Money stuff: Learning to share

12:0AM, Jun 11th 2010

Transforming from a working woman to a no-income earner can be a bit of a shock. Justine Davies, P&B's finance expert, reveals how to get prepared

Transforming from a working woman to a no-income earner can be a bit of a shock. Justine Davies, P&B's finance expert, reveals how to get prepared

This article appeared in the September-October 2009 issue of Pregnancy & Birth magazine. Click here to subscribe.

So many things in life change when you have a baby. There are the obvious changes to your family dynamic, and the inevitable physical and hormonal changes you experience. There are also the mental changes as your priorities shift, not to mention major time-management changes. Then there’s another permanent shift that sometimes goes ignored until the baby arrives: financial change.

A new way of life Sarah, 32, vividly remembers her first Melbourne Cup day as a mum. "I was at home with my two-month-old baby. I turned on the television, sat on the couch and cried," she said. "It was the first year I hadn't been at work, having a fancy lunch and a silly hat competition.

"I was wearing daggy shorts and a T-shirt. Money was tight so I hadn’t even placed a $5 bet. It sounds like such a small thing but I really felt forgotten."

It's a generational dilemma: women are now raised with the expectation of being equal across all fields. We’re encouraged to work and achieve professional and personal goals that our grandmothers could only dream of. So it can be a shock to transform from a two to a single-income family.

Lola Mashado, venue manager for Relationships Australia, says that couples quite often seek counselling after having a baby, and that money problems can influence that. "If finances aren’t properly organised it can create great upheaval when a baby comes into the house. There's an old saying: ‘when money worries come in the door, love flies out the window.' Financial stress can take away from what should be a very happy time for new parents," Lola says.

It's not only money stresses that can impact on a new mum — there's also the financial dependency that comes with a reduced family income. This can really batter self-confidence, as Sarah found. "It was so difficult to some to terms with not earning an income. I didn't realise until I went on maternity leave how much I measured my value as a person by how much I earned. It was silly because I was looking after our baby, which was far more important than anything I could ever do at work, but I couldn't help feeling that I wasn’t pulling my weight," she says.

And while it may mean tuning into a completely different mindset to the one you've had for many years, Lola encourages couples to consciously value each other’s financial and non-financial contribution to the family equally.

So take heart: one day you may trade the jeans and T-shirt for a business suit again. Financial independence will be an option once again. In the meantime, through, you're involved in one of the most challenging and rewarding roles of your life: raising a happy family.

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • Apparently Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling have had their baby??!! Beyond excited to learn if it's a boy or girl!!! This will have to be one genetically blessed child! Is your money on a boy or girl?! #evamendes #ryangosling #babynews #soexcited

    mother and baby Apparently Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling have had their baby??!! Beyond excited to learn if it's a boy or girl!!! This will have to be one genetically blessed child! Is your money on a boy or girl?! #evamendes #ryangosling #babynews #soexcited

    More from the team
  • GIVEAWAY TIME!!! Neutrogena has you covered this spring/summer with beautiful, effective sunscreens for the whole family. For your chance to win an AWESOME Neutrogena pack that contains 2 x Wet Skin Sunscreen Sprays, 1 x Ultra Sheer Clear Face Sunscreen, 1 x Beach Defence Sunscreen Lotion, 1 x Ultrasheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray and 1 x Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen lotion follow @motherbaby_au and repost this image and #neutrogenaau The lucky winner of this pack, valued at over $100, will be notified on Friday morning! Good luck!! #motherandbabyaucompetition #slipslopslap #sunsafety

    mother and baby GIVEAWAY TIME!!! Neutrogena has you covered this spring/summer with beautiful, effective sunscreens for the whole family. For your chance to win an AWESOME Neutrogena pack that contains 2 x Wet Skin Sunscreen Sprays, 1 x Ultra Sheer Clear Face Sunscreen, 1 x Beach Defence Sunscreen Lotion, 1 x Ultrasheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray and 1 x Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen lotion follow @motherbaby_au and repost this image and #neutrogenaau The lucky winner of this pack, valued at over $100, will be notified on Friday morning! Good luck!! #motherandbabyaucompetition #slipslopslap #sunsafety

    More from the team
  • We love the #Urbo2 pram... And so do Kim Kardashian and Kanye West by the looks of it! Good choice guys, good choice! #mamasandpapas #pram #coolestcouple #kimkardashian @kimkardashian #kanyewest #adelaide

    mother and baby We love the #Urbo2 pram... And so do Kim Kardashian and Kanye West by the looks of it! Good choice guys, good choice! #mamasandpapas #pram #coolestcouple #kimkardashian @kimkardashian #kanyewest #adelaide

    More from the team
  • This new cot linen from @kipandco is rocking our world!! They have collaborated with @munsterkids for one ahhh-maaaa-zinnggg collection. If you want something bold and bright that is going to make a statement, then check this out TODAY!! Got a feeling this will sell out fast! #musthave #kipandco #munsterkids #alsodokidsbedlinen #socool

    mother and baby This new cot linen from @kipandco is rocking our world!! They have collaborated with @munsterkids for one ahhh-maaaa-zinnggg collection. If you want something bold and bright that is going to make a statement, then check this out TODAY!! Got a feeling this will sell out fast! #musthave #kipandco #munsterkids #alsodokidsbedlinen #socool

    More from the team
  • Start Young and Stay With It!!! At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects. Guide your little one by pointing to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language!! And you will have a laugh at some of the things they come out with!!! What's your favourite book to read with the kids?

    mother and baby Start Young and Stay With It!!! At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects. Guide your little one by pointing to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your child will learn the importance of language!! And you will have a laugh at some of the things they come out with!!! What's your favourite book to read with the kids?

    More from the team
  • Ooouuuuuu-uuuu. Is it true?? Are Ricky Martin and Ian Thorpe dating?? We really hope so. What a great couple they would make. #coulditbelove #couldnotbemorehandsome

    mother and baby Ooouuuuuu-uuuu. Is it true?? Are Ricky Martin and Ian Thorpe dating?? We really hope so. What a great couple they would make. #coulditbelove #couldnotbemorehandsome

    More from the team
  • Holidaying with kids ain't always a 'holiday' now is it??!!! Don't get me wrong, it's brilliant spending quality time as a family but these two words are going to ring music to my ears today... KIDS CLUB!! Best part is it's free for kids over 3 and they have fantastic activities planned for them all day. Alleviates that mummy guilt as the kids have a blast! Where are you planning your next family holiday. #familyholiday #fijibeachresort&spamanagedbyhilton #kidsclub #holidaybliss

    mother and baby Holidaying with kids ain't always a 'holiday' now is it??!!! Don't get me wrong, it's brilliant spending quality time as a family but these two words are going to ring music to my ears today... KIDS CLUB!! Best part is it's free for kids over 3 and they have fantastic activities planned for them all day. Alleviates that mummy guilt as the kids have a blast! Where are you planning your next family holiday. #familyholiday #fijibeachresort&spamanagedbyhilton #kidsclub #holidaybliss

    More from the team
  • It's happened to us all, right??!! The moment when you are next to the yoghurt and cheese in the supermarket and they ain't wanna be there!!!! Check out www.motherandbaby.com.au for a great article on how to avoid supermarket meltdowns. #allbeenthere #toddlertanturm #meltdown #givemestrength

    mother and baby It's happened to us all, right??!! The moment when you are next to the yoghurt and cheese in the supermarket and they ain't wanna be there!!!! Check out www.motherandbaby.com.au for a great article on how to avoid supermarket meltdowns. #allbeenthere #toddlertanturm #meltdown #givemestrength

    More from the team
  • While rewarding, being a parent can be VERY hard. Take the time today to ask those around you if they are ok. It's a simple question... But one we need to ask more often. #ruok #toughgig #areyouok

    mother and baby While rewarding, being a parent can be VERY hard. Take the time today to ask those around you if they are ok. It's a simple question... But one we need to ask more often. #ruok #toughgig #areyouok

    More from the team
  • Love the feature on @zotheysay and her gorgeous son, Sonny on @thegracetales this week. Zoe shares some great insights in to the first few weeks/months of parenting. Check out @thegracetales to link into the article. #regram #motherhood #babybeautytips

    mother and baby Love the feature on @zotheysay and her gorgeous son, Sonny on @thegracetales this week. Zoe shares some great insights in to the first few weeks/months of parenting. Check out @thegracetales to link into the article. #regram #motherhood #babybeautytips

    More from the team