Your money or your life

It’s a conundrum that most parents face. How to bring in enough money to pay the bills and support a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, but enjoy enough quality time with your children, especially while they’re young.

Most of the time, becoming a parent is a choice. We decide it’s time, we can afford it, we’ll manage. But I never made the decision I could afford to support two children. At the same time. Should I have planned for the unexpected? There was no family history of twins and it was the last thing I expected to discover when I had my first scan. I haven’t had the option of waiting until my first child is eligible for a free nursery place before having a second, so the financial pressure has piled on.

Maybe I was woefully unprepared but I had no concept of the cost of childcare. It came as a shock. Without local family to take some of the burden, paying for childcare for two while I work means there’s little left when I get my pay cheque. But we can’t survive on one income so becoming a full-time stay-at-home-mum isn’t an option either.

When I was offered a regular freelance contract I went for it, trying to pack in as much work as I could. And I’ve been packing in a lot. Too much, if I’m honest. Working when Ez and Fonz are at nursery, working in their naptimes when they’re at home, working in the evenings, working at the weekends. The line between ‘home’ and ‘work’ has blurred so much, it’s almost been washed away.

I’m thinking about work 24/7. I’m checking emails, making mental notes, making actual notes, making to-do lists. It means I don’t sleep well, and that makes life even harder. There is so much to think about on a daily basis that I often wonder if my head will actually explode.

Some much needed downtime and respite over Christmas, and the prospect of a big move from south London to Wokingham in the next few months were the catalysts I needed to call ‘time out’. I need to focus on Ez, Fonz, Young Daddy and myself for a bit. Re-group. I can’t spin another plate. Moving house is going to be big and it’s going to be stressful, and I need more head-space to tackle it.

So I’ve swapped a good, regular income for the perils of ad-hoc freelancing. That way, at least I’m responsible for my own workload, and I can take on more, or less, depending on what’s happening elsewhere in my life. I’ve reduced the time that Ez and Fonz are at nursery. Sure, I can’t get as much done, but I’m also saving on childcare costs. When we move house we won’t have childcare at all for a while, so I’ll fit in work where I can.

More than anything, I hope that I’ll be able to relax with my children again.

13 comments to Your money or your life

  • It sounds like you have more than enough on your plate – I hope that things stay more or less under control and you still find time to focus on your lovely family and more importantly have some space for yourself

  • I am a huge advocate for life. Live it, love it and spend it with the ones you love. Life is too short, I have loved being the main influence in the boys early years, that is not something money can buy, nor is it something you can change at a later stage

  • Kat

    Such a tough call but you know when you’ve got it wrong and takes guts to say so. I hope you find the balance you need x

  • Mummylimited

    I know this has been hard but I am so relieved. I was getting worried about you. I really hope that this option works better for you. xx

  • Sounds like a good decision to me! I have fitted bits and pieces of work around my children for a VERY long time and it has been difficult but I don’t regret for a minute the time I have been privileged to spend with them as they’ve grown.Good luck to all of you. xxx

  • Love the new site Heather (you remind me that I need to migrate my own blog to the domain I have now paid a year for and not used!). Good for you for cutting back a bit, sounds like you will be all the better for it. x

  • Well done for taking that big step and making that decision. Like Mummylimited I was worried about you and I really hope that you find the work / life balance that we all crave.

    We will be here, cheering you on x

  • Oh lovely, you have definitely made the right decision. We live JUST within our one income but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even living more comfortably or being able to afford more than just groceries. Our babies are only our babies for so long. In a wink they’ll be at school and those precious few years will be gone. You are definitely doing the right thing.

    Much love and kisses!
    Karin

  • It’s such a tough decision. We live on one ok income and a one PT income that makes the difference between surviving and living. The balance is difficult, I miss the girls so much sometimes it hurts and i envy hubby his time at home but remember that like us- you are part of a team, you are not doing it on your own. And it does get easier (and cheaper allegedly!) Good luck with your new balance.

  • it’s such a tough one, isn’t it? I always thought I’d jump at the chance to work out of the home, get some time away from the kids but with the likelihood of that happening next summer I suddenly don’t want to. I don’t want to miss everything – as much as they drive me crazy most days ;)

  • Gracias por compartir esta informacion en tu blog el cual debo decir que me parece muy bueno. Espero seguir leyendo tus posts y sigas compartiendo con nosotros. Tambien pueden visitar esta pagina y encontraran informacion de como quedar embarazada que les puede ser util. Gracias otravez!

  • I feel for you!!

    It’s really hard striking the right balance, isn’t it? I’m freelance as well, and find that some weeks I actually work much longer hours, as I’m too scared to refuse any work at the moment in case it dries up the following month!! Although there is def something more rewarding about working your butt off for your own pocket, isn’t there???

    L is at the age now when she recognises that the computer takes my attention away, and tries to close it when I’m working, or demands to get up in my lap when I’m typing. Makes me feel really bad when I have to fob her off to finish an email, etc.

    I guess that’s Modern Motherhood, huh? xx

  • Definitely, what a fantastic website and instructive posts, I surely will bookmark your website.Have an awsome day!

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