We knew when we decided to have Willow and I decided to take a six-month maternity leave followed by a gradual return to work, that we’d spend more than we brought in for several months.
This is especially true given that it costs us quite a bit more per month to own our house than it did to rent the place we lived when River was born. Also, our expenses tend to go up when a new one arrives because we both believe it’s worth investing in services that will make our lives easier during the short but high-stress time of having an infant around.
We went into a bit of a hole in the months after River’s birth too. And we got out of it. As long as we both remain employed, it won’t be a problem to recover from this temporary overspending either.
However, it’s still anxiety-provoking when you reach the point, as we are now, when you know your expenses are greater than your income. When River was born, we were saving for a house and had cash reserves we could dip in to. This time we don’t. Last time we could pretty much make ends meet on Mark’s income. This time, due to the increase in housing costs, we can’t.
It’s felt a bit stressful in the past few days as we’ve pondered how to handle some large bills and upcoming expenses. It can feel like we’re being irresponsible. Mark said we can’t afford to have any more kids.
But then, as I was working on our taxes, I took a look at the bigger picture. We’re preparing well for the future. We’re financially stable. Some of the unusual expenses will come under control in the coming months and I’ll slowly, but eventually, be bringing more income to the family budget. It really is a short-term situation.
So I try to give myself permission to not stress about it. This is the time for me to spend more time with my children. It’s time for me to adjust to becoming a mother of two, and to work out a new balance between my roles as a parent, spouse, individual and professional. It’s a temporary situation that I should enjoy as it is, because it is temporary. Soon enough, things will be more stable, but I’ll also have less flexibility. So I will appreciate it and enjoy it while I can.