I can so relate to the mom in this article on MSNBC, down to the homeschooling at home and the marathon errand day.  My usual Tuesday can include leading a breastfeeding meeting, stopping at a park to picnic for lunch to keep tantrums and crying to a minimum, to a local spring to collect 10 or more gallons of drinking water, to a quick stop at a random store (usually the book store or craft store for school supplies,) to our food co-op to work sorting produce and pick up our groceries, to Trader Joe’s to pick up other odds and ends before hitting rush hour traffic to get back home to tote everyone and everything up the stairs and make dinner.

Every so often, I do contemplate returning to the work force in order to help make the ends meet, but I quickly realize that: 1. I want to be the one raising our kids, 2. I LOVE the work of being a mom and can’t imagine any other job I’d rather be doing, 3.  I wouldn’t make enough to cover the financial costs of childcare.  I looked into this a bit a few years ago and kept the daycare price sheet as a reminder (from Primrose School, prices effective 12/2005 per 5-day WEEK, which do not include registration fees, supply fees, or activity fees):

Infant (6 wks. – 12 mo.)                          $230

Young Toddler  (12-24 mo.)                  $210

Early Preschooler (24-36 mo.)               $190

Preschool (3 year-olds)                          $175

Pre-Kindergarten (4 year-olds)            $145

Kindergarten (5 year-olds)                   $145

Before & After Elementary Care            $85

So for my three kids, we would pay $375 per week!  No doubt these rates have increased since 2005 either, so that’s a low estimate for my crew.  That doesn’t even begin to cover the the other costs: gas, clothing, enrolling Alex in public school, the extra doctor bills since they’d catch everything going around, the reduced family time, etc.


Farmer’s Market

We get most of our groceries through an organic co-op, a group of 40 families or so in our area working together to get a variety of mostly local goods from Indiana farmers.  A local CSA has a drop-off point there during the summer months and we go through a local organic distributer to get fruits and veggies that aren’t native to our area, bananas, pineapples, avocados, etc.   We get our eggs from Seven Springs Farm.  We have a variety of farmers to get pork, beef, bison, and lamb.  We get pastured chicken from Skillington Farm.  We have the opportunity to get raw milk and dairy products through another farmer.  Maple syrup comes from a farm in Greencastle.  Honey comes from a local beekeeper.  We’ve got so many local farms to work with, yet it still makes me blissful to go down the road to our own town’s farmer’s market.

We don’t usually make it to our town’s square for the morning market, but rather to the evening market less than half a mile from our apartment.  There were only three stands, but that was enough for us to put together a lovely dinner, where most everything literally came within a few miles from us.  James picked out the most beautiful steak from a pastured beef farm in our county and is grilling it.  Jackson made friends with our county’s CSA farmer and scored us some fresh green beans and red potatoes that I’m roasting with my window box herbs.  Alex found our organic dairy farmer that we get our milk from each week and picked out a tomato, basil, pine nut goat cheese that we can munch on alongside some of our co-op’s plums for dessert.

One of the farmers even offered up his land for us to organically grow all the produce we want next summer and let him sell the excess at market!  Break out the heirloom seed catalogs and get me a pen!  I can’t wait to start planning our garden for next year.