Can you afford to take risks when you’ve got kids?
During the World Cup Final at the weekend Hubs reminded me of where we watched it 4 years ago. We were in Praz de Lys, a hamlet/village in the French Alps (Haute Savoie), enjoying a final French holiday before packing up our French life to move to the UK.
On the 18th June 2010 we made the decision to leave our life in France and move to the UK. For me that meant leaving behind 12 years of my life; I lived in France from the age of 22 until the age of 34. For Hubs it meant leaving the country where he had lived for 33 of his 34 years. For L it was the country she was born in and where she had lived for her first 3 and 1/2 years.
On the 19th July 2010, after a day on the beach, we packed up our final 3 suitcases and boarded an evening plane bound for Gatwick, where we were met by my mum and dad. In a month we had resigned from a job, closed down a business, given notice at L’s school, sold most of the contents and furniture of a 4 bedroom flat, sold a car, closed down utilities’ contracts, given notice on our tenancy and said our sad goodbyes.
A lot has changed in those 4 years between the two world cup finals. On 19th July 2010, Hubs, L and I moved in with my parents. That’s right, at the age of 34 I moved my husband, 3 and 1/2 year old daughter and myself back into my childhood home with my mum and dad. Both Hubs and I were unemployed. We had no home. No car. And very few possessions. But we were ready for new jobs and a new home in London.
In those 4 years we both got good jobs – Hubs tripled his French salary, I doubled mine, and we were both promoted within 6 months of starting our London jobs. We moved from my parents’ house into a lovely house in London and we both started blogs. We had a second child, another girl. I set up my own business and started writing. Hubs stopped work to launch his own business. And that saw us take our third risk since becoming parents.
We took our first risk 8 years ago. We owned a 4 bedroom house, with a pool in the back garden, we had a car, and both Hubs and I had good well-paid, secure jobs. But we wanted to set up our own business. So despite me being pregnant with our first baby (L), and despite having a mortgage to pay, we decided to launch a luxury, travel agency, offering bespoke holidays to the French Riviera.
We learnt how to manage our finances in a big way, and how to work around L being awake/at the childminder’s. We had some incredible experiences before deciding to close the business down as the recession hit globally, adversely affecting businesses the world over.
Setting up our business was risk number 1. Our second risk came in 2010 when we decided to jack our work in all over again (Hubs as an employee, and me as a business owner), in order to relocate to the UK and to find work, and a better quality of life, here. When we left France we had no guarantee of finding work, we had a 3 and 1/2 year old daughter to support, and our savings / investments.
I remember the phone call I had with my mum before moving to England; “Hi Mum, it’s me. Look, is it ok if Hubs, L and I move in with you and Dad? Indefinitely. Well until we find jobs and somewhere to live. Oh good, thanks!”
I’m very lucky in that my parents are always very supportive, and whilst they can’t really help us out financially (that’s what happens when you have 4 siblings!), they provided a roof over our heads and childcare so we could go job and house-hunting, which was the stepping stone to the next stage of our lives: London.
Risk number 2 paid off. Whilst we miss France (you can read about how I miss France here), moving to the UK, and to London, was by far one of the best decisions and risks we’ve ever taken.
And finally came our third risk. Whilst celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, on a child-free holiday in Sharm el Sheikh last autumn, Hubs and I made the decision that he would stop work to concentrate on a couple of business plans we’d been working on for a while.
And that was that. We plunged into the unknown again. Again. But it looks like it’s beginning to pay off. In September Hubs will be launching his own training course for French-speakers wanting to learn how to invest their own money in the stock market (French-speakers can follow him on his blog: Bourse Ensemble which means Stock Market Together), which is his big passion. Although his training course is not yet available to buy he already has a long list of people waiting to buy it, which is always a good sign!
On top of that, Franglaise Cooking, the food blog that Hubs and I launched early in 2014, is seeing its own success: we were shortlisted for a prestigious BiB (Brilliance in Blogging) award just 3 months after we started out, and since we started people have asked us, via the blog and social media, if we would consider bringing out a book, so who knows if that might see the light of day at some point too…
So will this third risk work out? Who knows? We hope so, you have to as otherwise there’s no point in taking the risk.
Most of our friends, Brits and French alike, have thought we are mad on the undertaking of all three risks. We have heard “You can’t take risks like that when you have kids!” or “you’re mad!” along with “you can’t sell your house/car/baby items….”.
Hubs and I aren’t risk averse, but equally we don’t take crazy risks. We make sure there is a decent chance of success before going for it, and we make sure we have back-up plans in place. It’s scary. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But if it all works out……it’ll all be worth the risks and the sacrifices.
So don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t afford to take risks when you’ve got kids. To quote one of my favourite books, “feel the fear and do it anyway”.
Want to know more about taking risks and making big decisions? Grab my free video guide to decision-making and facing your fears to start you on your way 🙂
Bloody brilliant and you two are a powerhouse together, well calculated risks pay off and it sounds like you have some fabulous businesses in plans with a wealth of experience behind you. The book sounds brilliant, love, love, love this post. Wishing you lots of success guys xx
Honest Mum recently posted…Wonderful Women-Interview with Film Producer & Actress Fiona Gillies
Thank you so much lovely, so many exciting things going on here at the moment 🙂 Reading what you get up to is always such an inspiration though, you’ve had so many successes recently which motivates me too xx
Nice that you can work on your future together with the same goals. Good luck !
Thank you, we’re lucky in that we can work together and have quite complementary talents and skills, which does help!
It’s lovely that you work together with your husband to take risks and achieve the next goal in life. I guess you have to take risks if you want to want to achieve great things, whether or not you happen to have kids! Good luck with the latest venture!
Izzie Anderton recently posted…What Am I Doing Now?
Thanks. It can be scary but I like to push myself out of my comfort zone…..most of the time.
Great read again Sophie.
I’ve got some more survival questions for you.
Congratulations to you and Ben for having the courage to do your thing.
We look forward to using your inspiration to help us achieve our goals.
Good luck with your move to the UK, I look forward to hearing all about how you get on.
I think you guys are just inspiring! It just goes on to show that life isn’t ‘over’ after you have kids. You can still follow your dreams. Your post made my day!
Tarana recently posted…Social Media Tips For Blogging Moms
Aww, thank you 🙂 Your comment made my day! We want to improve things for ourselves but also to teach our kids not to be afraid, and to go out there and just try things.
Wow Sophie. Amazing what you and OH have done with your lives over the last decade. A great inspiration for your girls too just to see that you’re both able to jump in at the deep end with a little preparation. To be shortlisted for a blogging award too after only 3 months is amazing! Jo x
Thanks Jo! We were really surprised about being shortlisted for the awards as we didn’t even ask to be nominated. We hope to be an inspiration to our girls 🙂
A fantastic and inspiring sequence of stories, Sophie. I was pondering just the other day how easy it is to become overly risk-averse once kids arrive on the scene. I think it’s inevitable for most people to a certain degree, but I know I’ve probably become a bit too conservative as a middle-aged dad. Time to live the example I’m trying to teach my children about being willing to make mistakes by trying new things!
Tim recently posted…Shutterbugs
Taking (calculated) risks is exhilarating and amazing for our kids – we just have to get over our fears to do it!
What an inspirational post and I have always loved the saying “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Sometimes you have to take risks in order to achieve your dreams and it certainly sounds like your risks are paying off.
Louise recently posted…Motherhood – the little moments
The best things that have happened to me in my life have been due to risks I’ve taken – so worth it!