I struggled when trying to decide what to write about today. I was trying to decide what this website/blog is really about. Is it only about sharing FI related content or is it more about our personal journey? I decided on the latter and therefore, this week’s post is about what the Lazy FI family has been through in the past month. The past month reminded me what my priorities are, how family comes first, and the importance of FU money.
The past month
In the past month, we had to deal with 2 separate health issues, which meant our daughter spent a lot of time at home.
First, we all got COVID 19, then my daughter had another virus
As I shared with you in the November 2021 results post, Lazy FI Mum (who is pregnant), caught COVID 19 and was bedbound for 3-4 days. A few days later, my daughter and I caught it as well (with minimal symptoms). Luckily, Lazy FI Mum’s mother was here to help through that as we all had to isolate. While it wasn’t a positive experience, my wife got better pretty quickly and then it was just dealing with the isolation/quarantine.
In the first round of PCR tests, Lazy FI mum tested positive and we tested negative. After a few LFT tests, my daughter and I got positive results. We then took another PCR test that came back positive.
The reason we took another test was that we wanted to be registered on the system because we were planning to fly to Israel, which affects your isolation/quarantine time. Another reason we wanted to get tested again is that the NHS has the most accurate data. This will not only help them deal with this pandemic (accurate data is important) but also have our records updated. If anything happens to us, god forbid, the doctor should probably know that we had COVID 19, that was my logic at least.
Anyway, the fact that my daughter and I tested positive reset our isolation/quarantine clock, which meant we had to stay home for over 2 weeks.
As soon as my wife tested positive, I told my boss my availability will be very limited. Not only do I need to look after my wife, but my daughter is also home all day. If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because this is my daughter’s second(!) round of COVID 19, she’s not even 2 years old, crazy. Here’s my summary of the previous round.
Just like last time, the ability and confidence to drop work and ensure family comes first are crucial. It comes from a deep understanding that even if you get fired (you won’t but that’s the worst-case scenario), you’ll be ok. This can only come when you have FU money.
If you’ve never heard of FU money, it’s a term made popular by JL Collins*. It means you have money to set your own terms, be true to yourself and not bend over backwards because you’re afraid to lose your job. It’s enough money to say to your boss… FU. In case this isn’t clear, I am NOT recommending you say that.
After our quarantine/isolation was over, our daughter went back to childcare, not for long though.
About a week later she started waking up in the middle of the night (unusual for her). After 2 nights of this, on the third night, she was knackered. She asked to go to bed (first time ever!) before dinner or bath, we were so shocked, impressed and proud of her. Obviously, we let her go to sleep.
The next morning she woke up with a fever and runny nose, no childcare for her. She also slept A LOT during the day, which is also unusual for her.
The fever lasted for a full week (reaching 40 degrees) without her seeing a doctor. I called a GP using a video call** and the GP said that she highly recommends we go to see a doctor so someone could listen to her chest and see her face to face, so we went to A&E.
A&E checked her and ensured there was nothing dangerous going on.
The next morning, she was fine. We let her stay home one more day to ensure she’s ok and to avoid risking other kids in childcare.
By the way, we still don’t know what she had.
This week was very tough for us. Not physically, that part was fine. It’s just hard to see your child exhausted and unwell for so long with very little that you can do to help.
Lazy FI Mum and I took turns looking after our daughter and I think we did a good job.
Once again, work got dropped in an instant. Family comes first, a lot before work.
I spent exactly zero seconds choosing between work and being there for my daughter.
This week made me very proud.
I was so proud of my daughter, her communication skills and maturity amazed me this week. Asking to go to sleep was so important in her recovery. This is a kid that sleeps 1-1.5 hours a day usually. Suddenly, she’s sleeping 4-6 hours each day, luckily, she told us.
She was also very good at communicating what she wanted. She told us when she wanted a story, water, food, or to look at pictures. It’s amazing how quickly they grow.
I’m also proud of us. Both for being there for our daughter and giving her the attention she needed but also for getting to a position where we can tell our bosses we’re going to be unavailable in the next few days. Don’t get me wrong, both our bosses were very sympathetic and understanding. However, if we were in desperate need of these jobs, we may have been afraid to ask for this time off.
Anyway, she’s all better now.
Priorities- family comes first
I still find it amazing how every time something like this happens, my priorities become so clear.
For me, family comes first even when everyone’s healthy. However, occasions like these remind me of what I’m pursuing. It’s the ability to be there for my kids (and wife) when they’re not well and when they are.
It is a huge motivation boost.
It also reminded me why I love the logo my brother made for me. You can clearly see me playing with my daughter while the briefcase (work) gets left behind.
Funny enough, Lazy FI Mum came to me this week and said she was thinking about how we can increase our income and reduce our costs to reach FI quicker. When I asked her why she was thinking about that, she didn’t know. Maybe she felt the same thing I did and just had her priorities become clearer? She reads most of the posts before I publish them so I’ll update you on what she had to say about this.
Lazy FI Mum’s response:
“Reaching FI, to me, means 2 things:
- Lazy FI Dad can experience more out of life. He can live his dream and have (substantial) more time with his family and doing the things he loves (e.g. hobbies, tutoring, etc.) . This is incredibly important to me as his wife. I can see him happier on days off and when he gets a chance to explore this lifestyle (e.g. when he must stay at home due to a disease or when he takes a long holiday when our daugther is off nursery). He thrives in those moments, he feels like he is meant to do it all the time. And, as his wife – I want him to have more of this. FI is the means to his dream. I want him to continue to be happy and support him through the process, and when we reach it – to ensure he keeps living the life he wants.
- Less pressure in general in my life – not to say that I am stressed or concerned. But knowing that Lazy FI Dad is the flexible parent – the one that ‘stays’ at home, cooking lunch for everyone, welcoming us all when we come back from school/work, take the time to invest in his kids, doing homework, playing and reading books – makes me feel good about my own life choices. It coincides. We aligned our family values to something we both feel is right for us and the closer we get to FI, the more I feel this balance. An important note from me – I am a present parent, we share almost everything we do with our daugther and I would never miss it, she is, like for Lazy FI Dad, the best thing that ever happened to me. I will always be there for her and she alwyas takes presedence. However, it’s also important for me to work, to fulfil myself, to be challenged and to support people through my strengths and experience. By doing so I hope and wish I set a great example for my daugther and future kids that you should do things you love, things you care about, things that give you meaning. Reaching FI means I can feel a little bit less guilty (being completely honest here!) and more reassured that our family lifestyle aligns with our personal preferences on how we want to live.”
There you have it folks, a rare opportunity to look into our marriage. I say that because Lazy FI Mum wrote a long, beautiful answer that didn’t answer the question, which was “why are you thinking about it now?”.
To that, she answered: “When our daughter is unwell, there are two parents that want to be there for her 100% but only one that also wants to combine work”. I agree of course.
As you can guess, we had a tough few nights and therefore I will keep this post short and share with you my sleep pattern in the last few days.
I couldn’t care less about my sleep (in the short term). The important thing is that everyone is healthy and my daughter can go back to her friends in childcare (yeah right, it’s bank holiday galore!)
Oh and in case you were wondering, I still got my 10,000 steps each day.
What does this have to do with FI?
This post doesn’t have too much to do with FI, to be honest. I decided that I’m writing not only to share knowledge but also to share and document the different things that come up during our journey to FI.
However, fear not. The next 4 posts (unless something comes up) will be:
31/12/21- 1 year of blogging
07/01- Lazy FI Family’s December 2021 results
14/01- 07/01- Lazy FI Family’s annual 2021 results
21/01- Our experience with American Express
The last 3 will be not only very FI related but number-heavy too.
*JL Collins wrote my all-time favourite personal finance book called “The simple path to wealth”. If you can only read one personal finance book- read this one.
** The video call with the GP is part of our health insurance, which I joined through my work.