I balance working hard to reach my financial goals and spending time with my son. I never want him to feel neglected.

Chris Boutté (not pictured) has had to balance working hard and spending time with his son.

I want to provide a better life for my son than I had while growing up.Over time, I’ve started making a higher salary, but still have side hustles to supplement my income.It’s taken time to find the right work-life balance to make money and still spend time with him.

I didn’t grow up with much. My dad single-handedly raised me, and we were lower-middle class. I always wished we had the same things my friends had. Many of my friends lived in houses and got cars when they were 16. Meanwhile, we would get eviction warnings on the door of our apartment, and we definitely couldn’t afford a second car.

Now, I have my own son, and I want to provide a much better life for him here in Las Vegas. But to reach my financial goals and give both of us better lives, I’ve had to sacrifice some quality time with him. He’s 15, and I’ve been playing this delicate balancing act for years now.

A strong work ethic isn’t always enough

After getting sober in 2012, I had a rough financial start due to ruining my credit and racking up debt over nearly a decade of substance abuse. Before getting sober, I worked some jobs that paid really well, but they were detrimental to my mental health due to the high-stress environment.

My mental health is a top priority in my sobriety, so I chose not to return to those industries. This meant starting fresh and finding entry-level positions based on my skill sets.

With this new lease on life, I realized I could do better for myself and my son. I set goals for fixing my finances so that I would actually have savings and a retirement fund. I hoped to eventually buy a house and make sure my son had a college fund. Most of all, I wanted to ensure I made enough money so we never had to experience financial distress again.

I’ve always had a strong work ethic, which I definitely got from my parents. The problem is that our effort at work doesn’t always translate to what we’re paid, and I made about $30,000 a year until 2015. I knew that wasn’t nearly enough to reach my financial goals.

I knew that in order to even get close to reaching these goals, I had to start doing some side hustles. This involved putting in many hours outside my full-time job, and I still didn’t get much closer to what I was looking to accomplish for quite a while.

It takes a lot to be financially stable these days

I’m not the only one struggling with financial goals of building up retirement and savings accounts or buying a house. Many of my fellow millennials see and feel how much things have changed over the years.

Between 1960 and 2017, the median price of a house rose 121%, while the median household income rose only 29%. As recently as 1990, the home price-to-income ratio was under 3.0. As of 2022, homes cost 5.5 times the average household income.

Even with an income over two times what I was making in 2015, I still have multiple side hustles to attempt to reach my goals.

I’ve had to learn how to balance my side hustles with spending time with my son

I wasn’t fully present for my son during the first three years of his life due to my addiction. I’ve been sober for 12 years now, and I still hold a terrible amount of guilt for that lost time. The added pressure of taking time away from my son in order to make more money has been one of the hardest things I’ve encountered in my sobriety.

When I was making a lot less money, I had to work many more hours on my side hustles. There would be weekends where I’d do freelance writing for eight hours each day while he watched cartoons and played video games. During those days, I could barely afford to buy Christmas or birthday presents for him while also paying for the necessities, so I worked and did what I had to do.

As the years went on, I gained more skills and better understood my value as an employee. My next job paid me about $50,000, and then I moved to a job making $65,000. Today, my salary is over $70,000 a year, and I absolutely love my job, but it’s still not enough to reach all of my goals.

I still do multiple side hustles to supplement my full-time income, but getting higher-paying jobs over time has made them less of a necessity. To put it into perspective, I used to put in 20 or more hours on side hustles, and now it’s maybe five to 10. Sometimes, I even take weeks off. I also received an inheritance that gave me some additional breathing room and a chance to build a solid financial foundation for us.

Looking back, increasing my income allowed me to spend much more time with my son compared to the early days of my sobriety. It’s taken time to find the right balance of making enough money while also spending enough time with my son. The irony is that my son is 15 now, so he’s at the age where he doesn’t even want to spend as much time with me. My hope is that if anyone asked my son if he thought I worked too much and neglected him in the future, his honest answer would be, “Absolutely not.”

I accept that we can only do so much with our economic conditions, but I also know that time is our most precious resource. I could have all the money in the world, but that wouldn’t mean anything if I couldn’t maintain a healthy relationship with my son because I was too busy.

Read the original article on Business Insider

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours