Money stuff: Learning to share

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.

12:0AM, Jun 11th 2010

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • What a happy bubba! @mamastylista has picked this little love to be Babe of the Day 🎀🎀🎀 @2masters_and_a_miss

Tag your photo with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista to nominate your cherub 👶💕🍼

    mother and baby What a happy bubba! @mamastylista has picked this little love to be Babe of the Day 🎀🎀🎀 @2masters_and_a_miss Tag your photo with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista to nominate your cherub 👶💕🍼

    More from the team
  • The prettiest little girl's room we ever did see. Adorable 🎀💕👏 @kimberly_belmonte

Tag us in your bedroom photos so we can share your style with our readers 😍

    mother and baby The prettiest little girl's room we ever did see. Adorable 🎀💕👏 @kimberly_belmonte Tag us in your bedroom photos so we can share your style with our readers 😍

    More from the team
  • Yo, Friday you're so fine 💕💕💕

    mother and baby Yo, Friday you're so fine 💕💕💕

    More from the team
  • Those cheeks! That bow! 🎀🎀🎀 @mamastylista has picked this little miss to be Babe of the Day @maya.scarlett

Tag your pics with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista for your gorgeous little one to be our next featured kidlet 😍👌

    mother and baby Those cheeks! That bow! 🎀🎀🎀 @mamastylista has picked this little miss to be Babe of the Day @maya.scarlett Tag your pics with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista for your gorgeous little one to be our next featured kidlet 😍👌

    More from the team
  • We love this boys room. Not a hint of baby blue in sight! Super cute via @mandipops

    mother and baby We love this boys room. Not a hint of baby blue in sight! Super cute via @mandipops

    More from the team
  • The trailer for the sequel to "Frozen" is here and it is AWESOME! Click the link on our profile to get your sneak peek at "Frozen Fever" 👍👸❄️🌀⛄️

    mother and baby The trailer for the sequel to "Frozen" is here and it is AWESOME! Click the link on our profile to get your sneak peek at "Frozen Fever" 👍👸❄️🌀⛄️

    More from the team
  • What a DUDE! 👶🍼💙
@mamastylista has chosen this handsome little man to be Babe of the Day 👏👏👏 @caitlinhurley

Remember to tag your pics with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista to nominate your cherubs 👌

    mother and baby What a DUDE! 👶🍼💙 @mamastylista has chosen this handsome little man to be Babe of the Day 👏👏👏 @caitlinhurley Remember to tag your pics with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista to nominate your cherubs 👌

    More from the team
  • We're a little bit in love with these handmade twin bears by @millymollymandydesigns 👌😘💕
We know some little girls and boys who would love to cuddle this squishy pair!

    mother and baby We're a little bit in love with these handmade twin bears by @millymollymandydesigns 👌😘💕 We know some little girls and boys who would love to cuddle this squishy pair!

    More from the team
  • What a doll! Our fashion blogger @mamastylista has picked this gorgeous girl to be today's Babe of the Day 🎀🎀🎀 @frankiezara 
Remember to tag your photos with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista to nominate your little love 👌

    mother and baby What a doll! Our fashion blogger @mamastylista has picked this gorgeous girl to be today's Babe of the Day 🎀🎀🎀 @frankiezara Remember to tag your photos with #MBbabeoftheday @motherbaby_au @mamastylista to nominate your little love 👌

    More from the team
  • Oh Kate, you are just a picture of grace & elegance! Only two months until we find out if we have a prince or princess! 🎀💙👶🍼 @kensingtonroyal #royalbaby

    mother and baby Oh Kate, you are just a picture of grace & elegance! Only two months until we find out if we have a prince or princess! 🎀💙👶🍼 @kensingtonroyal #royalbaby

    More from the team