Some people spend their holidays drinking cocktails. I am envious. I would love to sit by a pool in the sun drinking Pina Coladas. It reminds me of our time in Fiji, a jug of Pina Colada, sun loungers, a two-year-old playing at our feet.
But this holidays it was not to be. This week I’ve spent my precious annual leave sanding, cleaning, stripping wallpaper, pulling staples out of the floor, and learning to wallpaper. This girls have been bored out of their minds, and have been fighting like crazy. The novelty of stripping wallpaper wore off after the first weekend.
But we are building a future for our children and ourselves. There are a lot of sacrifices we have to make, but it will all be worthwhile in a few months when the house is complete.
And at least I can say I have learned something new!
Because life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than your comfort zone [Billy Cox].
This was my first ever attempt at wallpapering (“after” photos to come):
Life had been going pretty smoothly over the last few months. I’d dropped a couple of volunteer positions, learned to say no to work commitments, and even turned up for the odd school outing! I was exercising, going to relaxation yoga, and enjoying spending quality time with my family without stressing about work.
But you know what happens when a busy workaholic finally slows down? They find something else to do.
And I did.
Over the last few weeks, we have been in the process of buying another house. It is old and run down and needs a complete renovation. We have been busy measuring it up, picking carpets, shopping for kitchens, appliances and curtains. Booking in carpet and floor sanders and builders and painters. Not to mention the usual stress of dealing with the lawyers and the bank. And today we got the keys.
As you know we have been thinking a lot about what we want out of life. We have been looking at whether our busy chaotic lifestyle is for us. Which it may not be.
However, if we want to make changes in our lives, we need to do something about it.
We can’t just keep going to work every day, making money, spending money, and in five years time realising we are in the exact same position as we are today – just with a few more grey hairs and the girls looking at moving out of home.
A friend reminded me recently that doing my best does not mean working myself to the point of a breakdown. And I thought I had been doing quite well with this whole work-life balance thing! Oh well. Sometimes we are good at kidding ourselves.
Last week I made myself very ill. It started with a cold. I went to work. I spread my germs around. Then I went to Sydney for a conference. My daughter said to me “Mummy I don’t want you to go to Australia, you don’t have to work when you are sick”. I said I do, and her response “but not always Mummy”. I could put this conversation down to childhood innocence and idealism. But she was right.
Welcome to Better Budgeting, part of a new section in our blog – a Working Mother’s Guide to healthy living on a shoestring.
With my background as an Accountant, it makes sense for me to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned in the industry, and my experience applying them to the family budget. This page will be covering ideas for feeding the troops and frugal family fun. We will also look at the ‘Golden Rules’, saving for a big occasion, entertaining the family and staying fit. We will look at ways to track your hard earned dollar, and of course – how to keep more of it!
Frugal Family Food
This page will cover frugal family food ideas. But with a twist. One of my passions is good quality food on a budget.
To me, the affordability of food is not measured in its cost, but in terms of its value for money in a nutritional sense. That bulk bag of yesterday’s baked muffins for $2 may seem cheap when you have lunch boxes to full, but the reality is they are unlikely to have significant nutritional value. Yesterday’s muffins will fill the tummies for a short period of time, and then the kiddies (and husband!) will be asking for more. In the meantime, they have consumed excess sugar and refined carbohydrates that they probably didn’t need.
I’ve signed up for Dry July! I have pledged not to touch a drop of alcohol for the month of July, and I’ve signed up for the Dry July fundraiser to raise funds for people affected by cancer.
Not only am I looking forward to the health benefits of not drinking for a month, but I’ve also lost too many people I love to the hideous illness.
I was 18 when my father rolled his truck on his way home from work. The first few cars drove past him, thinking he was a drunk driver. But the truth was, he had suffered a stroke. He was flown in the rescue helicopter to Auckland where emergency surgery kept him alive. We arrived in the early hours of the morning, baby brothers in tow, to find out the cause of the stroke was a brain tumour the size of a golf ball. Dad was given two months to live. Three days later my youngest brother turned five.
What does the phrase “living my truth” mean to me? It is about being at peace, and content. And the freedom to be me, to drop the mask of the person I show the world, and to honour what is important to me.
“Living my truth” is a journey in getting to know myself. But one benefit of going through the grief process is that it makes you stop. Stop and assess what is really important to you.
Years ago I wrote my goals down. It was in the wake of losing my mother-in-law suddenly, and in the context of having already lost my father to cancer, long before he could walk me down the aisle or ever meet his beautiful grandchildren. One of my goals was to:
Spend more time with my children. Make that QUALITY time. Spend more time playing hairdressers and bouncing on the trampoline and making cakes and reading stories.
A friend recommended a book a while ago, “Rushing Woman’s Syndrome” (Libby Weaver). She loved it, she said it changed her life. I asked her what Rushing Woman’s Syndrome was. Her response was “you!”. So I bought the book and sat down to read it.
Rushing Woman’s Syndrome describes the biochemical and emotional effects of always being in a hurry and the health consequences that urgency elicits. It doesn’t seem to matter if a woman has two things to do in her day or two hundred, she is in a pressing rush to do it all. She is often wound up like a top, running herself ragged in a daily battle to keep up. There is always so much to do, and she very rarely feels like she wins, is in control and gets on top of things….
The book had a test. Score 1-4, you are not a Rushing Woman. Score 5-7, you are on your way. Score 7 or above, hello Rushing Woman. I scored 24 … and decided I didn’t have time to read the book!
But then, in a split second, our lives changed (again). I thought I had solved my Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. I wrote “[t]here is nothing like having someone who makes up such a huge part of your life die suddenly to remind you to stop and smell the roses“. Continue Reading…