Last week, something happened to me and I realized, I'm done.
That's right, I am so, so, so done with my money not belonging to me.
Nate and I spent pretty much my entire maternity leave trying to figure out a way for me not to have to work 30+ hours a week to make our budget work, and honestly, had we not been frivolous and spent hundreds of dollars on take out over the last 3 years, I could be a stay at home mom.
Some how we didn't make that connection when we'd cruise through the drive-through on our way home from work.
It has always been our dream to have me stay home with our kids (and our goal is to have many of them, PCOS permitting) and have Nate bring the bacon- so why in our time of infertility treatments and our several years of marriage leading up to the birth of Calliope were we not living like that was the goal?
How do you justify making over 50k a year and have ZERO savings to show for it?
Granted, we do not have any "consumer" debt, and for that we are really lucky. But here we are, staring down the face of a dryer that does not dry, a 17 year old car that is going to explode any time now and, oh yeah, I had a baby in February so we have medical bills falling out of our ass.
So how have I been coping? Panic, mostly. And not understanding what we did so wrong.
And then, the weirdest thing happened.
Nate bought me a bedroom set.
He bought me the most beautiful new quilt, rug, and curtains for our master bedroom. He said things like, "it's for your birthday", "it'll get you back in the swing of blogging" and "we need a nice calming retreat at the end of the day with all the new stress" and even the logical "summer is coming and Seamus ate a hole in our summer quilt"
It was so sweet of him. And it only cost $173.27 according to the receipt.
Guys, real life, I could have crapped $173.27 several months ago- it wouldn't have phased me AT ALL to buy that much stuff.
But, as it sat in the bags in our bedroom for three weeks with me staring at it all I could think of were the bills I could pay with $173.27
So, I don't have a beautiful new bedroom set to show you today, I have an admission of hitting bottom.
I'm officially off the blogging bandwagon where I keep buying things to have new things to show. I'm OFF it. I still have things to say and it will take me awhile to get in the groove of things but it is different now. And, it's mostly money driven.
Somehow, we were able to make our tax return kush my entire maternity leave. And then the time came barreling towards me where it was time for me to go back to work. And I won't go into all the details, but I didn't go back to my office job.
And I'm terrified because of it.
That's right, somehow a bedroom set made me realize that I want my money to be mine, but that I needed to take a step back at the same time. When we looked at the numbers, the simplest reason I left my job was that it was not cost effective for me to be at work with Calliope in daycare. After daycare I was essentially going to be bringing home about $2 an hour. Add in the weight problems she's been having (which I think are mostly under control now, thank god- finally was able to put the NB sizes away!...well most of them) and it just seemed stupid for the food source to be away from the baby.
So I took a leap of faith and so far we haven't fallen on our faces. So far.
I went back to my roots. I recently moved into a very part time job at a local non-profit art studio in Lansing. I'm loving seeing my work every day. Every day a toddler comes to their first art class, or a teen comes in for a free after school class, I feel like I'm making a difference.
It also helps that with my new job, the baby is never without a parent. That's right. I work when Nate doesn't. And so far it's working great for us. I'm in a much better mood after not being in a stuffy IT job (which, don't get me wrong I was VERY thankful for) by being back in my non-profit bubble, and Callie is happy because she is always with her people.
I'm thankful for a husband that went out and got a second job so I could be home. I am also thankful for a world where we have the ability to make these hard choices to do what is best with our family.
I am also not a stepford blog-mom. At least not yet. Today I got excited because the baby fell asleep on Nate and I was able to scrub the toilet. I'm lucky if my kitchen is clean 3 nights a week. I'm REALLY lucky if the laundry is folded, or even better put away! (Although somehow the diapers always get washed, stuffed and put away- priorities?) And I'm pretty sure there's enough dog hair in my garbage can at the end of each week that I could make a new pet.
I've done a decent job of keeping up everything my mom did for us, but it for sure looks like a newborn who likes to be with her parents lives here. By the way, baby wrapping? Amazeballs. I just wish I could bend over with her on!
I guess long story short, I put everything down on paper and prioritized. And a certain squeaking baby and her bald daddy came out above Wendy's, a big bank account, and a full time job.
I just hope we can stay afloat long enough for Nate to graduate from school and for him to get a "real job".
Though, this doesn't mean I'm not still dreaming about the bedroom set.