One of the best gifts that Forest gave to me and our daughter was parental leave. For 8 months he has laid down his 9-5 CFO job, we have survived, and still thrived, on EI and have had lots of priceless quality time together.
If you want to put a husband and wife into a sink or swim situation just cut their income by 3 quarters while adding a person to the family. We used to rarely talk about money because we didn’t have to. Going out for dinner a few times a week? No worries! Suddenly we had to start talking and planning and budgeting. Yes, the b word. The first real budget of my life. When I single budgeting meant keeping my bank account above zero and dry conversations at church board meetings.
I was nervous about our money talks to say the least. Forest is the detail oriented, in most cases more disciplined dude. I used to be very frugal as a low income student but three years of a comfortable situation had spoiled me a bit. I pictured accounting for every penny and embarrassing conflicts at the cash register. No more coffee dates or spontaneous Amazon purchases or hotel rooms…
To my delight I found out that budgeting does not mean = eliminating all fun and pleasure in life. Just planning it and sometimes redefining it. Restaurants became a special treat, hotel rooms an even more rare treat. A monthly fun fund allows for some spontaneous purchases and coffee dates. Best of all, deleting some areas allows us to be happily more generous to others. Instead of living parallel lives Forest and I began to work as a team and really dialogue about our values, goals and dreams. Where your treasure is there your heart is also.
In the midst of all of this. Forest made the scary and exciting decision to not return to his CFO career.
August marks the end of his parental leave and the beginning of our faith journey as Forest starts a business teaching financial literacy with biblical principles. I wrote family business in the title because I get to use my teaching skills to help him prepare lessons- and make sure that the lessons have a good dose of fun in them 😉 And our daughter brings good cheer and motivation to her Baba.
When we first started to talking about this I thought I would miss the promise of a pay cheque more. We have a lot of commitments and prices rise every day. But honestly I just have peace. I am thrilled to be married to a man who wants to spend time with his family and do work that he is passionate about. I love that he wants to help people be financially free in their hearts more than their bank accounts. I love that he is conscientious and dilligent and that we have savings to rely on in this season of transition. Most of all, I love that he is trusting Jesus our good Shepherd and stepping way out of his comfort zone.
Many times we have stepped out and begin to have doubts, Forest and I say to each other “if we don’t do this we will always wonder “what if…? And we’ll never know…”
Stepping out takes both wisdom and courage. Here we go!