Micah Baldwin

“Quickly it hit me. I derive my drive from an intense desire to HAVE a greatest moment. I am comforted by knowing that my greatest moment is still out there.” ~ Micah Baldwin

The above quote is from an amazing blog post my friend Micah wrote a few days ago

When I grow up… or, more correctly when my kids sleep through the night and leave me alone for more than 10 minutes at a time, I hope to have epiphanies quickly hit me like Micah’s did. Until then, I’m ok with having them slowly wash over my sleep deprived, half firing, half functioning neural pathways. My wheels have been turning about what he wrote, albeit in the halting succession of starts and stops allotted for reflection while child rearing.

Like Micah, I have also asked myself, “Have I had my greatest moment yet?” I can’t definitively pin point a standout moment that would be defined as my “greatest moment ever”. I can name a few moments that were spectacular such as the birth of my children, (just kidding, having a child drop out of a burning ring of fire is NOT a great moment. The relief of both mother and child living through it IS, but the former is not that great.)

Just maybe though, as I sit here and drink my coffee, splitting my attention between this post, my 4yr old explaining how he has just been electrocuted after crossing his arms really hard, my 2yr old putting super hero stickers on the hardwood floor, and the looming deadline of the premiere of Life In Perpetual Beta, just maybe I’ve wrapped my slow head around it. It strikes me that as long as I keep moving forward and keep striving to be better, then maybe my greatest moment is this one.

Just maybe… this distracted, slow thinking, wonder filled few seconds IS my greatest moment ever, and the next moment… it’s going to be the best thing that ever happened to me too.

It took me 4 nap times to get it all down on paper, and another 2 to make the accompanying video, but I finally did it! I wrote the e-book that people have been asking me for – so yall’ can stop asking me about making one at conferences and such. Some of the tips are things I picked up by making mistakes myself, and some of them I picked up by watching the professionals that helped me film Life In Perpetual Beta, and some more of them were from e-mails I got from Steve Garfield who lovingly said, “Hey, you are doing it wrong, here is a better way.”

If you have been timid about video blogging, the contents of my e-book should give you enough know how to sit yourself down and hit the record button. You can buy Video Blogging For Beginners on Lulu for $6.25, all proceeds going to the Life In Perpetual Beta film fund.

If you wonder why I don’t post often, you are not a stay at home unschooling mother of two preschoolers and one surly teenage boy.

In between the hours of 7am and 9pm I do not usually have the luxury of going to the bathroom by myself, much less the time to think complete thoughts. In fact, in just the time it took to write these few sentences I have been interrupted for the following:

1. Teenage son comes into my office and asks if I’d like to buy a clone for the bargain price of $1400 dollars. He may or may not have created said clone with in his makeshift laboratory. He knows I’m trying to work, and comes in just to annoy me, I’m sure of it. Also, he knows I don’t have $1400 for is silly science projects, so I don’t even know why he’s asking, probably just to annoy me.

2. My two year old wanted me to wipe her bum, also she wanted to brush her teeth while still on the pot. Her high pitched screams pierce the air at a furious pace for a good 5 minutes to express her displeasure at my unwillingness to simultaneously wipe her tiny arse and put Wall-e toothpaste on her sparky pink toothbrush.

3. My four year old tried to climb his bookshelf and attempted to leap onto his bed. He insists he wasn’t climbing, oh no, he was “scrinching” to the top – which clearly is not climbing, as he would never climb the bookshelf, that’s dangerous and against the rules.

4. What was I talking about?


My parents went through bankruptcy… twice. When I was 11, I was keenly aware of the repo man towing away the family car, a gray 87′ Pontiac Bonneville. When I was 28, already far far away from home, my mother called to tell me that again my parents were filing for bankruptcy, this time however, no cars were repossessed oh-no, but their home was. My point is this, I learned about money from my parents, and presumably they learned the same way. I’m not blaming them, it was my choice to accept that attitude toward money and then repeat their mistakes, I had my own car repossessed when I was 22. I’ve known for some time I have skewed relationship with money, but only recently decided to do something about it. I love it money and I hate money. For me, money has always been a me against the man kind of deal, after all, it’s just a matter of time before someone comes and takes all I’ve worked (myself into debt) for away.

I get that this is a ridiculously unhealthy look at what money really is. Money after all is just a way to measure the value of goods and services, and I have that equation all kinds of screwed up. So, the question becomes, “How do I change my perspective about money and how can I be sure to pass on this more correct view of the stuff on to my children?”

A few things I’ve been doing:

  • I’ve put a $50 in my wallet that I never spend. I just happen to know it’s there and mentally spend it on things I walk by or see online. Some people use $100 bills for this, but to tell you the truth carrying around $100 bucks cash made me feel a little skittish, so I’ve been sticking with $50. The reason I’ve been doing this? It helps me kick the feeling that money is scarce, and it feeds the “impulse buying” beast that lives deep down in my debt riddled soul. I trick my mind a little into thinking that I have money to spend AND that I am responsible with it, which I guess is true – however, the idea is that I carry this feeling/reality will carry over into my macro finances as well. It doesn’t always work, sometimes I have to spend it, like when we’re an hour from home and the kids are starving, but for the most part, it’s been working.
  • I’ve been learning about how folks who actually have money use it. Yes, I actually called up wealthy acquaintances of mine and asked if I could talk to them about money… and for once it was not about me borrowing it. Turns out, they don’t spend more than they have, even w/loans etc. they have equally valued collateral, and still some liquid assets (i.e. savings). Also, every one of them invested in the stock market and not surprisingly all of them had parents who were also responsible about money. Shit. Not that people aren’t out there that have retaught themselves about money after a crappy childhood introduction, I just don’t know them. (I’m really hoping those people are out there, I’m counting on becoming one of them)
  • Which brings me to the last point, I started to learn about the stock market, and teach my children about it. I figure since the stock market is all based on the perceived value of a dollar it might help me with changing my perception of money. Plus, all my rich friends are doing it, and it’s not exactly like jumping off a bridge so I guess it’s ok to do what they do… this time. It’s a little intimidating to figure out, but I was clued into a site last week at Sobcon called weseed.com that has been a pretty easy to understand guide for us as a family to understand. It lets me make stock trades based on the real market but with imaginary money, which is kind of nice to have the pressure off while I’m ramping up to comfortably. I joined the Sobcon investing group and bought some stock in auto parts (people aren’t buying new cars so they’ll need parts for old ones.. right?), and am hoping for a little friendly competition within the group to keep it interesting, but what I’m really hoping is that it becomes part of the daily lives of my children, and that they become more comfortable and confident about money… a little healthy competition with our investment portfolios wouldn’t be bad either.
    May 18th Update: I’m kickin’ my 14yr old’s ass w/this whole stock market thing. (Is it appropriate for me to be giddy about winning a game that I’m playing with children?)

    Do you have any tricks that you’ve been using to change your perception of money?