It’s a trap. A lot of women fall into this trap and I’m one of them.
I remember when I was single, I used to think that when I got married that I would have my career and family too. How naive I’ve been. You can’t predict or plan those kind of things unless you are a control freak! I ran my life by lists and a heavily penned calendar. I still do that but nowhere in my schedule is anything I’ve actually planned. Things come up and I write them down as I go. That’s just how it is. I left work at a high time in our lives, when we were doing rather well; when we were stable. And that is how I came to be a stay-at-home mom, which I don’t regret one bit, but it has brought up some issues I never thought of.
We don’t have life insurance. First, because it was not something we actually thought of then. I mean, who thinks of things like that in the middle of diaper changing and getting food on the table? Seriously, only rigid people do, or those who are very tight with finances. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, I’m saying that there are no rules of the marriage road where part of planning a wedding includes picking your life insurance plan along with the guest list. No one thinks of that until way after they are married. Second, we now just can’t afford it. Now that we have settled into married life with a family and a home, we’ve come to realize that we needed protection for the babies since both of us are ‘older’ and they are still so young. I will be 60 when my oldest is 20. It doesn’t seem that old but in terms of finances, it is.
Today’s economy has made life hard for a lot of people, not only with finances, but also with marriage and children. How do I protect them? Maybe I mentioned this, I can’t recall, but my husband is self-employed; there are no guarantees which brings me to my problem. I currently do not work because my husband and I decided that I would quit my job at a real estate company to stay home with my children. Things have changed since then. The company he was working for went under so now he works wherever he can, wherever the job is and that is unpredictable. That is one of the few reasons we can’t afford life insurance. Aside from that, I was thinking of the real fear that has grown in me for some time now. If I suddenly ended up alone for whatever reason, my children and I would lose our home and essentially our way of life. I’ve come upon the realization that I am 100% dependent on my husband with no real savings to speak of and no real resources either if, heaven forbid, he couldn’t work. That epiphany hit me in the face several months ago and I got scared.
That is my situation. That is my reality. So what are my options?
Get A Job: Great idea, but is it realistic? I would love to get back into the workforce but the core truth is that I can’t. We cannot afford day care but that is the very reason my husband and I decided that I would stay at home; we didn’t want to put our children in day care and right now I consider it my privilege and a true blessing that I can be home and watch them grown. When this subject came up recently I looked at the possibility objectively. I would be defrauding whoever I would be working for if I got back in right now (all the babies’ doctor’s appointments, their immediate needs, etc.), so I decided that now is not the right time. What I did decide though, is to start my own business which this blog is a huge part of. It’s better to do something than nothing at all, right. Lay all the groundwork. If my business does not kick off by the time both my children are well in school, then I will go back to work for someone else. I’m hoping that won’t be the case though. I’d love to get my business off the ground. How exciting!
Be Productive: As I said above, I can lay all the groundwork while I am taking care of my babies. I will be that much more ahead of the game when the time comes to jump back in. Even if I do need to get back into the workforce again, I will still have that much more knowledge of certain things. For example, I take care of all the accounting of my household, including my husband’s business. I know conversational Italian and am still learning more each day. I take a word or phrase or the alphabet or numbers and learn and practice each week. Knowing three languages fluently looks good on a resume. You never know. I also practice and refine my math skills. And of course, I am slowly progressing on the build-up of my own business, as I am detailing in my Step by Step category. Those are just a few examples of what I am doing to prepare myself.
Pay Off Bills: Big one! We are not engorged in debt, thank goodness, but we do have some bills to pay off. My goal is to only have the mortgage payment and one credit card aside from our standard bills like utilities. The good news is that we’re almost there. See, accounting skills!
Time: I can’t live in fear but the truth is time is not on my side. Anything can happen at any time and to anyone. The only thing I can do is prepare and set everything up and hope for a good future for my children. I will admit that I became complacent and got used to my husband taking care of me, maybe because I was tired of taking care of myself for so long. It felt good for someone else to take over. I still work, of course, but without the benefit of a paycheck. Not complaining, just telling it like it is. Time. This is that one time I wish I was a control freak so that I can control time and make it last a little longer.
This probably won’t make a dent in any woman’s life but if you have a mind to, save money from the start for any rainy day. It may only sprinkle (I hope) but it should be there for when it pours.
Till next time!