Liz’s Diary and Update – January 2022

Welcome to my January personal diary entry & update! I quit my job & shed some tears, I invested more, became an aunty again, back to solo parenting and lots more writing!

My Personal Update

TeachingBrave, Liz's Diary Jan 2022
‘What??! Give me strength, you’re telling me I was born in the middle of a global pandemic?! Let me go back!!’

I’m an aunty again! I became an aunty for the first time late last year when my sister had a baby. My brother and his partner have just had their first baby, named Amy, in January and I couldn’t be happier for them! It will be so beautiful to see these 2 little cousins grow up together, being only a few months apart! Andy is of course so excited to have another baby cousin. He actually loves being around babies and has enjoyed feeding and entertaining baby Lily. Poor Lily actually started childcare for the first time in January and on her first day, contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. She had a very mild case but did develop a fever and had to stay home for a week. Hand, Foot and Mouth is one of those diseases that really sound worse than what it is, and is very common within early childhood settings. If you have a baby starting in childcare, you might want to take a look at my article –Starting your baby in a childcare centre’ which covers these kinds of things – being ready for illness and viruses to spread.

TeachingBrave, Liz's Diary Jan 2022
Hand, Foot and Mouth disease – Lily contracted on her first day at daycare!

Due to Covid, the midwives and doctors at the hospital have recommended to my brother and his partner that nobody should touch or hold baby Amy for at least a couple of months until the risk has been minimised. Andy and I were excited to meet up with my brother and his partner and little Amy, to finally meet her but not touching those little legs and not being able to hold her was very difficult for us. We simply observed her from 2 metres away, in a park, with masks on. : ( We are living in Sydney in the middle of a pandemic, with cases of more than 10,000 per day, so being fully vaccinated isn’t enough, unfortunately. Of course, we understood but can’t wait for proper aunty cuddles!

I’m enjoying not working as a child care director! I never hated my job, in fact, there were many times I loved my job but it had become toxic, very stressful and new ownership meant some significant changes which I wasn’t staying around for. So my last day was in the first week of January! This meant I could spend some quality time with Andy during the school holidays and although we are not specifically in lockdown at the moment, there are many people, including us, who are voluntarily isolating. We enjoyed some days out, including a day at the movies and out for lunch, a day at the beach, some play dates with friends, but it seems that each time we go out, we get a Covid alert that we have been somewhere where there was also a Covid case. So, we have played board games, we have been swimming, bike riding, walking, cooking, watching movies at home, doing a big clear out (which was another great opportunity to sell more household items or clothes Andy had grown out of), and catching up with friends who either don’t have Covid or who have been permitted social time by their parents.

TeachingBrave, Liz's Diary Jan 2022
Bundle of Andy’s shorts and pants that no longer fit – sold on Facebook marketplace for $20!

Money

A few money updates this month! After leaving my job as a child care director, I received my payout only to realise it was missing money! Check those payslips everyone because after I posted about this on my socials, there were numerous people who told me similar stories of their pay being consistently incorrect! If I didn’t check my payslip, my now ex boss could have gotten away with underpaying me by $820! To be specific, I was missing 6 hours of Time in Lieu which needed to be paid out, as well as my annual leave loading. The actual annual leave hours had been paid, but not the loading. You can check Fair Work Australia for more info on pay entitlements when leaving a job. So, considering I had more than 400 hours of accrued leave (Long Service Leave and Annual leave), it’s been quite lovely to look at my fat, chunky bank balance! It’s interesting because in the past I may have looked at this balance and been tempted to spend it, but when I look at it now, I have to stop myself from investing it all! Haha, seriously though, I couldn’t help but invest SOME of it! I mean, do I really need an emergency/sinking fund of $36,000? Well, considering I’m planning to take a break from teaching/directing, I still have mortgage payments coming out and we all need an emergency fund, I would be silly to take this balance down too much, but I did buy some more Betashares A200 shares.

I made a point of showing Andy the dip in the market which also affected his pocket money! Some of his pocket money is in Spaceship micro-investing app and he could clearly see the drop in value but after I explained to him how the market works – how it drops and rises from time to time, but historically has always risen in the long term, he is not too concerned. I’m so proud of how much he’s learning and how enthusiastic he is to learn!

sharesight
kids first aid

This month I also became a little Crypto curious! I had heard of the Bamboo App and decided to dabble in buying a little Bitcoin! Bamboo App actually make it really easy which surprised me, and while we are in a market dip, I decided to invest just $100 in some Crypto. I did a 50/50 split of Bitcoin and Ethereum and I’m just watching it for now. It’s actually only been about 2 weeks but it has already increased a little!

Sharesight just makes investing easier – it’s FREE to sign up!

Since I started investing, I was lucky enough to have a friend recommend Sharesight to me. Sharesight is an accounting tool which is FREE to use and keeps track of all your investments in one place, which makes tax time SO EASY!! When it’s time to start tracking dividends as well as performance, you can simply print off a report in Sharesight and hand this to your tax accountant. If you do choose to upgrade in the future, you can get 4 months free when signing up to the premium plan, but you can stay on the FREE plan and still make things so much easier for yourself! You can sign up to Sharesight for FREE with my link HERE.

Andy’s father Tom is still away overseas so I’m not receiving any child support at the moment which is extra tough.. lucky I have that emergency fund!! Tom promises to pay me back everything he owes once he returns but that still makes things a little tighter right now, especially with all the regular bills, plus the extras like school excursions, new uniforms, soccer registration for Andy, some specialist appointments for him and new clothes! I was able to fit in a day of op shopping which was actually really successful! I went to about 6 in one day and scored shoes for Andy – $10 each, some shorts for him, some new dresses for me and several other items. I rarely buy brand new clothes for Andy – sometimes family will buy them for him for Christmas or birthdays but I don’t think there’s any shame in buying second-hand clothes, especially for growing kids!

I have to share one particularly awesome op shop score – a Louis Vuitton scarf – yes, I’m 98% sure it’s genuine Louis Vuitton – blue, silk, embossed, label attached – bought for $3!!! Yes, $3!!! I googled this scarf and found it selling for $575 brand new online! Does anyone care to take a guess at what I’ll be doing with this $3 scarf???

Parenting and Co-parenting

I felt like I needed to go back and read my own article about the Dangers of too much screen time this month!! Unfortunately, Andy had some play dates canceled and very limited social time due to Covid, so his way of connecting with his mates was playing online X box games with them. We also had movies at home, and he was talking to friends on his phone. I knew it was important for him to remain connected and not having siblings at home is hard for him sometimes, so we make sure he is filling his bucket! I made sure he still had some kind of daily exercise – swimming, walking, bike riding or kicking the ball at the oval, as well as other activities which didn’t involve any screens – sometimes household chores, sometimes Lego, puzzles, board games or reading.

Andy’s father Tom is still overseas so there hasn’t been any co-parenting! I’m doing it solo for what looks like a few months! Andy misses his dad and his dad doesn’t have a return ticket yet so I can’t answer Andy’s questions about when his dad is returning.

This is a bit hard for my social life too as I don’t get much of a break or a chance to connect with my friends, but it’s also good to have that extra time with Andy.

I’ve been starting to encourage a little more independence with Andy, even leaving home alone for brief periods of time. He has his own phone, he’s pretty switched on and mature for his age. He has been instructed to do a chore or two while I’m out and not to touch the stove or any appliances. So far so good for the couple of brief times I’ve done it! It’s so important for kids to be trusted to further develop their independence skills at an age-appropriate level. This helps to build their confidence, feelings of competence and self-worth, builds trust and responsibility.

I would love to hear from other parents as to when you started leaving your kids home alone! Let me know in the comments!

Professional

I QUIT MY JOB and had my last day in early January! This was a very big deal for me after being in the same workplace for 14 years! I started working there as preschool room leader and worked my way up to child care director and then area manager for several centres. While I have years of wonderful memories from this place, I’m sad about how it ended. I put my heart and soul, my blood, sweat and tears into that place and for my boss, it was just business. I felt taken for granted a lot of the time. 14 years of service is a long time and I showed my dedication, passion and loyalty, time and time again. I don’t know if I will take on another director role but I’m not ready to say goodbye to the industry. I had some overwhelmingly positive feedback from the families who were sad to say goodbye to not only myself but almost an entire team! Some parents offered to write me personal references, some were keen to stay in contact and others showed appreciation with some beautiful cards, gifts and messages. I’ve known some of these families for the entire 14 years as they have had multiple kids go through the centre!

TeachingBrave, Liz's Diary Jan 2022
I felt so loved and appreciated by the parents at daycare. Cards, gifts, flowers, emails and personal references..

I will be keeping in touch with several families and many staff members who I call my friends but I will miss the kids!

I may take on some casual teaching later this year but I’ll actually be applying for a leave of absence from teaching. At the time of leaving, I just achieved my NESA accreditation after 5 years and more than 100 hours of professional development to meet the teaching standards. Teachers in NSW need to maintain their accreditation at a proficient level to be able to teach. Now that I have resigned, I feel like I need a break from teaching and so I will apply for at least 6 months leave of absence. This means the teacher accreditation fee can be waived if the leave is between May to September, and it means I don’t need to start recording my professional development hours immediately. You can read more about NESA accreditation in my article HERE.

Teaching Brave Update

In January I published the following articles:

Bigender Kids; Struggling With Gender Dysphoria – with some wonderful comments and feedback on the article, as well as in the socials – there’s so much discrimination out there!

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Water Play; What Are Children Learning? – it’s a fun one!

Barefoot Investor Buckets – How Do They Work? – this one was very popular! Heaps of traffic to the blog after this one – and so many stories on the socials of how people use the Barefoot buckets strategy differently!

What Is Schema Play? – I love watching children play, using different schema – I feel like it gives such an insight into their cognitive development.

I’m excited to say I was a guest on a finance podcast in January, sharing my financial abuse story so I’m looking forward to sharing it once it’s released! I’m hoping it spreads some more knowledge and awareness about financial abuse.

I wrote 2 guest posts in January! Guest posts are a great way to drive a bit more traffic to the blog and increase outreach. I wrote my 5 Best Tips for holidaying with Kids on the Brisbane Holliday Village website. You can find my article here. I also wrote an article with 20 Summer activities for Kids which you can find on Kiddipedia here.

I have some exciting ideas for articles this year for Teachingbrave and I’m also thinking about buying another website!

As always, you can support my blog by subscribing! This simply means that links to weekly articles will be sent straight to your inbox! No payment involved, no spammy content, just my articles. Thank you to all my readers for your ongoing support!

Liz. : )

4 thoughts on “Liz’s Diary and Update – January 2022

  1. Lots of changes 😉
    Congratulation on making it to a group of female crypto owners. I like to set 50 eur buy for bitcoin every month at salary. So I also do not go overboard with it.

    And leaving kid home alone is tricky for me. Until 10 yo it is not allowed to leave child unattended in Finland. We get sick leave days for kids sick under 10. But then school ends at 12 or 1 pm. And starting from 2nd grade there is no after school… So I am confused.
    My younger is 7 and first grade. But I have Been teaching her how to come back from school, operating microwave already and some basic rules – no scissor crafts, no 3d pen, no water play when alone.
    I once left home to throw trashes out without them. Older played with scissors and when I came back in 5 min they were 1 cm deep in her hand. So…. Sigh.

    1. Thank you Muminvestor! You’re right, it’s hard to decide when they are responsible enough to be left home alone but then, oh dear, a story like yours makes you re think things.. eek. Wow, no after school after 2nd grade? Very different! Here in Australia, well at least in the state of NSW, there is no set law of when it’s ok to leave kids home alone – I suppose when parents feel they are responsible enough. Every child will be different too. Some push the boundaries, others don’t. My son will literally not move from the couch if he’s on the X box so I guess that’s a good thing. Slowly, slowly, we have to build their independence though and trust them with these things, all in good time, and using our good judgement.

  2. Love this!
    It was great reading the insight into your life over the last few weeks.
    What a score with that scarf. Amazing! Hope you can resell it for a whole lot more than you paid for it 🙌🙌

    1. Thanks so much MoneySavvyMamma! I’ve enjoyed writing these diaries – it’s therapeutic for me too, and a great way to record what’s going on. I know, the scarf!! You guessed it! Just need to take some awesome photos now.. my photography skills leave a lot to be desired.. haha. It’s so satisfying to re-sell items, and a great side hustle. I’ve picked up so many items from the side of the road or from outside our garbage room in my apartment building – and re-sold for decent money. From your Insta, I can see you do this a bit too, right? What’s been your best free/cheap score you’ve resold?

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