Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm Crunchy because I am lazy

I wish I could sit here and list all of the selfless and altruistic reasons why I live and parent the way I do but when it comes right down to it, it's just because I am lazy.  Actually, because I am lazy AND cheap, or frugal yeah that's a better word for it, we'll call it that.

Take breastfeeding for example.  Tanya hit the nail right on the head with her blog titled I Am Lazy Therefore I Breastfeed.  You really cannot get more lazy than laying on the couch and pulling down your shirt to feed your baby.  Sure I could take the high road,  sit here and recite all of the facts to you about how breastmilk is the perfect food for baby or list all of the health benefits both mom and baby receive but honestly those are just perks to me.  I am lazy and breastfeeding allows me to do the most minimal work possible to feed my baby.  If I could feed my whole family just as easily I would.  Its like the staples Easy button.  CLICK and baby is fed.

I had never experienced formula with my own children until Monkey was 5 months old.  Before they were all exclusively breastfed.  I had heard all the stories about how formula was easier but told myself I wanted to do what I felt was best for my babies, even if it was the harder path.  Imagine my surprise when I had to switch Monkey over to formula after my supply dried up.  I could not believe the amount of work there was involved with formula.  The measuring the water, making sure it was the right temperature (Monkey refused cold bottles, she was used to warm booby milk on tap and wanted nothing less).  Measuring out the formula, cleaning the bottles and the nipples, remembering to pack everything before leaving the house, having to actually get out of bed every time she awoke at night to make a bottle for her.  What were these moms talking about?  This was so much more work to me.

I am not in any way trying to start a debate on which is better, as I said I have done both.   I do not look down on moms who use formula.  I am just saying, in my own personal experience, formula is much more work that breastfeeding.  I am also very forgetful and I cannot tell you how many times I forgot the bottles and/or formula at home.  Having breastmilk on tap is so much easier on my poor mommy brain.  I am too lazy to even pump.
My frugal side kicks in with this as well, formula and bottles are so expensive.  Breastfeeding is free.  Hmmm, that's a tough choice there.

I absolutely loathed having to get out of bed 2-3 times a night to make her bottles, which brings me to another of my crunchy ways that comes more from a lazy standpoint than anything else.  We co-sleep/bed share because I am lazy.  Why get out of bed, go across the hall to a nursery, pick up the baby, feed them in a chair, sit there until they are done and back to sleep, put them back in the crib, go back to your bed and try to fall back to sleep only to do it all again a few hours later.  With a newborn, you are lucky to get 1-2 hrs of sleep in between each waking so I am all about trying to cut that waking time to a minimum.  Having baby in bed with me means I reach them faster so they are less worked up and awake.  Plus I am able to keep myself in the sleepy state easily so that I can quickly fall back to sleep.  Those 7 months when Monkey was on formula were the hardest and most sleep deprived months of my life.  Easily worse than the first few months with a newborn.  By the time I got everything done for her, even though she was old enough to hold the bottle and feed herself, it would still take me a minimum of 20-30 minutes to fall back to sleep.  Sometimes I would be awake for hours and finally start to drift off just about the time that she awoke again.

I babywear because its just easier on me.  It allows me to get things done while still cuddling and holding my baby.  So maybe that's not a lazy or frugal reason, more a multi-task reason.  I also babywear now out of necessity.  If I go out somewhere with all 4 kids I have to put the 2 older girls in the double stroller and wear Tub Tub.  With my first, second and even third baby babywearing was also done out of laziness because it was just so much easier than pulling out and setting up a bulky stroller.

On the frugal side, I recycle, use natural/homemade cleaners, cloth diaper, and UNpaper towel.  Again, I could say I do all of these to live a greener and simpler lifestyle and to lower my carbon foot print, but as with the breastfeeding benefits, these are just perks.  They could come out with a study tomorrow that says using natural cleaners and cloth diapering has no beneficial effect on the ecosystem and I would still choose to do them because I am cheap, err ummm I mean frugal.

Why is recycling frugal?  Simple, our family, a family of SIX makes an average of 1.5 bags of trash per week, with 3 in diapers (but that's also due to cloth diapering).  So I can buy a box of 20 garbage sacks and they last us about 3 months.   This may seem like pennies but can add up over time. I dream of the day that they start charging for garbage removal services based on the pounds or even number of bags you have.  We all  know that day is coming, many cities already place a limit on the number of bags allowed and charge extra fees if that limit is exceeded   I am sick of paying the same amount for trash removal as the Jon Does down the street who have 6-8 bags of trash a week with a family of 4.  Plus it would just be nice to give others an incentive to recycle as well.

Cloth diapering is an obvious frugal venture.  Three kids still in diapers, even with only changing every 4 hours in the day (and we all know that's a low estimate) plus 1 diaper at night that's still a total of 12 diapers a day we would need.  You can do the math on that one, its a lot of money I can tell you that much. 

UNPaper Toweling is something I have been doing for years now, way before the cloth diapers, before we had kids even.  Its something my grandma always did and I did not even know it had a name until recently.  If you are not sure what UNpaper toweling is, its exactly what it sounds like.  Its using reusable/washable towels in place of paper towels.  I have different "levels" of towels in our home, this covers wash cloths too.  Tier 1 towels are for drying off after showering.  Tier 2 towels are used for washing and drying dishes as well as to wash little faces and hands after particularly messy meals such as spaghetti.  Tier 3 towels are used for misc household cleaning and most spills.  Tier 4 towels are the bottom of the the tower, they are used for the particularly yucky jobs such as cleaning pee or poo off floors or scrubbing out vomit.  The towels get passed down through the tiers as they go.  Once they are at the bottom they stay there.  If you are asking yourself why Tier 4 towels are necessary you are obviously not a parent.
We also use Tier 2 for eating purposes.  I do have a few cloth napkins but find they are really more for decorative looks than anything else and do not do a particularly good job of wiping up things or cleaning off messy fingers.
The cheap gerber cloth diapers you can find at places like Walmart and Target make GREAT UNpaper Towels for cleaning purposes.

Even with the natural cleaners its more about saving money for me.  Sure, I love using natural products in my home and not having to worry about what sort of chemicals I may be exposing my kids to but secretly I love it because its cheap.  I know what many of you are thinking, natural cleaners are pricey, not really.  Not if you know what you are looking for and comparison shop.  Many of the natural cleaners cost less than the chemical versions, you just have to know what you are looking for.  Plus I rarely buy any actual premade (store bought, commercial, whatever you want to call it) cleaners.  Most of the cleaning around my house are done with white vinegar and baking soda.  You can't get more frugal than white vinegar and baking soda when it comes to cost.  Plus, both do a superior job to almost all other cleaners out there.  Recently I had to do the dishes using these 2 items mixed together in hot water.  It was hard to wrap my brain around the fact that there as no suds in the water, I kept thinking the dishes were not clean because of it and my germaphobe instincts kicked into over drive.   Then I realized they were actually doing a better job of cleaning the dishes as they got rid of a few things that I thought were permanently discolored.  You know those items we all have in the kitchen that are plastic and came into contact with a tomato based sauce and now have a bit of an orangish hue.  Soak them in some vinegar and baking soda and watch them disappear. 
For a whole list of wonderful things you can do around your house with just baking soda check out Job Description : Mommy's blog entitled Baking Sodas Many Mommy Uses

This summer I plan to install a clothes line.  Or should I say I plan to have the hubby install a clothes line.  This is definitely not for lazy reasons as I am sure taking the time to hang clothes out to dry will be a tad more work.  This one stems purely form my frugal side.  Its a "2 bird with 1 stone" frugal venture.  It will save us money not running the dryer in the summer which costs electricity not just to run but also to cool the house back down from the heat it creates.  It also is proven to extend the life of your clothes meaning more wear out of them.  Plus the sun is awesome for naturally bleaching out stains, I learned this with cloth diapers.

The last example I will give is cooking from scratch, or as close to scratch as possible.  Yes its good for you and I love to be able to know and control whats in the food I am feeding my family.   You  pay for convenience.  The less work involved in the "cooking" or preparing process the more expensive the food is going to be.  I won't even go into the facts about how most convenience and processed foods should really be called "food like substances" as they are far from real foods.  I will save that for another blog because in the end, its about making my food dollars stretch.  I am not going to pay $7 for a bag of frozen breaded chicken when I can get twice as much for the same price buying and breading the chicken myself.

I enjoy living a simpler life though, I am not into material things and I really dislike giving my money away all the time.  I enjoy all of the benefits that come along with the choices that I make but when it gets down to the nitty gritty I must admit I am crunchy because I am lazy-AND FRUGAL!

one lazy frugal Crunchy Mama,


  1. So I found your blog randomly a month or so ago, and though I don't know you, I love the things you write. Just thought I'd let you know :)

  2. thanks Kat, I take that as a very high compliment since most of the people who enjoy my blog are also friends and family so they have no choice but to say they like it haha.

  3. Totally awesome, as I read through your blogs I think I like you more and more!! I agree 100% about breastfeeding!! Who wants to deal with all the bottles and crap, when you can just snuggle up with your baby and go back to sleep as they eat! I can't wait to read more of your blogs!

  4. Thanks Cheryl! I love to hear positive feedback from people :) It makes me want to continue blogging hehe.


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