Since I quit my day job 8 months ago, I have been incredibly blessed. I started out with two small little freelance jobs a year ago this month, and miraculously, those jobs have blossomed into another group of jobs, which lead to more connections and other jobs. Truly, I am so appreciative.
I have never been one to shy away from working hard, and because I love what I am doing and I so want to pay off our debts, I struggle with saying no.
I worry that the jobs will stop coming, that my husband’s post doc won’t be renewed. . .I have always been the worrying type, and that feeling creeps up more and more during the winter. I am glad that the spring sunshine is starting to appear.
Financial Lessons Learned in My Childhood
When I was 12, my dad lost his job. My parents never had much money, and after he lost his job, they struggled to survive. I didn’t know the extent of their financial straits until I was much older, but I grew up seeing my mom, who handled the budget, sitting at the table with her budget notebook and her calculator, adding and computing over and over again.
She still does it today.
Meanwhile my dad used to get irritated when he worked overtime because rather than being surprised by how big his paycheck would be, she had calculated almost down to the penny.
What I learned is that money is scarce. It is not that my mom taught me that, but it is how I interpreted our situation and my parents’ behavior.
Money is scarce. . .
How Childhood Financial Lessons Are Affecting Me Now
And now, I am a mom to three wonderful kids, and I find myself conflicted. I quit my job to stay home with my kids, especially my daughters, because my son had to go to daycare and preschool when he was little. Even though I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, we couldn’t afford it because my husband was still in school. Once he graduated, we both agreed that I would quit to take care of our girls during the day and to pick up most of the household work so my husband could concentrate on his post-doc and securing a tenure track teaching position.
I wanted to work a bit from home, but watching my business grow and being able to do something I love is more than I ever planned.
Recently, I have experienced business growing pains, so to speak. I had to let some clients I enjoyed working with go because my schedule was just too full. This would be easy if I had disliked the clients or the jobs, but I didn’t. They were nice to work with.
Because I enjoyed working with them, and because I grew up with the notion that money is scarce, it wasn’t an easy decision. However, I am working on trusting that letting some clients go was right not only for me professionally, but for my family, who should be my first priority. When the kids are older and in school, I can easily work more and juggle more jobs.
I am new to the freelance world, but from other freelancers I have spoken with, there is always a delicate balance between how much work you can take. I also understand that there is a delicate balance between jobs. Sometimes you have to let some clients go to free up your schedule a bit more or to make room for new clients.
More than learning about the freelance lifestyle, I am learning about myself through this process. I am learning that so much of my thoughts about money revolve around what I learned as a child even though there may be no basis to those fears. I am learning to let go and trust that my work at home mom career will work itself out. Look how it has in the last 8 months. I think the progress I have made should make me willing to trust more.
What financial lessons did you learn in childhood that continue to affect your financial decisions today?