I’ve been reading a lot about Financial Independence (FI). As someone who is a daughter of an immigrant, who have had to utilize low income services, who is now “successful” as a upper middle class worker…my perception/views on money is all over the place. I struggle at time various times to give myself permission to spend on things myself. Usually I spend money on my son or other things that are necessary. Since my divorce I’ve been working on figuring out what my goals and priorities are in regards to money. I stumbled across YNAB and have started to use it to better budget and prioritize my goals.
Currently, my goals are to:
- No more debt. The only debt I should take on is a mortgage. For the past year, I’ve been paying off my credit card balance in full each month.
- Pay off existing debts. Currently, I have 2 school loans (undergrad and grad) and a car loan.
- Build up emergency fund. I am now back at zero. I had to use my emergency fund to handle some unforeseen expenses.
- Save money for a downpayment on a house. My parents have offered to help me with a downpayment. I am motivated to move because I am still renting the same place that my ex-husband and I have stayed. I need a fresh start.
- Save for retirement. I have yet to max out my contributions. Hopefully this will change soon.
Even though, I am what one would consider upper middle class, I am a single parent, who pays all my taxes minus your typical deductions. I wish I started being more serious about money after I graduated from college. Well, scratch that… not serious…I wish I knew what I know now, back then. I might have been better off.
Mother’s day is coming up and it got me thinking and reflecting. Thinking about the journey that led me into becoming a mother and who I am today. It was not easy. Went through a blighted ovum, 2 years of fertility treatments, a very emotional pregnancy/birth, ending of my marriage, becoming a single mother and navigating co-parenting. I also “leaned in” when I was pregnant but then afterwards decided to “lean back”. What got me through all of this, is the support and love from my family and friends and my son. He has taught me much. He makes me want to do better and be better.
So I finish with this:
- To those who don’t want to have kid(s) – it’s okay! Screw what everyone else says and don’t be pressured.
- To those who aren’t sure if they want to have kid(s) – please see previous statement. If someone keeps asking/pressuring you – ask them if they would pay your salary while you take parental leave as well as pay for daycare till they get to kindergarten.
- To those who are trying – I am here for you. If someone keeps asking you, be honest and tell them you are trying. It will give them a pause. I wish I did this more often then try to be polite and simply responding with “Someday.” I believe society/culture needs to stop with the “When are you going to have kids?” and “Why aren’t you having kids?” type of questions (I could write a really long rant on this.)
- To those who are about to have kid(s)/already have kid(s) – trust your instinct. Know better and do better. Treat your little one with respect. Shift your perspective and then things don’t seem so rough. People will bombard you with unwanted advice or tell you to do things that may not feel right to you – ignore them. It’s also inevitable that someone will soon ask you when you will have another. I would tell them – “I want to enjoy the one I have now. I spent 2 years trying to have one. Also, are you paying for my parental leave?”
- To those who are the single parent – you are strong. You got this. Have a support system (if possible).
I think it is hard to listen someone talk/vent without saying anything. One of the things that I have learned from parenting is that, children just want their feelings acknowledge. They don’t want solutions, or “silver lining” sayings. They just want to be heard.
I am currently going through some emotions now and want to talk to someone and just have someone simply listen. Unfortunately, I realize no one in my support group (friends, family, even therapist) can do that for me. If I turn to them, I already know what they will say. And it’s not what I need to hear. It is not what will get me through this.
And that sucks.
I know that I will get through this (eventually), that I am strong, that I should be grateful, and that things could be a lot worse.
But still. Am I not allowed to have these feelings?
I feel like I can never really put my guard down and can’t be the real me. Or even just falter. That I always have to stand and keep moving.
If you were to ask me a few years ago, that I would end up divorced, a single parent, and end up in somewhat difficult co-parenting relationship, I wouldn’t believe you. Yet, here I am. It’s better this way though and I’m glad that I am out of the relationship. The hardest part is the co-parenting. We have different parenting styles. After being in this relationship – I never want to be in one again. I am way more guarded now than ever.
since I last posted.
A lot has happened.
Switched to a new position within my company. I am a User Experience Designer now.
My company Cynergy was acquired by KPMG this year.
I have an infant son.
I love to babywear.
I am an AP/Gentle parenting mamma.