I made a budget earlier this week. There are certain fixed expenses that I cover every month, out of my writing. I had a sneaking suspicion that output was higher than input, and unsustainable, so I checked. This probably sounds ridiculous–shouldn’t I know exactly how much is going in and coming out? Yes, I should.
Looking at finances, for me, takes facing some demons. Sometimes I wonder if this is my last frontier, a foggy wasteland into which I’m afraid to venture. My parents fought a lot about money when they were married (to each other, I mean). One of the things I’ve appreciated about Kevin is that we spend money quite similarly, and almost always have similar financial goals. But the truth is that I also step back a lot, or worse, close my eyes and just say, you go ahead, honey, and make the decisions. I’d rather not know.
It’s strange. This desire not to know. To be deliberately in the dark.
But I have my own bank account, too. And my own expenses–largely childcare. And my own income. Which is sporadic and not-to-be-relied-upon and if I had to support our family on it, we would live in someone’s basement. Maybe yours. You’d have to feed us, too.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Tracking a path toward financial non-ignorance. My conclusion is that I will need to earn more money this year. I haven’t got enough socked away to cover the truly high costs of childcare. But without childcare, I am looking after these kids by myself, and there is no way to look after kids full-time and to write, too. Or to do anything that requires being out of the home, away from the kids. Want to know why parents are so happy about proposals like all-day every-day kindergarten? Check out the cost of childcare; which, by the way, is a pretty underfunded vocation, given that for childcare to make sense, it has to cost less than what the parents are earning by not doing the childcare themselves. There’s my feminist rant for the day.
Anyway, my brainstorming went something like this:
ways to earn $ – ??
Can you see why I fantasize about being a midwife? I think it’s the stable steady work that appeals as much as anything. If I were a midwife, I could join a clinic, I could practice, and I would know how much money would be coming in every single month. None of the options above offer any sliver of stability, at least not as I am currently practicing any of them.
A former boss of mine, who is a writer, made a very funny/for serious flier advertising his services: “January Blowout Sale. Book writer now and save 20%.”
I’m wondering … should I do something of the sort? Pitch, advertise, apply? (All of which take significant time and energy, too, of course). Or should I just keep doing what I’ve always done, which is to carve out bits of time, write and work, and sometimes get lucky–just often enough to keep the bank account at a slightly stable level. It seems such a haphazard way to construct a career. And that’s what I want–a career, not a hobby.
Note: beautiful photo of clover and shoe-print by AppleApple.