Lizzie’s Diary and Update – November 2021

Welcome to my third personal diary entry and update! I wanted to add this as a regular feature on Teaching Brave so I can share a little bit about my personal life and my health, my money updates, my parenting and co-parenting journey, a little bit about my professional life as an Early Childhood Teacher and Child Care Director, as well as Teaching Brave updates!

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My Personal Update

I actually managed to have a short break to beautiful Adelaide (aka Radelaide) at the end of November to visit my friend CaptainFi! CaptainFi was an awesome Adelaide tour guide, showing me around the city, organising visits to some of Adelaide’s best restaurants and showing me around his luscious balcony garden!

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I haven’t had a break from work in more than 2 years and I didn’t know how much I needed it! I’ve decided this lifestyle is for me.. no 6am alarms, less routine, more freedom with my time. That’s why I’m enjoying learning more about building websites through the ebusiness institute and making money online so I can eventually transition from employee to business owner.

Lizzie's November Diary and Update
Beautiful Adelaide parklands in the evening

Honestly though, a break was so good for my mental wellbeing. Andy stayed in Sydney with his dad who did the school drop offs and pick ups for the week. I have missed Andy while away but as a single mum working full time, with Andy in my care 12 days out of 14, I barely ever get breaks and feel like a person, just me, not just a mum. I think this is SO important especially for single parents as a matter of THRIVING, not just constantly in survival mode which can so often lead to us getting run down or emotionally and physically exhausted.

While in Adelaide, we toured the Barossa, did some beautiful nature walks, tried out some awesome Adelaide restaurants and just generally chilled, drank wine and relaxed. It was exactly what I needed.

Lizzie's November Diary and Update
Hentley Farm vineyards in the Barossa were the firm favourite

I also enjoyed catching up with family for some family birthdays and focused a lot more on my health and fitness which I had not prioritised for a while and came to the realisation that it really does need to be number one priority. How many of us end up repeating the mantra; “I just don’t have time to exercise”. I know I have, many times. Throughout November, I decided to actually prioritise exercise above most other things, (1 hour walks on my lunch break at work instead of eating at my computer) and wow, has it made a difference to my general health and wellbeing. I mean we all hear it but when you actually do it.. I mean, it’s been easier to bounce out of bed in the mornings, I have experienced less back pain, felt more energised and stronger and my skin is thanking me too!

Lizzie's November Diary and Update
Oh it was an experience alright! Keller Meister’s Chocolate treat..

My mum split from my father about 12 years ago and lives by herself in Ballina, NSW, and myself, my sister and brother and her 2 and a half grandchildren (one due in January) all live here in Sydney. My mum is 72 years old and still very independent but after a few chats, she has decided to make the big move back to Sydney. This is exciting for all of us but will also be a huge move, logistically, financially and emotionally. This brings me to my next update.. money.

Money

With mum deciding to make the big move to Sydney and sell her house in Ballina, we have decided we need the services of a financial advisor. The finance side of this decision is potentially quite a complicated one and so I will need to do some research to find somebody suited to help us! My mum owns her house outright with no mortgage but also has some debts, has no Emergency Fund, no Superannuation and lives pension to pension at this stage. If you’re a financial advisor or know someone who can help us, feel free to reach out in the comments below, or you can private message me on the socials. This is something we definitely need professional advice on. Money Smart have a great guide, helping people decide if they need a financial advisor or not.

During November I also bought some more shares! I chose to bump up my Vanguard VTS and Betashares A200 shares. I use Pearler to invest and soon I’ll be setting up the autoinvest feature which I love! Another thing I really like about Pearler is that they support the First Nations Foundation which works to build financial literacy in Indigenous Australians. When you invest, you can actually choose to pay full brokerage, donating that $9.50 to the FNF, which is such a great cause. I have personally done this a couple of times already. I think it’s so important for everyone to build their financial knowledge and I wish I had much more personal finance knowledge when I was a child, and especially when I turned 18. (You can read my Childhood Money Memories here). I’m happy I made the switch from SelfWealth over to Pearler.

Lizzie's November Diary and Update
My Pearler dashboard. It goes up, it goes down but I plan on leaving these investments alone for at least 10 years, so it doesn’t matter.. I ride the wave!

This month I also published my article on Financial Abuse, which you can read here and this was a brave one for me to publish. It was one thing to write about the definition of financial abuse and look at various scenarios and highlight those that may be more vulnerable to this kind of abuse but when it came to sharing my personal stories of financial abuse, which I endured in 2 different relationships, it was very difficult for me to reflect upon. When I was experiencing financial abuse, I didn’t even know it was a thing!! That’s why I wanted to get this article, and my personal experience out there, to help to spread the awareness in the hopes that other people can understand and recognise what this may look like (it comes in various forms) and also understand the importance of building their own knowledge of their personal finance situation, as well as how to assert themselves in relationships. Have you heard of or experienced financial abuse? Let me know in the comments or you can send me a private message.

Parenting and Co-parenting

Well, Tom announced to me earlier this month that he’s going overseas for 6 weeks – from end of Dec, returning in Feb. I found it interesting that he informed me he was going, visiting family there, rather than ask me if that was convenient for me to to have the sole care of Andy for 6 weeks, through school holidays, while I’m working full time. Fortunately my mum will be visiting and can help out a little, but what can I say? Co-parenting with Andy’s father is far from easy at the best of times. You can read my best tips for Co-parenting in the article I wrote here, but there are definitely times I still struggle with this. At the least, Tom agreed to start paying me extra child support now, to cover for the time he will be away so each weekly payment has been bumped up a bit recently, but he currently has no return plane ticket, telling me he will wait for cheaper flights….. why does this sound familiar….??

Tom was however, happy to have Andy for the 10 days I was in Adelaide and I think Andy really does enjoy this bonding time with his dad, and his 22 year old brother who will often go there to visit too.

Professional

On a professional level, I met with the new owners who have bought the child care centre where I work as Director. I have to say, I wasn’t impressed and I’ve been re thinking my career decisions! Some of the questions I was asked came across as rude and disrespectful and it seems that the new owners will do whatever they can to cut costs, seemingly at the expense of employees too, such as making employees purchase their own uniforms, taking away paid break times, and I have also been getting mixed messages from old and new owners and it appears our leave entitlements will NOT be carried over, as was promised to me in initial conversations.

After lengthy chats with the other educators I can see I’m not the only one re thinking my career and whether I will continue on there or not. Hmmm.. watch this space, I think there are some BIG changes coming…

Lizzie's November Diary and Update
Oh it’s tempting right now!! Hahahaha

Child Protection week was in November and as educational leader, this is something I feel quite passionate about delivering myself, to the children who are starting school the following year. We have discussions with the pre-school children and read books about protecting their bodies. Some key concepts we cover during Child Protection week include identifying the correct names for the private parts of our body and using these words (penis, vagina, bottom, testicles, vulva), talking about safe and unsafe touching, discussing ‘happy’ secrets (secrets that are fun and make us feel happy, such as a surprise birthday party) and ‘unhappy’ secrets (secrets that make us feel sad, angry, hurt or yukky, such as someone hurting us and telling us to keep it a secret), and the NO GO TELL concept which is what we would do if anybody tried to touch our private parts without a good reason – we would say NO, GO away from that person and TELL a grown up we trust. We also identified who the adults are in our lives that we can trust and talk to if something happened, such as adult family members or teachers. You can read my comprehensive article on Child Protection here, for further info and to find out the books I read to the pre-school children to help them learn these important concepts.

I certainly had some interesting questions and comments during these group times, including one girl asking me; “Does God have a penis?” … Valid question though right?! I told her that was a really great question for her mum and dad.

Teaching Brave Update

Some exciting updates for TeachingBrave this month! I was invited to write an article for a Brisbane parenting and travel magazine so that will be published within the next few weeks – looking forward to sharing that!

I was also invited to talk about my experience as a victim of financial abuse on a finance podcast so while it is still a bit difficult for me to reflect upon and discuss, I want to spread the word that financial abuse occurs in many forms and aim to increase the education surrounding this type of abuse in the hope that less people suffer at the hands of someone else’s abuse.

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Lizzie's November Diary and Update
Some encouraging rise in blog traffic!
Lizzie's November Diary and Update
Probably shouldn’t check Google Analytics so often but it’s so interesting!

I am so happy to have had some further increase in my blog traffic too which is amazing!! Sometimes this is when I’m sharing articles on social media and sometimes it’s simply the organic traffic, meaning my articles are resonating with people and therefore driving more traffic to my blog. The Google analytics don’t lie! I have all of you to thank! Please let me know in the comments below what kind of content you like the most, or what is most valuable to you – early childhood related articles, parenting/single parenting tips, money content, or do you like the personal stuff?? I would LOVE some feedback?!

Summary

I feel so lucky to have connected with so many amazing people and inspiring accounts and blogs. I have some loyal followers and friends I have made through starting this account – you know who you are!! I have so many plans for Teaching Brave and I have enjoyed sharing information on various topics as well as learning from others and gaining inspiration.

Please let me know if you have any article ideas for me or if you would like me to cover anything in particular surrounding early childhood related content, parenting or co-parenting, or money related content.

Watch out for next month’s update and thank you so much for reading! Drop me a comment in the Comments section below, I would love to hear from you! Please also subscribe to Teaching Brave to receive regular updates to your inbox. Thank youuuuu!! Lizzie. : )

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