I spent half of the day today fretting uselessly about money and trying to shake that uncomfortable, nagging feeling of being hopelessly skint — a feeling exacerbated by over-tiredness, thanks to the baby getting me up four times last night. Again and again, I asked myself why we made this move, if we were only going to end up as broke as we had been in the UK, but this time with no friends, everything so foreign and unfamiliar, and only one car at our disposal instead of two?
I don’t know what caused the baby’s problems last night, but she hardly slept more than a hour at a time. It was possibly a reaction to her first taste of chicken yesterday (we will tread carefully with that in the future) or to her first taste of beer via my milk — it was my first drink since I fell pregnant, but my mother insisted that she was babysitting last night so that M and I could walk up to the neighbourhood bar and have a drink together, like a proper couple, for the first time over a year and, boy, did that feel good!
Whichever it was, the end result was that I was up all night and never made it to church in the morning, and so I had to go to the last-chance Mass this evening. I got the time wrong and found myself standing in an empty church 30 minutes early, which gave me ample opportunity to fret some more. I should have been praying, but I find that the more stressed I am, less I pray — I can’t seem to focus, can’t stop my mind from racing away from me. I knelt in the pew and tried in vain to rein my thoughts in, but they galloped all over the place wildly. I found myself going back the money situation again and again. Why did we come over if we are going to be so broke? What was the point of all this effort?!?!?
And then it came to me in a moment of perfect clarity. This is why we are here: because although there is absolutely no spare money whatsoever, we are getting by on M’s salary alone. We are not living this tightly and yet still spiralling into the red each month as we were in the UK, short each month by hundreds and hundreds and having to drain our savings to make up the difference. More than that, we have even been out house-hunting with a realtor all last week, because is actually feasible for us to buy a house (and one that’s big enough for us to live in!) on the money M is making. And, perhaps most importantly, we are doing all this with me being able to stay home with the girls. So although life feels as difficult as it was in the UK, the realities of the two situations are actually miles apart — half a world apart, in fact.
And just like that, everything slowed down, my mind stopped racing, and I felt a bit of peace come over me at last. In those few, rare minutes away from everything, I was able to find some much-needed perspective, and it made all the difference in the world.