Midlife Crisis for Transitioning Moms

Midlife crises can leave a trail of devastation and heartbreak for those left in the wake, but it doesn’t need to be this way. There are ways to have your midlife crisis leading to a strong sense of self and better relationships especially for transitioning mothers.

The Transition

In the transitioning period from full-time to part-time mothering (there is no such thing as a retired mother), you may feel at loss for something to nurture.  You may try to continue to nurture your children who will let you know in no uncertain terms that they are big kids now.  You may try it out on your husband who will appreciate the extra attention, but could take it or leave it because he found his own hobbies while you were busy nurturing your young children.  Besides, he may have other ideas on how he would like to be nurtured which does not fall into the platonic nature of your plans.

Late-Life Motherhood

The over-achieving may opt to have a late-life baby which is lovely and precious. If you are like myself though when you hit middle age, you’re ready to be self-centered.  A baby does not allow you that privilege.  You can live vicariously through your fellow late-life baby producers and get your fill of baby love temporarily. This has the benefit of not having to turn that part of your brain back on.  Mothers know it.  It’s the part of your brain that knows exactly where your children are and what they are doing at every point in 24 hours.  This is only a temporary fix though. We need to find another means to feed that need within us to (s)mother something.

May I make another suggestion.

Why not get a dog.

How can you not love this face.
Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

A Furry Nuturee

A number of friends and acquaintances lately have accumulated these bundles of high-energy love.  They say it’s for their teenage children. Anytime you purchase a pet for your children, teenager or young adult, you really need to stop lying to yourself.  You just purchased yourself a pet.  If you have any doubts on that matter, look behind you…if the pet is in your vicinity, you’re their person.

Almost two years ago, I acquired my own midlife fur baby.  Being a volunteer at a rescue, it was inevitable that I brought one home sooner or later. I ended up falling hard for a Rottie with hip issues and an Elvis curl to her lip.  As in all life changes, the addition of a dog comes with its initial challenges and a settling in period. Then after your bundle of joy understands that chewing your computer cord is off limits and the bathroom is outside, life enters a period of (s)mothering bliss.

Let me extol their virtues.

The Benefits

You can totally love on your dog, and they will never say that is enough.  In fact, they will lean in for more.  Your micromanaging tendencies can take full flight with you maintaining a close eye on the quality of their feeds as evidenced by their bowel movements.  With the additional bonus of not having to monitor screen time and the fact that they get you outside for a walk, you have the perfect nurturing scenario (midlife crisis).

Things to Consider

I will not delude you though.  There are a few down sides that you may want to consider before you choose a dog over the corvette.  They have an uncanny knowledge of when they get fed and do not understand what sleep in means.  They do get a sense of entitlement and will begin to utilize their cuteness to bark for their evening treat, walk or when it is time for you to go to bed.  In bed, they may occupy a large portion of territory. For some reason, they understand that they are yours so need to stay on your side of the bed. This allows your spouse the ability to stretch out while you are scrunched in positions that you are grateful you are still able to assume.  This in turn encourages regular attendance at your yoga classes.

The Perfect Nurturing Scenario

Cons aside  When you go nose to nose with your dog and look into those big beautiful, trusting eyes, all the negatives drop away, and you have the perfect nurturing scenario (midlife crisis) which causes no relationship damage with your spouse, easier (for the most part) on your pocketbook than a new car and better for your self-acceptance than those new breasts you were considering.

Final Note

Dogs and children keep you young and make you remember that the best moments in life are inconvenient and messy.  Dogs can help you through that period of grownup children to grandchildren keeping your sense of humor and relaxed life attitude intact.  If you’re starting to dislike loud noises and lint on your clothes, are developing an obsessional need to control your environment and your schedule or even worse monitoring your own food intake versus your bowel movements, you may need to consider two dogs, one of which should be a puppy.

So do it. Have a furry midlife crisis.

My midlife crisis (nurturing scenario)

Note:  I am a huge advocate for adopting a rescue especially if you enjoy blaming other people for your child’s/dog’s behavior.

Financial Friday #13 – Laundry Soap

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, there was a dark-haired maiden who believed that she had the power to do most household things herself.  This was unfortunate to those who lived with her.  What follows is cautionary tale for those who have the same inflated sense of household abilities. 

Let’s Talk Dirty

In our house, we run about 10 to 12 loads of laundry a week.  This is for a family of five where everyone does their own laundry.  In terms of water consumption, this may not be the most economical decision. However, in terms of personal responsibility and reducing the amount of jobs on my to-do list, it is very worthwhile.  Other than an uncomfortable sense that I have not seen the bedding from my children’s rooms for quite some time and prideful comments by the same children on how many days they have managed to wear an outfit, I feel the system is overall working well.

Laundry never looked so good!
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My History with Laundry Soap

Buying laundry soap has always irritated me.  For starters, it is neither delicious nor inexpensive.  A heavy awkward box or plastic container and the regularity of purchase made me very open to trying any and every alternative option to laundry soap I could find. 

Enter Homemade Laundry Soap

In the early days when I went through my attempts at becoming a frugality queen, I did a fair amount of research on attempting to make my own homemade laundry soap.  One recipe included the magic ingredients of Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and a shredded Sunlight bar to produce an elixir of gelatinous beauty.  Shimmering in its sizable container, my opaque pudding was a source of pride to my DIY sensibilities, and with only ¼ cup per load, this bounty would last me for at least a month.  The frugality queen was satisfied.

Until we used it.

Letting Go

Now, I have a really hard time letting go of something I have put time and effort into.  In respect to my homemade laundry soap, I had an investment and refused to call uncle.  Even though my whites were getting grayer and my clothes were coming out smellier, the frugality queen surmised that soon the magic powers of the elixir would emerge.  Matters came to a head when my husband unreasonably took the stand that he was no longer using my concoction.  Add in a few grease stains on tee shirts owing to some essentially-oiled woolen balls (dryer sheet replacements), my life partner mutinied and purchased a name-brand detergent which was like a hammer to my DIY dreams.  The frugality queen was dethroned.

My Purchasing Factors

There are a few factors I consider when purchasing a product.  Performance, cost, how often I have to go back for more and environmental impacts are some of the bigger elements to my decision making.  Sadly often cost and sustainability do not align, and in the field of laundry soap, I found this often to be true.  I will happily pay a few extra dollars for a sustainable product, but in the world of laundry soap, I haven’t been able to connect the two.  A recent sustainable product that had me excited when I did the math came out at quadruple the price of my current detergent…not sustainable for a family of five.

Hello, Nellie!

Then one day, Costco had a sale on Nellie’s Bulk Laundry Soap for $100.  I had never tried Nellie’s soap before, but the sheer size of the container, the promise of 1100 loads and the vegan label had me intrigued.  Now my research has shown me that it is not 100% environmentally-friendly with two ingredients being suspect, but more friendly than our current name-brand soap.  Also, the large plastic container did bother me, but when I did the math (see below), I concluded that I would not have to go back shopping for laundry soap for a year reducing the amount of plastic containers purchased and gas.  I also concluded that we would reuse a bucket of that size for storage purposes. 

I did the math (see below), and my frugal veins pulsated with excitement.

The Math

Not an affiliate.  I have not been paid to promote this item.

*Based on an estimate of 15 loads a week and is in Canadian prices

Name-Brand #1 – $21.11/81 pods per pack – 26 cents a load, lasting 5 weeks

Name-Brand #2 – $24.99/152 pods – 16 cents a load, lasting 10 weeks

Nellie’s – $99 (on sale when I purchased it)/1100 scoops – 9 cents a load, 73 weeks (10 cents a load, 73 weeks not on sale)

Add in not having to go back to the store to buy any soap for over a year, and Nellie clearly won out in price and regularity of store visits.  As for environmental, of the three options, Nellie’s was the better option with less packaging because of infrequent purchasing, a container we would reuse and less harmful ingredients.  The clincher was free delivery.

Beginning of the Frugality Democracy

Understanding that dictatorship was no longer an option in our household, I enlisted the cooperation of my family.  First, I purchased a small container of Nellie’s to see if it was effective before I committed to the giant container. After getting non-committal grunts from the teens (in teen speak, that means IT’S AWESOME!), and a nod of approval from my husband, I purchased the giant container.  Purchased in the fall, it’s still going strong, and we’re about halfway through now in April.  My frugality dream has been realized.

The Moral of the Story

Heed the perils of the dark-haired (now out of a box) maiden and steer clear of laundry soap dictatorships.  Frugality success obtained as a result of cooperation is much sweeter.  Save the dictatorships for bigger issues such as what to have for dessert.

Photo by Jodie Walton on Unsplash

If you know of any sustainable, cost effective options for laundry soap, please send them my way.  I’m always on the lookout for ways to do better for our environment.

Canadian Links – Costco, Amazon

US Links – Nellie’s while available in the States is a Canadian product which was exciting.  It’s usually the other way around. It is available in the US, but not in the bulk container or the same money saving.  I found it at Costco online for $52.99/400 scoops – 13 cents a load, lasting 27 weeks).

This Week’s Financial Plan
To DateGoal
Emergency Fund (Up $813)$2329$6000
High-Interest Savings
* Monthly car insurance/property tax
Current DebtTotal Paid
Debt (Starting $21,803.49)
* Minimum payment of $95.