All debt is bad debt.

Truth is…calling certain types of debt an investment is more fitting.

After a decade together, my lover and I made our first big purchase together. We purchased a new car in the name of adventure. In other words, we needed a reliable car for the family to do more than get us from point A to point B. We needed a reliable car to get us to our fun.

We’re not the type of family to travel to other countries or plan extensive resort stays—although, I don’t see why we wouldn’t if we were financially capable to do that—but we are the type of family to enjoy the simple outdoors.

I remember the first year my lover and I went mountain biking in Big Bear—we didn’t have children yet. We drove the only car we had at the time, and it overheated on the way up the mountain. It was a major bummer being stuck on the side of the road. In putting thought into how we want to have fun with our Nuggets this upcoming warmer season, we knew we had to do something about our transportation if we wanted to go more than twenty miles out of our city.

My better half did the shopping on the type of car that would best suit our needs, and I gathered the financial details. Together we found the best deal for us and made the purchase happen.

Driving our new vehicle home was surreal. I felt grateful until I realized that we had put ourselves into a five-year debt. I almost had an anxiety attack the night after we bought our car. The fact that we had monthly payments set in and I began feeling the symptoms I felt before I had my TIA. (Extreme, I know, but I just don’t do well with debt.) Thankfully, I made a small comment to my lover as I began feeling the oncoming attack—without letting him know what was going on—and he replied with something that put things in perspective for me. (This is why he’s my better half.)

After my lover’s response, I went into our bedroom where our Nuggets were sleeping, laid in the dark and meditated until my symptoms subsided. After that almost-episode, I was able to face the fact that yes, we are in debt, but I shouldn’t be seeing it as debt because it’s something that benefits our family. Instead of debt, I need to see it as an investment. It is an investment that will allow us to make memories, breathe more oxygen, and be healthier physically and mentally.

Cheers to investing in our family’s wellbeing!

My little family and our new adventure vehicle. I am grateful for this life! 

Television is bad for my Nuggets.

Truth is…not all screen time is bad.

When I was pregnant with Little Nugget, I was like many other first-time parents, naive of what parenting would really be like. I had my expectations of what my baby would act like, how he would respond to my discipling once he understood, and thought that I’d get enough rest to be happy being a mom all the time. It’s all right if you’re laughing at with me because I am too.

I was awakened to the reality of parenthood after surviving the first night with Little Nugget. Okay, maybe not that soon because I did have a honeymoon phase with Little Nugget, which ended as soon as my lover returned to work.

One of the expectations I had for myself as a parent was that I would not allow Little Nugget to watch “a lot” of television. (The meaning of “a lot” obviously varies depending on the parent and their style.) As a baby, Little Nugget didn’t care about what was on the screen of a television, tablet, or mobile device, but then there came the day where he realized that a screen could provide cool things to watch. (He was about 2 years old.) When this happened, there were days where watching television was the only thing he wanted to do.

Experiencing Little Nugget crying over not being allowed to watch television made me feel like a negligent mom. It led me to ask myself, “Had I allowed him to watch so much television that watching television was all he cared to do? Had I ruined my child? Would he like to do anything other than sit in front of a screen?” I eventually learned that I wasn’t alone in the whole television worry thing, and realized that I was over-stressing about screen time when in reality it wasn’t all bad.

I still have my issues with Little Nugget constantly asking me to watch television first over doing anything else, but reflecting on these issues has brought me a method that I hope will bring me peace and patience with this area of parenting.

When Little Nugget asks me to watch television, I will ask him to explain what he has learned from the show he wants to watch. If it’s a lesson I agree with, I’ll go into more detail with him to ensure he’s not just making it up in order to comply with my request. If it’s a lesson I don’t agree with, I’ll do the same; however, I have to ensure to keep my mothering emotions in check. If I’m not aware, I can turn our conversation into a disciplinary situation, which is unfair for Little Nugget because I ask for his thoughts. Disciplining him simply because he answered honestly would give negative results.

I’ve given this method a few tries since coming up with it. I’ve found that Little Nugget appreciates being asked about the shows he likes to watch, almost as if he feels heard and respected. He enjoys giving me the small details about his favorite shows, which makes me realize that the details I would find insignificant are actually important to my Little Nugget.

I feel like this method may bring Little Nugget and I closer, opening lines of communication that I didn’t know were closed…all because I allow him to watch television.

Approaching screen time in this manner has helped me ease some of my anxieties, and furthermore accept that not all screen time is bad.

Cheers to finding different avenues of dealing with our parental apprehensions!

When I experience moments like this, I realize how hard I am on myself. I can’t be doing too bad of a job if Little Nugget enjoys the outdoors just as much as television, right?  It takes hard work to remind myself.

The more I have, the happier I am.

Truth is…I used to think that material things could make me happy, I now know that the above statement is false. I’ve experienced the perfect concoction of events at the right time—I had a turning point in my life and watched the documentary “Minimalism” not too long after.

With the help from this concoction, I have been able to detach myself from material things—so far only mentally until I can purge and detach myself physically—and understand that things don’t have potential energy (in a figurative sense), people and experiences do. My perspective of the true meaning of my life has changed. I appreciate more of what I have instead of waste time wishing I had what others enjoy.

I know I’m headed in the right direction because I used to complain about our small and old apartment, but now I find myself calling it our home without thinking about it. The way I perceive our apartment is no longer about what it looks like, but about the purpose it serves in our life. It provides shelter and security, and the fact that we’ve made all 600+ square feet of it work perfectly for all 5 of us—this includes our dog—makes it awesome. We’ve gained happiness and a deeper sense of fulfillment. (I think I’m safe in speaking for my lover and myself.) This space is our home because we make memories in it, not because it’s big enough, fancy enough, or because it stores all of our belongings.

My turning point happened when I acknowledged and embraced that I am a mother of two and no longer wish to have more children. I was liberated from the weird baby-fever I’d get when I saw pregnant women or newborn babies. In reflecting, I found I felt that the baby-fever came from the social pressure (as I interpret it) to have more children.

There is freedom behind understanding that no one’s life is suitable for me other than my own. Just because my friend has 5 children, is a happy camper and is totally sane, doesn’t mean that I would feel the same if I had 5 children of my own.

Add “Minimalism” to the mix of me taking my life back from the misconception that is marketed to us, and I am experiencing peace, peace like I’ve never felt before. Never ever felt before. I am experiencing the end of feeling unhappy no matter how much stuff I have or don’t have, or from feeling jealous of other people for what I don’t even need.

Cheers to finding our true happiness!

How many shelves of stuff do you have? It doesn’t have to be movies or a collection of any kind, it can be anything. How many of those shelves do you use on a weekly basis? What’s motivating you to keep the shelves of things that you never use? I have found my answer. Nothing. Nothing is motivating me, so minimalizing it is! As always, I’m excited to share this journey with you!