Author Topic: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values  (Read 9894 times)

gbbi_977

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« on: January 12, 2016, 01:42:43 PM »
Hello everyone,

We are expecting our first baby this July - grand baby number 2 for my parents-in-law. They are very excited, and the unsolicited but well-meaning advice has already started flowing.

I am finding it hard to respond gracefully/tactfully to all this advice about the stuff we "need" for a new baby. Dno't get me wrong - as first time parents, we're aware that we won't really know for sure what does/doesn't work for us until baby gets here. But we are minimalists - we live in a 900 sq ft. condo and we are extremely mindful of every single item in our condo, and whether it will add enough value to our lives to justify the space it occupies. We err on the side of "let's do without it until we decide we really can't." This also relates to frugality, as we are trying to avoid buying (literally) into the baby industry complex that says luxuries/indulgences/nice-to-haves are "needs".

For example: we don't intend, at this stage, to buy a rocking chair.

Many of you might think "My rocker is the best thing ever and super helpful to me as a parent." I don't dispute your experience - and I am not proud enough to think I might be wrong and definitely won't really, really, really want a rocker once baby arrives (especially if s/he is fussy).

But our house is small. Rockers, even second-hand, are expensive (certainly to a Mustachian). As much as many people say "you need one" I would dispute that - the majority of the world's mothers I would hazard to guess are getting by without one, as much as I'm sure they're very nice to have. None of my sisters/mother had a rocker (we're from Australia, where they're not so ubiquitous as here).

So we're going to wait and see, and hope we don't need one, as I don't want a piece of furniture cluttering up our zen, minimal space that we'll just want to get rid of eventually anyway.

Cue parents-in-law: 20 minute lecture on the phone the other day about how we're being ridiculous, of course you "need" a rocking chair, and how can we deprive them of the joy of rocking their grand baby to sleep?

I get this is a case of conflicting values, and we need to patiently listen, acknowledge their point of view, and acknowledge that we might decide we want one, but I resent the idea that this is a "need" and I would LOVE to know if anyone knows of any useful blog posts or articles or talks that succinctly explain, to those who have no minimalist tendencies whatsoever, what it means to be a minimalist.*

Suggestions gratefully received!

*We are not hard-core. Maybe that makes it harder for people to believe us. We have half a bookshelf of beloved books, we own DVDs and a few photo albums, and we have pictures on our walls and many items in our house that are wants, not needs. But it's *our house* and "want" is subjective. I want resources to explain that to others!

SomedayStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 760
  • Live Long and Prosper
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 01:51:11 PM »
I think this is more of a first baby phenomenon than a minimalist phenomenon.    Everybody wants to share their knowledge with the naļve soon-to-be parents who don't know anything.

I don't have any helpful resources, but the very fact that you live in a 900 sq. ft condo gives you a strong and valid argument to avoid getting things until YOU deem them potentially helpful.

If you have a second child you will get far less of this the second time around.

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 612
  • Location: Texas
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 01:58:04 PM »
Congratulations!  Babies are fun.

Preparing for babies is not, as you've found out.  Everyone has a different idea of what is critical to have.  There are things I didn't buy that people assured me were absolute necessities - and I'm not a minimalist.

I think you need to trot out (or create) your personal motto on expenditures, regardless of whether they are baby-related or not.  Something along the lines of "Our philosophy is to do without something until we decide we really can't.  It's amazing how creative you can get when you do more with less."

Make sure your spouse  backs you up.

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2741
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 02:11:41 PM »

"I am finding it hard to respond gracefully/tactfully to all this advice about the stuff we "need" for a new baby."

"I get this is a case of conflicting values, and we need to patiently listen, acknowledge their point of view, and acknowledge that we might decide we want one..."


My parents and grandparents are well meaning, but there are a one or two parenting subjects (after they have been brought up numerous times) where I have had to go beyond grace and tact to get my point across.  Not fun, but you have to stand your ground sometimes.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 02:27:05 PM »
Cue parents-in-law: 20 minute lecture on the phone the other day about how we're being ridiculous, of course you "need" a rocking chair, and how can we deprive them of the joy of rocking their grand baby to sleep?

Do what many parents all over the world do and use yourself as a rocker, takes no space and makes it easy to interact with baby. Sit on the floor with your back up against something, wall, couch, whatever. Lay a blanket on your legs, place baby with their head towards your feet and move your hips/legs to rock the baby back and forth.

Also, look into new ways of breastfeeding, turns out the old standard of having baby on their back exasperates a lot of discomfort and feeding issues.

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2380
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2016, 03:08:47 PM »
+1 to it being more of a first baby thing. Whenever someone got going on unwanted advice I'd either change the subject or have an urgent appointment, alarm etc.

Maybe the in-laws can have the rocker at their house and use it when you go to visit. I never used the rocking chair we do have with either kid. Either they would settle just by just being held or walking around carrying them was necessary (as in crying as soon as I sat down, even to rock). If you don't have a rocker, you're really likely to figure out how your baby likes to be calmed without one.

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4691
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2016, 03:19:52 PM »
You should probably have your spouse have a conversation with them, since they are his parents.

ReadySetMillionaire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1009
  • Location: The Buckeye State
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2016, 03:27:47 PM »
I'm having this issue as well, but its a "first house" thing. Parents equate life experiences to "you need these things."

What has helped us thus far is just communicating that acquiring things creates stress for us--we don't want anything in the house that we don't use at least 3-4 times a year; otherwise it simply stresses us out. And people don't like to do something that stresses you out.

Another thing is to make sure you offer them an alternative. So they want to get you a rocking chair. "What if you guys helped out with the crib?" I think deep down they just want to help, so give them an outlet for their compassion.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2858
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2016, 03:34:13 PM »
We don't have a rocking chair/glider either and don't really intend to get one. We were already determined not to buy a bunch of junk we don't need. And we were pretty fortunate to be able to inherit a lot of stuff from my two older brothers who each have two boys. Even then, I feel like we're turning into hoarders with the stuff we've taken. Other than that, I've stocked up like crazy on diapers from recent deals. These two things are causing what my wife refers to as "the walls caving in" - of course, she'll argue it's because of all the crap that I buy myself (which isn't really that much... probably my denial kicking in). I think it could be a lot worse though - most of the stuff that's taking up all the room is in fact the baby stuff. It's pretty crazy how fast things pile-up even if you don't have a baby-centric/consumerist attitude.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4058
  • Location: On my bike
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2016, 03:40:18 PM »
The Frugalwoods just had a baby, and have written a number of articles about not buying stuff for her.

http://www.frugalwoods.com/category/kids/

mskyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2016, 03:51:53 PM »
Never, ever bring this stuff up, and when other people bring it up say something along the lines of "Thank you for your advice. We'll think about it."

You don't need them to agree with you, or even to understand you, you just need to them to shut up.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2016, 04:33:55 PM »
Congrats!

+1 to the idea of diverting their "helpful" attention elsewhere.  Grandparents usually just want to help and it's probably coming from a good place. "A rocker is a really good suggestion but we are going to hold off right now since our place is small. But we are wondering what to do for the baby's sleeping arrangements, do you think a bassinet might work?"

Honestly, if the opinions you receive are mostly related to over enthusiasm for specific baby items you will have completely lucked out. Very few people will bully you until you cry over your refusal to buy a baby swing, but people really go for the throat regarding breastfeeding/formula, cosleeping, etc. With baby items people generally view your disregard to their preferences as just a difference of opinion or if you aren't a parent yet, they may view you as inexperienced and naive. With the other topics, I've found people will flat out judge your fitness to be a parent period. Think of these minor battles as practice for the bigger tests of fortitude when others question your parenting style. You won't get anywhere trying to educate people on your choice...everyone will have anecdotes and data (either legitimate or questionable) to back up their position...so you just have to get used to firmly and politely stating your position and ending the discussion.

As a brand new mama, I'm learning just to go with what works for me and to nicely but firmly reject any opinion that is geared towards putting me down or questioning my parenting. Baby is well fed, extremely happy, and growing beautifully...everything else is just minor details and personal preference.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 04:46:42 PM by little_brown_dog »

CanuckExpat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2938
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Travelling
    • Freedom35
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2016, 04:58:13 PM »
Never, ever bring this stuff up, and when other people bring it up say something along the lines of "Thank you for your advice. We'll think about it."

You don't need them to agree with you, or even to understand you, you just need to them to shut up.

I agree with this, and know it can be harder in practice than it is just to say.
Ask your self WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do.

Acknowledge them politely, say thank you for the advice, and then proceed to forget it in your head.

This can perhaps be harder with family and it depends on your personality and your ability to not give a fuck. I have no problem politely listening to my parents but ignoring what they say, I think my wife finds it harder with her own family, for example (I'm slowly learning to keep my mouth shut).

FWIW, we picked up a rocker (glider) for free, found it just took up space in our nursery and we didn't have much use for it. Now it's relegated to the garage, taking up space along with our other unused junk.

midweststache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 471
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2016, 05:22:00 PM »
Never, ever bring this stuff up, and when other people bring it up say something along the lines of "Thank you for your advice. We'll think about it."

You don't need them to agree with you, or even to understand you, you just need to them to shut up.

I agree with this, and know it can be harder in practice than it is just to say.
Ask your self WWMMD: What Would Miss Manners Do.

Acknowledge them politely, say thank you for the advice, and then proceed to forget it in your head.

This can perhaps be harder with family and it depends on your personality and your ability to not give a fuck. I have no problem politely listening to my parents but ignoring what they say, I think my wife finds it harder with her own family, for example (I'm slowly learning to keep my mouth shut).

FWIW, we picked up a rocker (glider) for free, found it just took up space in our nursery and we didn't have much use for it. Now it's relegated to the garage, taking up space along with our other unused junk.

This is great. The only possible down side of politely listening and then completely disregarding is that they see your politeness as a carte-blanche for them to buy you whatever they want (the rocker, all of the Baby Genius items, 123 newborn onesies, etc).

If it gets to that point, have a similarly polite, scripted approach to what CanuckExpat suggests: "Wow, thank you for that suggestion/gift. Unfortunately, we don't have the time/space/inclination to do that/use that, but perhaps this could be something special for when our little one visit his/her grandparents!" Thus, if they need to follow through on some weird grandparent-nesting-consumptive habits, it's clear that that item will be for their home, not yours.

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6724
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2016, 05:39:16 PM »
Hello everyone,

We are expecting our first baby this July - grand baby number 2 for my parents-in-law. They are very excited, and the unsolicited but well-meaning advice has already started flowing.

I am finding it hard to respond gracefully/tactfully to all this advice about the stuff we "need" for a new baby.

Congratulations! :)

As for the advice if they are talking to you just say "Wow. You have a lot of great advice and ideas. I'm not going to remember all of this. Would you mind sending me an email with all this info and I'll read it when I have some quiet time."

That way it makes them spend more effort to communicate in a way that you can ignore more easily.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2016, 05:57:44 PM »

Congratulations! :)

As for the advice if they are talking to you just say "Wow. You have a lot of great advice and ideas. I'm not going to remember all of this. Would you mind sending me an email with all this info and I'll read it when I have some quiet time."

That way it makes them spend more effort to communicate in a way that you can ignore more easily.

This is frickin' brilliant! I am so going to use this strategy in many areas of my life :D

icemodeled

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
  • Location: Southwest FL
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2016, 06:21:37 PM »
First congrats on the new baby! My husband and I are hoping to start a family in a year or two! We will absolutely repell against the unnecessary (to us) baby purchases and continue to try to live a simple clutter free life. We are the only in our family, so it can be tough. I know like your parents, they are well meaning and to them its what they imagine to be the normal thing so for you not to follow that, isnt right. We can get this in any aspect of life. Maybe remind them of the small condo and lack of space and not wanting to fill up that space. Remind them you enjoy simple living and not spending money on certain things you feel you do not need. Let them know that at this time, your ready with the essentials, the real needs for baby. Of course, do your best to thank them for suggestions, but I can really understand how you feel! I wish I had some links, but not sure of the best topics.

Have you ever extensively shared your views on minimalism and what it means to you (obviously different for everyone)? Or is that what your intending to do? It would be very good for them to really know your viewpoint and understand better why your choices are different from theirs.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8275
  • Age: 62
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2016, 07:19:52 PM »
Why not divert the suggestions? "Great idea! But what we really need right now is a carseat/cloth diapers/disposable diapers/stroller/sling. I would love your input on those things."

MicroSpice

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
  • Location: Land of Enchantment
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2016, 07:51:16 PM »
Oh man, you're bringing up some stressful memories for me on this one. BabySpice is almost 2, and it has been a routine battle to really get the inlaws to understand our point of view as it regards all the baby stuff. Two suggestions:

1. I am a very frank, straight-forward person, and have never had any qualms about telling people when I think they're suggestions/opinions are not applicable in my case. Repeatedly, if necessary. It *mostly* works, and did for my in-laws, in most cases. "That sounds great for some people, but not us because X, Y, Z. Also, we don't want it, and if you spend money on it, it won't get used."

2. One absolutely great thing that we started doing when a grandparent gives a gift is, "Oh, this doo-dad is so great, she will love playing with it when she comes to visit grandma/grandpa!" The in-laws now realize that we are not joking when we make this statement, so if they buy something for her that doesn't fit in her toy box, they can be sure it's not going to come home with us.

Previous posters suggesting that the grandparents' urge to get all the things be diverted into a specific item is also great advice. They really do just want to help, and they are excited, and they want to feel connected to their grandchild. Give them a way to do that.

P.S. I love this rocker, which I convinced my father-in-law was the way to go for our space, rather than a ginormous upholstered glider: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Paris-Tower-Rocker-Rocking-Chair/10011446/product.html?refccid=CWV64KNK76KIRHCBTGVAFKUJTQ&searchidx=10. Don't know if it fits in with your aesthetic, but it has a very small footprint and is easy to clean. BabySpice and I use it every night for our bedtime ritual.

The Happy Philosopher

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 343
    • thehappyphilosopher
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2016, 07:59:59 PM »

Congratulations! :)

As for the advice if they are talking to you just say "Wow. You have a lot of great advice and ideas. I'm not going to remember all of this. Would you mind sending me an email with all this info and I'll read it when I have some quiet time."

That way it makes them spend more effort to communicate in a way that you can ignore more easily.

This is frickin' brilliant! I am so going to use this strategy in many areas of my life :D

This is brilliant...I wish I figured this out years ago...

Louisville

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 495
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2016, 09:18:15 AM »
Never, ever bring this stuff up, and when other people bring it up say something along the lines of "Thank you for your advice. We'll think about it."

You don't need them to agree with you, or even to understand you, you just need to them to shut up.
+100.
You are an adult and, unless you're actually harming someone, you don't owe anyone an explanation. Even your parents.

FLBiker

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 954
  • Age: 42
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2016, 09:46:44 AM »
We recently had our first.  In terms of parenting advice (or anything else) you can't change other people, you can just set boundaries.  Both sets of grandparents have been great, but we definitely have done things differently than they would (breastfeeding, cloth diapers, cosleeping).  They respect that, and if they don't, we end the conversation.

In terms of stuff, they've mostly been great, but we were very explicit both in person and in our registry.  For us, there is also an environmental component which might make it easier for them to accept, in the sense that it might seem more "real" to them than just not wanting stuff.  I don't know.  Again, though, if people give us stuff we don't want, we say thank you and get rid of it (or ask about returning it, depending on the person / cost).  We can't control others, but we can absolutely set boundaries for our own house.

Re: rocking chairs, we have an old glider that we sometimes use, but the best thing early on was a yoga ball.  I'd swaddle DD up and bounce her.  Worked way better than the glider.

Re: websites, if you google minimalist baby, you'll find a bunch.  I used a few when we were buying stuff, but I don't remember particular favorites.  Good luck!

rubybeth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1401
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2016, 10:03:49 AM »
Hi everyone,

There's too many of you to thank you individually, but I read all the responses and all of the advice is really, really helpful. This is a great community - thanks so much!

I think I will use a number of these strategies, including having a simple, gentle and gracious answer ready (someone suggested something along the lines of "We try to be very mindful of what comes into our home, due to the space constraints and it stresses us out to acquire new things, so we're going to hold off for now. Our philosophy is always to see if we can do without before we buy something new."

Does anyone have a website they think it would be useful to refer my parents-in-law to, if they really don't seem to understand what minimalism means? (Or what it can mean for different people)?

Thanks again!

I guess I wouldn't get into the minimalist philosophy too much. DH and I also live in a small one-bedroom apartment (785 sq. feet) and we just tell people, "Apartment's full, we can't get anything new unless we get rid of something." Or we just remind them, "We don't have room for that, but we'd love [alternative item here]." As for the baby stuff, maybe what you really need is a list of things you actually want. Things like diapers, baby wipes, board books, burp cloths, etc. that are small and will fit into your space. Then you can say, "This is what we'll need to start off, and we can let you know after baby arrives if that changes." Maybe a fun Pinterest board of gift ideas would accomplish this. A registry at someplace near the parents would be good, too (like Target, Wal-Mart, wherever they are likely to shop).

And I think the comments about boundaries are great. You're going to need to develop these when it comes to all of the parenting decisions you'll be making. I like the, "Thanks for the advice" thing, and then just do what you were going to do anyway. Be non-committal. You may want to give them an explanation occasionally, but getting into the philosophy of minimalism or explaining your whole parenting philosophy before the baby is even born, well, who knows--you may think you're going to co-sleep (or whatever) right now, but then find out baby does better in his own room. Or breastfeeding doesn't work out. Or whatever. You could try just saying to the parents "we're gonna wait and see" what you need, or if you decide you need a bigger space, or whatever.

And congratulations and best wishes for a safe pregnancy and healthy baby.

honeybbq

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1156
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2016, 10:13:03 AM »
Haha, I loved my rocking chair/glider. BUT the easiest thing to do is say "I'll see what we need when the baby gets here". As long as you have a place for baby to sleep for the first few months and some diapers, you're good.

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2198
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2016, 11:08:52 AM »
Never, ever bring this stuff up, and when other people bring it up say something along the lines of "Thank you for your advice. We'll think about it."

You don't need them to agree with you, or even to understand you, you just need to them to shut up.

yeah, i don't see OP would argue with their in-laws. Just say "ok, we'll look into it". Then just not buy whatever they're talking about. Explaining yourself, defending, etc will not work. If they visit a few times and ask about the rocker just say you haven't gotten around to it yet, we no longer need it now (when the baby is older) blah blah. Eventually they'll forget and stop.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6533
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2016, 11:19:58 AM »
Hello everyone,

We are expecting our first baby this July - grand baby number 2 for my parents-in-law. They are very excited, and the unsolicited but well-meaning advice has already started flowing.

I am finding it hard to respond gracefully/tactfully to all this advice about the stuff we "need" for a new baby. Dno't get me wrong - as first time parents, we're aware that we won't really know for sure what does/doesn't work for us until baby gets here. But we are minimalists - we live in a 900 sq ft. condo and we are extremely mindful of every single item in our condo, and whether it will add enough value to our lives to justify the space it occupies. We err on the side of "let's do without it until we decide we really can't." This also relates to frugality, as we are trying to avoid buying (literally) into the baby industry complex that says luxuries/indulgences/nice-to-haves are "needs".

For example: we don't intend, at this stage, to buy a rocking chair.

Many of you might think "My rocker is the best thing ever and super helpful to me as a parent." I don't dispute your experience - and I am not proud enough to think I might be wrong and definitely won't really, really, really want a rocker once baby arrives (especially if s/he is fussy).

But our house is small. Rockers, even second-hand, are expensive (certainly to a Mustachian). As much as many people say "you need one" I would dispute that - the majority of the world's mothers I would hazard to guess are getting by without one, as much as I'm sure they're very nice to have. None of my sisters/mother had a rocker (we're from Australia, where they're not so ubiquitous as here).

So we're going to wait and see, and hope we don't need one, as I don't want a piece of furniture cluttering up our zen, minimal space that we'll just want to get rid of eventually anyway.

Cue parents-in-law: 20 minute lecture on the phone the other day about how we're being ridiculous, of course you "need" a rocking chair, and how can we deprive them of the joy of rocking their grand baby to sleep?

I get this is a case of conflicting values, and we need to patiently listen, acknowledge their point of view, and acknowledge that we might decide we want one, but I resent the idea that this is a "need" and I would LOVE to know if anyone knows of any useful blog posts or articles or talks that succinctly explain, to those who have no minimalist tendencies whatsoever, what it means to be a minimalist.*

Suggestions gratefully received!

*We are not hard-core. Maybe that makes it harder for people to believe us. We have half a bookshelf of beloved books, we own DVDs and a few photo albums, and we have pictures on our walls and many items in our house that are wants, not needs. But it's *our house* and "want" is subjective. I want resources to explain that to others!
My mother so happily bought me a rocking chair when my first baby was born.  We didn't really have a place to put it, so we put it in the middle of the baby's room.

And never, ever used it.  It was very small, and not particularly comfortable.  We got a hand me down glider from a friend, and that was much more useful.  Most of the time, I sat on the couch.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3897
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2016, 12:51:59 PM »
Ditto bouncing on the yoga ball!  Works great, and can be de-flated and stored away later on. 

You may have a screaming baby who only shuts up if you *insert weird movement here* for 8 hours straight.  That is why Walmart is open 24 hours, so you can go get said baby-calming device on-the-spot!  No need to acquire in advance!

We got a recliner.  Yes they are ugly as sin.  It started as a baby rocker, and now is just an (ugly) chair in the living room.  I did not find real rocking chairs comfortable at all, and gliders are meh.  Really, it doesn't matter though, you will figure it out as you go just like the rest of us fools. 

Re. minimalism, I wouldn't send them to a website, I would just describe why you make those choices.  For me, it is 3 things:  less stuff means less work taking care of it, less stuff is better for the environment, and more stuff stresses me out. 

FrugalFan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 910
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2016, 01:05:57 PM »
Congratulations! We are not minimalists but I wish we were a bit more so. Even without that though, babies generally don't need much, and every baby is different. I think a waiting to see what baby needs is a great approach. We have two little ones (1 and 3) and hardly ever used a rocking chair. Our first had bad reflux and a swing became indispensable, our second could care less, and on and on. Both our sets of grandparents wanted to give gifts, so we asked for things we really needed (a crib for number 1 and a double stroller once number two came along). Those are things we use every day and are so grateful for.

Two other thoughts. Buy most baby stuff used. That way you buy only what you need, it is only in your house for a year or two, and you can resell it at almost exactly the same price.

Don't try to explain minimalism to someone. They probably won't care and will think it's odd unless they feel the same way. Just tell them you don't have enough space/are waiting to see what baby needs. Or at the very least keep it simple, as suggested by MayDay: "For me, it is 3 things:  less stuff means less work taking care of it, less stuff is better for the environment, and more stuff stresses me out."

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2016, 01:46:49 PM »
+1 to not educating/explaining your lifestyle to someone. I learned this the hard way as a vegetarian. No matter how seemingly objective your educational attempts are, if the others live a different lifestyle, it's way too easy to turn a molehill into a mountain and cause defensiveness and upset feelings. This is always true because if you didn't think your way of life was the better way of living compared to others, you wouldn't have chosen it. They just really want a rocking chair - don't go bombarding them with information that heavily implies being materialistic sucks, how less is more, etc. This is such a minor battle when you really think about it, don't turn it into a bigger deal than it needs to be. Stick to your guns, but feeling the need to educate them on your lifestyle (when they haven't expressed interest or a desire for more info) is just as bad as them pushing a rocking chair down your throat.
But if you really want to...the minimalists is a good website.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 01:50:00 PM by little_brown_dog »

ahoy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2016, 03:15:44 AM »
I was given a rocking chair by some friends for our first child.  I hated using it, because I didn't want our baby getting too use to this.  Maybe it's fine to rock for the first few months, after that they just expect it and it's the only way they will fall asleep.  Most of the time I wasn't using the rocker.  I remember the first couple of weeks our baby was on top of the dryer in her car seat.

3 yrs later, baby 2 arrived and we moved countries when baby #2 was just a couple of months old.   We never had a rocker after that and certainly didn't want one - again the reason being, baby getting use to it and I wasn't going to rock a two year old to sleep one day.   

muckety_muck

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 144
    • Unmucking by 2022
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2016, 05:46:15 AM »
It seems as though there are several things going on here:

1. In-laws want to help establish baby's "nursery" and think that you need a rocker for the nursery.
2. In-laws are older (bodies are VERY different from 30 to 60+) and when they come over/visit, want a comfortable place to hold the baby that isn't a low-sitting couch or hard wooden chair. This is understandable. Do they live nearby, so you can take baby to visit often, or are you a plane/long car ride away?
3. In-laws don't live a minimalist lifestyle
4. In-laws probably have memories of rocking your spouse/SO to sleep in a rocking chair/glider thing. It is a natural instinct to rock a baby, but grandparents have more aches & pains at older age.
5. You are a first-time parent, acknowledging there may be some things that you will find you need once the baby gets here. But hoping not to clutter up the house too much.

We fought the urge to get a huge/fancy rocker with our first, but found a small (90s style) one free on craigslist so we picked it up. We had the space for it - in fact the nursery was kind of empty without it (just a small bookshelf, crib and changing table). We used it a few times, but it wasn't comfortable for feeding (preferred the Brest Friend pillow on the bed or on the couch) and we didn't rock the babies to sleep. But when our parents came to visit (plane ride) - oh man was that thing used at least 7x/day! There is something about being a grandparent - to YOUR baby... that is only apparent when it's your baby, that they are holding. I can't really explain it, but the rocker was just something I knew was in our lives for that season of life, just for them. And I was ok with that. We kept it for #2, just for the grandparents.

For what it's worth, we lived in about a 1100 sq ft house at the time, and the nursery was slightly smaller than 10x10 I think. it was tiny.  I can't help w/ the minimalist resources, but ask yourself if it is worth fighting with the in-laws over. For us, it wasn't. The rocker was in our lives for 2.5 yrs, and now it's gone. No big deal.

There are MANY things you don't HAVE to have, but are nice to have *for a season* (try to borrow these items, that way you know they are only around for a few months and can move it out for the next stage the kid is in!) - a rocker/glider, swing, sling carrier, breastfeeding pillow, bouncy chair, etc. Some of them will save your sanity, some will just be added bonuses in life.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27688
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2016, 09:49:07 AM »
When you are outside the norm, people aren't going to instantly understand.

You'll say it, and it'll be weird.

They'll argue against it.

Then you'll do it, and they'll say "oh, you're still doing that?"

It'll take awhile.  Just be consistent with your lives, and explanations of why, and they'll eventually understand, and perhaps even change some themselves from your role modeling.

People often hide their ER plans from their family, and then are surprised when people don't understand, and tell them to keep working.

We drummed into our family for years we were going to ER.  We talked about how we were going to travel.  About how we were going to have kids overseas, etc.  Of course they were skeptical at first, but we were consistent, and when it finally happened, they not only were accepting, but super encouraging by that point, because they saw it as the culmination of our dreams happening.

Be open, and honest, and communicate.

Your family doesn't understand your values now, because they are new, and different. They will understand if you give them a chance, and keep at it.

Good luck!  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

dios.del.sol

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 150
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2016, 10:09:13 AM »
Nothing too new to add, but I do want to add another voice of encouragement to avoid buying anything for the baby until you need it. It's amazing how much you really actually need (close to nothing). Used clothes and hand-me downs are everywhere since babies outgrow clothes before wearing them out. The only noticeable cost of a baby for us was daycare, and that's a cost of working more than a cost of having a baby.

We too have very well meaning but hardcore materialist grandparents on one side of the family. I try to just thank them for their good intentions and generosity and, like arebelspy says, just stay consistent with the message. They start to get it eventually. (This Christmas I got way fewer gifts than other people in the family - just the minimum to be polite.)

MustachianPhD

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2016, 10:59:34 AM »
Our experience was that babies are totally minimalists; they need virtually nothing! A boob (or bottle if breastfeeding doesn't work out), and love, love, love!  Elimination communication is even an option so that diapers aren't even necessary (although I certainly realize this might be considered very hard core and/or bizarre to some)!

We had two things that we absolutely do not regret: 1) a high quality stroller which glided smoothly over sidewalks, trails, snow and off the beaten path (because walking outside is free and lovely!) and 2) a rocker (but we actually used a lawn chair style rocker which we already had so we didn't spend any money).

The Frugalwoods blog has some great tips on how to avoid the unnecessary spending before baby arrives.

What I suspect you'll find is that you won't really know what will work for you best until baby arrives! That is one thing you could say to the grandparents: "Thank you so much for these awesome suggestions, but I think we'll wait to purchase anything until baby arrives and we discover what will work best for us!"

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5469
Re: Family don't understand our frugal/minimalist values
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2016, 03:19:10 PM »
I rocked my first baby to sleep and that was a big mistake because then he expected it to fall asleep. No rocker the next 2x's. However, a walker with a tray and a swing were a must for us. Cranky babies love swings and I used the walker when I was doing something like taking a shower. I  would put the baby in walker in the bathroom with me and i could leave the curtain slightly open to talk to baby and keep it entertained. Worked like a charm. I also used it at other times too.  You will figure out what you really need once you have the baby. I did not buy these things until the baby arrived and then I bought them second hand because as others have mentioned babies do not wear things out.  I also sometimes used a play pen.