>> Thursday, 5 April 2012
Recently, I have been thinking about Money. More precisely, Money and Stay At Home Mums – of which I am one.
I want to start by saying that I do not for a moment regret putting my career on hold / consigning 18 years of valuable experience to the dustbin (delete as appropriate) when I made the choice 5 years ago to take a break from full-time paid employment. It has given me the chance to spend some fantastic time with my children, and it made our family’s decision to up sticks and move temporarily to Russia so much simpler.
I hate, hate, HATE not earning my 'own' money. And it’s really starting to get me down.
In these recession-laden times our family is, like most, counting the pennies. Like most with one stay-at-home partner, we have those breakfast-time conversations, the ones that start with ‘You know that x amount which is supposed to last us all month? Well, I know it’s only such and such a date, but I need some more...’, which then move on to ‘And no, I’m not spending it all on chocolate and lattes’, stopping briefly at ‘When was the last time YOU did the supermarket shop?’, and which finish up with ‘So can you transfer some more to my account before you leave for work?’, all before your other half has even opened his mouth to say ‘Yes, sure, let me get straight to it.’
You see, the problem with this arrangement – the one where my husband goes out to a place of employment and is paid a salary, whilst I do the more domestic-based tasks, which involve - amongst other things - spending the money, is not his attitude; it’s mine.
I find it really difficult to actually bring myself to discuss any shortfall in funds in a timely manner. For some reason, whilst logically I know that what Husband earns is as a result of our joint efforts and so consequently should qualify as our salary rather than his, it seems that deep down in a basement somewhere in my subconscious, I don’t really believe that. How else to account for the way that I put off discussing the fact that I require additional cash – and put it off, and put it off – until, like some recalcitrant teenager holding their hand out as they leave for school, I need it not next week, not tomorrow, but now-RIGHT-NOW? Not the most mature approach, I think you’ll agree.
For those of you who are thinking ‘Why not just go out and get a job?’ believe me, I've considered it - from every angle. Unfortunately, leaving aside any concerns I might have about the standard of childcare available here (over my dead body), living where we do the cost of a nanny/housekeeper to do all the jobs that I wouldn’t be able to if I were working outside the home would just about cancel out any financial gains I might make. It simply doesn’t make any sense.
So I scrape together what I can through the blog, freelancing and copy editing and so on but frankly, it isn’t much (not even enough to get taxed on) and seems to disappear the moment it hits my bank account.
Something has to change, whether it’s my getting more savvy at marketing my particular skill-set (writing, blogging, marketing, and hunting down suppliers of decent cheddar and chocolate in Moscow), or finally finishing the novel currently lurking at the bottom of list of priorities and selling it for a six-figure sum to the publishing houses all avidly waiting for me to send it off to them.
Hmm. Not a big ask, surely. Or perhaps I should just buy cheaper cheese and chocolate...?