Friday, September 25, 2009

I Know I'm Not That Bad of A Mom

I've never really thought I was a bad mom. I stay home with my kids, spend all day with them, read to them, and snuggle with them a lot. I feel that there are things I could be doing better, as most honest moms do. But overall, I feel like I am on the right path.

Before comment moderation, I would go around and delete nasty and unfair comments. Now, with comment moderation, I am the only one who sees them, and quite frankly, it is wearing on me. Not because I think they have a point, but because what they say is so ignorant and I want to respond. So, although your reasons for saying someone should call child protection services on me are creative, they are not compelling, or valid.

On the size of my apartment, we are not breaking our local occupancy codes. So it may not be your cup of tea to have a small home, but according to the law, it is fine. Not to mention, we have a larger home than many families larger than ours around the world, but I don't see you accusing them of being bad parents.

As far as the new baby, we are hoping this one will be a co-sleeper, also not against the law, for a few months until our thirteen month old is ready to share a bed with our toddler. Again, you may think that small kids sharing a bed is somehow unethical, but it's been done around the world for millennia. Choosing our children's sleeping arrangements is still within our rights as their parents.

Last spring, I was a volunteer driver driving patients to doctors appointments. I have been professionally trained by a government contracted agency to install car seats. My car seats are properly installed, whether you think so or not.

About my food, this one is the craziest accusation. I am being accused of malnourishing my children because I feed them homemade pasta and scratch ketchup (not in the same meal). I could make a big long list of websites where coupon queens brag about all of the food they buy for super cheap. That food is pure junk. Just look at some of these sites. I don't go to their site and criticize them, nor do I see any of their readers criticizing them, or accusing them of malnourishing their children. Their diets are not hot topics on the forums. But I am being attacked because I make ketchup from scratch. The ketchup has tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and onions as the main ingredients. Really, is that so bad for my kids?

My pizza has generated serious discussion on the forums and that discussion has trickled over here as well. The ingredients of my pizza are, in order from the bottom to the top: whole wheat flour, salt, yeast, water, tomatoes, sausage, peppers, onions, cheese. What is in your pizza? As far as the size, it is the same recipe as I used when I made a larger pizza. I could take the same ingredients, form the dough into a larger crust and have what you consider a fine sized pizza. Or, I could squish the ingredients into a small pan and put it into my crock pot. It has the same calories per slice. No one is going hungry.

For the most recent string of ignorant comments, yes, I use the same crock pot to cook in as I make my soap nuts extract in. If it can be used as dish washing detergent, it's safe if it touches my crock pot.

In this blog, I have put my life out there for the world to see. We are in a unique situation that I think many people can learn from. I believe that honesty about what we are doing is key so that people can see that it is possible to live on much less. Living on less is freeing. In my writing, I have a sense of humor. Some of my posts are sarcastic and I like to think that sometimes I am even witty. It is part of my writing style. For people to take my sarcastic quotes and publish them all over forums is silly. For other people to read them, then come to my blog and tell me how I'm a bad parent is pure ignorance. I am not going to stop what I am doing, but you haters don't have a solid leg to stand on in your attacks. You also might want to consider finding something more productive to do with you time.

76 comments:

Emily said...

I have found that people who claim to open-minded tend to be the most judgemental when actually presented with a life-view that diametrically opposes their own (especially if the life-view is more conservative in nature, and doesn't take advantage of the government's social welfare offerings). It is unfortunate that you feel the need to defend yourself on the points mention in this blog entry.

Although I have not chosen the life path that you and your family has, I have seen nothing in your blog that would indicate neglect or abuse of your children. As a matter of fact, your meal plans are probably more well-rounded and balanced (with the addition of fruit and vegetables that you have mentioned) AND more variable than the majority of those living in the U.S. I know few people (if any) who have a full two week cycle of menus. I have a BS in nutritional science and would find it fascinating to do a nutritional breakdown of your family's diet- I find it hard to believe that it would be severely lacking!

~Emily (not the blog's author!!)

Anonymous said...

Take heart - Amy Dacyczyn received lots of negative criticism when writing The Tightwad Gazette - you are in good company. Keep up the good work - am really enjoying your blog!

Kristin Russo said...

Hi Emily:
I just wanted to say I did find your blog through the Nest forums and started reading out of curiosity. I stayed on b/c I really like a lot of your ideas! I dont agree with everything but a lot of it really helps. I live with my husband and 16 month old daughter in a high cost of living city. Every month I have $250.00 to feed 3 people and it is a constant struggle. Seeing that it can be done on way less is very encouraging. We tried your taco recipe and LOVED it. I used to make them with canned beans, cheese, sour cream etc and they were ok but these are great. We are currently working on the chili you posted before. We also live in a somewhat smaller 2 bedroom apt. which I love. Less to clean! Anyways I just wanted to let you know that your advice and tips are helping us a lot and have really made me look twice at how we spend our money. Now if you could find a way to help me with my addiction to sweets...
Thanks,
Kristin, CA

Anonymous said...

Seriously, you have to not worry about the comments so much. I don't even read comments on news stories anymore. There is something about the anonimity (sp?) of the internet that makes people say horrible things. It makes them feel better about their life choices to put down yours.

And as for people calling child services, that's obviously insane. Millions of children in this country are fed nothing but garbage, set in front of TV all day, not washed properly, never have a book read to them or get played with, and many are physically and sexually abused. If we started removing every child from a home just because we didn't think they are getting enough fresh veggies or don't have enough toys, no kids would have a home anymore.

I am a politically liberal person who probably lives very differently from you and I think you are doing a fine job!

Crystal Tillman said...

Every site, once it gets to be the least bit popular starts attracting 'trolls'. There's a people who say nasty things just to get you to react to them. I can't be sure how many people are actually concerned, and how many are really trolls... Its hard to tell sometimes.

Take a look at this blog post over at CopyBlogger. It might give you some ideas of how to deal with them. Http://copyblogger.com/troll/ (Title: The Dark Side of Authority)

There are always going to be people who don't understand when it comes to being frugal, or living simply. The ones that scream the most are probably trying to justify the way they do things (just an observation from my own experiences, not an expert by any means).

I hope this helps you out a bit. I've been enjoying your blog a lot. I hope that the nasty comments, and the trolls, don't get you down enough to stop blogging. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great blog! I'm just about to cut back from full time to part-time work in order to spend more time with my baby girl, so I've been looking for advice on how to cut household costs. Your blog is a great resource, and I'm in awe at your level of expertise when it comes to living well on not much money!

As for the living area - clearly, you already know this, but just as added backup for your arguments, I've lived in countries where 7-person families live in two rooms, and in many ways, it's a great life. They're not even very poor (at least, they are if you compare them to "typical" Americans, but they have no problem whatsoever affording more than enough food, clothing etc). It's just that culturally, you don't spend a whole lot of money just so that you can keep your family isolated in separate rooms. My husband grew up sharing a bed with his siblings all his life, and they all turned out absolutely fine. It's not a "weird lifestyle choice" where he comes from; it's just what people do. And if it works fine there, why wouldn't it work fine here?

Best wishes for continued blogging success!

Anonymous said...

Emily, as hard as it may be for you to hear the negative comments, look at the bright side. Even the nasty ones are page hits and the more page hits you get the more money you will make. I want you to laugh all the way to the bank. And as for those of you who are inclined to criticize this young girl, here is a frugal tip from me; being kind is FREE! Being crappy costs you your integrity.

Diana Par-Due said...

I'm so sorry you have had to endure the criticism of so many people.

I think your ideas are great! I disagree every once in awhile but I doubt there's a person in the world I agree with completely.

I think you're a very caring mother because you always look after improving your children's life and you THINK about each thing you are doing which is more than many moms these days.

Your Christian values are encouraging to me and I thank you for that.

Diana

Scottish Twins said...

I agree completely with what the commenter Emily said.

I get harsh criticism on the same boards where your negative comments come from for my lifestyle as well.

Just remember to be confident in what you are doing. You know what is best for your family and that ultimately God is your only judge.

The people that like to judge your lifestyle are insecure in their own choices. Belittling you for your choices makes them feel better about themselves.

I am learning a lot from reading your blog, and although we may disagree on a few things, I appreciate you putting yourself out there for your readers!

Anonymous said...

Don't let them get to you, Emily. I found your blog from the posts on the nest, and I still read it every day. Not because I think you're a bad parent and not because I want to mock you, but because I think you're SMART. There's a lot I can learn from you. While I don't think I could live as frugally as you do, I still admire what you do.
And those people from the nest that are criticizing you are the same ones who think that wearing a thong could strangle their fetus and that boys can't wear pink and girls can't wear blue...I wouldn't take anything they say seriously.

I hope you don't stop blogging because of the negativity. You have a lot to share.

♥ JB said...

I recently found your blog.
I too make a lot of our food from scratch - it's HEALTHY! Hello? At least you know what your kids are eating because you get a clear view of it all while YOU are making it, not buying it pre-packaged from the store. People have seriously gone crazy.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this blog! It is the first that I read daily. I find it incredibly inspiring and have talked about it to my friends. Don't let others get you down just because they don't agree with you. Donna

Anonymous said...

I'm very sad to hear that you are being berated with such negativity. It is wholly undeserved.
I'm happy I found your blog. I appreciate your input and perspective. My lifestyle might not be exactly like yours, but that doesn't mean I can't learn from your experiences.
I hope you continue your blog, Emily. It is intelligent and thought provoking.

Kim from Philadelphia

Rachel said...

No Emily, you are not a bad mom! Your post made me think of something said once. I was a teachers aide at a school in a poor community. At one of the inservice trainings, we were told that while we were obligated to report suspected abuse, we also needed to realize that the way these children were cared for may be different, but not necessarily wrong. Poor families do not run to the dr. for every little thing, and will attempt to treat on their own. So, it was hard to see little kids with bad coughs etc.. This particular school had a full time nurse on staff, and believe me she was busy all day. But I truly never saw a child I felt was neglected and abused.

Not everyone lives the way you do. My dil buys an expensive fruit drink with added vegetables because her boys don't eat enough veggies. I think it would be better and cheaper to just keep giving them veggies on their plates. They will find something they like, even it it is only one or two things. My daughter uses the grazing method as you do. I'm not a big fan of that, but if it works, it works. Her son seems healthy enough, I just feel that kids should be taught to eat at the table at meal time. Not sure what your rules are regarding grazing, but Brody is all over the house with food, and this bothers me. But it is their household and their rules. So I don't say anything. Believe me, i made lots of mistakes raising kids, and so do the people who criticize you. I would think people who are openly hostile are doubting their own parenting ability.

Anonymous said...

People love to take shots at someone who is different than themselves, it's the (low) nature of the beast. My family certainly went through some tight times to get where we are today and I find it admirable that you are willing to put yourself "out there" and share your story. I have a feeling you are helping many more folks that you know. As for the ones who are using you for target practice, I bet their situation could be shot to pieces if they had the courage to share the complete details publicly.

AnnMarie said...

You *can* serve ketchup and pasta in the same meal. My husband grew up on that (poor people's pasta sauce, he now calls it) and LOVES it so much it's his preferred pasta topping (well, plus lots of butter). He's, sadly, teaching my daughter to love it. (Sad because I think ketchup is really nasty and don't even like the smell.) Anyway, just wanted to let you know that my DH probably had it at least once a week as a kid if not more and he turned out just fine.

Sarah said...

I would agree with the poster above. Seriously, just ignore the mean comments. Since you are moderating everything, you dont even have to acknowledge that they exist.

There are a lot of things on here that I could never personally do (the placenta one really creeped me out!). However, I am picking up some great tips here. I do that with most blogs I read though. I have yet to find a blogger that I agree with 100% :) But I do think you are doing a good job with the resources you have available. Although I might not make the same choices for my family, its not my place to say anything rude about the choices you make with yours.

Pam said...

I found your blog through a comment you left on another blog, and immediately added it to my favorites. I am a "frugal zealot" myself, but you have really inspired and challenged me. I totally "get" your humor, and am sorry you are having to deal with so much negativity. My blog came under fire for expressing my conservative political views, and I ended up going private. I ablsolutely love your blog. Keep doing what you are doing. I am sure that those of us who support you far outweigh those who oppose you.

BTW, I made tortillas last night using your recipe, and they came out great!

lexied said...

Emily,

I love your blog and you have inspired me in many ways. I felt that I have been so wasteful for most of my life and you have shown me how to make a change for the better.

Respectfully,
Lexied

Sarah said...

Lame! I think your blog calls into question how the majority of the rest of the world is living - and that makes people feel uncomfortable. I haven't ever read any of your articles and thought you weren't being a good mom. If only so many moms took the time to consider what they were feeding and buying for their children! Please know that you do have those who support ya. Rah rah rah!

Anonymous said...

Dear Emily,

I love reading your blog. I too am a stay at home mom. I never baked bread from scratch before finding your recipe. It's taking me a few attempts to get it to rise and really look like bread, but at least I'm trying!

I'm also glad you mentioned trying to avoid nitrates because I just learned about how they are linked to cancer. My family loves turkey sandwiches but now I'm scared to let them have any, so I'm trying to think of alternatives that they will actually like.

I'm very interested in reading more from you. I just wanted to let you know that you have inspired me in many ways.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog from a comment of yours on the simple dollar. I love your blog! You are direct, to the point, witty, and your way of doing things is so interesting and helpful!! Please keep on blogging - I know there are many of us who enjoy your perspective. God bless :-)

Carla said...

I hope my previous comment went to the right post.

I wouldn't worry about what other people think but I know it's easier said than done. We do a lot that I don't post about in my blog, like cloth TP and pads. Funny how's ok to use cloth on a baby's bottom but not an adult's. We still cosleep with our 5 and 7 year olds because they don't want to sleep in their own bed. They never wanted to be alone and I think that is a natural human response. It's a recent thing that kids were made to sleep alone.

You're doing great! We are all doing the best we can and eventually either the naysayers will open their eyes or leave. It's easy for them to hide behind the an anonymous identity which the internet can offer.

jennifer said...

I am from the nest as well and I came originally to see why this woman is crazy and needs to have her kids hauled away (this was a week or so ago) I looked and looked and could not see why.

althought I could not and would not live just as you do, I do find your blog interesting and it has made me feel guilty about how much I waste (money, food, time) I am trying to get a little better and I am starting to respect how much I have, normally I see how little I have.

There are many ill mannered snarky ppl on the nest, pay them no mind, they are bored and this is how they fill th void.

Emily said...

I didn't expect such a positive response. I only got a few comments from the haters, I'm not sure what I thought they would say, but they continued with the same old stuff, so whatever.

Thanks everyone. I'm glad to hear that most people are getting something out of the blog. I'm not planning on quitting any time soon!

Anonymous said...

See what jennifer said up there? "I am starting to respect how much I have, normally I see how little I have." Just think how that will spread and the effect it will have, and it started with YOU! You go girl!

hypnobarb1 said...

I've rarely read a blog from someone who has done as much to examine their own life and values and apply them to how they live and raise their family. You're listening to that small voice inside your head that tells you that what you are doing is right for you.

You're doing just fine. Pay no attention to the trolls.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to give you some encouragement, I think you are doing a fine job. I love your blog and it has been an encouragement to me as well. It has really made me rethink what is important for my own children. Keep it up!

Captain Cleavage said...

Alhtough I do not agree with some of the choices you make as a parent it has nothing to do with you being a bad mom just that I would not make them because they would not work for my family and my life. ecery family makes choices on what is best for their lives and children. In my opinion we should not berate each other for making diffrent choices but be happy in the fact that we are able to make them. You can learn so much from the people around you if people would just stop being so judgmentel. Just remember emily...do you know them in real life? does it really matter? Just smile and know that somewhere in the world...someone is probablly judging them as well.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog for the very reasons the trolls complain about. I love conservative, Godly, frugal view points in blogs simply because I can't ever find anything close to this anywhere else. I have even family members who will not tolerate conservative views because the Left is the almighty, all knowing, only intelligent way to life there is. It is better to be silent with them than to voice a different opinion because "how can I be so stupid". Thank you for your voice. PS I've been secretly making my own ketchup and yogurt for 15 years and will never go back!!

Anonymous said...

I think it is grate that you make your own pizza dough and ketchup. It is also good that you work best prices for food, living expenses and you refuse to have debt. It is a sin to keep having children and force them to live in poverty. Rape and lack of access to birth control is the reason people in poorer parts of the world live in poverty. (I doubt that you will even post my comment or respond )

Anonymous said...

As a member of the left, I appreciate your blog very much. I especially appreciate that it isn't overly political like a lot of frugal living blogs are.

Emily said...

Anonymous, two comments up from mine, to say it is a sin to have children in poverty only shows your ignorance of my God. My God says that children are a blessing from him, and that money is worthless compared to the riches he provides. You have it backwards.

Anna said...

Please don't listen to these people. In my opinion, they are feeling convicted by their own poor financial habits and possibly by what they are feeding their own children.Why else would they attack?

Seriously...your children are being malnourished??? Because eating carrot bread, bananas, eggs, and food made from scratch with whole wheat flour is malnourishment?????? Seriously??? Excuse me, while I laugh.

Your apartment, your children share a bedroom...and?????? Six by eight...and???? What of it? Years ago, people would have been felt blessed beyond belief to have what you have.

We are just a spoiled rotten society that expects the world to be handed to us on a silver platter. The rest of the world believes that America is heaven on earth and you are being attacked for choosing to spend your days loving on your children, instead of shipping them off to daycare so that you can make more MONEY and buy more STUFF!!! Seriously??? These people need to take a long hard look at their own life and their own priorities, because you are the one who has yours straight.

Why don't you ask your husband to moderate comments for you, so that you don't have to read the nonsense. But please don't stop blogging. You have been such an inspiration to me and I feel you have truly blessed me with the knowledge you have shared.

I'm tired of the attitude that Mom's need to go to work, we can only have 2.2 children because they are sooo expensive, and these kids sit in daycare all day so they're parents can make more money and buy them more stuff. Children don't want stuff, they want you, their mom and dad. Why can't we just live within in our means and find our joy in our children and families and God???

Anna said...

Just had to comment on the poverty comment and bearing children into poverty being a sin...seriously?

Psalm 127:3-5 ESV / 55 helpful votes

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!

First of all, though you may live in "poverty" by the governments standards...your children have a roof over their head, their own bedroom to share at that, heat, electricity, plumbing, running water, clothes on their backs, toys to play with, a car to be driven in, an ocean to visit, nourishing food to eat...should I go on? How is that poverty???? Frugality does not equal poverty.

And for the record (you'll love this Emily)...I have a five bedroom, three bath, huge house. My two boys have their own rooms and nine times out of ten...we find them sneaking into each others rooms and sleeping in the same bed. Are you going to come take my children away too...if I don't force them to sleep in their own beds? Or is it ok, since they do have their own rooms to sleep in, if they so choose?

Henrietta said...

Wow, Anonymous who said that having children in poverty is a sin.

Do I, personally, think that it is "right" to continue having children one cannot afford? No. But I don't think God condemns those who do.

And while I disagree with many of the choices and opinions Emily posts here, I would never say that she truly cannot afford to care for her children.

Emily, I keep coming back here because even though some of the things you write make me shake my head, I can appreciate the lifestyle you are trying to live. I, too, want to live simply, sustainably, healthily, and raise Godly children...we just have different definitions of those goals and different paths we are taking to get there!

Anonymous, I applaud Emily for posting your comment because I hope you have the decency to feel at least a little bit bad seeing your judgmental condescension published here.

Emily, keep writing, and may God continue to bless you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm so glad you brought back anonymous comments with moderation. I've wanted to comment on some of your posts, and did before you disabled anonymous comments, but I don't have an "identity".

I am proudly transitioning to a Nourishing Traditions diet. We have cut out 95% of processed foods. I make my own ketchup, bread, pizza crust, tortillas, mayo, salad dressings... etc., and I even feed my family raw milk (gasp!). At least I know my toddler isn't eating cancer causing chemicals, petroleum based food dyes, oxidized cholesterol, rancid vegetable oils, and genetically modified soy and corn (which is in just about every processed food sold)! I don't care what anyone else thinks or says about it... I'm doing what's best for my family.

I am a SAHM, and have picked up some great tips and info from your blog on frugality.

You are doing a WONDERFUL job, and your children are fortunate to have you looking out for their best interests. Ignore the trolls... they are ugly.

Jen

Leslie said...

Don't let them get to you. I LOVE your blog! We are going through a hard time and reading how it is possible to make due with so much less brightens my day. Some people just can't understand how to raise kids without chicken nuggets, Mcmansions, and SUVs. That is their problem, not yours.

Anonymous said...

Look- I've found your blog through the Nest- and I enjoy it. don't let the haterade kill you.

Anonymous said...

I think it's quite pitiful that you are only publishing comments that blow sunshine up your behind. Grow a pair and let people see that there are people out there who do not agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Do you think you will continue to be able to continue to live on under $1000 per month as your family grows? BTW "The lord helps those who helps themselves"

Anonymous said...

Pay no attention to the comments the critics. They're probably bashing you while their own children are sitting in their spacious individual rooms watching their own TV's in isolation while eating their lunches of jelly sandwiches, oreos, and kool-aid.

I don't have the religious beliefs you have nor do I have the desire to live quite as frugally as you. But you are inspirational in that you do inspire me to work towards becoming as frugal as I want to be.

You are doing nothing wrong and certainly nothing illegal. ALL children could use more fresh veggies, and yours are no different. So could mine. But as a previous poster said, if we start calling CPS for that..well there would be a whole heck of a lot of homes without children.

I do think that if you have a strong set of faith that "god will provide" then he will. I think your faith will provide YOU with the knowledge to make it work as your family grows. Obviously you know there is only so many children that will fit into a 500 square foot home. You know that, and that's why your husband is in school and you have an eventual plan. You modify..you change. But to say your children shouldn't share a room, or a bed is absolutely absurd.

Bah to the oreo and kool-aid feeding parents who just can't open their eyes to see that your way is probably quite a bit healthier than the over-scheduled, isolated, junk-food filled lives that they live.

-crabcakes

trishtator said...

You go, girl!

I started reading because, let's face it, you've got an intriguing title. My household (which is actually just me, but I cook with my boyfriend) is gluten free, which is a serious food allergy to a protein in wheat, barley and rye. Therefore, the food we buy is terribly expensive - probably 400% more per person than your groceries (or an average household), although we eat similar foods (almost completely from scratch here). We also live in a large city, so the prices are higher. But, I'm very impressed with your commitment, and no, there's nothing wrong with the way you live. I envy $1000 or less a month. If only! (The food bill is about $400-500 a month, because of the celiac disease. That right there takes me out of the running.) :)

You sound like a fine mom who cares for her family very well. Best of luck with your upcoming little one!

Anonymous said...

There are places in the world where children work to suppor the family from age 5, are promised in marriage or sold to strangers many years older, where female children's genitals are sewn closed- why do you rely on other countries to justify your life choices? Are you unable to justify them in the country and culture you love in? Your meals are disgusting and unhealthy.

Lori said...

Hmm. Let's see.
1. I don't have any problem with making food from scratch. I make most of my own bread, I can all my own tomatoes, pickles and jams, and I'm a WAHM who makes fresh pasta and even grinds her own Italian sausage.
2. I think that you sometimes go overboard on defending yourself by using examples that you don't seem to be on board with, such as government standards. You don't agree with what the government says you should do as far as accepting assistance to help feed or care for your children, so why use government standards as a measure of how your home is an acceptable size? I'm not arguing your point, only the methodology of your argument. Its inconsistency seems to lean toward an area your opponents could identify as hypocrisy.
3. The Nest comments on your kids' room is not so much about the size as the functionality. In one comment, you talk about your son sleeping on a mattress under the crib, for instance. This has led to speculation that you are stacking your kids like cord wood. If the mattress is only stored under the crib and he isn't stuffed under the crib like old shoes to sleep, that could be better identified and head off misunderstanding.
4. One of the few issues I have is that you sign up for the medical assistance but don't use it, keeping it only for emergencies. I'm not going to get into an argument about whether you should have it, use it, get food stamps, use WIC, etc. What I will say is that you are going about this in the wrong way if you are trying to cover your family while minimizing what you take from the government. Because you have signed up for the coverage, it's being a consistent draw on public funds without you taking any benefit from it. If you didn't have coverage, and there was a fire or accident, like you said you are getting it to cover, your children would be treated at the hospital and you would have an opportunity to sign up for the coverage at the hospital, after the emergency had passed. The state then pays for the accident, and not three years of general coverage you never take advantage of PLUS the accident. If you are going to sign up for it, and I think that's a good idea, you aren't really saving the state any money by not using it.
5. I realize that in many cultures in the world, people live on little or no money. But you live in an urban setting, in a different country and culture. To continue to compare what people in Africa live on is disingenuous, and somewhat silly. Especially given your husband's calling. If that is the model you continue to use, why not embrace a missionary role that would bring your family to that ideal? And I am genuinely curious, and mean that with no snark at all.
6. You cannot invite the supportive comments without the criticism. It just doesn't work that way.

Mindy said...

Why are most of the negative commentors choosing to be anonymous? Grow a pair yourself and let your identity be known!

Emily, I just wanted to let you know that although I do not usually comment on blogs, I'm choosing to comment on yours because I think you are precious! I feel a warm feeling everytime I see your smiling picture. Your blog is a wonderful testimony. And while I may not be able to benefit from everything I read here, I have gained much inspiration from your blog. You will always have those who criticize you no matter what you do. Even our Lord had many who criticized Him. If God has called you to write and inspire others, do it with all your might! I like the idea of the previous poster who said to let your husband moderate if the negative comments are discouraging you. You have a very strong following who find your posts to be inspirational, educational, and interesting. I'll guarantee that there are many more following your blog, that just like me, prefer to remain "lurkers" and not post in a public way like this. Hopefully, like me, they will choose to not remain silent, but stand up and let you know how much they appreciate what you have to say.

Anonymous said...

Emily, if the trolls keep coming back, then they must like your blog. Otherwise I don't know why people would waste their precious time when they could be spending time with their own family, friends or anything else that would be more productive. Where are their own children while they are being evil here? Get off your self-righteous horses, people.

There will always be naysayers, and like others have mentioned, even if I don't agree with everything 100%, it's your life and you must live it as you choose. I don't think it's possible to agree with any person 100%.

Emily, you can either continue to share your lifestyle or you can limit what you share. Sometimes I think there is a fine line. I say that because I don't have time for such idiots. But that's just my opinion. Do what's best for you.

titus2woman said...

I just found your blog tonight (via crockpot bread post) and was so blessed that I IMMEDIATELY put you in my favorites! So then to read that you have come under such fire made me very, very sad. I have been through that for similar (frugal) reasons, and it just.does.not.make.sense to me!!!!! (and since then some of my critics have had to adopt some of the same ways of living, while we have actually been able to increase a little.) Keep on keepin' on~you're doing a GREAT job and are encouraging sooo many! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

Emily said...

Anonymous who said "The Lord helps those who help themseves," my God NEVER said that. He said a man shall not eat if he does not work.

Lori, I use government standards because I was being threatened about the government. If someone calls CPS on me, CPS is going to find I have done nothing wrong by their own standards.

Last time I was on the Nest forums, 2+ weeks ago, someone had explained what a trundle bed was to the forum people, so I thought they understood.

There is no way that being covered without using the insurance costs as much to the government as using it. Yes, there may be an expense, but it is not comparable.

As far as comparing ourselves to people in other countries, I think it is silly if you can't get past comparing yourselves to people in the same county as you. I think that is extremely close minded and generally from ignorance. I don't have to live like a typical American just because I was born here, and I won't start just because others disagree.

Anna said...

I remain baffled by the fact that anyone here, believes that you are doing anything short of Godly, responsible, child-rearing. We need more Americans like your family. Those who find a way to hold their own, while reaching their goals, and not looking for hand-outs.

And for the record, I would come eat at your house any day...your meals look yummy!

Amber said...

I'm posting as anon. because I do not have a profile anywhere else to use, not because I am "scared." That is just silly.

I think it's absurd and straight out of junior high that people are saying the old "oh they're just jealous!" line about people who disagree with you. Let's face it, jealousy is very, very, very rarely the reason why conflict like this ensues.

Anyway, I commend you for doing what you think is right for your family and living off of what you have. I do think that your husband needs to find a better job, or at least try to find a better job, instead of just taking the first one he was offered. I also think that your family needs more than 1oz of shredded carrots in a hamburger (what % was the beef btw?) for a veggie. I think the kids need to have the bigger room and you and your husband share the smaller room. I believe that while you love your family you are severely misguided and could definitely use a nutrition class that CPS or WIC even would offer for you. Of course, you probably wouldn't even agree with it or believe them because you don't agree with the government standard.

I do not blindly follow the government, but I do believe that when thousands of nutritionists and scientists have worked on something so important as our health, they might know a little bit of what they are talking about.

Anyway, as much as I disagree with you, I do enjoy your blog. Whether it's the train wreck syndrome or the complete disbelief that someone actually does this, I still keep coming back. So at least you're getting money from me :)

Now since you are listening to the commenters... PLEASE stop eating dollar tree mystery meat! You can get jimmy dean sausage on sale with a coupon for just a little bit more than dollar tree sausage and you can feel a little more comfortable as to its contents!

Emily said...

Amber, I'm not sure why you think Jimmy Dean sausage is better than Dollar Tree sausage. I would consider them nutritionally equal. Regardless, I found a sausage recipe that I'm trying TODAY, so it is a mute point anyway.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I agree! Why in the world would they think Jimmy Dean sausage is somehow healthier just because it's name brand? None of it is healthy (though it is delicious!).

Shauna said...

I just found your blog and haven't been reading long, but just based on what you are responding to, I'm going to hedge a guess that the people making the comments live in a bubble...or under a rock. One of the two. To think that doing things traditionally is unsafe or harmful for your children? Oh dear! Makes you wonder how the human race managed this long huh? LOL

We live at poverty level but my kids aren't neglected. My daughter does not have a bedroom *gasp* and the kids sometimes sleep with me. They wear hand-me-down clothes and ones I've made from recycled material. I make most of their christmas gifts and cook from scratch a lot. I will never understand why some people think you need money to be happy.

And sheesh, food is food. Why would dollar tree food be bad? Oh that's right, it's poor people food, it must be filled with maggots for the protein. @@ All foods have to pass standards people! Name brand does not = better.

K said...

My younger brother and I shared a room (and for a brief time, we shared a bed) for years growing up (as small children), and I have great memories from these times. We are still close friends and I am thankful. We did not think we were being deprived of anything.

Anonymous said...

My sister in law killed her 7 weeks old daughter while co-spleeping. She was a good mother. She was not overweight. Their bed was nothing special, just a standard bed, not a water bed or anything. Yet she woke up next to her dead daughter...

I could not advise you more against this. They ought to be a better way???

Anonymous said...

okay and here I'm coming back to say that as long as you are cosleeping properly and are not a super sound sleeper to begin with, cosleeping is very safe. No, you cannot have extra pillows or blankets, but cosleeping is just as safe as crib sleeping and even studies have shown that SIDS is less frequent in cosleeping babies than crib sleeping babies.

Monroe on a budget said...

If your readers want to see how small homes can be very functional, go visit an Ikea store.

The Ikea model apartments and display rooms show off how (little) square feet is taken up with efficient arrangements, dual-purpose / smaller furniture and smart storage choices.

Of course, you're going to have less room for stuff when you have less space. But you've already made that lifestyle choice.

Amber said...

I can guarantee you that Jimmy Dean sausage has a much lower fat content than dollar tree brand sausage. All sausage is not created equal, and the better sausages are better for a reason. Just like 90/10 ground beef is much better for you, so is sausage that is much leaner. That's why Jimmy Dean sausage sticks to the pan when you fry it up... there's very little fat to lubricate.


All food is not created equal. Some store brand things are the same as brand name. Most dairy products are produced in the same place with the same materials and just have a different label. Some things, however, are not equal. Buy a box of store brand pop tarts and brand name. There's no way you cannot taste a difference. Not a good example, I know, but I'm tired lol.

sourpatchbaby said...

I have to laugh at all these stupid anon comments. According to them, you're a murdering sadist ignorant fool. They were probably looking in the mirror as they typed. There is no harm in letting children share a bed. I shared a bed with my older sister up until I was about 16. We slept in a twin bed until I was about 14 and she 16. The only drawback of that was if one of us went to bed with dirty feet as the other one would have to smell them all night long, lol. Neither of us died, dropped out of school, are drug dealers, or nothing of the like. In fact, we're both college educated and have never been in trouble with the law. And while both my kids (4 and 2) have their own toddler beds, I find them both sleeping in the same bed most nights.

sourpatchbaby said...

Forgot to add. As a teen I was forced to visit a nutritionist several times (my doctor thought I was anorexic but my body just doesn't like fat. I truly eat like a pig, honest). This nutritionist told me that the healthiest way of eating is to graze. Eat about 6-8 small meals with plenty of snacking in between. That way your body is always full and your energy levels are up. Of course, a drawback to grazing is that your body burns almost all the calories of your meal so you can actually lose weight with this method. Whomever says that grazing is not healthy should point me to the nearest overweight bird. I ate like a pig then but still chose to start grazing and have taught my children to eat the same way. To the point where they have a shelf in the fridge with fruits and veggies that they can get as they see fit. Well, the big one can get the stuff when he wants. The baby has to get me to open the fridge for him.

Ruth Hill said...

I don't usually respond to blogs of people I don't know, but I just want to say that I think that people who are criticizing you for the way you live and calling you a bad parent are totally wrong. What you are doing and how you are living is great. We all have different ways of doing things, and making stuff from scratch is much healthier. It's not depriving your kids. I wish I really had the time and energy to eat naturally and organically all the time. As for co-sleeping, no big deal. My daughter used to sleep with me quite a bit. For the first 5 weeks of her life, she was not getting enough to eat--I didn't know it--and she could only sleep on top of me. It was a tough time. And as for having a small place to live, who really cares? If you and your children are happy, so what? I think the internet craze has made people much more bold in criticizing people. You just keep doing what you're doing.

Nota said...

Emily, I found your blog through the nest too, and (as I'm sure will come as no surprise to you), it initially pissed me off. Primarily because of the EIC issue. But setting that aside as a thing I can't change, I've let my interest grow in your blog independent of that issue. My husband & I, courtesy of our economy, went through multiple scares of job loss in late 2008 and earlier this year. Thankfully, we both kept our jobs, but it initiated for us, as it did for many in our country, a re-assessment of priorities. While we've never been McMansion people, and we both love the reduce, re-use, recycle commandment (our version of a commandment), we haven't been the most conscientous people either about defining need v. want. We realized we could be doing some things very differently.

I don't share really any of your belifs in terms of religion and marriage. But I do look at your blog and think in terms of 'If this is what I had to work with, and this were my situation, what would I be doing for my family?'. I admire that you walk your talk. I admire that you earnestly try to do the very best you can for your family within the framework of your belief system. And I apologize for being rude from the outset - we differ, but I could have expressed that far differently.

Penny Saver said...

I think that those who have made comments about "depriving" your kids are not making comments about the home made nature of the food, but for the apparent lack of vegetables and heavy reliance on processed meats in your diet. You've said that you don't offer side dishes, but your main menus don't seem to show full servings of vegetables for each person. Home made ketchup? No problem! A meal where 1 oz. of carrots is the entire vegetable serving? Questionable nutritional value.

I think that apparent contradictions put people off as well (like avoiding GMOs but buying hot dogs that contain GMO corn syrup.) They don't need to be snarky and sarcastic about it, but there have been people who have respectfully asked for clarification and it seems to be overlooked and at times deleted. I can understand that criticism is hard to hear, but you're presenting a way of living that is outside the current culture.

Expect that that can make people uncomfortable and question why and how you make the choices you do. If you're not willing to hear and respond to the criticisms, a public blog may not be right for you. (I hope though that you continue, and continue to answer questions and respond to comments, since I and many others apparently find your blog fascinating!)

I am on the other end of the political and religious spectrum. While many your ideas and values are not the same as mine, I do respect that you're doing the best you can within your means and you sincerely seem to be living your values and putting your family first. It's not easy to really follow through with ones' values and I can commend that, even if they're not the same as mine. Frugality and loving our kids we have in common though, and that keeps me coming back as a reader.

FWIW, we co-sleep with our now 1 year old because it's what she prefers. My 4 year old would never, ever co-sleep, from day one, and none of us would have gotten any sleep if we'd insisted on it from a practical standpoint. It's good to have a back-up plan in case your baby has different ideas!

BTW, I found you on Meal Planning Monday.

Emily said...

Penny Saver, I have written whole posts in response to the criticism you listed. I don't think you understand the nature of the criticism. On these boards, they discuss one or two of my posts, not my whole blog. I didn't find criticism about vegetable consumption snarky. I knew it was something I had not fully addressed, so I wrote a whole post about it. And I have eliminated hot dogs from our diet, but I stil get hot dog comments. I don't think that is warranted. Those comments are from people who are only reading my older posts because those are the links that the forum directs them to. If they want to read my blog, awesome, but if they want to attack me without reading it, they have no voice here.

Penny Saver said...

I have only read the blog, not boards discussing the blog, so I can't address that. I know that you've addressed and in some cases changed behaviors people have made comments about here, and I commend that - you're showing that you're not just here to preach your side but to learn and improve your life as well, and that's a good thing!

And yay for cutting out hot dogs! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're a bad mom at all! I think you love your family very much and are doing what you can for your children in your curernt situation. My only concern is that you and your husband are making choices based on what you want, rather than what may be a better alternative for your children. Becomming a pastor is a great and noble goal (there are some in my family!), however, you will be sacrificing many things for your family in order to do that. How will you survive on $500 a month after your husband graduates? (Forgive me if I got the number wrong!) How will you further cut your budget in half with 3 growing children? I can't imagine walking away from a steady, higher paying job that provided my family stability. I don't see how this is beneficial over keeping the higher paying job, taking Bible classes at night, volunteering in your church to get referrals, and making the move to full time ministry later after you have the connections and experience to land a position. I have family members who are leading churches and ministry programs who did not attend Bible college, but were very involved in their churches, knew the subject matter, and moved up the ladder within a church. My other concern is that you do not seem to value college for your children, and I do think that is sad and puts your children at a disadvantage. I loved college and wouldn't have traded the experience for anything. I grew up, learned to make my own decisions, chose on my own to live as a Christian, and gained the confidence to be successful and who I am spiritually during college. College is about much more than just getting a degree. Some of my most important, defining "Christian" moments happened during college on mission trips, in college groups, etc. and it was becuase I was on my own and was making the decision to follow Christ for myself without outside influence leading me down that path. Yes, I had to take out student loans, but it was completely worth it based on the education, experience, confidence, and upward mobility I received as a result. And, the student loans were not a financial burden since I was able to make a good salary and pay them off quickly. I was always responsible, good, smart, hard working, but college really gave me the confidence to be successful in both worldly and spirtual arenas. We're praying for you and your family and that God will continue to guide you and provide for you.

~beachbride (I can't get my username to sign in!)

allthingsjuice said...

Hey, you could be like Dooce and monetize the hate. Just a thought...

CAthy said...

*um what?*
CPS is for children that are beaten, abused, and starved.
Since when does feeding your kids homemade pasta (WIITH or without whatever sauce you choose to make) grounds for tearing a child out of a family and into a foster home?
Seriously, do these sickos fantasize about children being torn out of their home away from their mommy and into a strange place, while the social worker tells them "NO, sweetie, you CAN'T stay with mommy, you have to go into a home where they WON'T feel you homemmade pasta." Honestly- do these bizarre fairytale people think a CPS worker will get a report fo a crowded apartment and homemade food and actually ACT on it?
I don't know what fairy tale world these haters live in.... one where everyone has a McMansion, a bulky stroller/carseat "travel system", and a perfectly decorated nursery for every newborn.. if these "authorities" had their say, only 20% of the population would actually be "allowed" to have children. Not to mention I would hazard to bet these haters were raised by a perfectly middle/low class parents to begin with..

CAthy said...

Oh- I also wanted to address the point of that snit who was preaching " I THINK your children should have the big room. Your HUSBAND and you should have the small room.."
Has she taken a look at the size of children compared to adults? Lady, really- you can fit four small children on a twin size mattress COMFORTABLY. WHy, oh why, should someone in a small apartment WASTE SPACE?
THe fact that these "experts" are giving you 'advice' that is 100% illogical and wasteful should tell you something, Emily...

Bianca said...

I just stumbled across your blog and had to give my two cents..
first of all
I am a total 'hippy liberal' thats what my hubby tells me.. can you tell he's not??
i am similar to you in my believes -not of the religious nature, as we are agnostics, yes i also raise my 8 year old this way, explaining all the worlds religions etc and let him make his own decisions, right now he is on the catholic believe system (we just went to germany, everybody is more or less catholic), and good for him, but he understands mom does not go that way.. but that's another story- but i believe spiritually that we should take from the earth only what we can replenish and try to conserve.
Also I decided to just have one child, as (in my opinion) the world is overpopulated and if I really felt in 10 years time i want another child, i can foster or adopt ....
so, we have totally different opinions in some aspects, and some aspects i really agree a lot with you ...I also RESPECT your opinion and actually like your blog!!!
I too make my own pizza (I am German and I did not like 'American Pizza' from the start)
so i found an alternative
I bake everything from scratch, don't (or rarely) use milk products in baking or cooking(relax all you nay sayers, i buy the organic milk for my son to drink)
For a while we did not even really use my kids bed (yes he was fully sleeping with us from when he was a baby, and yes i heard my fair share of you are going to do serious harm to the kid...)
homeschooled my son for a while (now he is in public school, very well adjusted i might ad)
we do not have a TV, but the internet
and i probably did and do a whole lot of things people cannot or will not accept.. or just plainly find ridiculous..
to which I say
my child is one of the funniest, most adjusted, lovable children I have seen here (we live in ca)
he has an excellent imagination
writes excellent stories (ok his German needs some help)
always has great storys to tell and is plain amazing
..
so just to say to you
do what you think is best for you and your family, and i wish every person in this world would put so much thought into their family as you do.. and then share it with the world..
I wish you the best and I will certainly keep reading your blog..
Bianca

Daphne said...

I've been poking around on your blog for a bit and I have to say, that while I don't believe many of the things that you believe, I love how you present them, and your life -- without trying to change anyone else. I think that's fantastic. I'm pretty frugal too although I live a completely different lifestyle, and I think you are doing an amazing job. You can live very healthfully and wonderfully on very little money. Keep it up.

Eliza said...

People criticised you for serving homemade pasta and tomato sauce (ketchup). You've got to be joking. I couldn't believe that I read that! I would love to do that! There is so much junk in store bought tomato sauce! It's basically sugar! And storebought pasta!
I'm sorry...I seriously can't believe it. I don't think I've seen your tomato sauce recipe but I'm sure it contains a lot more tomato than store bought.
Good on you for providing quality food for your kids.
And for those that think store bought ketchup is better, read the label!
(I feel weird calling it ketchup because we call it tomato sauce)
Eliza

Sonja said...

I just found your website today. What drew me was your blog name. I'm a single parent who's self-employed as a gardener and am constantly looking for ways to stretch our dollar. From the little I've read on your blog, you seem intelligent, and have ideas I can actually use - unlike other money saving blogs I've looked at. Especially the ideas for temporary jobs - I've been looking for things I can do to earn money when I need to boost my finances - during winter months, or when some of my clients can't afford me for awhile. Your religious beliefs, and feeding and sleeping arrangements don't bother me in the least. I'm not religious, and you don't shove your beliefs down my throat, so your blog is still a pleasure to read. If anything you said was offensive enough, I would just leave & not come back. And like you said, other cultures have different ways of doing things different from us, that doesn't make our way of life better than others. Then again, I've never been much of a mainstream kind of person myself, so I tend to see things differently & am very accepting of others beliefs & lifestyles. Live & let live. I guess what I'm trying to say is: You've helped me by giving me ideas & validation for my own ideas & actions. Thank you for sharing your life so others can be helped and motivated. If I don't agree with something you say, who cares, not everyone sees things the same way I do. So thank you & keep on keepin' on.

Anonymous said...

Emily,
I too found your blog because of the nest. But even reading the comments on the boards, I didn't see anything I thought you were doing "wrong". Knowing the Married Life board the way i do, I decided to come check thngs out for myself.
YOU ARE A DELIGHT! I am truly inspired by you! While I may have a couple of different viewpoints re: religion, I am amazed at how you are able to accomplish your goals! I am definitely going to try some of your from scratch recipes, to help save money on the grocery bill, as my family is living below the poverty line as well. Having said that, you show how a family can be frugal and still THRIVE!
And as for the whole children sharing beds thing, I have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl in the middle. They are stair step children (one right after the other) and from the time the youngest was able to get out of his bed, until roughly last year when he turned 8, he climed into bed with his older brother. If the oldest was at a sleepover at Grandma's, youngest would climb in bed with his sister. And there are still times when I will wake in the middle of the night to find myself in a tangle of all 3! IMO, it's the parents who force isolation on their children who need to rethink their parenting skills!
Oh, and the reason this is being posted without a name is because I didn't know where to create one. Keep up the good work, you have a reader for life in me!

Paislee said...

I am reading your blog today because I find it fascinating. I am not anything like you. I am not a religious person and I do not find satisfaction in stretching a dollar. But just because I am a different kind of person does not mean I can't be impressed by you, and in many ways even envious. For people to criticise the way you live and care for your family, the only reason I can fathom for that has to be jealousy. Anything else is ludicrious.

~Amelia

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