While out with a friend today, she asked for advice, in regards to her feelings of guilt when spending money. She said, “I feel bad because I am a stay-at-home mom, and not bringing any money in, there’s a lot of guilt surrounding money nowadays.” I answered her questions and she said she felt better, but I am writing this letter to her to expound on the topics we spoke about. While we were talking, we were shopping and my kids were bickering, her baby was hungry, and I feel like I wasn’t able to give her an adequate response.
Before we go any further, if you are a stay-at-home-mom, you do have a job. The most important job. Some people tie too much value to the dollar amount attached to their occupation that they lose site of what they are doing and what they found so important when they embarked on the journey of being a stay-at-home mom.
If you are reading this and you have found what works for you and your family, then that’s great! This is not an article to tell women what they should do or how they should act or feel. Imagine me as a friend chatting with you, explaining my views. I know this is a common problem and want to help women or families who are going through this internal struggle by sharing my perspective. I am not shoving it down your throat.
If you are a woman that feels bad due to society, because it seems to be more socially acceptable to be working a full-time, non-mom career, then F society’s norms. You are doing a beautiful thing staying at home raising your wonderful child (or children).
One of my friend’s concerns, “I feel bad because my whole day seems to involve spending money in general.” It’s a source of contention in their relationship and in turn, her head has become clouded on where she should stand.
My response: “In your home, it’s your “job” is to spend money. You do the shopping, (grocery shopping, buying everything babies and children require, all household items). Friend, you are not buying the kids things, your family is buying the kids what they need. Just because you are the one holding the bank card doesn’t mean you’re spending the family’s money being extravagant. If your children need clothes, they need clothes. If you need a new breast pump, that is no more your expense than your spouses. You are feeding their (your) baby and you are the one that has to have your nipples “ripped off!” Day-to-day purchases are going to rise with every child. My grocery bill has more than doubled. My kids are growing and every few months they need new clothes, even if they haven’t grown out of their clothes, my baby spills so much food, hers clothes don’t last long. They need an abundance of accessories and household items, and are constantly maturing, and most of their toys are educational and have to be replaced at different milestones.”
I think people get confused. Of course more money than before baby will be leaving your bank account and I believe, many times, the working spouse associates that with the mother and may not even be aware or understand the needs of the household. I always hear people speak about the cost concerned with baby. Usually the talks refer to diapers, clothes, or even college. It’s expensive having children and the costs continue to rise… it’s just a reality. I wish the only cost associated with my children were diapers, clothes and college. I’d have a lot more money stashed away! If you are spending money within the family’s means, there should not be an issue. And let’s just say now that you have kids you realize maybe you can’t comfortably afford them. There is nothing you can do about it. Just love your kids and make it work. But the fundamental cost of having children doesn’t decrease based on your economic status.
The next issue she was concerned about was her body. She is beautiful and looks far better than I do in the body department, but she doesn’t fit in her old clothes, and what she does fit in to doesn’t fit her correctly. This is the real big issue for many families… the clothing concern. If you are not pregnant, but planing on getting pregnant, now, or in the future… or if you are working on another baby, this is how I handled the clothing issue with my spouse. I am a firm believer that couples need to be on the same page with issues that could become contentious, even with something small like clothing.
My husband approached me with the wish of having a child. I, of course, said yes, we spoke about having a baby before marriage. Being on the same page with having children is a deal breaker in relationships. I am a firm believer NO ONE should get into a partnership with the goal of changing the other’s mind after marriage. Anyway, he came to me and I said, “Of course, but do you know what that means? Yes, kids are expensive, but providing for them includes more than just “baby.” When you are calculating costs, there are some other expenses I am sure you are not factoring in. I am going to have a baby growing inside me. I will have to buy pregnancy clothes, and enough to feel comfortable. I am going to have to buy even more clothes after the baby. Who knows if I will ever get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. My body may be ravaged… I don’t know. I have never had a baby before and if I need to buy fancy creams, get my hair done and buy some clothes that fit me after giving you a child, then that is a good deal on your end.”
I know what our finances look like and he has no higher claim to our money than I. If he NEEDS something and it’s reasonable, he should get it, and the same goes for me. I think what I am about to say is ridiculous, but if a couple can’t get around the salary issue, then Mom, get a salary. When you have children, negotiate a salary with your spouse. Look up what it would cost to have 24-hour child care, 7 days a week and both individuals can spend as they please. For most, it would be more than the spouse can afford and by this demonstration or conversation, maybe he or she will jump back into reality with their philosophy.
If you are going through these concerns over money, have your partner read this article, maybe something will strike a cord. Both household roles are necessary for survival in this expensive world. Each partner needs to be budget conscious and respectful of one another, not one more than the other.
I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.