Susan Walsh, Private Client Manager at Metis Ireland
As a working mum of two, I deal with the classic dilemma – women are expected to work as if they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work. Should I be staying at home, dedicating all my time to my two wonderfully crazy children? Why am I working… really?
The long and short of it is that I work for myself and for my family. I like working – being independent, always learning, meeting colleagues and clients on a daily basis, the feeling of achievement I get after a hard day’s work. This makes me a more fulfilled and happy person, which in turn is better for my family.
So why should I feel guilty?
Working for my kids
As a mum, I’m also a chef, a cleaner, a teacher, a referee and a chauffeur, to name a few of my unofficial roles. While multitasking can be great fun, it’s also hard going! But I work to give my family the best that I can. By this, I don’t mean material things, like the best clothes or shoes, but the best experiences – to go on holidays, to plan for the future, to fully appreciate life. My parents worked hard to give me the best opportunities they could afford and I want to do the same for my children.
I want my kids to go to college. They might not want to, but luckily, right now, college seems cool to my 12-year-old. Meanwhile, my 9 year old wants to be a YouTube star and/or a soccer player – who am I to burst his bubble? Let them reach for the stars and beyond. I work so I can help them get there and save for their future education. With the cost of college averaging €12,000 a year per child, I know I need to save now to meet this cost later.
Working for me
I also work for my own future with my husband. We both work hard and parent hard (yes, parent, not party, unfortunately). Life is short, so why not enjoy it while you can? So we also work to plan for early retirement. We both have parents and siblings who sadly passed too early, before they got to enjoy their life to the fullest, so we know first-hand that working until we’re 70 is not something either of us wants to do. That’s why, no matter how much we enjoy our work, we plan to retire early (sorry in advance, Metis Ireland!).
To help us achieve that goal, we both have a long-term, tax-efficient investment vehicle in place. I’m under no illusion that the State Pension is sustainable and realise that it very possibly will be a thing of the past by the time I retire. That really isn’t that far away, so I’m happy to set up a pension now if it helps us head off on our travels as soon as we can. While I’m aware this all sounds lovely – and even a bit indulgent – I know we can do this because we have a plan… our Metis LifePlan.
The bigger picture
As a working mother, I do suffer from guilt… and then I remember why I’m working – for my family and myself. No one else. Everyone’s situation is different, everyone has different priorities and wants different things in their life. There’s no right or wrong, but life is for living, whichever way you choose to do it. For me, it’s about living in the now and planning to reach for the stars and beyond in the very near future. And that’s nothing to feel guilty about.
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