By Tara Yewdall
The Initial Change
Whether you were once a career-driven woman and continued working up until the birth of your little one, or simply enjoyed work or studying up until the pending birth, for most if not all of us, parenting became a whole new world.
We found ourselves in the (new) groove of parenting, and in a blissful state for quite some time (despite the sleeplessness and full breasts), in love with the tiny being that came through us.
For some of us, though, a sense of identity may have been lost or even changed from the person you thought you were.
Personally, I did not miss working and enjoyed (and still do) being home with our children. I started out unexpectedly in the Insurance Industry after leaving school, simply because it was an admin job I could do. Though I had some dreams of doing more exciting things (like owning a little shop by the beach selling Indian clothing, leather sandals and silver jewellery, and secondly, working with elephants), I found myself being a mum at the early age of 19. I was exactly three months off turning 20 when my first and beautiful son was born.
In between my first son and second son, born eight years later, I’d found a new and more loving relationship, moved from Sydney, Australia to North Queensland, and went back to working in the Insurance Industry. Once my second son was born though (now 18 years ago) I stayed home from that point on. Another son, our only daughter and our youngest son were born in these past 15 years. I’ve been busy!
Changes in Income
Now, I know a lot of parents are in the situation where they have to go back to work to make ends meet. Many of us have mortgages, car loans, credit card debts on top of the daily living expense, not to mention the plans/hopes to save up for a yearly family holiday.
Our family managed to “get by” on one wage, and even though it wasn’t an average wage with my husband being a funeral director at the time, it also wasn’t over the top. Enough to cover our mortgage, pay the bills, buy good quality and organic food, and save up to have a yearly family road trip.
However, over the years I could see even though I was the main home-maker, much of the responsibility of earning the income was put upon my husband. We assumed our “roles” – just like our parents.
I didn’t seriously look at ways I could earn an income while still being available for my family, because I thought the only option was a 9-5 job, even if that was a couple of days a week.
In 2006 I decided to pursue a passion and become a yoga instructor. I did this for 18 months, until I was pregnant with our fourth child, which was really only a hobby and brought in some “pocket money”.
About 12 months later I decided to start market stalls, selling sprouting seeds, sprouting equipment and demonstrating how to grow your own fresh sprouts. It was fun, and I loved helping others do things for themselves. However, it wasn’t a viable source of income and to be honest, I had no real idea about how to promote or market myself effectively.
Just before I started this small business, my husband resigned from the funeral industry and needed some time off to relieve stress and do some soul searching. Goodbye weekly income!
Making a Decision
Fast forward nine years, we have our fifth child (now six years old), we moved town, my sprouting business closed up and my husband has found his feet and passion in the garden and his music-making (he’s a drummer/percussionist). All whilst living on a casual wage and welfare for most of this time.
It hasn’t been easy. It has meant missing out on quite a few things. It has meant saying “No, sorry” to our kids a lot more than saying “Yes, for sure”.
Early last year, I finally decided enough was enough and I needed to take more action and responsibility. Our kids are growing up fast and our hopes and dreams to have many experiences with them were remaining just that – hopes and dreams.
Maybe it’s my yoga teacher training, or maybe just my nature, but I knew I wanted to start earning a really decent income and still have a balanced home life. I knew there must be a better way to earn an income and still be available for my family without having to come home exhausted or resentful.
I love being home just as much as I love a good day out. So I started with writing out my ideal day – all money issues, time restraints and long “to-do” lists aside.
Doesn’t this get the juices flowing!
An Exercise For You
I encourage you to put pen to paper (not fingers to keyboard – it doesn’t have the same effect with the brain) and sit, breathe and connect with yourself for a moment.
- Jot down random thoughts of what you would love to have happen in any given day.
- What sort of daily routine or ritual would you have, how you would wake up feeling, what activities you would do?
- The foods you would eat and prepare for your family.
- The play time with your child/ren, the quality of time with your spouse, friends and other family.
- The exercise and self-care you would undertake.
- The work you would do/offer.
Take a look at the words and notice what you feel. Are you feeling excited? Are you feeling joyful? Are you feeling curious about HOW you can create this reality? If you are, then that’s wonderful. It’s the feeling you want to be creating, even if you don’t know the finer details and especially if you don’t know how it can happen. Breathe in that excitement, and start seeing your ideal day forming in your mind.
So, what options are there for mums/parents?
Five years ago, our last child was born and our eldest son had flown the nest about nine months after that. We still had four (and still do today) children at home. And we really needed more income!
If, pre-baby, you were used to always engaging in something, be it a career, part-time work or hobbies, or just wanting to follow your passions (despite now knowing how to monetise them) then you may find yourself at a crossroads.
Do you A) go back into the 9-5 workforce and possibly miss school events, have a limited number of weeks holiday leave and have to ask the boss for a day off when your child is sick? (This is my perception and I totally respect anyone who loves working their job. The world needs wonderful people to do this also!)
Or B) continue living week to week, feeling the lack more and more and becoming bitter or possibly victimized because you can no longer afford holidays, haircuts and almost the mortgage. (In hindsight I now see that this, in fact, is an unloving way to live, despite our family living quite simply. Saying “No, sorry, you/we can’t do that” to our children far more than we were able to say “Yes!” is frustrating and disheartening to all involved.)
Or C) find an alternative. Working from home is such a great alternative. There are many businesses out there, some with great products, some not so. There are affiliate programmes/marketing, party plans, MLM and Direct Sales just to name a few.
Mums who are finding themselves not ready for or simply no longer interested in their pre-baby careers might feel frustrated and resentful that they have to go back to a job they no longer feel passion for or interest in. I don’t feel this is very healthy for anyone (family and boss included), and I want to let you know there are other options.