When my youngest child was born, my spouse and I already had our two-year-old daughter, six-year-old son and had been unemployed for a great amount of time. The times were pretty tough and my sister-in-law constantly badgered my spouse and I to give up our daughter for adoption. We lived in a small 11-foot by 48-foot trailer and had to scrape every penny we received in order to make ends meet. Although we were able to receive WIC, many of the benefits that others received were otherwise unavailable to us.
1. Adversity – We lived by cutting out what we could as we both constantly looked for jobs. Although my spouse was shortly employed after the birth to our youngest, I was still having the hardest time finding a job…any job. I never believed the stories about people not finding work because they were “over qualified” until I was told that statement from a manager at a fast food restaurant.
2. Diapers – As the money was pretty scarce in our household, I had to make do with what we could afford. One of the biggest items we were purchasing was disposable diapers. Yes, I know…shame on me. At that time, I was a young parent trying to do what was best for my children and was drowning in the stresses of bill collectors and childcare. Because of necessity, we decided to buy into reusable diapers. I wish I could say it was because we wanted to protect the environment, but I can’t. It was because we simply didn’t have the money to continue buying diapers for two girls.
3. Savings – Although cleaning the diapers left me a mess on some days, they were still saving us more than $100 per month. It may not sound like a lot to many people, but that was more than one-third of our rent for the trailer. This is not to mention the amount of trash that we were responsible for. Nothing is worse than having a trashcan full of disposable diapers tip over due to a windstorm in the winter and having neighborhood animals shred them for you to clean up in the spring.
4. Path to Success…Through Diapers? – While we do our part to help the environment, our reasoning for using reusable diapers was purely financial. The cleanliness of my yard was nothing more than a side effect. The money we saved literally helped us buy an automobile, which allowed me to find a job in the next town over. Living in a rural part of the country makes it difficult to travel as there are no buses and the only taxi would cost more per day to travel than I would make. In this aspect, using reusable diapers indirectly started us on a path to success. It’s silly to think about it now, but it’s how the situation unfolded. We bought a cheap $300 car in a couple of months from the diaper-savings and became mobile.
While we have built a successful family over the years, I shudder when I look back at those times. We triumphed against the odds and kept our family together due to sacrifices made by myself and my spouse. Our refusal to give up has made what our family is today. I am always appreciative that I didn’t put my child up for adoption as she has been one of the brightest stars in our sky.
This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.