One minute I am giving myself a pep talk, trying to convince myself that I have so much to be proud of, when the next moment I am confronted with something that causes my already fragile ego to fracture even further.
Needing To Work
I have always maintained that I am someone who needs to work. When I announced that I was becoming a stay-at-home mum, my dad scoffed and predicted that I would soon return to the world of work. To a degree he was right. I loved and relished being at home with the children but I found that I changed as a person. I lost my confidence and I questioned my worth now that I wasn’t contributing financially to the household.
It was this angst that caused me to set up my blog, it was a way of working through my feelings, it was a way of trying to unravel the confused and conflicted emotional state. It was then, thanks to this blog, that I was able to land work as a freelance writer. It appeared that I had achieved what I had always wanted, a job that I could fit in around the children. It is perfect on so many levels, until it comes to buying a house.
Needing To Find A House
We had been rather lazily looking for houses, taking a snail-like approach, not feeling in any real rush but keeping our eyes open. Then our landlord put our house on the market and the house hunt suddenly became more important. Our days became dominated by house searches, lists were made, search areas extended and then finally, as we were giving up hope, a house we liked and was in our price range appeared on the market. Luckily, we were able to get in first and we fell in love with it. Yes, there was still a fairly massive compromise but it was one we were happy to make. Our offer was accepted and all we had to do now was finalise our mortgage with the bank.
When The Bank Doesn’t Like Your Job
We knew what in principle we could afford. After much playing with figures we had worked out that we could just about scrape enough together to get the mortgage. What we hadn’t banked on was how the bank would view me. I don’t fit neatly into a box. I don’t don a suit and head into an office. I work from home. I’m a writer. The bank’s computers didn’t like me. They liked my wage, which was just about acceptable, but they couldn’t get their head around my job. They wanted records for three years. I don’t have records for three years, I replied. I only started permanent work when youngest started school in September. I have a contract and I have a notice period but I work from home. The bank’s computers don’t like me. That makes me risky. But if they put me down as someone who doesn’t earn a wage I become a dependant and that means we don’t have enough for a mortgage.
Computer says no.
Living In Limbo…..Again
We are now in limbo. We have argued our case and we are waiting for the credit department to make their decision. I have now sent them my contract, proof of wage for the last 6 months and a letter from my employer confirming that I work for them 15 hours per week and what they pay me per hour. What is frustrating me the most is that common sense should tell them that we can afford this mortgage. That it shouldn’t all come down to a computer, a computer that doesn’t like my life choices. We have savings, no debts and the mortgage would be £400 cheaper than our rent. But you can’t reason with a computer. You simply put the numbers in and it calculates its formula. It doesn’t look at the bigger picture, it doesn’t try to understand the people sat in front of it. It just says “no”.
Have I Let My Family Down?
That computer with its magic formula and boxes has got me questioning my life choices. Has my decision to walk away from my teaching career ruined our chances of a secure future? When I thought I was doing the right thing for the girls, have I done the opposite? Have I f*cked up our future? Right now it really feels like it. I am resenting the fact that my job doesn’t count for anything, I am regretting walking away from a career that the bank would have counted.
Waiting For An Answer
I now find myself anxiously waiting for the bank to make their decision. Praying that they see sense. If they don’t then I am not sure what the solution would be. Again, I feel we are trapped in limbo, a limbo that I am partly responsible for putting my family in. Already I have started looking for work. Jobs that the banks would look favourably on. Yet, none of them are part-time or flexible. None of them would allow me to do the school run, none of them would allow me to cherish that first hour back at home with the girls when they are so excited to tell me about their day, spilling all of their news before exhaustion sets in. A full-time job would rob me of that and now that I have experienced it I don’t want to lose it. I won’t always have this time with them and I don’t want to miss out on it. Even the days when they are arguing so loudly that it feels like my head is going to explode. I am not sure I could go back to the relentless juggling of work and parenting and the feeling of never being quite present in my children’s lives or my work life.
Wanting It All
What is the answer? I really don’t know. Perhaps my problem is that I really do want it all, perhaps I need to accept that we can’t have it all. Maybe it’s time to embrace renting and the freedom it gives us. I’ve never been one for being tied down. However, if the bank came back with a yes then it really would be amazing and it would help make our lives a little bit less stressful.
Keep those fingers crossed.
*Update – since writing this post we continued to argue our point and the bank’s computer came back with a YES! Whoop! We will be getting back onto the property ladder and moving very, very shortly (touch all the wood)*