Monday, June 6, 2011

Is It Worth It?

One of my favorite bloggers, Kara, over at Simple Kids likes to say, "My family's simple may be your family's complicated." Can I just say this is so true?

When I meet new people I often get questions about why I do one thing or another, which I have no problem sharing about. In fact, part of why I write about the things I'm leaning on our blog is because someone told me about it, I tried it, loved it and figure someone else might too!

However at the end of the explanation, I'm often asked if I think ________(insert one of the following: cloth diapering, yogurt making, veggie growing, baby food making, etc.) is "worth it"?

There is no other question I find so difficult to answer! For our family some of the above have been worth it, others have not. I have no idea if any of them will be worth it for your family.

I can however, answer the question: How do you (Sarah) decide if something is "worth it"?

To be worth doing, a task has to meet several criteria for me, and I think the final one is the most important:

1. It benefits our family in some way
2. The time required does not exceed the value added
3. The type of challenges involved feed my soul, not drain it dry

For instance, cloth diapering is probably the thing I get asked about the most. To me, it benefits our family by saving us money, only adds two loads of laundry to my week and I love laundry. It's out there. I said it. Doing laundry, hanging clothes out to dry all bring peace to my heart. Not having to worry about running out of diapers simplifies my life. It's worth it.

Making my own baby food however, turned out to be another story. I was hoping this would be another money saver, but it turned out that a bag of organic frozen veggies combined with a handful of organic meat costs only pennies less than the same amount of organic jarred baby food. And then I had to wash the food processor. I hate dishes. It's out there. I said it. Seeing dishes piled up on my counter top, cluttering my food preparation area drains me. It wasn't worth it.

I think however, that all the things we learn and try, whether we stick with them or not, benefit us. I still make homemade baby food in a pinch (aka: Caleb ate faster than my subscribe and save shipment from Amazon could travel).

There are lots of wonderful things other families do that make me wonder "would that be worth it for our family?" Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it's no. Either way, I love looking at parenting as something I can learn from others about and be encouraged in, not as something that's a competition. That can be hard when you really admire something someone else has said "Yes" to.

There are several things I've seen friends try that have made me feel this way. Should I be doing that too? It seems to save them so much money. But for each money saver, there is usually a small time investment. And there are only so many chunks of time in our day to give away. And that's why I only choose money savers that also give me joy.


Jessica said...

Great post, Sarah! Definitely a good point that simple to some may be complicated to others, and vice versa.

Stephanie Cunningham said...

You made me laugh with your "There. I said its" I can't believe you like laundry...we haaaaate laundry in the Cunningham household...definitely the task that's the biggest chore for us. Dishes on the other hand I don't mind...maybe we should share a house? haha

Sarah_Joy said...

Steph, I've heard it's usually one or the other. They are both the never-ending tasks aren't they?

I try to keep up with the dishes each day so David and I's precious time together can be devoted to other things, but inevitably they pile up on me. So, a few days a week, David helps me get the counters completely clear. Lucky for me, he also doesn't mind dishes : )