I was lucky back at that time as there was little pressure on mothers to go back to work. Home ownership was really only for the rich people, the largest percentage of the population rented good quality affordable housing from the council or other housing associations. Budgeting was much easier when the need to keep a roof over your head was easier and proportionally much cheaper. This has all changed in the last generation with so many more parents owning their own houses and feeling obligated for both of them to work to work to afford the mortgage.
This then brings parents into the mine field that is child care. Childcare does not come cheap any more. I was fortunate as I was a registered child
|Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
costing a fortune. no wonder they are expensive to use now. I could pop a plaster on a child or give them a spoonful of calpol without answering to the authorities,or filing in masses of paperwork which is why I could keep my costs down.
Back in those days you did not have supermarkets or discount stores for that matter selling clothes. Baby and children's clothes were expensive, but in my opinion much better quality than you get now. Baby clothes like so many things these days are designed to be throw away in a sense, nothing is made to last the way it did. But because clothes were better quality they lasted so much longer. When my first child was born apart from the presents we were given and the items that had been knitted for us a lot of her clothes were second hand. I think with my first daughter I could have changed her four times a day every day for the first two years and just thrown away the clothes I took off and not bothered washing them as we had that many beautiful dresses and outfits passed on to us. I had six good friends who had daughters all approximately a year older than my first born who gave me everything their girls outgrew. This saved a huge strain on the finances. I have to say what my daughter out grew was passed onto others, which then came back for my second born. She was the youngest girl in the group so all that she outgrew went in the loft. When my first son came along a friend of mine had just had a little girl, she had two older boys,and as we both had kept a lot of items we both passed a load of clothes to each other. This was very common at the time but there seems to be a stigma attached to that practice these days.
Then of course there were nappies, when mine were born disposable nappies were a very new idea, more like large sanitary towels that fitted inside rubber pants and held onto nothing really. They were fine for when they kicked about on their changing mat but that was about it. Terry nappies were the norm and once they were bought they did right through from birth to trained as one size fitted all depending on which way you folded the squares. This could be quite intricate when they were new born but easier as they got older. At night time when they got bigger you put two on. Think what you pay nowadays for disposables over the life time of a child.Then there are the nappy sacks to put them in, the baby wipes to clean them with. But then people weight up the pros and cons of electricity against landfill, life was much easier when we had no choice. A top and tail bowl and water did the job adequately and then pop the nappy into a bucket of cold water. It was not as convenient but then we had more time on our hands. I loved to see nothing more than a line full of white nappies blowing
in the wind.
|mage courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
We never had video baby monitors to watch our child as they slept, I lived in a block of six flats which had three other young mums in and we use to sit out in the stairwell of an evening when the children were in bed with the flat door open and we heard them if they cried.
Modern parents like to have the modern equipment, but ask a second or third time mum what they had for their first they no longer use for the others and you will realise how little of it was really needed. A washing up bowl made a great baby bath, pans and wooden spoons made great toys, plastic dishes and cardboard boxes provided hours of fun play. My daughter use to sit for hours with plastic dishes and a jar of buttons and made meals with them, play tiddly winks, they could learn colours, matching and counting with a jar of buttons, great for their motor skills as well, and she never managed to choke on one
What did you have for your first that was not used very often? What did you feel was a waste of money? Or what item(s) do you feel are essential that you could not live without.
This is a collaborative post.