This week marks the beginning of a new adventure for me; for us. On Friday I handed in my notice at work. I'm officially a full-time Mama, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me; makes us.
Before Ben and I decided to make a baby, we had discussed waiting for a time that would financially allow me to stay at home with our child indefinitely. People make all kinds of decisions when it comes to childcare and heading back to work, based on money and ambition and a whole bunch of other factors, but for us it was important for me to be able to stay at home for as long as I wanted to. And we knew that would be as long as possible. For us, becoming parents meant being the people who decided what our children would be doing each day, how to care for them and how they were taught those early life lessons. For us, handing our baby over to a nursery or childminder to make those decisions wasn't an option.
But in reality, it wasn't as simple as that. Ben's doing really well in his job but despite some serious budgeting and planning, we quickly realised that without me working, money would be tight. Really tight. As the months of my maternity leave ticked by (here in the UK you're able to take 12 months of maternity leave, where you receive a small percentage of your salary for the first nine months) we weighed up all the options. Working part-time? Find an evening job? Going back full-time? The true expense of childcare and more. But no matter what, we still came back to the same answer. There are more important things than money and nothing more important than our little family and our baby.
So here we are, living off one salary. Budgeting to within an inch of our lives, compiling some pretty strict meal plans to keep within our allocated food spend a week, saying goodbye to most treats. But it doesn't matter. We can do it. We can pay our bills and our rent. Keep our car and still eat good, home cooked meals using fresh ingredients from our local butchers and greengrocers (in fact Ben's enjoying and embracing the challenge of these financial restrictions as he plans our meals for the week). We've even got a teeny bit spare to enrol Phiney on the next level of swimming lessons.
But don't get me wrong, a bit extra would make a whole lot of difference and over the coming months you'll see me taking the next step to make Happy Circus my new career. To bring in more than a bit of spending money. But that's for another post.
You'll also see us getting seriously thrifty, making second-hand a priority, saving the pennies where we can and attempting a completely DIY Christmas. Bit that's for another post too.
Money-making, money-saving, upcycling, recycling - it's all something you'll be seeing a lot of round here. We're more than up for the challenge of creating a loving home full of fun, laughter and adventure that isn't impacted by the restrictions of our financial situation and, as I know we're by no means the only ones trying to live on a budget, your advice, tips and support will always be welcome.
This is a new period in our lives, and it's one we're so happy to be embracing. At times I'm sure it'll be difficult but being able to spend my days with our beautiful girl and for Ben to know that she's with me while he's at work, it's more than worth it, and worth sacrificing all those material things for.
It's the little moments like these that I wouldn't miss for the world. Josephine learning how to use her beaker on her own but finding the lid far more entertaining. And then there's seeing that smile all day, everyday. Yes, I count myself so very lucky.