my house is pretty bad. not filthy bad, just messy. mostly its clean clothes that i have washed but yet to put away. I sweep and dust, so its not super dirty. but...well its not really tidy either. its most certainty liveable. and the kitchen is clean. we don’t have giant piles of dirty dishes everywhere. again, mostly its just clothes. and an unmade bed. but man, people have been on my back about this. "soon you will have a baby. a baby needs things to be neat" "you cant live in such a small space and have a kid. especially if it is not clean and tidy 100% of the time" "you are too messy. how will your baby survive?" "things need to be clean for your baby to be happy" and on and on... I will acquiesce on the point that things need to be clean for the baby. I will clean and sanitise and dust and mop and sweep and do laundry. I will not live in filth. But a giant pile of clean, washed clothes on one of the couches? how is this hurting the baby? so what if i don’t make my bed everyday? i don’t think the baby really cares.
But it has made me think about necessity. What do we really need? i have been told by a friend, who shall remained unnamed, that for me to be a really good mom and raise the baby in the best way possible I need to move into a bigger house so that way the baby can have its own room, i will need a bouncy swing, a bouncy chair, a stroller with toys, a play mat with toys above head, a crib with a mobile attached, a separate changing table and a separate dresser for the baby's clothes. That way they can be washed and put away separately to make sure they stay extra clean. Really? I need each and every one of those things? or else I am a bad mom? I actually asked those questions and what came back was even more shocking. "well, not a bad mom necessarily but you wont be the best, and you certainly wont be doing everything you can for the baby. if you weren’t ready to provide those things then you should have been more careful about getting pregnant." again, really? what about love, security, clothing, shelter, and food? Rhys and I will love this little boy more than you could possibly imagine. but because we only live in one room, and the baby will have to share a dresser with me, and the living room bookcase will be used for baby toys and storage instead of a nursery, and we probably wont have room for a bouncy chair and swing...and because of that we will be bad parents?! Granted I have never parented before, but i always assumed that loving and caring for a child was more important than a bouncy seat. guess i was wrong.
Since I posted about my lack of space and wanting a nursery at the beginning of January, God has really calmed my heart about my current situation. I am genuinely excited about my flat and the fact that this is where I will bring my little boy home. it is cozy. it is beautiful. it is perfect. I have had many conversations over the years with various friends about simplicity. In particular, Stefanie and I have had our fair share of conversations about how to live simplisticly, how to cut out the unnecessary excess. It’s something i have continually struggled with since I have moved to this country. To be content with small spaces and only a few material things. It's something that I finally feel at peace about. i think crazy bouncy chair friend is partly responsible. perhaps it took someone being so ridiculous as to claim i couldn’t be a good mom with out certain material possessions to remember what it is really all about.
and on that note, i am very thankful to be living in the UK. i have heard complaints from several of my pregnant or newly-mom friends about how they have had a hard time finding books or magazines that relate to financial aspects of pregnancy and baby. Most have said that the books/magazines deal with changes of pregnancy/body, what your baby needs (bed, clothes, toys etc..) how to decorate the nursery and so on. Recommendations on which bouncy seat is the best. But very little on how to prepare finically for a baby and how to save once they are here. I am grateful to the UK books/magazines who spend so little time on the paint colour in the nursery and instead focus on birthing options, post-natal care, and most importantly- finances. There are countless articles on how to save, which accounts to open, how to get out of debt, etc.. etc... Ready for the best bit? The government issued a new policy this year. if your baby is dues after 9 April 2009, they give you £190. I am not sure where the figure of £190 came from, but its free money from the government. In addition they have a child's saving scheme. Once you give birth, your child is registered, and the government (once again) gives you free money. It’s a savings account designed especially for your child. Any one can put money in and the government so nicely helps out by opening the account with £250 free money. Just for giving birth you get £250 in a savings account for your child. Nice. gotta love the UK's take on children. It should be natural, hassle free, minus most of the gizmos America has to offer...oh and have some money too. great. thanks.
So in 5 months I will give birth, in a birthing centre, with only a midwife present, probably in a pool (mainly cause those are pretty much my only options) I will take the new baby home to a 400sq foot one room flat, with no nursery, no bouncy swing, no bouncy chair, probably clean clothes piled up on the couch, but lots of love to give. and damn it, i will be a great mom.