I grew up with a dad who felt his primary obligation to the family was to “bring home the bacon.” Oh, and to “exact justice.” But that’s another tale. It’s the “financial” burden that has always griped me. My dad was raised that women were lesser beings and that their roles were not as “important” or arduous as men’s. I am by no means a feminist, but when I hear the occasional comment made from a male whether in print or via a friend weary of hearing her husband’s reminders that “he’s the one paying the bills,” I want to punch the guy. This financial worth thing has been on my mind so I decided to look into a little of my “financial worth” just for the fun of it. Let’s just pretend for a moment that I have been hired to serve….
I have given birth 12 times. The average surrogate mother’s fee ranges from $20,000 to $35,000 plus expenses. I have never received an epidural or any other type of pain reliever while in labor. That being said, I gave myself the maximum fee of $35,000. I know they charge extra for the pain relief but I have no scruples about earning for braving transition. There was also that labor that lasted seven days….I could charge extra for that one…
12 x $35,000 = $450,000
That’s the minimum.
A quick search on nannies resulted in the following: “Check your state guidelines to determine whether live-in nannies qualify for overtime above 40 hours per week. For part-time nannies, hourly nanny rates start around $12 per hour and can run as high as $20-25 per hour in affluent areas, particularly those without public transportation. You get what you pay for.”
I don’t really know how long a child “needs” a nanny so I’m just going to guess until they no longer need a babysitter. I believe in Indiana, a child must be 14 to be of “legal babysitting age” so I’m going to go with that.
For 12 children receiving in-home nanny care from 0-14 without overtime:
I didn’t add in overtime just to be fair to my olders who have helped tremendously with the youngers. If they were getting paid, they would have earned a pretty penny themselves.
I could stop at $3,516,000 but why would I want to do that?
We homeschool. I’m a private tutor, a proven method for superior education. (Can I just interject and say that if all these years of people asking my kids where they go to school, if my kids had answered, “Oh, I have a private tutor,” folks would be all impressed and “Oh, la-dee-da” then commend us parents for going the extra mile to provide our children with exceptional education. I think we’re going to try this. I’ll let you know how it goes.)
For a private tutor – $10-$15 per hour. Holy cow. I have no idea how much time we’ve put in. I’m going to give a low-ball estimate based on the 180 day school year, average 4 hours a day (sometimes more, sometimes less – the kids do more on their own as they get older) and include all 12 kids AND preschool though we’re far from done. I want to know the grand total!
We’re at $5,071,200.
I have to include my laundry service as there has been rarely a day in the past 20-some years that I haven’t done at least one load of laundry. I’d say the average is 6 loads a day, some days more. I looked at a couple of sites and laundry services such as Laundry Locker or Lazy Bones who charge by the pound or item and charge for each additive such as detergent and softener. I have no idea how many pounds of laundry I have done! If they charged by the mountain or trash bags, I might be able to guesstimate but that’s overwhelming. I can’t NOT include it, though, because I have spent so much of my life on it! So, going with Lazy Bones’ $1.70 per pound, and I average out the fact that in the earlier years of our family, we did not have MOUNTAINS of jeans, towels, etc., I’m going to guess 25 pounds per week. (I know this week, I’m working on at least 50 pounds if you could weigh it all.) 25×52 weeks = 1,300×27 years=35,100 x $.73($1.70-$.97*-the cost to do one load at home) = $25,623.
That makes $5,096,823.
I haven’t even included my earnings from being a private chef, private chauffeur, event planner, “administrative assistant,” not to mention MAID! Nope, can’t leave that out – I briefly peeked at what a house cleaner earns: “Professional house cleaners typically set house cleaning prices one of two ways: By hour, or by square foot. Hourly costs range from $25 to $35; square foot rates are often used for a “first clean,” as a baseline for pros to work from.” If I “just” cleaned 5 hours a week at $25/hour, and we know it’s more some weeks, less during “those” weeks, that’s an easy $175,500
I could go on but then this post would be one of those you look at to see how long it is then pass it up because you don’t have the time. Am I right?
You pay the bills? Well, sir, pay that one. Better yet, try doing all of the above. One of the reasons a woman’s brain is spaghetti is she has to tackle all of her professions pretty much every day, keeping track of it all and mentally preparing for the next task and the next day and the next week… A man’s compartmentalized brain would implode!
Well, I must be off…I have to “earn my keep.” The first thing I’m going to do is delegate because I didn’t even get to my roles as a business-owner…which I need to do today in addition to all of the above…sigh….
What’s not shared is lost,
*I found the cost to do a load of laundry at home in this fabulous post, “A Cost Comparison of Home Laundry and Laundromats” on “The Simple Dollar,” a resource to save to your favorites. Incidentally, in this post, the author says it will take 600 loads to recoup the price of the washer and dryer which will take 2 years if you do one load a day, compared to going to a laundromat. Yep, our appliances paid for themselves a long time ago….
(Photo Credit: http://cdn.moneycrashers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/man-paying-bills.jpg)
My last day as a Mother of a PreSchooler was Monday. I haven’t attended a MOPS meeting in several years but, if we still had a group in our area, I could still be attending. I have been the mother of a baby and/or toddlers since 1988. It’s not complicated math; that’s 27 years. Almost 30 years of mothering babies and toddlers. Now that I just put those words in print, I’m flabbergasted! Time flies, they say, when you’re having fun. Time flies faster with each child added to the family. My head is spinning! I cried a few times Tuesday as I saw my baby boy grin from ear to ear each time we referred to his being 5, now. Yesterday, he was playing the GeoSafari and exclaimed, “I’m FIVE, now, and this is so easy for me!” Ha! He’s loving being a big boy.
In the meantime, I was feeling so very sad. Bittersweet was the mood of the day. I’m sentimental. I cherish the memories with my kiddos. It didn’t help at all that I went looking for baby pics to post but most of them were lost when my laptop AND my backup external crashed right about the same time. Most of my Seth baby pics are gone. That’s a tad heart-wrenching to this Katy Kodak. But I did find some, thank you, Facebook….
It was a blessing to babysit my newest grandbaby and her big sister the same day Seth turned 5. I got my baby fix. 🙂
But, alas, it’s a new season and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Unlike most tales of terror about “the baby of the family,” our younger kids are the best behaved ones of the bunch. Seth is one of the most, obedient, sweet-natured, self-controlled youngins I’ve ever met. His big brother, Isaiah, too. They still act like children and throw the occasional fit but they have been well-trained by mom, dad and a team of well-trained siblings. We’ve learned a “few” things having so many like “learn from your mistakes.” It seems like common sense but common sense is sparse these days. We’ve been learning the whole 27 years and we’re still learning. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, I’m here to tell ya, you don’t. There’s always somebody you can learn from. On the other hand, to those young moms who have 6 month old and a 2 1/2 half-year old and want to share their wisdom with me, shut up. Close your mouth and listen for a change. We all know them. They’ve read the latest books on parenting and are enthusiastic, zealous and, yes, I was one of them at one time, usually wrong. Not about everything but a lot. I realized early on that I didn’t know what I was doing and sought out moms with older kids that I saw as well-trained, happy, well-behaved, etc. and started taking notes. I wouldn’t trust an expert that wrote a book unless you’ve seen how their kids turned out…as young adults. Okay, my two cents….end of rant. Back to the birthday boy and being a mommy of many….
I have some regrets but I will NEVER regret having so many children. As I posted on FB on Seth’s birthday, “People say they can’t imagine having so many kids.We can’t imagine life without Seth.” Is it hard work? Heck yea. Anything worthwhile is hard work and there is nothing more worthwhile than children. And, oh. my. wurd, do we have fun together…
So…my youngest is five…I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. We’re having a Minecraft Birthday Bash Sunday but we celebrate the “official” day with a menu planned by the birthday child and they get out of chores for the day. Seth chose donuts for breakfast, something we don’t eat a lot.
The sugar buzz helped him get through a grueling day of unlimited Minecraft time. We had his Pizza Rolls and other health food while watching a movie then he opened his cards and a gift I picked up at the local children’s consignment shop, Cradle and All. I’d like to take a moment and pat myself of the back for spotting said gift. I looked it up on Amazon. I need you click on that link so you can see how much that piece of plastic costs new! $12.50, baby. Thank you very much.
Yes, it’s another piece of furniture to take up space but Seth loves Batman and he was delighted. He’s still delighted; he told me today how much he “weally likes the Batman toy I got him.” So much fun!
And so begins, yet another, NEW season of life. Every time I turn around, I get hit upside the head with a new season! My babies are growing but there are still babies and toddlers in the house! And the grandbabies are so much fun!
Happy Birthday, little man!
What’s not shared is lost,
I am much faster at typing that Swyping but I have this here WordPress app on my phone so thought I’d give it a whirl. I have my doubts as blogging with the help of an Android’s autograft…I tweet..that should say…REST my case, auto-direct..dang it…auto-correct sounds like a lot of back-spacing. I’d just like to interject and say I did NOT enter any off those incorrect words-auto-correct did…just as I anticipated it would.
I just returned from the hour-long trip from driving my four cadets to Civil Air Patrol and back. I was hoping I’d have time to post something while at Refunds…Agents…crap…Wendy’s which is where I go for the two to three hours I wait for my guys and work on businessy stuff and check on Twitter. Alas, I was actually getting work done so didn’t have time to TYPE my blog post. After this experience, I can assure you that I will be typing my posts from here on out unless I have some blogging emergency that requires me to Swype my way through a post.
So….Lenae stopped by today and, of Coors.. You’ve got to be kidding me….of course, brought the grandbaby. The picture above is from today and I’d like to move it to this paragraph but I’m scared to death of what might happen so I’ll leave it there and just say my grandbaby is smiling and cooing, now! Just as adorable is her fan club of aunts and uncles with all their shenanigans trying to get her to smile and goo. She’s already discovered the game of “tongue tag,” a game I played with all my babies; I stuck out my tongue with baby watching, baby’s wheels turn, baby sticks out tongue and waits for me to repeat. After awhile, a newborn will start to instigate the game. I think this is genius. Yes, because the baby is learning cause and effect, but, more importantly, how to get a grown person to act like a complete idiot. This is a skill I have imparted to all of my children and am now imparting to my grandchildren. Empower the babies!
I’m fine …crud…. done Swyping.
What’s not shared it’s lost,
One would think with being told by the doctor to stay off of my feet for at least two weeks that I would have been able to catch up on my blog before now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on blogging to give myself some motivation but that hasn’t made any posts magically appear. I keep thinking that once I catch my breath, I’ll write something. Who am I kidding? I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. And while I’ve been waiting for that “spare” moment to happen, SO many events have transpired that I have failed to journal while in the moment. I’m not getting any younger; I’m not going to remember things unless I write it down, take a picture (or 10) or there is some sort of food that’s part of the event that will create a dendrite in my brain that will stir up the memory when I get a whiff of said food at a later date. I have blogged about my not blogging before. I probably will again. I need to write and it’s extremely frustrating when I don’t. There’s also something to be said for “use it or lose it.” There was a time when I could write rather well without it being a struggle. For example, that last sentence took me about 5 episodes of backspacing until I was satisfied with the wording. Good grief.
I have a ton of pictures I want to post, cakes I want to display, stories to tell and, eventually, recipes to share. I heard someone once say that if you haven’t given up, you haven’t failed so here I am again. I’m at it again and I’m making an effort to be organized and set a time to write even if I don’t post.
That being said, here’s a “brief” description of the whirlwind that has transpired in our family since the end of May:
- I “possibly” tore a tendon and/or ligament in my foot and “possibly” broke a toe carrying my toddler to bed at 3 in the morning
- My sons dug out my crutches so I could hobble about
- I had to go for x-rays the day before 2 graduation cakes needed to be done so Natalie and Noah started the cakes and icing while I headed to Eaton, Ohio for my doctor appointment with Isabelle as my helper. I took her for lunch, waited for the downpour to let up, then headed to Dayton for fondant as we did not have enough for both cakes and didn’t have time to order any.
- MEANWHILE, back at the ranch, my boys are digging through closets and our storage shed to find my walking cast so I can work on the cakes the next day (even though I was supposed to get off of the foot ASAP)
- My oldest who was due May 29 went into labor that night
- Grandbaby #2 Rosemarie Lee was born June 1, 7:17a.m. Praise the Lord!
- However, instead of heading off to see my new grandbaby, I had to go to our catering kitchen and finish cakes with Natalie and Noah. Natalie had to leave for an interview, came back to help some more then had to go to the theatre for play rehearsal. I love doing cakes and I love our clients but that was not where I wanted to be that day. Plus, I was in excruciating pain (which made me a tad grumpy but Noah was a good sport, I must say). I confess my heart was not in it and I did not do as good of a job and I normally would have. :o(
- FINALLY…Noah and I met up with the rest of the family at the hospital to FINALLY hold my new grandbaby and see my firstborn on her first day as a mommy. Talk about overwhelming…..
- Went back the next day, hobbling on crutches, to see my grandbaby. By that night, my foot and ankle were pretty sore and pretty swollen.
- SO…the rest of the week, I tried to be a good girl and sat with my foot up. Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep busy. This has not been easy! I kept the kiddos busy with school, cleaning missions and laundry while Natalie covered the shop all week AND had rehearsals for the play she was in.
- Jump to this past Thursday, my daughter, Corinne, called to let me know she was coming into town early. She and her husband had already planned on coming in this weekend to see her first niece but Josh was informed that he might be working Saturday but they would not be able to let him know until Saturday SO…inhale…Corinne decided to pack her and Autumn Rose up and head on down to stay for a long weekend. YAY!
- Meanwhile, back at the catering kitchen, Natalie and Noah were to the rescue again by starting a cupcake order.
- Always the one to be obedient to doctor’s orders, the kids and I met up with Corinne to visit with Lenae and the new baby. (We’re on Friday at this point. Are you keeping up?)
- Saturday A.M., I went in with Noah for the cupcake pick up.
- Headed home but stopped for pork loin and sides to take to Grandpa’s for family get-together. Again, “staying off my feet.” Hobble, hobble….
- Loaded up The Great White and ventured to Grandpa’s to visit with the grandbabies (and their parents and Grandpa). (Natalie could not join us as it was performance night for the play!)
- I’d like to interject that I had Benjamin throw together a rub for the pork that was outstanding, I must say.
- Natalie and Jillian left to pick up their BFF, Noah, and head to Richmond Civic Theatre where Corinne, Ben, Noah and I joined them to watch their production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Natalie was “Iris”, a sassy spirit. The play was fantastic as was Natalie. Proud mama.
- MEANWHILE, Craig hauled everyone back home including Grandbaby #1.
- Sunday… we slept in. Kids scrounged up pancakes and Corinne procrastinated about heading home. She was anxious to get home to her hubby but didn’t want to leave at the same time. It was a sweet visit and I’m glad she came early. My Autumn and her Autumn, though, have become pretty tight and I’m not sure how long they can go…she did say they might come visit again, soon, because Josh didn’t get to see the baby! We shall see…
So…this is a “quick” rundown of the past 10 ..T-E-N ..days of my life. A lot was left out! SO…somewhere in this…I passed myself coming or going….
What’s not shared is lost,
Last year, Richmond Civic Theatre announced that it was one of a handful of community theatres that did not miss the opportunity to nab performance rights to oh, I can’t stand it….Les Miserables. Ever since, I have been trying to contain my “estaticness” and resist the temptation to act as crazy as some of my theatre friends who have Instagrammed, Twittered & Facebooked all manner of fanaticism since before the movie was released in December. Y’all are ridiculous. And I love it! I have been preparing myself mentally to audition for Madam Thenardier. I know I can sing the part (I sound fantastic in the van) and the character would be a blast to play! People who know me know I would have fun with it. I purchased my soundtrack CD, picked up audition materials, YouTubed the piece to rehearse and wrote audition dates on the calendar. This was going to be a once in a lifetime thang, ya know?
As the audition dates have approached, I began to feel conflicted and wasn’t sure why. I’m not afraid of auditioning. I’ve done it before, had fun, got a part, had a blast with Pirates of Penzance! I’m ready to do it again. Recently, I was listening to my Les Mis soundtrack and the youngsters were around so I skipped “Master of the House” because it has “bad words.” It hit me that, even if I were to get the part of Madam Thenardier, my little kids would not be able to see me in the play because of language and heaviness of subject matter and, if they were to see it, I would have to justify to them why it’s okay for mommy to use “bad words” simply because they are being sung and fit the character. Wow. What was I thinking? True, the language suits the character but it doesn’t suit mine. Another time last week, little 3 year old Seth was sitting on my lap in the evening, as he usually does, and the thought hit me that I would be missing several months of our evening routine of cuddling. No biggie to the theatre or the rest of the world but it means everything to Seth in the evening. Especially since we started our catering business, I have to be gone sometimes during the day. Then it was time for lullabies. Seth likes to hear the one I wrote for him, “Teach Me Lord” or “Deep, Deep” then his lullaby is followed by Isaiah’s regular, “Amazing Grace.” That, too, would not be happening for awhile as I know a rigorous rehearsal schedule is in store for those who get parts. Then there’s the hilarity that emanates from the kitchen when the kids are doing dishes in the evening or my huge homeschooling, business-owning, catering to-do list. BUT, I’ve been telling myself, this is a once in a lifetime chance!
It was from the deep recesses of my mind that that phrase re-emerged from the past. I heard it on TV. It was Regis and Kathy Lee. Yes, I used to watch the show on occasion. On one particular show, Kathy Lee was talking about how she was going to be hosting the Miss America or some other Pageant and, in order to fit the dress she wanted to wear, she was weaning her baby. Say wha? She was weaning her baby to fit a dress. Why? Her words still ring in my ear; “It’s a once in a lifetime chance.” I remember thinking, “Isn’t being your baby’s mommy a once in a lifetime chance?” So here I am, struggling with my once in a lifetimes, looking at each of them and, while I think working with the people at the theatre is fabulous, my little ones are precious and I have to be away from them enough as it is when we cater. I was able to do a play before because we didn’t own a business…that changes things quite a bit!
SO, I will be excited for my friends who get parts and I will continue to wear out my soundtrack. I will help with costumes and come see the play in August (as should everyone else) and I KNOW it will be fantastic! But I will be passing this round. I was feeling a tad miserable over missing out, but then I remembered what I would be missing out on if I didn’t miss out on Les Miserables and then some of us would really be miserable. Did you get all that? BUT, theatre peeps, please hold off on Fiddler on the Roof for a few years because I have sworn to my family that I WILL BE GOLDE!!! Well, I want to at least try. :o)
What’s not shared is lost,
UPDATE: If I sound over-confident about getting the part of Mdm. Thenardier, it’s only because I’m not auditioning. IF I were, in fact, auditioning, I know good and well that the odds of getting a major role are slim (I not that cocky). I believe in shooting for the stars so as hit the moon. In this case the moon being the probable role of a whore (as listed in the audition materials) and then I’m back to my little kids asking, “Mommy, what role did you get?” “I’m a whore.” “Mommy, what’s a whore?” Sigh…Sound of Music is next..maybe I could be a Nazi…that would fun to try to explain, too…
It’s not just Lenae Michelle’s 24th birthday, it’s the 24th anniversary of our lives being turned upside down. Just like anyone else who becomes a parent, everything changed overnight. Literally. She was born just after midnight (12:22 to be exact). From March 29, 1988 on, things that didn’t matter that much before took on a whole new meaning. Politics mattered, who was on the school board was of most importance, nutrition, child training, making a home, being a better person, the list goes on. Most importantly, things eternal trump all things because of the life-changing event of becoming a parent. Thank you, Lenae, for being the catalyst for all the changes that matter. Yes, I know this was God’s idea – I thank and praise Him first and foremost for each and every life-change known as a baby He has given us. I love being a mom.
I was told throughout high school that “these are the best days of your life.”
1. Thank God that’s not true because my teen years were tumultuous at best. (I often wondered, “If these are the best days then what is there to look forward to?”)
2. The years I’m in right now are the best days of my life. They lied. “They” just wanted to sell lots of memory books, yearbooks, and class rings.
I am the mom of toddlers, youngers, middlers, olders, and young adults. It’s a new season having young adults and I’m still a little nervous as a mom as how to “mom” at this stage but it is such a privilege to see all the years we’ve muddled through together come to fruition. Lenae is a blessing and I am so thankful as I watch God work in her life. I am grateful God placed her in our family.
Happy Birthday Lenae!
What’s not shared is lost,
So 5 are at Lake Erie with Civil Air Patrol helping with the D-Day Re-enactment and Lenae had to get to the theatre, kids eat free…it was a good day to go to Steak & Shake. I was good – ate salad and no shake – saving that for Chick-Fil-A. It was fun to hang out with Lenae before she rushed off and the youngers plus I was able to catch Seth doing one of the baby tricks we’ve taught most of our munchkins. Enjoy the adorableness!
What’s not shared is lost,
It was surreal. I was holding this precious little girl that looks SO much like 6 other tiny baby girls I’ve delivered but it wasn’t I that labored; it was one of those baby girls. My daughter. My first granddaughter. I had asked Corinne if I can be “Nana.” One, because I’m too young to be Grandma and two, so the grandbabies can differentiate between grandparents. And, third, because I’m too young to be a Grandma.
Craig, Jillian and I arrived at the hospital on Wednesday, July 19. Corinne had been experiencing “labor light” and was enjoying it. She was already at 5 cm so the hospital was keeping her. She had been permitted to eat pizza before we got there since she was going natural and not using any pain meds. She had been laboring since the day before and was starving. That didn’t make any difference when I was in the hospital. They didn’t even like me to eat crackers! The reasoning was that if I needed a C-section, they didn’t want food in my stomach. I was glad she was able to eat but jealous at the same time as I am still bitter about having to starve to death.
Anyhoo, for those that know the journey we have been on with Corinne, you know that this was emotional for many reasons. It’s so hard sometimes to trust that certain events in your life were really meant to be in God’s plan. But one thing I have no doubt of – there is NO child conceived without His consent. And so, I’m waiting with anticipation to see what God is going to do with this new season in all of our lives! It only occurred to us just before Little Autumn’s birth that our near future includes weekends with Autumn staying over playing with her Uncle Seth…who is only 1 1/2 years older than her. When she’s 20, Isabelle will be 26. They might just be hanging out! It’s strange, I tell ya.
So, back at the hospital, Corinne’s labor actually began to hurt and I could tell it was the kind of pain that gets the job done. She still managed to crack jokes and gab her head of in between contractions. Josh’s parents arrived that evening and we decided to leave Jillian at the hospital and we went to a hotel. We had asked Corinne & Josh if they wanted us there and they didn’t mind either way. We decided to get out of the way and let them have this special time. It was hard to leave but we knew she was in good hands. And Greater Hands.
Autumn Rose was born at 3:50am on July 2oth, 8lb. 1 oz., 22″ long. And she’s perfect. She’s beautiful. And she’s too far away, dang it. Okay, I don’t have to get in a plane to go see her so I am grateful. She’s only 2 1/2 hours away. But newborns don’t stay newborns long.
We took the whole herd and my mom up yesterday to see the new family. We crowded into the tiny apartment. It was like “how many people can we fit in a VW?” We managed and had a good visit. And I held Autumn. I have pics of everyone holding her and it was so precious to hear all of them ask, even my macho men, if they could hold her again.
What’s not shared is lost.