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Single mother Sacha: ‘Financially my life is hanging by a thread’

“I don’t often have six thousand euros in my account, if only that. When I have completed a few coaching sessions, I can sometimes get a lot of money, but then the fixed costs have to be removed. Usually I have about three or four hundred euros. It happens now and then that I have to ask family if they can come to my aid when suddenly a high bill falls on the mat. I don’t like that, but it’s a scenario I took into account when I started my own business two years ago.

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I am by no means the only career coach or mindfulness trainer in the Netherlands; you need patience if you want to build a name. It’s worth it to me because there’s nothing I like more than this: helping other people find out if who they are is right with what they’re doing. As I learned that myself.

Rescue on my own

I got my daughter on my own, through IVF treatment with the help of a donor. At that time I still had a well-paid job as a sales director for a television station.

The fact that I really wanted to become a mother was of course a matter of feeling, but I did a good job of calculating whether I would make it all on my own. The mortgage for my Amsterdam floor, four days of care for Kate, clothes … well, everything would end up on my shoulders. The decisive factor was the thought that any possible misery that could affect me, such as losing my job, would be temporary. That I didn’t have to put my desire to have children on hold for that. In addition, there are families with four children who have to live on the same income.


The misery came, because I got a burnout. A year earlier I had moved with Kate from Amsterdam to a village on the coast, where my younger brother live with his wife and three sons. The peace and nature did us both good. It was also nice that I now had my family nearby.

And yet the tranquility of the village was not enough. I started to collapse under my work, where it got busier after a reorganization. It also started to bother me more and more that I brought Kate to daycare as the first child in the morning and picked up last in the evening. And then, out of sheer exhaustion, I was sometimes fretful to her. Not long after my second pregnancy went wrong to my grief, I had to call in sick. It was time to admit to myself that it was no longer possible. That I was no longer happy at work and had to do what I really wanted.

My own company

In December 2014, exactly one year after reporting sick, I registered my company YAPA with the Chamber of Commerce. Fortunately, my employer and I broke up in a decent way. With the money I received, I was able to pay off my debt – my house in Amsterdam was flooded when I sold it. I was also able to invest in three costly coaching courses. After that, the money was completely gone.

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‘I have become a nicer mother’

Kate and I lived in a nice little house in the yard of a farm. I could no longer afford the fourteen hundred euros rent. And as a starting one-person I could also forget about a new mortgage. I was lucky that my parents had just sold their house in France: there was nothing to do in the bank, my father said. I was able to take out a family mortgage and found a more affordable home just around the corner from my little brother.

I have now lost eleven hundred euros on housing costs, my total fixed costs are about eighteen hundred euros. I never eat out. I don’t buy clothes for myself. Kate wears secondhand clothes. I see it as a sport to buy groceries as cheaply as possible. I have no problem with that, you have to take small steps to get where you want.

I also believe that I have become a nicer girlfriend and mother: in the past I often only listened half, was always busy with other things. The only thing I find difficult is that, during a day at the beach, I can never order a glass of wine or cup of coffee without worry. A little more money for things like that, that would be nice. That’s why I think to look for a part-time job that doesn’t require too much of me.

Important in life

I have friends who suddenly find themselves alone to care for their child. Then I often hear: Gosh Sacha, only now do I realize how intense it is for you to always be on your own. But you know what it is: I don’t know any better. And I don’t do it alone, because I have a lot of lovely people around me who help me.

I also gain a lot from the lessons I teach others as a mindfulness trainer. I no longer panic so quickly, I no longer spend hours worrying in bed, I know my own limits and I much prefer to be to myself. Instead of an overloaded career woman, I now regularly serve as a helper at Kate’s school or babysit my nephews in the afternoons. Financially my life may still hang by a thread, I now do what I think is really important in my life. ”

This article has previously appeared in Kek Mama.

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