You are Your Best Investment
I’ve always, as an adult, had an odd relationship with money. Having 4 kids and living in a one income household, there never seemed to be enough. And when there was enough, any extra went towards something utilitarian for the household or the kids that fell outside of our everyday budget.
I’m actually really grateful that I experienced that period of lacking in my life. I learned so many awesome tips and tricks and learned how to be outrageously resourceful and creative. It still blows my mind how far I could make our groceries stretch and how many basic household items I could make or substitute for or do without. I learned to garden, sew, repurpose, upcycle, cut hair (my own included), cook from scratch, mend, patch, fix, and work with whatever I had or didn’t have.
There was never a budget for personal spending money. I didn’t have a clothing budget. I didn’t go to the salon for a cut and color. There were no mani/pedis. No massages. Dinners out with friends were few and far between. If I wanted to learn something, I took to the internet or library. You get the idea. If I wanted something done, I did it myself. I eventually took great pride in the fact that I could do/make/learn whatever I needed to all by myself.
I love that I have those skills. I don’t regret that time in my life. Yea it was hard as balls when we were going through it. It was infuriating sometimes, never being able to get ahead. But now that I’m on the other side of it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I truly don’t think I would be the person I am today without having struggled and fought to get where I am.
The only thing is, there were residual effects from having lived in want for so long. Even when I started having enough, the lacking mindset remained and I continued to live my life the exact same way. Home haircuts, second hand clothes, self-taught skills.
I’m not in any way saying those are bad things. I think some level of frugality absolutely has a place in all of our lives. What I’m saying is that anything to the extreme can be a mistake. And something I’ve learned recently and continue to learn, daily, is that sometimes spending the money on yourself is not frivolous, sometimes it’s necessary to your health and success.
I’m just starting to realize that while yea, I can absolutely do a lot of these things myself, it’s not always the best use of my time and energy. And being in a position where I can now afford to pay for some of this stuff, but continuing to constantly DIY sends a message to me, subconsciously, saying that I don’t believe I’m worthwhile enough to spend that kind of money on. That there are better things to invest in.
As I’ve gotten more focused on writing and my plans for this blog, it’s become apparent that for me to wear all the hats and do all the things associated with successfully blogging, I will be spread ridiculously thin, my writing will suffer, and I will resent the whole process. But hey, I’ll save a few bucks so it’s all worth it? Fuck that shit.
I’m working now to find a balance. To put myself higher on the list of priorities. To stop trying to be the do-it-all Wonder Woman mom/blogger/partner. To invest in myself and my dreams. To put my money where my mouth is. To stop being such a fucking control freak and admit that someone else just might do it better, faster, and more enjoyably than me. And let me tell you, what an enormously exciting difference it has made.
First of all, it alleviates a shit ton of stress. Trying to find the time to do all of these things. Trying to do them perfectly, but knowing they will never be more than ‘good enough’. Making due with slightly crappier results than you really wanted. Secondly, it frees me up to really focus my efforts on what I want to be doing, on what makes me happy. Thirdly, I feel valued and important and worthwhile.
Now please understand, I’m not suggesting that you immediately go and outsource every last thing that you don’t feel like doing. What I’m saying is that you are important and you are valuable and you have a purpose. If all day every day is spent taking care of everyone else and doing things that you wish you didn’t have to do, then things are out of balance and may need an adjustment.
The message here is balance. Yes, you are incredible in your ability to do so many different things and meet so many different needs in your life and your family’s lives. Nobody is arguing that. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t have to do everything. And it’s ok to ask for help.
This is one of the most important things I’ve learned.
My whole outlook on money and investing in myself has changed. Where I used to think about the money I would save if I did XYZ myself, I now think about the time that will be freed up and the stress I won’t have to deal with in not worry about XYZ. It excites me to know there are people who enjoy these tasks and are good at them. I love that I get to contribute to their financial success in hiring them or buying from them. It’s a win-win!
I now view money as a tool that is there to help me get where I want to go. It works for me, not the other way around.
And no, I haven’t given up on learning new skills just because I don’t have to learn them to survive. One of the greatest things I took away from that difficult time in my life is that knowledge is power and how much I truly love to learn new things. I just recognize the difference between enjoying learning new things and trying to be an expert at everything in order to save a dime.
So if you get only one thing out of this post, let it be that you deserve to be cared for. By others for sure, but most importantly by yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission or make you a priority.