Emma Victoria Stokes Baby
Parenting & Baby

I’m Having A Baby! Freelance Life, Money Saving Tips and Wish Lists

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Wealthify – an online investment service which lets you build personal investment plans and junior ISAs.

As a person who writes continuously about food, more food, hotels, EVEN MORE food and lifestyle bits in between, I’ve been questioning whether I need to introduce another category to my blog soon because… I’M HAVING A BABY!

Currently standing (or lying down most of the time) at 19 weeks, I’ve been told the little babe inside my stomach is about the size of a Gameboy. Or more accurately, a ‘zesty zucchini’ or a baby hedgehog. It’s pretty fascinating what pregnancy apps nowadays can tell you and it’s given me some giggles these past few months. But we’ll talk about that later. Contradictory to this blog post, I wrote on social media the other day that I don’t feel in the slightest bit prepared. I’ve bought a total number of TWO things so far. On the upside, I’ve been preparing in many other ways mostly involving technology.

While I understand and appreciate many people map out their dream lives from the age of 12, life really is like a damn box of chocolates and you never know what you’re gonna get. After watching dozens of girls filming themselves on Youtube finding out they had conceived, I found out I was pregnant not long after my boyfriend’s 30th birthday. Although the baby wasn’t a complete surprise, after taking a pregnancy test one afternoon and two faint lines appeared – to be honest I wasn’t entirely sure what to do next. I don’t even think it even registered that the whole thing meant ‘positive’ and there was a tiny, small, minuscule person inside me. I simply put my freelance work on pause, texted a mate, went downstairs, made myself a sandwich and put on some films. I think I was in a bit of shock. People really do deal with things differently and it seems I genuinely resort to Netflix and chill in my time of need.

So with Christmas 2019 on the horizon and Baby Pyzer due on December 29th – there are many things I haven’t even thought about. The only items we have bought so far is a crib that the baby won’t sleep in until they’re six months old, and a pair of dungarees. I know my life is about to turn upside down; people don’t refrain from telling me so. Yes, I understand there will be lack of sleep, early mornings, breastfeeding, milk pumping, buying clothes, cots, cribs, painting a nursery and times I’m likely to cry into my toast in the morning. But it’s absolutely fine. And I’m ok with that.

For my own little slither of sanity throughout this process, I’ve created a small list below of some apps, tips and tricks and forward-planning bits that have helped me on my journey so far. Hopefully I can look back at this at the end of the year and be like WOAH, maybe I was a tiny bit organised after all.

Maternity Leave & Junior ISAs

One of the first things that flashed through my mind shortly after finding out I was pregnant was money. I know life isn’t just about working, but being able to provide is really important. Also being a sole trader and freelancer means that occasionally, money can be sporadic depending on times in which clients pay invoices. There are so many factors in banking, saving money and also the mind-boggling concept of maternity leave, maternity pay, keeping in touch days and what I can do to make sure Baby Pyzer gets off to the best start in life. I can receive maternity allowance for up to 39 weeks and will be allowed 10 ‘keeping in touch days’ to keep my business ticking over. I’d be lying if I said I knew what I’ll be doing.

On the bright side, I’m pleased that we’re already ahead of the game and have started putting money away each month to help build our little family. We’ve started looking into a junior investment ISA to make the whole process a bit easier and a bit less daunting. Wealthify recently got in touch with me which I found to be incredibly helpful and their website is pretty easy to understand. Coming from someone who didn’t even know how to set up a pension, I found ISA talk to be a breeze…

It seems that junior ISAs are a tax-efficient way for families to save up to a whopping £4,368 each year for the child. Basically, my unborn kid is probably already richer than I am. The process of setting up an ISA is simple and I think it’s very important to understand that all money saved belongs to your child and not the parent. What’s more, the ISA can only be accessed when they turn 18 so there’s no chance of bankrupting the baby even before they turn 1. I need to do a bit more digging but Wealthify seem to be a very good option to start with.

Pregnancy & Tracker Apps

This might be TMI but I’ve been tracking my cycles for the best part of a year. After coming off the pill I could hear my body screaming a sigh of relief. The only downside was not knowing what comes next, and when. Using tracking mobile apps such as FLO meant I could calculate my cycles better. Flo is both a menstruation, menopause and ovulation tracking calendar which uses predictive data to monitor women’s health. The free app is available on iOS and Android – I’d highly recommend a download as I think it’s one of the best tracking apps on the market today.

Ovia Pregnancy is now also one of my favourite phone apps of all time. It not only registers your pregnancy in trimesters, weeks and days, but also gives you hilarious updates on the size of your expected child. Of course, take this app with a pinch of salt as measurements aren’t 100% scientific. What I love about Ovia is that it also shows you the rough size of your baby’s hands and feet, and reminds you to take folic acid and vitamins each day. It’s like having another parent tell YOU what to do, it’s joyous. Both fun and informative, I can’t wait to see what vegetable baby looks like at 20 weeks!

Wish lists & Baby Showers

As previously mentioned, I’ve heard many parents say nothing can physically prepare you to raise a child. You can buy stuff but nothing can truly teach you how to be a parent. You just gotta learn for yourself, or something. In saying this, I’m so wonderfully lucky to be surrounded by an abundance of amazing friends and family who are offering to give us bedding, clothing, toys and so forth. We don’t want to have to buy everything brand new if it means rescuing it from someone else at a good cost, because no doubt the kid will likely outgrow everything super fast anyway. However, it still feels nice to add a few things onto a wish list for ourselves as there are a few items that shouldn’t be re-used. More recently, I have been putting together a small Amazon Baby Wishlist.

We will be finding out the sex of the baby in a few weeks time but considering some family and friends don’t want to know – we’re aiming to keep the wish list neutral. To be brutally honest, I’m more excited about buying a nappy changing bag and a pram – hopefully one that Josh can take running on a Saturday morning. Adulting level 100! At the end of the year I think my best mates are throwing me a small party. I don’t want a baby shower – I’d prefer a gathering of best mates and family with pizza, party snacks and a few hilarious ‘rescue the baby from the ice cube’ type games instead.

Freelancing & Career Moves

As for my actual career, I always have to remind myself that I’m my own boss for a reason. I wanted the freedom and flexibility of making my own choices, working on my own accord and with whoever I choose to. I don’t know how long I’ll be taking for maternity leave, or even what to expect, but what I do know is that the option is mine and I can do whatever makes me happy. My wonderful friend Jenna Farmer who runs The Bloglancer is also a full-time mom and freelancer who has been giving me tons of advice over the past few months. Jenna has some insightful posts about Growing A Business On Maternity Leave and much more for anyone else thinking of taking the next step, or if you’re simply curious about freelancing and children in future. I highly recommend checking out her site she’s full of knowledge and wisdom.

If you know of any amazing maternity, freelance and money saving sites that you think would be useful, please drop me a comment or message me on social media. Thanks to Wealthify for getting in touch and collaborating with me on this post.