Lizzie’s Diary And Update – October 2021

Welcome to my second 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!

My Personal Update

During the 4 month Sydney lockdown, I became an aunty and I was beyond excited! I also couldn’t meet her until she was 8 weeks old! My sister and her husband live about an hour away from me and so 2 weeks ago, we had a family reunion at her place to meet baby Lily and to have a belated 11th birthday celebration for Andy, as he spent his birthday in lockdown just the two of us. It definitely filled the heart and soul to have a long day with family, cuddling the baby, enjoying a big BBQ lunch and exchanging baby gifts and birthday gifts.

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Baby Lily with her daddy.. I’m in love.

We also pretty much had a family hair and nail salon going.. Andy’s uncle couldn’t wait to get his hands (and hair clippers) into Andy’s long (rainbow) hair, and my sister dyed my hair, after I did her gel nails! All up, doing home hair and nail jobs, we saved a combined almost $200!

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My brother, Andy’s uncle getting stuck into Andy’s long, rainbow hair. What an improvement! (Had to make a mullet first though..)

It has been a huge improvement to my mental state coming out of lockdown! I know there have been many others out there struggling with mental health and general wellness through lockdown and others worse off than myself but I think it’s also important to acknowledge how differently it affected all of us and also to reflect upon what made it so difficult. For myself, after talking to a psychologist a couple of times in the past couple of months, she pointed out something so simple which made a huge difference to me – BALANCE. It’s something we all hear – we need balance in our lives but sometimes I know for myself, I just roll my eyes, think to myself, ‘Yeah yeah, I know, heard it all before..’ but I wasn’t actually applying it. None of us could have much of a social life and I wanted to use the extra time I had to pour myself into my blog and my side hustles (VA for another blogger, and selling my (and others) household items), but I ended up feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and not making enough time for FUN and my health (ie – exercise and healthy eating). It’s amazing how much difference it can actually make to your overall health and mental state to actually make sure you are scheduling in time to be social, time for fun, time for exercise, and time for side hustles, while still working and parenting, in a BALANCED way! Who knew balance was SO important. I mean, we all hear it, but do we actually APPLY it??

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The number ’11’ cake I made for Andy’s belated birthday.. Choc mint mousse cake.
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Oh, it didn’t disappoint, I have to admit.

Since actively applying more balance to my life after coming out of lockdown, I’m feeling much better about everything in my life and so optimistic and excited for what’s around the corner! I am scheduling in more social events, more time for facials and massages, trying to reach 10,000 steps per day (tracked with a $50 fitness tracker from JBHi Fi – who needs a $1200 fancy, branded equivalent?! – not me).

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Andy’s mental state has definitely improved a lot too.. the night before school properly resumed, he said,

“I wish I didn’t have to sleep tonight mum, because I just want it to be time to go to school!”

Unfortunately, throughout lockdown, the only way for Andy to communicate with his peers was through online gaming. I did allow this from time to time but I battled with allowing him social time and assessing whether he was getting too much screen time. I recently wrote an article about the Dangers of too much screen time which you can find here, so it was very much fresh in my mind. I still ensured he had some balance though, and insisted on daily walks or bike rides to get him and myself outside.

He has been really positive about being at school for the past couple of weeks, coming home with stories about teachers, peers, assessments and sport, but generally a heightened mood and a more positive attitude.

Last point – an old friend (guy) came out of the woodwork, asking to ‘catch up’ for some drinks… there were some definite flirty vibes in there and he told me about his recent marriage breakdown.. we are yet to catch up but hey, a single girl can’t help but wonder where this may lead… watch this space I guess.. ; )

Money

I learned a few things this month about opening up a minor account for my son and the tax involved. My dad has been putting money into a bank account since Andy was born, rather than giving birthday and Christmas gifts. This has reached a nice little balance of just under $5000, intended for Andy when he reaches 21. Dad and I thought that rather than have this money in a bank account for the next 10 years, losing value due to the effects of inflation, and earning next to no interest, it was better to be invested. I thought it would be an awesome idea to open up a minor account for Andy through Pearler. All I had to do was provide a birth certificate for Andy and opening the minor account was relatively easy. In the meantime, I called my accountant to ask about the tax implications. Perhaps I should have done that before opening the minor account, as I found out that children are taxed at 66%!! if they earn more than about $400 in that year. With around $5000 to be invested, this was highly likely, and therefore I decided against going ahead with placing money in his name. I decided to then withdraw the money from the minor account, place it back in my own account, and invest in some Vanguard VAS (Vanguard’s Australian ETF’s), which have franked dividends, and are therefore more tax effective. I have some Australian shares as well through Betashares (A200) so I decided it would be easier to just keep Andy’s portion solely in VAS. I don’t reveal to Andy how much money is in there, but I do like to educate him on investing. This is why he has some of his pocket money in Spaceship, but since introducing monthly fees, I’m now looking at opening up an account with Sharesies as the fees seem to be a little lower.

This month I also transferred all of my Betashares A200 shares from SelfWealth over to Pearler. I prefer to have all of my shares in the one place as it makes it easier to track, and I can remove another App from my phone!!

After lockdown, Andy is now with me more often, instead of 50/50 with his dad, as we are both essential workers. Therefore, child support has been reinstated and I will now have a regular contribution from him. I also have bills getting reinstated too though, such as fees for OOSH (before and after school care), swimming lessons, school uniforms etc.

As I have started catching up with some friends in the last couple of weeks, I have been having some conversations with some of them surrounding money, and I found I have really struggled when hearing that they are making REALLY BAD financial decisions. Does anyone else struggle with this? I try to offer tips and helpful advice but I end up getting quite frustrated because they express their anxiety and concern about their financial situation, yet appear to be making horrendous decisions, such as paying $200 per month alone, in credit card interest payments (not paying off any of the debt), yet buying takeaway food everyday and pricey lottery tickets, along with some other poor decisions. I have vowed to offer tips here and there but not to get too involved in money conversations with certain people.

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This pot and stand was being thrown out and stood outside my apartment building garbage room. I brought it upstairs, wiped it over and sold it for $45!

Coming out of lockdown has also meant people are buying on Gumtree and Facebook marketplace again! This has seen a bit more cash flowing in and some serious flipping! I picked up a ceramic pot and stand outside my apartment building garbage room, brought it upstairs, wiped it over and sold it for $45! I have also sold a DVD pack, some books, an esky, a pot plant and an unused TomTom. You can read my article HERE about how I made thousands of dollars selling my (and other people’s) clutter. You can do it too!

Parenting and Co-parenting

As Andy’s father and I are both essential workers, we have had to share the responsibility of having Andy for home schooling through lockdown. This has been mostly amicable and kept at mostly 50/50. We have had to discuss finer details such as allowing Andy time for video games and connecting with peers on weekdays (I usually don’t allow video games throughout a school week), as well as incorporating in exercise and balancing the screen time. Co-parenting has been very difficult for me in the past but I am grateful that through lockdown, it was kept mostly cooperative on both sides and Andy has been supported through the online learning.

Balancing screen time was the other big parenting challenge, while allowing Andy social connection. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who struggled with this through this difficult time. You can read my article about Screen Time for Kids; Dangers vs Benefits HERE.

Professional

On a professional level, I have had some big changes at work! I received an (accidental) email detailing the sale of the business! The email was intended for the business owner and approved provider and was sent to me by mistake! When I approached the business owner about it, he couldn’t help but admit to me that yes, he had sold the land and the business and was waiting to settle. This means that within the next few weeks, I will be meeting with the new business owners, asking questions about how the centre will be run, and I will also have an opportunity to negotiate my salary (cue list making, detailing my value). I have been assured that the new owners will keep all current employees on, and honour all leave entitlements, which is positive, but I’m now making a list of all the questions I have for them! I have worked in the same place for now 13 years and this will be a bit of a shock to some of the employees, I believe. I suppose, business is business and I am hopeful that this will be a positive change.. time will tell.

Teaching Brave Update

Thank you SO Much to the people who have been SO supportive of my blog and my accounts on the socials! (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and more recently, Twitter). I have had some people subscribe to my TeachingBrave blog which is awesome, so Thank you!! to those people! If you would be so kind as to subscribe, the form is on the right hand side of the home page of my blog and once this is complete, emails will be sent weekly to your inbox, with the most recently published articles! (Please check your junk box for the confirmation, as I know some have been lost in there). I am so appreciative of anyone who has been reading, following, supporting and enjoying my content!

I am so happy to have had some further increase in my blog traffic too which is amazing!! 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?!

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So awesome to see a rise in blog traffic! Thank YOU!!

I thought I might start incorporating some more children’s book reviews into Teachingbrave as some of the early book reviews I did (Where is the Green Sheep?, ‘Busting’, ‘Do NOT open this book‘) were quite popular! So I did a review on one of my old favourites – What If, which sparks the imagination. I would love to know whether children’s book reviews are valuable content.. ?

Summary

I only started Teaching Brave a year ago and I feel so lucky to have connected with so many amazing people and inspiring accounts and blogs. 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.

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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. : )

2 thoughts on “Lizzie’s Diary And Update – October 2021

  1. So nice to read your update, as I have somehow blurted my update to you in a DM 🙂 Sorry for it.

    On the balance thing. I hear you. Especially when working from home, I often loose track of the clock, when the kids are not here, and then I end up doing 12 hours and being mentally drained to do anything for myself. I also found that scheduling certain “spoiling myself” moments helps in keeping the balance. But also, what is funny, changing the furniture around every few months, especially before some holidays, because when I sat for many weeks working in same space, and all of a sudden have to spend holidays in same space, my brain is definitely not relaxing. So such a hint from me.

    Glad to hear the co-parenting is getting easy. And about some stranger flirting around 🙂

    In terms of money for Andy which you move back and forward from his to your account… make sure you are not having some problems with taxes due to gifts or donations between you two. I know in our country we have a limit of 5000 eur in 3 years that can be gifted without necessity to pay tax from it. Make sure this is also not the issue.

    1. Thank you SO much for reading my update, I’m glad you enjoyed.. Please don’t be sorry about your update in my DM’s, I love hearing what you’ve been up to.. That’s such a good idea, changing the furniture around and scheduling in ‘spoiling’ time, it’s so important. I find it hard to balance things sometimes.. I want to be super productive and then I am but then my health suffers.. or else I’m taking care of my health which is great, but don’t get other things done.. I have to remind myself.. BALANCE! Thanks for the tax tips.. I do need to keep an eye on that definitely. Thanks so much for reading and for your input!

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