Hey everyone! It's been a long time since I've proffered my unsolicited opinions to you. I've gotten several kind notes from those of you who only know me via the interwebs. I'm so thankful for each of you who reached out, and those of you who somehow figured to jump over here.
I took an unexpected break from the blog. I actually have dozens of partially written blog posts, but I put them down to about fiftieth priority on my list of things that matter.
Around my daughter's six month birthday, I started to realize that I had many of the symptoms related to post-partum depression. So I decided to cut back on almost everything that was non-essential. I cut back on work-related obligations, volunteer obligations, and I out-sourced some of the household maintenance to my husband.
I cleared this, so that I could have the time and energy to focus on my health and my sanity. We also dedicated a good chunk of monthly income to this goal. I absolutely believe that this was a good decision. Here's what we've spent, how it connects to my mental health, and the effect I've seen.
Preschool for Kenny
I enrolled Kenny in a 3 day a week preschool. After Shirley was born, I thought I could find a babysitter from time to time when life became overwhelming. I was wrong. Babysitters are tough to find, and its as overwhelming arranging for them as to just go without.
But a friend recommended a local preschool, and I found that it offers perfectly adequate childcare and Kenny loves it! He looks forward to seeing his friends and, "my Mrs. Mindy" three days a week. Meanwhile, I look forward to Shirley napping during this time. This time allows me to knock off most of my freelance work, and I don't have to battle between deadlines and kid time as much.
Preschool costs around $175 per month, and it is worth every penny!
The gym closest to our house runs $130 per month for the family. I never could justify this cost. But I found a gym that costs just $45 per month for me and the kids. They have a childcare center and a pool. It's awesome!
I take the kids 3-4 days per week, and I get in a solid workout. The kids and I use the pool at least once per week. Both kids love the water, and I love having a fun activity to do with them.
Working out is the best thing for me to do when I feel overwhelmed, and I'm super thankful that I found this gym. This is an expense that won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
Closet organization system
My husband built shelves next to our bathroom upstairs. Previously this area was filled with rubbermaid boxes, suitcases, laundry hampers and a horrible bookcase from Walmart. So ugly.
A tidy house does a lot for me, and this is a huge benefit. Total cost $300 (though Rob wants to do more).
For a long time, I was faithful to wake up at 5AM. No more. I sleep in. This means I can't take on quite as much freelance work, but I'm good.
Sleeping has an opportunity cost. In my case, I can translate that directly to a loss in income. It's a tradeoff that is well worth it.
A close friend and I are trading childcare for date nights a few times a month. Rob and I hadn't been in the habit of spending money on our relationship, and that was a mistake. We keep our dates relatively low cost. Often, we just drop off the kids, buy ice cream and head home. Sometimes, we spend money on a dinner date. Once Shirley starts taking a bottle (or alternatively eating enough solids), we're hoping for a weekend getaway.
This kind of spending is so good for us. Total cost is probably $100 per month or less.
Since I'm not feeling my best, Rob gets the brunt of my foul moods. It is so good for us to rekindle romance, to connect without obligations, and to enjoy time together.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.