Money stuff: Learning to share

12:0AM, Jun 11th 2010

Justine Davies

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
  • Whenever we say we're heading  to bed we get distracted by these jobs around the house and MORE! #motherandbaby #mumfact

    mother and baby Whenever we say we're heading to bed we get distracted by these jobs around the house and MORE! #motherandbaby #mumfact

    More from the team
  • As if mums need something else to feel guilty about, but new research has found a link between mothers' employment and their preschoolers' BMI.

For the full article visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "kids bmi"

    mother and baby As if mums need something else to feel guilty about, but new research has found a link between mothers' employment and their preschoolers' BMI. For the full article visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "kids bmi"

    More from the team
  • Talking today on the web about finding it difficult to hear bad news stories to do with children. "Since having my own children, this is my consistent reaction to confronting news stories involving children. I've become overly-sensitive to watching and listening to the news."
Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "Disturbing News"

    mother and baby Talking today on the web about finding it difficult to hear bad news stories to do with children. "Since having my own children, this is my consistent reaction to confronting news stories involving children. I've become overly-sensitive to watching and listening to the news." Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "Disturbing News"

    More from the team
  • One day we shall all sleep in again. One day.

    mother and baby One day we shall all sleep in again. One day.

    More from the team
  • We can't help but smile every time we see this happy little bubba and his gorgeous Mama pop up in our feed! Follow Bobby and his mum Sophie at @theyoungmummy 👍

    mother and baby We can't help but smile every time we see this happy little bubba and his gorgeous Mama pop up in our feed! Follow Bobby and his mum Sophie at @theyoungmummy 👍

    More from the team
  • Christmas is such a special time of year. Ignite the magic and joy of Christmas in your baby, toddler or child with our list of favourite children's Christmas books. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "Christmas books" to see our picks! #MandBxmas

    mother and baby Christmas is such a special time of year. Ignite the magic and joy of Christmas in your baby, toddler or child with our list of favourite children's Christmas books. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "Christmas books" to see our picks! #MandBxmas

    More from the team
  • It's official! We're starting our Christmas countdown. Are you excited for the silly season? #MandBxmas

    mother and baby It's official! We're starting our Christmas countdown. Are you excited for the silly season? #MandBxmas

    More from the team
  • QUESTION: What is the age gap between your kids? Jessica Simpson @jessicasimpson has her hands full with her daughter, Maxwell and son, Ace only 13 months apart.

    mother and baby QUESTION: What is the age gap between your kids? Jessica Simpson @jessicasimpson has her hands full with her daughter, Maxwell and son, Ace only 13 months apart.

    More from the team
  • Being pregnant in Summer isn't all bikinis and floaty dresses. Today we share 10 tips to look & feel great during summertime when you've got a baby on board. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "pregnant summer" or buy the latest issue of Pregnancy Life + Style on sale today!

    mother and baby Being pregnant in Summer isn't all bikinis and floaty dresses. Today we share 10 tips to look & feel great during summertime when you've got a baby on board. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "pregnant summer" or buy the latest issue of Pregnancy Life + Style on sale today!

    More from the team
  • Grab your copy of our latest issue of Pregnancy Life + Style on sale today!

    mother and baby Grab your copy of our latest issue of Pregnancy Life + Style on sale today!

    More from the team