the older boys room and read chapters and chapters. The Wind In The Willows, The Little Prince, The Phantom TollBooth, Charlottes Web, Marley And Me……..I nurse thebaby to sleep as they listen. They always beg for “One more chapter!” Six rowdy boys sit still and read until I go hoarse.

Are there days my older boys whine a minute about some particular “thing” they want? Sure. Even with no television they still deal with commercialism all around them, sadly. Society still tries to break through and convince them that wants are actually needs. But at the end of it all, when my boys are men…..I believe they will look back and know without a doubt that they have value and that they are loved. That to me is far far far more important than any STUFF I could buy for them. THAT is my gift to them as their mother. Self-worth and love. If more parents gave those gifts to their children we would be far closer to obtaining world peace.

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