Having a child is the most life changing thing we’ll ever go through. Time – and what we do with it – priorities, money and many other things seem to change overnight.

One of the challenges women face when starting a family is how to adjust to one income, as well as the sense of losing the independence that your own pay cheque gives.

It’s a very personal experience of course, but this month we thought we’d talk to a mum and a mum-to-be about their experience with the transition from income to mum:

“I went from magazine editor to mother in one foul-smelling nappy swoop, says Caroline, stay-at-home mum of two.

“I certainly wasn’t prepared for the fact that spending my downtime writing freelance articles was next to impossible. I had no down time – at least none with my eyes open.”

“This meant I was completely reliant on my partner’s income to cover all our financial needs and had to get my head around my new identity – from career woman to home-maker.”

“Keeping an open discussion about finances and my feelings with my partner was so important, and having someone to share my concerns about my future employability or lack thereof helped ease some of the stress.”

“It would have been an easier transition had I been more realistic about what I could achieve work-wise when home with a baby. I’d assumed I’d be happy to return to work soon after, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on precious time with my son.”

“Of course it’s not always easy giving up a job you love, but it’s easier when you give it up for someone you love more than anything in the world.”

Angie is 32 weeks pregnant with her first child and getting ready to finish up at work. But while she is eager to meet her little one, she worries about their ability to buy a house down the track.

“I’m pregnant with my first child. We’re desperate to buy a house, but realise we’ll be overstretching ourselves when we go down to one income. I can’t stand paying rent and would love to have my own home, but I can’t see how we’re going to get there.”

“We want to have more than one child, so it’s hard to see a time when we’ll be able to get on the property ladder. My husband is a teacher and has picked up some extra tutoring and marking assignments which is hopefully going to set us on the right track.”

“I’m planning on working until about two weeks before the baby comes so we can save as much as possible. We’ve purchased most of our baby gear secondhand, and friends and family have given us loads of clothes and toys. I guess I’m going to have to be patient on the house front and when the baby’s here he/she will become my biggest priority!”

Susan Jackson, founder of ms money says planning and keeping an open dialogue about money is essential when starting a family: “It can be hard to adjust to not having ‘your own money’ and the sense of independence it delivers.

“Overnight your life changes dramatically and it can be a while before you find yourself amongst the wipes, nappies and all things bub.”

“It is really important for couples to recognise the emotional challenges this can bring and plan as much as possible for the financial needs that starting a family demands. Minimising financial stress can go a long way in smoothing the transition from income to mum.”

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