Being a stay at home mom is hard. It becomes even harder when you feel that you have no right to take part in the family finances, because you don’t earn an income. Instead of feeling proud of all that you contribute to your family you begin to feel worthless.
You need to stop right there!
No one is created to be inferior to anyone, each and every one of us was created as equals and we each have our own unique contribution to our lives and the world.
A stay at home mom provides a ridiculous amount of financial well being to the household and manages to add balance and peace to the family and world.
You doubt me? Take a look at how your services stack up financially:
Value of Services Provided by a Stay at Home Mom
A stay at home mom is a nanny, a cleaning person, a chauffeur, a cook, and many more things. When the stay at home mom is not doing these things they still need to be done. Here are some costs to hire someone else to do what you are doing:
- The average paid house manager makes $69,000 a year
- The average nanny makes between $10 and $18 an hour depending on location
- The average maid makes approximately $10 an hour
And this is just the financial contribution, it does not include any of the emotional benefits, we would need to look at what therapists get paid for that!
Before you can begin to work with your husband on the family finances you must first find the value in what you do, you need to feel like your contribution counts. While looking at the salaries above can help convince your brain it is not always easy to convince your heart of the same thing. In order to get your heart to come along you need to take a deeper look at what you do.
Learn to Value Yourself
Here are some ways that you can prove to yourself how valuable you are.
- Create a list of everything that you do. Do not leave anything off this list, work on it for at least a full week to make sure you get the once a week items on there too. You will be amazed at how much that you are doing each and every day. Some ideas to get you started: let the dog out, feed the dog, wake the children, feed the children breakfast, pack the kids lunches, get the kids to school, do a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher and reload, and schedule doctor’s appointments. And this is usually all within the first two hours of the day!
- Create a list of what your husband is able to do because you stay at home. His career success is not independent of what you are doing to help with the family. If he wants a family, home and career then he needs you to help make the balance work. In fact in Thomas Stanley’s research of millionaires the fourth most common factors cited by millionaires as being a success factor is that of having a supportive spouse. Without a solid, loving home base it is harder for them to succeed.
- Envision your life if you were working outside the home. Write down exactly how your day would look and what changes would have to be made in your life. Get very detailed down to: how would you manage the kids, who would do the house work, what budget changes would be made, and what lifestyle changes would occur with you working. The extra income benefits of working are frequently over valued as a complete assessment is not taken. Taxes, day care, dry cleaning and transportation are ignored. Lifestyle is also ignored as you now have to manage all the house and kids tasks outside of office hours. And if you are lucky also spend quality time with the family and keep yourself healthy.
Understand Your Husbands’ Feelings/Comments
Many times a stay at home mom feels as if her husband does not value what she does.
This can come from two places:
- Your spouse tells you this, or makes comments such as “you do nothing all day”, or “you are lucky to not have to work”.
- You create this belief that your husband finds no value in what you do and that you should have no say in the finances. You are transferring your beliefs onto him, even though he has never even brought up the subject.
If you are living scenario number one then sit down with him and tell him how this makes you feel. He may not realize how much it hurts you. Also clarify what is behind his statement. It may have nothing to do with you staying at home but instead it could be jealousy that you get more time with the kids, maybe it is coming from exhaustion from a bad job, perhaps he is lonely because you focus more on the kids.
Your spouse may also not realize all that you do in a day. Bring out your lists and show him everything that you are doing. Talk about the costs of you going back to work.
Ultimately you need to communicate with him and understand why he feels the way he does and at the same time make sure he understands how you feel. Remember you are a team, so act like one and support each other. A calm, quiet open conversation can do amazing things for your marriage.
Don’t Listen to Others
It is easy to become caught up in what others are saying. If your mom, sister or best friend is telling you that you have no say over the money because you don’t work then you need to ignore them. It is between you and your husband and no one else. This does not mean you can’t ask for advice, but don’t take negative thoughts and comments and internalize them. (Easier said than done, I know!)
Once you have come to understand that you are not worthless and that you do make contributions to the family finances it is time to begin working with your husband on your money.
If you have never worked together before start slowly and remember to communicate. If the finances have been poorly managed don’t point fingers as you are also to blame for not helping with the money management. If you don’t understand the money, start to learn. It is important for you to understand everything going on. Not necessarily because you are going to take over but because you need to be able to understand it in case something happen to your spouse.
Remember, you are valuable. You make a BIG contribution to your family. You have an equal say in what happens with your family financially. Don’t ever feel like you don’t have the right to make financial decisions.
More resources on marriage and money: