I’ve been working from home for four years now, and it’s been a wonderful journey. I love all the benefits of working from home, but one of the drawbacks is that I have trouble saying “no”, and I have a deep rooted financial insecurity that makes me say “yes” to almost every project that comes my way, even if it might not be a good fit for me or my family.
These two attributes can lead to serious burnout, as I’ve experienced over the last few months.
Eliminating Work Stress
Homeschooling 3 kids, carting them to activities and making all of our meals from scratch thanks to our food intolerances IS a full-time job. Often more than a full-time job. When I put 25 to 30 hours of work on top of that, well, I was exhausted.
I knew my workload was hurting my health. I wasn’t sleeping enough, and I was too stressed.
I couldn’t enjoy my time with my kids because I was always thinking about work.
Sometimes my husband had to stay home rather than go to work so I could meet my deadlines.
Sometimes I failed to meet my deadlines, which made me even more stressed.
My husband and I talked for the last three months about reducing my workload. We cut the budget so that ALL of our basic expenses were covered by his paycheck.
But we knew, when I reduced my hours, we’d be trading work stress for financial stress.
Fighting Financial Stress
All of us have an ebb and flow of expenses. Right now, my husband and I are facing some major expenses:
- $3,300 for Bookworm’s braces (This is our total after insurance pays $1,500. Bookworm’s treatment will include expanding his upper jaw for 9 to 12 months to reduce crowding, and then braces for 15 months.)
- $500 for new tires on our car
- $188 for new glasses for Bookworm (Bookworm’s near-sighted. We took him to get new glasses last May before we moved to Arizona, but his eyes are weakening quickly, and he had already lost -1.00 on each eye from the last appointment 9 months ago, so new glasses were a must.)
- $400 to have PB & J Girl and Bookworm’s cavities filled. (Somehow, PB & J Girl had 8 cavities!!! Don’t ask me how as we eat a very nutritious diet, she doesn’t drink juice, and she rarely gets sweets.)
- $600 for my husband to get three cavities filled including one that will likely result in a crown (We’re getting a second opinion on this before we go forward.)
We had hoped to make a trip to Michigan to visit family and friends this spring. With fuel and hotel accommodations, the trip would cost approximately $700 to $800. However, we need to replace the tires before we go, so really, the total expense would be $1,200 to $1,300.
We are very lucky in that most of these expenses aren’t imminent. It’s not like our roof is dripping and needs to be repaired immediately.
We have some time to save for Bookworm’s braces.
If we don’t go to Michigan, we have time to save for the tires.
We’ve already covered Bookworm’s glasses out of our medical expense fund.
Still, I can feel the financial stress.
Handling Stress Differently This Time
My natural instinct is to try to ramp up my workload to cover the expenses. However, for the last several months, I have felt the need to slow down, to reduce my work load and to trust that God is in control and will provide.
My grandparents had a traditional marriage, and they often faced tight times, financially. When they did, my grandma didn’t run out and get a job. Her job was caring for the children and the home. Instead, they did without, saved their money, and reduced their expenses. That’s what we’re doing.
We won’t get all of these expenses paid quickly, but we will get them paid, and we won’t go in debt to do so.
How do you handle large, unexpected expenses in your household?