Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How Full-Time Mums Make Ends Meet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How Full-Time Mums Make Ends Meet

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jane Hall

Helen Kelly was once an ambitious career woman. Now the 29-year-old former accountant has a new focus in life - as a full-time mother to her children, Jack, two-and-a-half, and Hannah, one.

She admits it was never her intention to put her career ambitions on hold when she and husband Allan, 30, decided to start a family.

But it soon became apparent that both emotionally and financially it would be better for the Kellys to lose a salary and gain a life.

"After I had Jack I went self-employed," Helen says. "And then I had Hannah and I got part-time employment with a local firm. Having one child is such a new and strange experience to be a mum that you are just happy to hand your child over to someone else to look after and to go back to work.

"But when I had Hannah I knew what to expect and I was less keen on going back."

A month into her new job, Helen, from Biddick Woods, Washington, knew she wanted to devote the next few years of her life to Jack and Hannah.

"I felt stressed and unhappy. I was trying to be all things to all people and I felt I wasn't spending enough quality time with either the children or Allan.

"A lot of parents are lucky in that they have family who can look after their children, but I was in the position of basically working to pay for childcare. Eventually Allan and I realised that although we had two salaries we were too tired to enjoy them. So in December last year I gave up paid work."

It is a decision many parents face. Should both partners continue to work and pay for childcare, or should one parent give up their career, and consequently their financial independence.

Parents are having children much later than previous generations, so they are more accustomed to being self-sufficient.Often, couples earned their own money for years before settling down and the transition from breadwinner to dependant can be difficult.

It has been no less so for Helen. "I took extended maternity leave when I had Jack and I found it difficult then not having my own money, but I always knew I was going back to work.

"Now I have completely given up work I have resigned myself to not earning but have had to come to terms with Allan's money being our money.

"It is a big barrier to get over and I appreciate it would be for most women who have worked. It is strange asking your partner for money, and it is a barrier I have to admit I am only just getting over."

To help that process Allan pays Helen an allowance. "The allowance is for me and goes straight into my own bank account, so I don't have to actually ask Allan for money."

A change in circumstances can be the first time a couple discover they have different views about finances.

Marriage-counselling service Relate says arguments about money are a big factor in relationship breakdowns. …

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