Kijiji provides everything new parents need without breaking the bank
DISCLAIMER: This post is written in partnership with Kijiji in support of raising awareness about how the Second-Hand Economy can support new parents who are looking for the best value for their family dollar. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.
Raising kids can be expensive!
Bringing baby home can often be anxiety-inducing for parents who want to know how to get the best value for their hard-earned dollars. With my last pregnancy, thinking about the reality of bringing home TWO babies at once (twin boys) was stressful, to say the least.
With the price of baby-related items, from clothing to car seats and more, the prospect of doubling-down – literally – on expenses was one that made me break out into a cold sweat.
Thankfully, there were options, including the simple ability to log on, search and find exactly what I was looking for. And I was not alone. The trend towards the reuse and the recycling of gently-used items has increased over the past number of years. With the availability of the Internet and the growing comfort-level with online purchasing, it’s no wonder that budget-conscious parents are heading online and taking advantage of the digital economy to find what they need.
According to Kijiji’s Second Hand Economy Index, Baby items were found to be some of the most commonly-exchanged goods by new parents and that the average cost for caring for a baby can increase annual expenses by an estimated $10,000! For this reason alone, it’s not surprising that parents are getting creative when it comes to their baby budgets and spending.
Head on over to “Welcoming Baby on a Budget” where I provide some simple tips for expectant and new parents about how to save money. Scroll down and click through the gallery to see all of the tips.
Here are a few to get you started.
Bringing Home Baby While on a Budget – Top 5 Tips For Parents:
1) Mix the Old With the New – A mix of gently-used and new items is a solution great for parents on a budget. Purchase a few new baby things and visit Kijiji to outfit your layette and home with the items needed.
2) Don’t Spend More Than You Have To – Make a budget and stick to it! There are a number of items in a variety of price ranges online that will fit any budget. Do your research, know what your limits are and start saving.
3) Reuse, Recycle and Relax – Share the love and save the environment at the same time. Reuse, recycle and rotate clothes, toys and other baby items within your circle of friends as well as the community. The Second-Hand Economy is alive and well and a great place to share, buy, sell and save.
4) Click Here For Community Support – You can also get the help you need online as a new parent. From playgroups to mom and baby lessons, to neighbourhood groups and more, get online, expand your social circle and of course, save.
5) Babysitting Baby – In the bleary days of new parenthood, a day or night out away from parent-duty is what all moms and dads need. Finding daycare, a nanny or babysitter within your budget is a simple click away. You can search by your specific community and postal code as well.
Watch the video below to see how the Second-Hand Economy is good for everyone!
VIDEO: Why Second-Hand Should Come First
How did you save money when you were expecting, or were in caring for your baby in the first year? What advice do you have for other parents who are looking for ways to save? Leave me your tips and comments in the section below.
What has happened to kindness and common courtesy?
She was about 8 or 9 months pregnant, belly hanging low, baby about to drop any day. The previous months had clearly taken a toll on her, as her face showed the exhaustion and fatigue required to make a human being. She was physically spent, yet there she stood.
Yes, she was standing. Standing on the 505 streetcar in downtown Toronto, as it abruptly stopped and started in morning rush hour traffic. Had she slept the night before? Unlikely, as anyone who has experienced the final months of pregnancy knows: a good night’s sleep is an ephemeral and fleeting fantasy.
Yet there she stood, while all around her, young, fit and otherwise preoccupied citizens pretended not to see her by burying their heads in their smartphones of choice.
A 20-something man in a crisp suit, clearly headed to his job in the financial sector pretended to sleep, as his eyes closed immediately after viewing the pregnant woman’s swollen belly.
A middle-aged woman played candy crush saga with an intensity and fervour that many of us thought only belonged to a younger generation of gamers, her eyes glued to her retina display screen.
Three teenage girls in private school uniforms giggled amongst themselves, giving nary an eye to the belly that not only protruded into the aisle in front of them, but turgidly languished on the very edges of their personal space. You see, her belly – had it been acknowledged – would have broken up the party, and that wouldn’t have been cool. The latest gossip about that cute guy in class and recap of last night’s TV show was much more important.
This had not been the first time that I had seen such appalling behaviour. Sadly, purposely, ignoring pregnant women while riding public transit has become the norm, not the exception. What has happened to humanity?
I’ve posted many rants and complaints about this on my personal Facebook page and talked to many friends who are mothers themselves. All of them have a similar story to recount about how they have been ignored while pregnant and riding public transit.
A personal anecdote: during my last and final pregnancy with my twin boys, I could barely walk. I was considered “high-risk” for a few medical reasons which relegated me to bed-rest for most of my pregnancy. On those off days before I was completely immobile, somewhere between my seventh and eighth month of gestation, I needed to use the public transit to get to my doctor’s appointments. Now, let me say that having my third pregnancy and twins, no less, made me huge, much earlier than I would have been, had I been on my first pregnancy. In other words, there was no doubt that I was indeed pregnant.
Yet there I stood.
Their eyes averted, I was ignored, invisible and silently defeated as I struggled to balance so many times on the streetcar, hoping that some kindly person would give me a seat. My elephant-sized ankles continued to swell, my feet ached and my back painfully swayed with each lurch and jolt of the streetcar. Everything hurt, including my feelings.
As the mother of four, and one who has experienced three different pregnancies, I’m sad to say that this experience wasn’t atypical. Sadly, it was the norm, not the exception. And every single woman that I know who has been pregnant has experienced the same. What on earth is going on?
While I don’t profess to have all of the answers, I do believe that our culture of entitlement is a huge factor in this cultural shift. Once upon a time, there was chivalry, then socially accepted norms that included women, about “doing the right thing.” Helping someone who was clearly in need was the norm, not the exception. With the increasing sense of entitlement, exemplified by the “Me Generation” and continuing onward, those in need haven’t had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a fair shake. Whether they’re seniors who are unstable on their feet, the disabled or the aforementioned pregnant woman just looking for a kind soul who will let her have a well-needed seat, the chances of these folks receiving this small kindness grows smaller every day. The lack of focus on others, supported by the technological tools to “zone out” or feign ignorance wherever and whenever possible makes this willful blindness not only possible but probable as well.
Yet, in spite of this trend towards selfishness, I do believe that change is possible. The change starts now with all of us who are raising children with the values that support kindness and compassion. And while we make efforts to effect our childrens’ behaviours in future there are some adults who are in need of an etiquette refresher now.
I am starting a one-woman public awareness campaign as I feel that it needs to be done. As someone who has endured a very difficult twin pregnancy and was on the verge of begging someone to please give me a seat, the time for greater awareness for this reality is long overdue. Clearly, the assumption that everyone riding on the bus/subway/streetcar/[insert transportation mode here] understands that pregnant women should be given a seat is completely wrong. My assumptions – based on the teachings of my parents (thank-you, Mom and Dad) underscored the importance of kindness, but more specifically the need for those of us who are more able, to extend said kindness – and where appropriate, a seat – to those in need. This includes the elderly, the disabled and, of course, pregnant women.
Whenever and wherever you can, please remind those riding the public transit who seem to have forgotten basic courtesy that pregnancy is challenging, difficult and just plain exhausting. If a pregnant woman is standing while able-bodied people are pretending not to see her, be her advocate and ask them to give her a seat. I’ve done it before and have never been told “no,” probably because the shock of being called on their bad behaviour mixed with their embarrassment makes the culprits stand up quicker than one would imagine.
Perhaps making the subject one that is no longer ignored, one where pregnant women don’t have to suffer in silence, will put an end to it once and for all. If anything, making those who are oblivious more aware of their choices and how these choices affect others will affect change, hopefully for the better.
I’ll be tweeting and sharing the hashtag #StandUpForMom and #giveupyourseat on my social media channels to keep the topic top of mind and hope you’re able to share it as well.
Let’s do this.
To read this article on HUFFINGTON POST, click here.
VIDEO: Stand Up For Mom!
What has been your experience with pregnancy and public transit? Tell me about it in the comments section below.
Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!
Simple but proven tips for a stress-free return to the workplace
The time has come.
You’ve spent precious moments with your bundle of joy but like many situations in life, this, too, must come to an end.
And as much as you’d like to stay at home just a little while longer, there are bills to pay and mouths to feed.
A return to work after having a baby can be one of the most stressful and emotional times for moms. After carrying your child for nine months, giving birth then being so closely attached to your baby during this special period, the thought of leaving him or her can cause feelings of both sadness and stress. As well, many moms feel guilty about having to make this decision, which often doesn’t make things easier.
Before going back to the outside workforce, you likely have a number of questions swirling through your mind, often with no clear answers. Some of these likely include:
– Who’s going to take care of the baby while I’m at work?
– How much is childcare going to cost?
– Is my baby going to be okay in the care of someone other than me?
– How am I going to balance work, home and family responsibilities?
All of these questions are valid and normal, as well as important to be answered for both the parent and the child’s well-being.
Rest assured that you will be fine, and so will your child.
That being said,there are a few things to keep in mind and to have in place before you re-enter the workplace. Follow these simple tips and you and your little one will be ready for your return to work:
Back to Work After Baby – Top 8 Tips For Moms
1) Eliminate Guilty Feelings – Before anything, remember: you are doing this in the best interest of your baby and your family. While it’s natural to feel guilty, keep in mind that your return to work is going to allow you to provide your baby with the things that he or she needs, as well as to bring in needed finances to your household. While it may be difficult at first and you may feel guilt as well as a fear of separation anxiety, know that your actions are what’s best for your family, and will ultimately make a positive difference in the quality of life for all of you.
2) Decide on Breast or Bottle – Regardless of your choice, make provisions for how your child will be fed while you’re away. If you’re going to continue breastfeeding, make sure that you’ve made provisions accordingly. This may include either freezing your milk and/or making sure that you have a place to pump when you return to work, as well as a supportive work environment and employer who will accommodate your choice. If you’re going to choose formula, make sure to test the options so that you’re feeling comfortable with the right choice that your baby will drink when you’re at work. You may also want to consider a combination of both, so investigate your options to assure that everything’s in place when you go back to work.
3) Don’t Try To Do Everything – There are only 24 hours in a day and you’re now going to be working outside the home. For these reasons, make a realistic schedule about what you can and can’t get done, and stick to it. Part of your personal sanity will be directly related to knowing that you’ve done everything you can, and everything else will have to wait. You’re doing what needs to be done for your family – working and taking care of your child – and that’s enough.
4) Get Supports in Place At Home – Whether it’s from your partner, friends, neighbours or relatives, knowing that you’ve got things covered off at home will provide you with a huge feeling of relief as you return to the workforce. Help could range anywhere from childcare arrangements for your baby (see below for more details) to more specific help with cooking, cleaning and other household chores. The goal is to make things as stress-free as possible for you as you return to work so take help wherever you can.
5) Line Up Childcare Arrangements – Depending on where you live, childcare can be one of the biggest decisions to make, both from a financial and emotional point of view. In many urban centres, you may need to have lined up childcare for your baby as soon as you became pregnant; in others, there is more flexibility in terms timing and the choice of caregiver. In both instances, it’s important that you (and your partner) are comfortable with the final decision so that when you leave for work, you are also confident that you’re leaving your precious baby in competent and loving hands. Take the time to thoroughly research and check out your options before making this important decision. As well, do a “dry run” with your care provider a few weeks leading up to your return so that your baby, your caregiver and you are comfortable about leaving your child in care as you return to work.
6) Lower Your Expectations – There are only 24 hours in a day and you’ll be working through many of them. For this reason, it’s important to be realistic about what can conceivably achieved during the work week and the weekends as well. Now that you’re back at work, the house may not be as spic and span as you may like, and laundry may remain unfolded for a time. This is okay. There’s only so much you can do. If you’re able to, engage your partner to help out more, or, if finances allow, hire someone to assist with cleaning and other household chores. If this is not possible, lower your expectations of what can realistically be done in the home and focus on the fact that you’re doing the most important thing – taking care of your family by returning to work.
7) Be Clear on Work Responsibilities – This includes hours of employment, flexibility in scheduling if possible, and day-to-day duties. Ideally, it’s best to speak to your boss or supervisor before you set foot in the office or workplace so that you both have a clear understanding and agreement about what is expected when you return. When you’re both on the same page, things will run more smoothly and there will be no surprises – which are the last thing you need now that you’re back at work.
8)Get an Ally or Good Friend at Work – The return to work will be made less stressful if you know that there’s someone there that you can count on for support and a friendly ear. Ideally, it would be someone who can understand and empathize with the demands of being a working parent and in an ideal scenario, it may even be your boss. Either way, knowing that you have someone in the workplace that you can speak to about your transition back to work and its inherent challenges can make a world of difference to your state of mind.
To read this article on HUFFINGTON POST, click here:
A peek behind the curtain of classic children's songs shows a surprisingly darker side
One of my sons’ favourite songs is “You Are My Sunshine.”
It’s a classic – a perennial favourite amongst parents everywhere. Perhaps it’s the metaphorical comparison between lightness and the object of the singer’s affection (You are my sunshine). Perhaps it’s the seemingly positive message of hope offered in the chorus:
“You make me happy when skies are grey.”
And what child doesn’t want to hear this proclamation of absolute adoration, almost desperate in its pronouncement:
“You’ll never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”
Every child wants to hear that. A mother or father declaring their absolute love for their offspring – it’s a child’s dream, isn’t it?
Yet when we actually look at the full lyrics of this popular song, things aren’t as rosy as they seem. Check out the full lyrics here:
You Are My Sunshine My only sunshine. You make me happy When skies are grey. You’ll never know, dear, How much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away
The other night, dear, As I lay sleeping I dreamed I held you in my arms. When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken And I hung my head and cried.
I’ll always love you And make you happy If you will only say the same But if you leave me To love another You’ll regret it all some day;
You told me once dear You really loved me And no one else could come between But now you’ve left me And love another You have shattered all my dreams
Louisiana my Louisiana
The place where I was born
White fields of cotton
Green fields of clover
The best fishing and long tall corn
Sounds like the tune is a spiteful ode to a possible cheater, with overtones of threats (“If you leave me to love another, you’ll regret it all someday”). Let’s also not discount the apparently unequivocal callousness of the person about whom the song is intended, as evidenced by this beauty of a verse:
“You told me once dear, you really loved me, that no one else could come between, but now you’ve left me and love another, you have shattered all my dreams.”
Doesn’t sound very happy to me…
Yet we sing the song unwittingly to our kids, often. At least I do. And I know I’m not alone.
Funny, when we dig just a little bit deeper in to many kids’ songs, we find out information that may not fit in with our ideas about what’s appropriate to share with our children…or not. “You Are My Sunshine” is a classic and sung numerous times daily, around the world. But how closely do we listen to the words that we blithely recite to our kids? Is it the fact that because these words are accompanied by a sweet tune, this fact alone may somehow negate the clearly unfavourable message that is being told?
“You Are My Sunshine” is not the only seemingly innocuous song that has a darker side. Witness this classic – “Clementine” – which is about every parent’s worst fear: drowning.
In a cavern, in a canyon, Excavating for a mine, Lived a miner, forty-niner And his daughter Clementine
Oh my Darling, Oh my Darling, Oh my Darling Clementine. You are lost and gone forever, Dreadful sorry, Clementine.
Light she was and like a fairy, And her shoes were number nine Herring boxes without topses Sandals weren’t for Clementine.
Drove she ducklings to the water Every morning just at nine, Hit her foot against a splinter Fell into the foaming brine.
Ruby lips above the water, Blowing bubbles soft and fine, But alas, I was no swimmer, So I lost my Clementine.
How I missed her! How I missed her! How I missed my Clementine, Till I kissed her little sister, And forgot my Clementine.
Then the miner, forty-niner, Soon began to peak and pine, Thought he oughter join his daughter, Now he’s with his Clementine.
Again – some questionable content.
So distraught is the author of this song about losing his beloved Clementine, that he promptly took solace in the arms of the dead girl’s little sister, which apparently made everything better.
Now let’s move on to another classic children’s ditty – “Rock-a-Bye Baby.”
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will fall baby
Cradle and all.
Am I the only one wondering who on earth puts their baby in a cradle on a treetop? The situation is precarious at best, tragic at worst and yes – of course – the bough will surely break in the event of a strong wind or two.
Neglectful parenting, child endangerment and possibly the charge of premeditated you-know-what is very real in this scenario. Yet we sing it to our kids without batting an eye.
I’m not completely sure but here’s an idea:
Perhaps we’re so caught up in singing to our kids, trying to calm or soothe them, or entertain them for a moment that we can’t see the forest for the trees. These and many other songs (hello, “Ring-Around-The-Rosy“, about the bubonic plague) – so many of them – have been ingrained into our consciousness for as long as we can remember and we sing them without batting an eye.
We pride ourselves on being loving and forgiving to our children yet these words don’t sound like either: But if you leave me To love another You’ll regret it all some day;
Now, granted – many of us don’t follow through to sing each and every verse to our children when we’re trying to soothe them or put them to sleep. For the most part, much of our singing includes repetition of the main chorus without much thought or time given to the more disturbing other verses. But do we not owe it to our kids – and ourselves – to at least know the full story and the intended background of these songs? Is it okay to blindly sing these tunes to our kids, relinquishing all responsibility for these songs’ content due to our willful ignorance?
I likely won’t stop singing “You Are My Sunshine” to my son but may shudder a bit inside every time I do so, now that the real intention behind the song is known. Ditto for “Clementine.” And “Rock-A-Bye Baby?” I’ve never been in support of ditching babies in trees…but that’s just me.
What do you think? Are these songs harmless or should parents play closer attention to the lyrics and intentions of popular children’s songs? Do you sing these songs to your kids? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.
VIDEO: You Are My Sunshine
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For many of us who have been in the parenting world for a while, it’s tough to remember those days when you were counting down to when your new arrival would enter the world. For new moms-to-be, the stress of having everything “just so,” and being prepared is considerable. Just the thought of having a […]
They can’t talk but they know how to swipe. An iPad, or similar tablet or smartphone, that is. Perhaps not surprisingly, a recent survey revealed that 30% of children under the age of 2 use some type of a mobile device. Now: understanding that “use” is a relative term, the findings are still shocking, to […]
Simple strategies on how to keep the kids comfortable during those hot summer months Ah, those dog days of summer. We wished for heat and we got it – and then some. When our desire for warmth is a distant memory and we’re battling sky-high temperatures and humidity indexes, it’s time to take action and […]
I was back on Huffington Post Live, this time to discuss the myth of the “perfect parent.” As we all know, he or she doesn’t exist, so why is it that we feel that we still have to adhere to this impossible standard? Watch the clip below and let me know what you think! VIDEO: […]