Okay, I'm coming clean.
If you ask any of my kids, they will tell you that I'm thrifty. Actually, they will probably tell you that I'm cheap. But I would like to think that they understand why I make thoughtful financial decisions for our family every single day. After having been in debt for a decade and getting out of that situation where I felt trapped and buried, I have chosen to live the last ten years without a credit card. Not once have I used a plastic card in my wallet for a purchase or to support my immediate wants, spending habits or impulse decisions. I was able to shift my financial mindset after transitioning through a pivotal moment of my life. And now, as my husband and I are both now self-employed, I really have learned to put additional value into every single dollar that we earn together. I value that dollar. I value our active, thrifty and thoughtful lifestyle. I put a ton of value on the countless hours that we work each week. And, therefore also put a value on our hours spent together as a family.
Over the past ten years, I have slowly transitioned out of my desk job, shifting into a part-time entrepreneur, and then into a full-time self-employed personal trainer and running coach. The growth, support and opportunities that I have received have been amazing. The lifestyle that we are living is something that I never managed that I would be able to embrace and enjoy.
Yet, I still continue to live frugally. I shop with purpose. I choose our adventures and time spent together around our budget. I meal plan every week and shop sales and discount bins. Everything I do and every moment that I spend during the day has a price associated with it.
We recently purchased our dream home. Our dream home doesn't mean big and fancy. It just means that it was located in a neighborhood where we enjoy spending time, running the trails and feel comfortable in the community. This home gives all five of us our own space to spread-out and enjoy the little things that make a house a home. A home office to share, bedrooms for each of the kids and their virtual learning, an entire floor for family games and crafts and playing, a cozy den to enjoy weekend mornings over coffee, a spacious kitchen to create seven meals around the dinner table each week and a home gym to work from home and invest in ourselves each and every day.
Our new home isn't too much larger than our previous home. But the new space and the busy-iness of our current lifestyle took a toll on me recently. After a recent Sunday morning cleaning session, I hit rock-bottom. Like ... all.the.way.to.the.bottom. And I realized that this was a vicious cycle over the past several years when I fully invested myself ... and my time ... into a deep cleaning of the house. I was spending up to six hours scrubbing, cleaning, sobbing - and being angry with my family and myself for letting things "get this way". Wanting to spend those hours and my time in other ways. Any other way. My family always did their part, but I would redo things or respond that I could do it on my own. This was just me feeling like I had let our home and my family down by not keeping up with "all the things". I hate letting people down (family, clients, friends, co-workers). I don't cancel on things, I fully invest myself into whatever I'm doing, and I hate asking for help. This was obviously no different.
After thinking about things, I realized that this has been something that I have ALWAYS struggled with. But, still I always tell my clients to ask for help. And, to outsource things that allow them to make time for the things that bring them joy and that will help them embrace a healthy lifestyle.
I can do everything. But, I don't have to.
I get up at 3:50 am six days a week and cannot possibly squeeze any more time out of the 24 hours that I am given. After a discussion with my husband, we decided that he would find us someone to come in and do the deep cleaning for us once a month. The thrifty me really struggled with this decision. Like, REALLY struggled. But, ultimately we pulled the trigger, because we felt that those few hours were going to free-up a few more hours for family time together, time working out, being creative (working on this blog!) or hanging out with friends -- and a few less hours of feeling all anxious inside, resenting our home and those around me.
The cost of investing in these individuals coming into our home while I was investing in myself and my clients for those few hours was invaluable. And, this was quite possibly the best investment that I have made in my marriage and my relationship with my family. I'm already seeing a positive shift in these relationships. I am hoping that this shift will also happen with myself and lightening-up on my expectations of myself.
This was just one small shift that I am making this year to clean up my mental health. I have grown and learned so much about myself over the past ten years. They say that tough times don't last, tough people do. I have already learned that I am tough with everything that I've experienced. That doesn't mean that I have to continue to prove it by making it even tougher on myself. This year is going to be another pivotal one that I am ready to embrace.