Modern life can be pretty tough for the vast majority of households in the country. Many families have both parents in jobs and often work around the responsibilities of bringing up kids. It’s not necessarily a bad a situation if you are getting well remunerated, but the truth is that many people are struggling to get by, and living from paycheck-to-paycheck, suffering from exhaustion, and struggling to keep afloat.
If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to try and do something about it. If you are tired of just getting by and want to enjoy life a little more than your current situation allows, there are a few things you can consider. A tweak to your lifestyle here, and a little advice in the right places there can make all the difference. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can improve your family’s outlook, create a safety net, and get more out of life.
First of all, being a parent on a full-time basis is exhausting enough as it is. But throw in a job – or two – and the stresses and strains of working paycheck-to-paycheck and things quickly move to another level. And if you are experiencing life like this, you are in good company. There is something of an exhaustion epidemic going on right now, and tiredness is widespread.
The first step towards reclaiming some energy and wakefulness is to go and see your doctor. Conditions such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome are all too common these days, and it can have an enormous impact on your ability to operate. A checkup with your physician will also rule out – or diagnose – any other underlying health issues that might be arising because of your exhaustion.
Don’t forget, when you are suffering from extreme tiredness, it can have an impact on your mental wellbeing, as well as your physical health. ‘Working mom burnout’ is often followed by depression, anxiety, and many other issues. It’s vital to get yourself checked out and take the appropriate course of action should you be suffering from any problems. And, with the right treatment, you can start to manage your tiredness in more efficient way than you do right now.
Money is a big issue for everyone, of course. And no matter how much you earn, it always seems like you need more just to survive. Financial issues cause many other problems, too. Stress, anxiety, relationship issues – the list is endless, and being without a financial safety net is incredibly dangerous.
So, the first thing you need to do is address your debts. Create a budget and identify cost-saving opportunities wherever you can. Use the money to pay off your debts, and at the same time, consider trying to improve your credit rating. There are cards out there for people with a poor rating, and loans for bad credit if you need to get yourself out of a fix. However, bear in mind that you need to pay these back almost immediately if you don’t want to make your debt problems worse.
Once you have started to pay off your debts and improved your credit rating, it’s time to start creating an emergency fund. In an ideal world, this fund would be around six months-worth of your ordinary income, which sounds tough to achieve when you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. However, it is possible with the right budgeting advice – try using a service such as YNAB to help you transform your finances and give yourself a stable financial footing.
When you are working as well as bringing up kids, you face something of a dilemma. You need to work to pay the bills, as you cannot survive on one person’s income alone. But to work, you also need to pay for childcare, which can be as much as $10-15,000 every single year. When you factor in all that expense with taxes, travel costs, and other essential working expenses, it means a salary of anything less than $25-30000 is almost like working for free.
In many cases around the country, it might be beneficial for the parent on the lowest wages to consider packing in work altogether. However, other solutions might help. Ask your employer if the would consider flexible working hours so you can cut back on the costs of daily childcare. Working from home is another option, which will reduce your travel expenses. The point is, you need to try and ensure that working is actually paying off, rather than costing you money.
Finally, there’s also the guilt you feel as a working mom to consider. While you might need to work, there is a nagging feeling that you should be caring for your kids yourself, not handing them over to a nursery or childcare setting. There are, however, plenty of solutions for ditching your guilt about working, the most important of which is to focus on quality time – which we are going to take a look at now.
There are a couple of areas we need to cover here, and they affect every household in which both parents are working. You’ll need to consider the time you spend with your children, of course. There is also the need for finding time to care for yourself – which might be more possible than you think.
Regarding spending time with the kids, it’s vital for all of you to focus on quality when there isn’t enough quantity available. Be sure to carve out dedicated times of the day to spend with your children, and use your weekends to do fun activities as much as possible. There’s a good chance that you will worry about things like keeping a tidy house, of course, but you have to ask yourself which is more important: a clean kitchen or a happy child who falls asleep at night when you read them a story?
Finally, be sure to find time for yourself. Whether it’s a half an hour a day to do some exercise, or even just a few evenings a week to read a book or watch a movie, it’s important to take time off and recharge your batteries. Doing so is good for the soul, gets you to relax, and, ultimately, will help you be a better parent.