Both my children are in public school and I'm happy for them to be so. We live an extremely modest lifestyle (ie have a tiny house).
I think the issue I am trying to raise is more the debilitating effects of depression.
Wow, what a response! Thank you for all of the kind comments and for sharing your own experiences. I'm slightly overwhelmed but so glad to hear so many people have found this article helpful.
I feel I have taken a lot of good advice from the Accountingweb community so it feels great to be giving something back for once.
On a personal level, if there is anyone who would like some one-to-one support I would be more than happy for you to PM me.
I wish I had your problems!
I think I took 2 weeks off from my practice when daughter no 2 was born and I haven't stopped since. But our financial position has always been rather more desperate so I had no choice.
Believe me when I say, they grow up far too fast! The period when they are completely dependent and devoted to Mummy is actually quite short in hindsight and as soon as they start school you feel rather redundant (or in my case relieved).
It sounds to me like you don't want to loose your career and be "just" a full-time mum. I would set yourself a target for how many hours you would like to work a week, and aim to fill your time to this and no more with quality clients. It will give you the time to just be you again and keep your brain active, without putting too much pressure on your time with your little ones. It will form a decent foundation for when they start going to preschool and school at which point you can decide if you want to push forward and grow the business or carry on as you are.
Best of luck!
Need a push!
When I decided to start up in practice (whilst on maternity leave with daughter No1) I managed 3 months before I started panicking and went back to a full time job. 3 more months down the line I fell pregnant with daughter no. 2 and managed to find a part-time financial controller job which gave me two full days a week at home with my eldest daughter. While I was on maternity leave with daughter no.2 I was made redundant from my part time job. Having tinkered about with my practice in the background while all of this was going on, I was suddenly forced to push the practice forward and try to make a living out of it.
It occurred to me at this point, I hadn't really committed fully to running a practice, I presume because I was scared I would fail and the financial repercussions of relying on my husband's income alone would have been catastrophic. After all, it's so much easier to not try, than to try and end up failing.
Somehow (not sure how) I have managed to survive to the point I have a small practice which earns a living and fits in around the school terms (with the occasional afternoon off for school trips/plays/sports days/to sit around at home in my PJs watching Jeremy Kyle). Both my girl's are at school now and although it has been a tough old slog, it has definitely been worth it! It won't be all that long until they are independent enough to not need me so much so I'm glad I've had the chance to be with them when they did need me.
Hope that helps! Feel free to get in touch if you want a chat!
Writing for kids
I've always wanted to be a writer but always lacked the confidence in my own work.
I've dreamed up a series of children's books, where the main characters (children) are ghost-hunters. It's kind of a Scooby Doo meets Harry Potter meets The Famous Five. Doubt it will ever go anywhere.
I'm currently sponsoring and organising an annual Short Story competition on behalf of a local children's hospice, which I hope will raise lots of money for the charity and help satisfy my creative streak!
You are not alone my friend.
Have you ever visited a website called moodgym (https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome)? It is a completely free course in cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps you look closely at your own behaviour and how you react to the things going on in your life.
I've been battling with severe depression and anxiety for all of my adult life and my doctor suggested this (along with a prescription of strong anti-depressants) some time ago. It was extremely helpful and started me on the path to recovery. It wasn't an instant cure and it takes a long time to correct the kind of negative thinking that sets us on a downward spiral. But it is a very good start.
I also recommend that you read S.U.M.O. (Shut up and Move on) by Paul McGee which helped me stop dwelling on the things I had done badly and focus on moving forward. And also Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton, which helped me to realise that depression is a disease. It is not part of who I am and doesn't have to be a part of my life forever.
I hope that helps somehow. Feel free to PM if you ever want to talk.
It honestly does get easier
I was in the same boat. My girl's are 15 months apart and in the early years it seemed like insanity! Within the last 12 months, both girls have started school full time and what's more they are so close they play together brilliantly so the forthcoming Easter holidays will be much less of a nightmare. I know I will be able to schedule half days getting some work done while they play very happily in their room. I think as long as I also schedule activities and trips out as rewards for letting me get some work done everyone will be happy. They are now 5 and 6 and not only am I earning a decent income from my practice, I can take a day off now and again and veg in front of tv in my pjs or take a day off to help out on a school trip or (my personal favorite) curl up under a duvet in front of the tv for cuddles on sick day. None of the stress of arranging time off work for sick days or to go to sports days or rocking up late to the school run in a panic.
In summary, life is great. It's been a hard 6 year slog to get here but now I'm here I wouldn't swap my life (maybe my house, perhaps a couple of my clients, but definatley not my life!)
Pointless offering by Mr Osbourne
The whole point of government funding for childcare is to help parents with young children get back to work. A mum sat at home is not paying any tax and in general the household is going to be spending less (so not so much vat income for hmrc). A mum out working, even part-time, is going to be paying tax, national insurance, putting more petrol in the car (fuel duties) and generally buying more (vat) not to mention all the alcohol duty on the gin and wine!
For many households the sheer cost of childcare is a barrier to most mums going out to work and so they need the meagre offerings the government can offer. The policies outlined in the budget are a nonsense and will only benefit the people who don't need it. It will not help the family who are considering if it is worthwhile going back to work as they will not be able to afford to wait a whole year + to see any help with the childcare costs. Many of these families are living hand to mouth as it is. Why forgo spending precious time with your young family if you can be just as well not working and claiming benefits.
It's a pointless gesture as far as I'm concerned.
I should point out I have been self-employed since my eldest daughter was born. I took a total of 4 months maternity leave when baby number 1 was born and 2 weeks when baby number 2 was born. I have never qualified for state benefits or tax credits and the only state funded help we have had (apart from child benefit) is the funded nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds.
I'll get off my soap box now.
Have you ever read...
How to be a productivity ninja? I highly recommend it as a way of managing workloads, scheduling etc.
My schedule for this week included three sets of full accounts, one of which my biggest client. I still haven't started as I have been faffing about looking at offices. Ho Hum!
Honest, open and very interesting
I think you're blogs are extremely refreshing and open. I should imagine it is very unnerving to put yourself in the spotlight like this and I think you are very brave!
If blogging is something you enjoy doing then keep on doing it. Just because an activity isn't adding directly to your bottom line doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile thing to do.
I just wish you wouldn't let yourself get wound up so much! I know it's easy to take comments personally, and I would be exactly the same as you (perhaps with a few more swear words). But the point where you get into heated debate with others is when the blog becomes just a drain on your time.
Maybe in future you would be better off resisting looking at your blog responses until after the end of the working day, giving you the opportunity to see the balance of all responses before responding yourself.