Being a mum is hard work, it’s really hard work whether you’re a stay at home mum or a working mum. One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with since becoming a mum are my finances.
I was a young mum the first time around, pregnant at 18 & giving birth a few months after my 19th birthday. I wasn’t prepared emotionally or financially and didn’t have a supportive partner. In fact he was far from it and instead of supporting his family he chose to spend his wage on drinking & gambling. I knew to give my little man any chance in life I had to support myself financially and as a single teenage mum decided to go back to college, then on to University in order to build a career and become financially independent.
Fast forward ten years and I’d climbed the corporate ladder in Marketing, had married an amazing man and was pregnant with my second little boy, but being pregnant again raised the question of finances. Any working mum knows, going from a full wage to maternity pay is a leap, then if you decide not to go back to work then you could be relying on your other half for all your finances.
Being a stay at home mum was never going to be an option for us, I needed to work to contribute to the household expenses but I also like to have my own money especially after working so hard to create a career for myself. On the flip side, childcare is just so expensive, when falling pregnant with Archie we realised he would have to be in childcare 11 hours a day four days a week to enable me to go back to work, my wage would have just been completely eaten up by the childcare costs meaning I was away from my two kids for no reason.
We needed a solution and without family available to help with childcare, we just didn’t know what we were going to do. As a lot of mums will know, you’re damned if you work & damned if you don’t, those have bills still got to be paid. Then something at work happened, they announced there was going to be a restructure with a number of redundancies. This was terrifying, I was pregnant and was possibly going to lose my job but I made a decision that changed our lives forever. I offered myself up for voluntary redundancy. Everyone thought I’d gone a little bit crazy as I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do, but I had to do something & this kind of opportunity wasn’t going to come around again.
My hubby was amazingly supportive and told me to go for it, we knew it wasn’t going to work in my current job so we had nothing to lose. Well actually we had everything to lose but I had to do it, for myself, I’d worked so hard and needed to continue a career, but more importantly, for my kids. I used my time on maternity leave to work on my business and get everything ready for the following year when I was actually going to be self employed. I’ve never been so scared in my life but so excited at the same time.
Being a self employed mum has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, it takes some serious commitment to work from home & actually get enough work done to pay the bills. The difference I have now with my finances is that I don’t have to match my previous salary. I don’t have to earn the same as I don’t have any where near the same expenses, and no childcare costs!
Money is still tight & some months we do struggle, I have to really budget to make our finances go further, especially my own. I can’t just treat myself to new clothes or expensive make-up anymore. I can’t just go to the hairdressers because I fancy a change. Plus I have to think to the future, especially now I’m having serious back problems and had my recent operation, what would happen if I couldn’t work , or worse. How would the hubby cope with just one wage when we struggle with two? I’m starting to consider life insurance and how that would fit into my monthly budget.
All my spending has to be planned & budgeted for but I have my own independence with my money as well as being able to contribute to the household expenses, which works for us as a couple and for us as a family.
Have you had similar money struggles since becoming a mum? What did you do?