My wife has just found a new job. I’m really happy for her, it’s a great job, casual but with a set roster. She enjoys retail and she’s fantastic at connecting with her customers and understanding people’s needs. For the last month my wife finished up working at her previous casual position and started training for her new job. In the meantime, our bank balance has taken a real hit with the interrupted work.
I’ve always encouraged my wife to work. Due to her exceptional retail abilities, she often makes more per hour than me, and it’s important to be active within the workforce (even if it’s only for one or two days a week). This last month has been a real eye opener that my income alone feels severely inadequate in supporting my family.
I work full-time creating training tutorials and media content for a software developer, it’s my first job out of uni and I came in with limited employee history, all things considered. It’s a stable job with a respected company in its field. I don’t do overtime or weekend work and I like it’s policies around sick and annual leave.
Personally, I consider myself a bit of a Jack-of-All-Traders digital producer. Outside my full-time work creating educational and promotional material, I design logo’s, business cards, documents, build websites, film and edit conferences/ seminars/ performances, shoot, record and edit weddings and I run a web series. For anyone who reads my bio at the bottom of the articles, I also help my wife run an online baby store selling cloth nappies, organic products and other baby related goods.
I feel like my workloads are ever increasing, money is slipping through my fingers faster than ever and the time I do get at home with my son feels increasingly precious as he begins to seek more interaction.
We’re a young family but it’s a little disappointing to me, the ‘bacon-earner’, to see our childless friends buy sports cars and their first or even second house. We don’t have many friends who have families of their own and usually the couple both work full-time. It might be an unfair comparison to make, but there’s a constant fear of “I’m not doing enough for my family”. Being a university graduate, I had an extra three years of student poverty compared to my own friends and when I met my partner, she was still studying, we both started from the bottom with zero savings.
Getting a full time job meant we finally had money to manage. It’s a strange time when you go from living out of a parents fridge to buying your own fridge and moving out. Money management is a skill you need to learn and practice. Some people had jobs through high-school, some of our friends work so much overtime that a few costly, spontaneous decisions won’t impact their lifestyle. My wife and I are getting some of our most valuable lessons in managing money now, and I’m thankful we don’t have the stresses of a mortgage immediately on top of our young family.
I should probably reiterate that this article isn’t about complaining that I don’t get paid enough or spending time moping, or being envious of our friends who are doing well. I’m building skill sets, doing what I enjoy and I’m not seeking life or financial advice. I set out to highlight the pressure of being the ‘bacon earner’ in a young family, how it’s disappointing that my wife needs to work to cover our expenses but even though money is tight, we’re constantly managing finances and budgets around our son and lifestyle, and I’m thankful for that experience early in life.
For our friends, one of the main reasons they haven’t started a family of their own is because children don’t fit in with their budget at the moment. Even though I’m sure they’ll manage once they do decide to start their own families, my wife and I have been and will continue to manage all our living costs around our son; car loans, mortgages, personal debt. While we might not be able to afford some of the luxuries others have, we can definitely pay for all our needs (with some wants thrown in). And at the end of the day, I am grateful for that.
I’m Chris, a new dad with fire in my eyes and a floor covered in hard plastic toys and things with wheels. I run a small online baby store with my wife (oohseebee.com.au) and work full time creating content for a software company. Times have changed since I blew my first demons apart in DOOM as a kid, and as I raise my son in a world of political correctness, anti-violence and understanding, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the expectations in schools and society. Parenting is a team effort and even though there are many different types of teams, without my wife I couldn’t imagine fatherhood. Find all of Chris’ articles here.