Once upon a time we had it all.
We both had successful, highly paid jobs. Our kids were happy and doing well at school. We lived in a beautiful inner city suburb and were about to sign off on a renovation that would turn our modest bungalow into a beautiful family home. Life was good. Busy and stressful, but good.
Then burn out hit. And this time it was bad. After four weeks of sick leave and a lot of counselling I was only just able to hold it together through a full day at work – and only if everything went to plan.
We had a decision to make. If we wanted the beautiful house I was going to have to find a way to stay in a job that was eating away at my soul. The alternative was to quit my job and put the renovation on hold.
Two weeks after I finished work my youngest daughter turned to me and said “Mummy, you have time to hang out with us now and I think that’s really good”. I knew I’d made the right decision. We were a much happier family and with some minor adjustments we could get by on a smaller income.
Then my husband was made redundant – a blessing in disguise given the stressful environment he was working in. He applied for jobs but I could tell his heart wasn’t in it. After years in management roles, what he really wanted was to return to being a self-employed landscape gardener.
So here we are. A middle-aged (there, I said it) couple with three young children. We’ve made a lifestyle choice that has increased our happiness and reduced our stress, but it has also reduced our income.
There’ll be no big renovation. Instead there’ll be a makeover of our existing bungalow – incorporating space saving ideas to help five people live in 100 square metre space.
We’ll reduce our spending by defining what’s important to us as a family – and to the planet – by reducing, re-using and recycling.
And we’ll focus on giving our kids amazing memories rather than expensive, expendable things.
Come along on our journey.