If you are looking for a lesson in money mindfulness then all you need to do is have a baby.
Mama-hood it is an incredible experience and an adventure in self-development.
Every day it gives me the greatest opportunity and reason to become a better me.
I have learnt so many life lessons from being a parent.
Working out how to find happiness and a sense of wellness with my financial life was one of the biggest.
When you have a baby your income takes a massive hit and you really become so aware of every financial decision you make.
Gone are the days where you respond to your mid-week boredom by planning a weekend getaway or feeding your work frustrations with takeaway. These are definitely luxury items and looking back they were probably taken from granted.
So, four and a bit years into Mama-hood and with Mother’s Day fast approaching I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learnt about money from being a mum.
1. Eating out is a luxury & simple healthy food prepared as a family is far more satisfying
A quick meal for my family means defrosting a homemade frozen meal or making fruit salad and yoghurt even for dinner. Eating out is definitely a luxury saved for special celebrations. The cost of having a meal out is often not worth it. It is hard to concentrate on the tastes and textures of food that costs four times the price of a homemade meal whilst demonstrating your ninja skills to prevent falling glasses, spilling sauces and sibling disagreements. Eating with a young family needs to be in a relaxed environment so everyone can enjoy themselves. Pancake picnics are one of my favourites!
2. Grocery shopping is better done online
Wandering through the grocery store to pick up one or two things can be managed with young kids when you are not in a rush and feeling relatively rested and patient. But I find your full family shop is better done online. It is less stressful to you and your purse. You can easily work with a meal plan and stick to your budget by removing extras before checking out online.
3. You will feel guilty about spending money on yourself
It is so easy to get into the habit of continually focusing on your kids and falling into the trap of forgetting about yourself. But self-care is so important. You need to feel nourished, cared for and considered otherwise the monster of resentment will rage. Having parents who care for themselves in balance with the rest of the family will teach their children how to do the same.
My husband and I manage our money together and choose to have a weekly allowance with one condition – that is has to be spent on yourself in a way that makes you happy. Learning to spend money in a joyful way is just as important as learning to earn it in a joyful way. Let’s not forget to embrace this lesson and share it with our kids.
4. Rainy days happen
A ‘just in case’ fund is more important than having a barista made coffee every day. These few dollars saved every week can build a significant just in case fund so should you or your partner lose their job or your child suffers an illness you won’t have to worry so much. Being a Mama is about being prepared for everything. Plan for the worst case scenario and then 99 time out of 100 it will never happen.
5. The desire to delight your kids is overwhelming
It is so easy to get into the habit of surprising your child with the latest toy. But you soon learn that this joy is very short lived and delighting your kids doesn’t equate to spending lots of money on them. Your presence is far more important than stuff. Sharing time where you are completely present and involved is incredibly precious to you both. It will be those moments where you let your child take the lead on a bushwalk, design a cubby house or cook dinner (with you as their assistant) that you will both feel how lucky you are to have each other.
For all those mums out there - I would love to hear what mama-hood has taught you about money so we can share and learn from each other’s experiences.