I got to wondering about the value that we place on taking time for ourselves, on re-TREATING. I was reminded of the primary excuse I held onto when it came to self-care.

An amazing self-care opportunity would come up – the perfect yoga workshop, flight deal to California (where my best of best friends lives), the I-would-die-for yoga retreat – and this is what I would hear inside myself:

“We just don’t have the money right now.”

“Do I REALLY need this? Will it REALLY make that much of a difference?”

“It’s a luxury. And I’m not that sort of a luxurious, frivolous spender.”

“I’m doing alright. (Nobody’s in a mental hospital, after all).”

Money and self-care. It’s complicated. And a weekend retreat, like Mom’s UP!, it feels luxurious perhaps.

I get this. Really, I do.

Life with kids is expensive. (More expensive than I ever imagined!) But before you say that investing in a weekend for YOU is too expensive, I want you to ask yourself: what you DO spend your money on?

Your answer might look something like:

  • the mortgage
  • food
  • kids’ activities
  • kids’ clothes
  • the odd pizza night

Or, if you are anything like I was, you may not know or want to know. Because watching the money go is scary.

Then one day I decided to grow up, feel the fear, and do the responsible thing anyway. This was step one of my Alex-will-be-an-adult-about-money journey.

This is when I went to visit Lori Atwood, our family’s to-be Financial Planner/Advisor. Lori helped me to divide our family expenses into 2 big categories: the non-negotiable and the negotiable.

Negotiable expenses include anything that can be, well, negotiated.

  • Groceries (yes, there are ways of bringing that food bill down!)
  • children’s clothing (no, they don’t need to wear designer labels and yes, they can survive second hand thrift shop goodies)
  • children’s activities (that stuff you pay for that you begrudgingly force and drive them to)
  • and family night outs (are they that fun, really?!).

Non-negotiable items include mortgage/ rent, bills, insurance and whatever else we need that keeps us alive and sane.

And what I love most about Lori (who, by the way is a Mom) is that she really gets this “keeps us sane” business, and takes it seriously. This means that within the non-negotiable category lie items like yoga classes, meditation workshops, professional development retreats (including those for Moms).

Because, she figures without this our health and well-being is jeopardized and life stops being, well…enjoyable. And what is money for, if not making life enjoyable?

Ultimately, the logic here is that putting a roof over our head, ensuring our security and supporting our holistic health and growth is the foundation for a good life. And you don’t get vacation days or professional development retreats for your Mom job, so you just have to take responsibility and invest in that yourSELF.

Lori showed me that I am in control of making trade-offs about where we spend our money and where it makes all of us better off and matches what we value.

So, I am very pleased to announce that I have put myself on a budget that involves less of the stuff that isn’t aligned with my values (less Starbucks, less clothing shopping) and more of the stuff that is.

And, guess what?

SANITY, WELL-BEING, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT and BEING A GOOD MOM are on the what-I-value list. Click To Tweet

And so are the pilates classes, yoga workshops and weekend retreats!