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'I refuse to date across the salary divide. So I ended up becoming a solo mum.'

You may or may not be attracted to the size of a man’s appendage. But whether you can procreate with that appendage does depend on the size of something else: a partner’s income. For me, anyway.

Maybe you’re a more idealistic person than me; but when it boils down to it... even though I tried to overlook the disparities between my (higher) income and my partners’ (lower) incomes – there was one, undeniable truth: only one gender can physically carry, birth and breastfeed a baby.

So this left me with an unavoidable fact. If I wanted to be a stay-at-home mum for the first year of my child’s life and become part-time henceforth, realistically, I couldn’t spawn with a man who earned significantly less.

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

And so, since I was 25 and tipped just over $100kpa as a full-time teacher (with two side hustles) this put me financially ahead of about 80 per cent of all Australian men.

And it didn’t come easy! It was a deliberate choice to sacrifice lots of things to complete my studies and enter the full-time (and then some) workforce ASAP. At the time, I worked 8-4pm in a school then 4.30-7.30pm three week days, tutoring. Add to that my weekend hustle of face painting which took sometimes took up 10 hours of my weekends, plus travel.


Some dating apps allow users to screen by income. Perhaps, for some, it’s a sign of prestige. But for me, it was about practicality. No matter how nice the guy was, at the end of the day, I wanted a partner – not a dependent.

Now let me tell you about Reece*. He was a teacher, too. But while I went straight from being a student to a teacher, he had a jaunt overseas. You see, he was a man, blissfully indifferent to his biological clock.

Meanwhile, I said, “I’ll travel in the school holidays.” Because I knew that If I wanted to achieve my fairytale before I was 30, I had to get a move on.

But Reece? Nah, mate. She’ll be right.

We actually tried to make a baby. Just once. We were on a holiday. I was happy to stay in hostels – because I was paying. I distinctly remember him saying when we rocked up at a not-so-ideal room: "This is why I don’t want us to stay in less than four stars."

As you may imagine, being the person paying for all of the accommodation, I tore him a new face. And we never tried to make a baby again. Instead, we went our separate ways. Why? Again, I wanted a partner – not a dependent. Least of all, a dependent who complained about the star rating of his free accommodation.


Let’s skip ahead.

A large proportion of that 20 per cent earning 100k+ were now coupled up. So this left me with fewer options. Men who were divorced (with good reason), men who divorced with kids (and paying child support) and men who were not divorced because no one wanted to marry them.

I’m sure there were many single men over 30: available, suitable, lovely, ready to settle down, financially stable... Well, maybe not the last part. You see, age 30-35 introduced me to a new salary divide: the men who lied about their salaries.

They’d hide behind titles: Managing Director; Coordinator of… In the future, they’d earn good money, perhaps, if their ventures worked out. But in the interim, I’d be footing the bill. And when it came time for baby rearing, these weren’t the kind of men who’d be willing to stay home while I worked.

These were men who wanted to pursue their passion for the next big start-up. Flip property. Become an actor. And that’s all well and good but I wanted to have a baby and do playdates in the suburbs on weekdays. I didn’t want to juggle spawn, childcare, full-time work, and a part-time side hustle so my beloved could further himself in his chosen field. So, that’s how things didn’t work out with the guys I dated. 

Listen to What The Finance where Mel Browne and Pallavi Sharda explore everything love and money, from joint bank accounts, marriage and divorce, and 'sexually transmitted debt'. Post continues after audio.


But let me tell you about Brendan*. He had two kids. And a vasectomy. By now, I only wanted one child. But I’d be paying for three. Plus Brendan. Plus a reverse vasectomy. He earned significantly less than me, and it weighed on me.

I wanted to take holidays, go out to dinner and buy unnecessary things on Amazon. But could I do this on our joint income, if I went part-time? No.

And so... we separated. At the end of the day, I wanted a baby more than I wanted a romantic relationship. And the best way to achieve my fairytale was to do it solo.

I became a solo mum by choice through IVF. My son is now three. I am still part-time. We travel every five weeks. And I buy lots of unnecessary things on Amazon.

Could I have done this with Reece or Brendan? No. Would I be as happy? Not even close. Did the salary divide contribute significantly to the demise of those relationships? You betchya. And, boy... am I grateful for that.

*Names have been changed due to privacy.

Feature Image: Instagram @solo_mum_survival.

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