Opinion,  Parenting

Financial Stress

When I was pregnant with my first son, I had a terrible time with my hips and back. After he was born the pain didn’t go away, it got worse and worse. I had a searing pain down my leg and I struggled to walk.

While I was going through all this pain my GP, with all the best intentions, thought that I was suffering from depression. I mean, who wouldn’t? I was crying all the time, wouldn’t go anywhere, I was miserable with the pain. So my GP referred me to a Psychiatrist who confirmed I didn’t have depression, I was simply in too much pain to function properly. That was the first step on the long road to recovery with an impinged nerve in my spine and a couple of slipped discs.

So how does this relate to financial stress?

There have been days, particularly in the past year, where I have cried my eyes out.

I’ve dragged myself out of the bed only because I have to get up with the kids.

Most of my thoughts have been on money, budgets, how to make things work, how to pay off bills, what to do if something goes wrong.

I rarely went out or socialised. I still can’t justify a night out when there are clothes to be bought or a car to be serviced.

There was a point last year where I was standing at the school gate and all the women beside me were talking about holidays, cars, haircuts, nights out, restaurants. I felt so alienated and unable to relate I mumbled my excuses and walked away.

I’ve lost many nights’ sleep, rarely went out and a decent part of my day was filled with financial stress.

If I had gone to the GP, they may have suspected I had depression and for good reason.

I struggled to articulate this on the blog on a regular basis. Nobody likes a moan and goodness there have been days, weeks and months where I’ve found it hard to take a look at the sunny-side. I can look back at the past year now because things are getting better. I can recognise how blooming awful it has been and the journey we’ve taken to get here.

This weekend himself remarked that he hadn’t heard me belly-laugh in quite some time and it was a lovely thing to hear.  Hopefully I’ll be laughing and smiling an awful lot more.


There’s a significant reason why this past year has been more difficult than any other year since I was made redundant. I hope to be able to share more of that story with you in the near future.

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Happy mama

    Fair play to you a lot of people are not brave enough to admit how hard things can be. I like you have had one of those years. I too cannot remember the last night out, meal out, cinema. But I am chipping away at my debts and slowly very very very slowly getting there. I still have days when I cry my eyes out cause I have cabin fever ( stuck at home with kids) or I want some retail therapy, or a day when I am not planning and scheming ways to spend less. So well done and stick with it, we will all get there and the nights out and weekend away will be all the better cause we bloody well worked for them!!!

    • Wholesome Ireland

      Chin up Happy Mama we’ll get there. I admit I doubted myself before I clicked “publish” but I’d really like people to know they’re not on their own. I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. xxx

  • Nickki McB

    Well done for speaking up. It takes a lot of courage to speak out especially when you fear you’ll be criticized as a moan or whingey. Not a lot of people realise the stress they’re under until it is far too late. It’s really hard too when you’ve come from a comfortable position and the stress has been thrust upon you. It only takes one person to speak out to create a ripple effect and reach those that really feel isolated and alone. I hope things start looking up for you Caitríona I really do.

  • Looking for Blue Sky

    I do not have your financial stresses, but am dealing with problems of a different kind, and totally understand how it is to have to face them every day, often with no sign of things improving. Glad to hear that things are getting better for you, and hope that you will share your story xx

  • Sunnyscattered

    You’ve probably noticed me mention this once or twice (!!) It’s horrendous, especially when you can’t just give in because the kids are there and they need you. You do fantastic work, under what sounds like incredibly tough circumstances this last year. I’ve been in the financial hellhole as well, and it’s going to take quite literally years to recover from that, in so mnay ways. Be proud of yourself. We can tough it out together!

  • Mila

    We live on a very strict budget. I feel guilty if I spend even €1 on myself. A while ago I realised that I put everyone and everything in front of my own needs. Kids, food, house, bills, car etc. all came before my needs ALL the time. I would make sure everyone was happy and sorted and there would be nothing left for me. I am a SAHM and work really hard looking after my family and my home but I didn’t look after myself. Now I make sure that every few weeks I set money aside for me. It might only be €20 but I go to the cinema, or I will go into town, potter about and a coffee, I will get my hair blow-dried. My husband and I will go out a few times a year to meet up with friends. You don’t need to justify it. Non-one else will do it for you. Your feeling and needs are just as important as everyone and everything else. I really hope your back feels better soon!

  • Joanna

    I am glad to hear you’re looking back at this which suggests the looking forward seems brighter. It is so hard. I find the most difficult thing about saying I can’t do something because I don’t have the money is the reluctance of people to accept it as fact, i.e. I am now so tired of hearing things like “sure, tell your husband you deserve it” (my husband does not control our money) or “put off paying a bill or two for a while” (this would really stress me out!) that I now make up excuses that are not money-related. I’m pretty sure, though, that a lot of those at the school gate might be talking about money that they don’t have!

  • Jo

    I suffer from depression and financial stress. My goal everyday is to wash and get my daughter to school & get out to work. I know how it feels when people are so excited about their hols and then I dread when they ask me. I feel like a failure. I have a job and can only imagine the stress you’ve had having lost your job. Fair play to ye, you’re not alone, none of us are, we just have to talk.

  • David Kelly

    Financial worries must be the biggest contributory factor to increases in stress over the past few years either through circumstances such as yours re: redundancy or people’s spending power being eroded through increases in inflation and stagnation of salaries, effectively leading to a pay cut.
    Good to hear that things are getting better and I hope they continue.

  • Canal Cook

    I really hope 2014 will be your year. Financial stress is still something a lot of people don’t like to talk about here, despite how omnipresent it is. This is the first year since the recession hit that I have had a steady job, and the stress of unemployment without kids was awful. I can’t imagine how tough it is, but thank you for sharing with us.

  • stastycook

    Such a brave and honest post Caitriona. I read your posts every week, and your commitment to blogging and you constant good spirits always keeps me motivated. Sorry to hear that things have been tough in the past year, and I hope 2014 is a better and brighter year for you and your family.

  • Aine

    Great post Caitriona but sorry it has been so tough. I chose to be a SAHM & 4years in, we’re feeling the pinch this year like no other. Salary down every year, more work for no increase. Stuck in property we can’t get rid of weighing us down. I find it hard to go without retail therapy, haircut etc but yes how can I put these in front of new tyres that are badly needed or health appointments for the kids….I use frercycle pages to pick things up on & just this week have sold a dress or two I won’t be wearing & have discovered PayPal. Also baked bread a lot lately & dinners are frugally planned! It’s kind of just head down battle on really…thank god for friends & laughs that don’t cost anything beyond teabags & homemade muffins!! Hope things get easier in 2014, Aine x

  • Yaz

    You sound like a worrier like myself sweetie and all I can say is worrying changes nothing but remember we all need a little rain to enjoy the rainbow. Hope things pick up for you this year….I have a feeling they will 😉


  • kathryn

    You are a great bunch, sharing the support we all sometimes need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and thinking up brilliant ways of keeping going when everything is against you. I do hope things will pick up for all of you – and I’m sure they will so long as you keep helping each other the way you are now. Those school gate conversations are hard – but an awful lot of them are the fur coats covering no knickers. At least you lot are making sure you have good sturdy underwear, whatever rags you’ve had to put on top of them

    • secret me

      i came across this page only a few moments and for the first time in two years i am not alone others feel and think the same no school gates depression frugal to the point of no living, long long nights keeping face for kids sake and after all that nobody knows the real truth that i meet. Cant wait for the day when i can reveal my past with pride a few tears perhaps and above all the knowledge that hope and prayer can keep the spirit alive. and Kathryn even the underwear cant keep sturdy forever.

      • kathryn

        No – but thinking about the no knickers under the fur coats does help – try it next time. And keeping face for the kids helps us keep face for ourselves – it’d be great if we didn’t have to but it is one tiny help. Truly, I’ve been broke, sick, lonely, right on the edge. However bad it gets there’s hope somewhere. But you do need to ask for it and that is the hardest thing of all. Virtual hugs xxxx

        • secret me

          am afraid to say too much on this as the size of my family would be a giveaway have large young family off sick atm unpaid and hubby trying to get back on feet in workplace after losing his job up to then were never splashing the cash but keeping the kids in a priviliged position with music dancing sports etc iwhat if one could say yes this is what its really like …….. and people to understand i have met nobody else i know waiting for reduced to clear in same clothes summer and winter on foot to schools some mornings when living a distance stopping kids from going to parties worrying about mounting bills not alone morgage

          appreciate your virtual hugs and u wholesome ireland also

          i have listened to many winging to me about money bills etc but these at the same time are both working parents one or two kids holidays etc can they not see through it (they know part of my situation) and i never never complain to the same extent. then others ask me to go places maybe even a coffee but that would mean spending the budget for tomorrows dinner

          • Wholesome Ireland

            Oh yes that is a regular issue for me too. It’s lovely to be invited but embarrassing as I have to decline. I live in hope that we will get through this and get past it. While things are a bit better for us now, the stress about our situation long term is hard. x

  • Imen McDonnell

    Financial stress is the worst type of stress! i know ye have a strong marriage and family…a real blessing. we struggle too, and are probably not as pragmatic as we should be, but sometimes not doing the right thing financially affords us a little smile in life. i know, that’s not the right way to go about it, but just being honest. you were brave to open up here C and many will be thankful for it…me included. chin up. big hug. xx

  • kathryn

    Two things occurred looking at today’s weekly shopping post. One is that when things get tough I can still afford the three cats that other people dumped on us (literally – in a sack) and petting cats or walking dogs really lifts the spirits. When things were really tough even the one we had back then – also a rescue – was a strain on the budget. And the other was that thinking of feeding pets took me back to the “do you have fish scraps for the cat/bones for the dog/leaves for the rabbit” days with me and the shopkeeper both knowing perfectly well that it was for us, not a pet.

  • Jazzygal

    I can only imagine how tough it has been for you and I really hope that things improve to get better and better for you and your family.
    ((xx)) Jazzy

  • Barbara

    I can relate to a lot (too much!) of the stress and anxiety you’ve mentioned here, though thankfully I’ve never had to suffer the back pain – my other half got to have that pleasure. I will never forget the day we were driving on the old road to Dublin (before they finished the M6) and the tears were running down his face from the pain of the bumps in the road in one of the villages.

    I hope things get easier for you, and the pain gets less.

    I don’t think I’ll ever be able to spend on non-essentials without a sense of ‘is this realay necessary’ again, even if/when things get easier around here. It’s built into me now, it’s become part of who I am. I am the party pooper when it comes to purchasing.

  • patricia oconnell

    ive only joined 2day & i love ur pg….esp above post….keep ur chin up & u hve so many things 2 b grateful for…

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