Friday, March 20, 2009

Article Review

I've read a couple of interesting articles lately. The first couple have been by one of my favorite magazine authors, Paula Spencer. She has written articles for Woman's Day, Parenting, and Baby Talk - all of which I've received at one time or another. If you have read anything by her, you can probably guess why I like her. She is an advocate of more common sense and less guilt - in parenting specifically, but in life in general.

The first article was in Baby Talk, which I actually read while waiting for my baby doctor appointment yesterday. It was all about how kids these days are being prevented from playing with honest-to-goodness sticks - you know, the ones made of wood that come from trees. This is one of my favorite quotes:

Certainly I don’t want anybody poking his eye out. Not that I’ve ever heard of this grisly fate actually happening. Google stick + accident + child. Afterward, you’ll be more careful around hockey sticks, swimming pool dive sticks, sticks of candy and kids sticking things in their mouths. But your basic tree-grown stick? Not a huge health risk.

I love it! Check out the full article - it's a winner for any common-sensical mom.

The other article of interest comes from our very own Fargo Forum, direct from the Associated Press. It tickled my funny bone, but not for intended reasons. And I'm sure I'm not the only one it affected in such a way.

This article reveals that some families are - gasp!- mowing their own lawns (oh that we had one right now that needed mowing, not shoveling...), doing their own laundry, and cleaning their own houses to save money.

SAVE money?

This is kind of like me telling Aaron that I "saved" him $20 because I didn't buy that extra top at some store.

The family in the article figures they'll "save" $10,000 a year by doing these previously hired-out services themselves. And what really kills me is that the Mrs. is a stay-at-home-mom. Really.

I can justify a housekeeper much more easily if both parents are working, or if it is a single-working mom household (of course, she'd have to be a pretty well-paid single mom...). But if you are a stay at home mom, I tend to feel that part of your job is maintaining the household - including cleaning toilets. The Mrs. in the article even admits that they were paying for someone to do things she was too lazy to do herself. At least she's honest.

Part of what bugs me about this article is it's obliviousness. How many Americans can list doing yard work, cooking at home, laundering their own shirts, and doing their own housecleaning as ways of cutting back? Those may be money-saving gestures for a certain tax bracket, but far more of us are thinking about buying food in bulk (for cooking at home, of course). Or, instead of paying someone to iron your dry-clean only shirts, do what we did years ago - only buy machine-washable wrinkle-free shirts. Catch them out of the dryer and hang right away, and you'll never touch an iron again. That, and invest in a bottle of Wrinkle Releaser - it is waaay cheaper than the cleaners.

But be sure to tell your husband how you are "saving" $30 or so a month doing that work yourself. And then add it to your own imaginary paycheck!


Noel said...

While I've praised "Aaron the Handy Husband", it is overdue to praise "Lyz the Frugal Homemaker".

I would add "get books from the libary vs buying" to the list of money savers. This is perhaps on my mind because our family enjoyed the audio version of _Number the Stars_ by Lois Lowry on the way home from Grandma's house yesterday - obtained from the Fargo Public Library. Gotta like teen historical fiction which engages this case the evacuation of the Jews from Denmark to Sweden during WWII. Recommended.

Noel said...

Since it is a slow day on the blog, I'll pass along that Kate DiCamillo has a new book coming out in September: _The Magician's Elephant_

Aaron said...

Shirts that aren't wrinkle-free are essentially single-use for me. And that's just bad for the environment.