When I had my first child, I worked for three hours in the morning three days a week while grandma took care of him. The rest of the time, I was home, cleaning, cooking and raising our son. When our second son was born, I quit work and stayed home full-time.
Ours was the house where everyone in the neighborhood came to play. The yard and house were always full of children. I clipped coupons and found other small, but effective ways to save money. We had swim parties in our $69 kiddie pool, complete with fancy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I made with biscuit cutters to make them look round (and special). Our house was filled with love and laughter.
Children are very creative when given simple materials, and they don't need the latest gadgets or expensive toys. Mine created playhouses, restaurants, and cities with sheets, card tables, and other household items. When I look back at our total income during those years, I think, "boy, were we poor!" but in reality, we possessed much greater riches.
Our kids always had summer jobs, where they learned that if they wanted "things," they had to save for them. Both purchased their own cars when they were 17 - not shiny new ones, but used fixer-uppers. They bought their own gas and paid for their own insurance. Many of our friends thought we were terrible parents for not providing them with those things that we felt were to be earned. It wasn't always easy, but it was worth it.
Both sons are grown and married with good careers. They chose wisely when it came to spouses. And somehow, they'll figure it all out just as we did when they were small. Keep on preaching, teaching, and nagging. More people are bound to listen and put your ideas into practice!
Remember, all of you can send me "letters" too - by email! Just sign into (or sign up for) the Dr. Laura Family - it's free - and tell us of your experiences.