The no spend has not gone so well this month. We have had a series of unfortunate (washing machine) events and have had a sick washing machine for the early parts of the month, then some repairs, then the wash-pocalypse where the machine died chewing up a few of my clothes including my favorite tomato red merino wool sweater. This was the perfect sweater. It was the platonic ideal of a fun casual sweater that was warm but not bulky, a pop of colour yet went with nearly everything, a familar yet distinctive shade of red. Obviously it’s not available anymore.
I know many people survive without a washing machine. I am not good at it. I can make excuses in that I have small kids, toilet training age and wet sheets and pants abound as well as messy eating. It’s a phase. The truth is I struggle with the fact that it’s often a lot easier if you don’t have a washing machine handy to buy new clothes, especially if there is an opportunity cost around your time. However I can’t see that this is a good solution overall. It seems on some level we are dealing with the law of the commons, where I am gaining benefits but not necessarily dealing with the lifecycle costs.
Anyway, I went into the store with the aim of buying some underwear and socks for the kiddos and ended up with (4) new shirts and 2 new dresses replacing the one shirt and one shirt that I lost in the washer disaster.
I felt calmer and lulled as I walked around the store. On some level that’s what we want to do. Go out and seek and forage and provide for the family. And we take pride and gained postive feedback when we do it well. ‘The kids look cute’, ‘I love that top’, ‘Is that dress new, it’s cute’ are all things we hear. These days with the labour savings we have available as mothers, as well as the much higher affluence in my community we seem to have less pride in the achievements of home making. So we make new achievements, set higher goals and dwell more on the things we can buy as a sign of how well we are doing as mothers. Yet surely the point of the extra money and the extra leisure was to spend more time together, enjoy each other more and be more fulfilled. Not to have more socks.