I had a dilemma. My husband’s birthday was fast approaching and I had no idea what to get him; the kids were just 12 months old and were too young to make something cute for him. Worse yet, he told me not to get him anything. He didn’t need anything. Seeing how I was no longer earning any money of my own, should I really run out and buy him something he didn’t want, and that he would end up paying for?
Times like these made me miss my paycheck. I had adjusted to shedding my professional skin, but losing the independence my paycheck provided took more getting used to than I had thought it would.
“It’s your money, too,” my older sister, a stay-at-home mom, reminded me.
I knew that, and my husband certainly never made me feel any differently, but there it was: Money Guilt (added to all that Mommy Guilt). Never mind that my salary had helped us buy our house, or that my salary (saved and invested well) contributed greatly so that I was able to stay home with our boys. So, where was this guilt coming from?
We’re a guilty species, us women. When we’re doing our best, we feel like we’re not giving our all. When we need help, we feel weak. Add money into the mix and it gets even uglier. If we earn more than our men, we feel pressured; and if we’re not bringing in “enough” (or any at all, for that matter), we feel less than.
I often hear mothers talking about missing having their own money, or hating to “ask” their husbands for money. The truth is, whether earning a paycheck or not, a mother impacts her family’s finances every day. She manages the household spending, and hopefully makes the money go a bit farther. In investing, her input can be invaluable. According to the National Center for Women and Retirement Research, women tend to spend more time researching their investment options than men do. Because women are less likely to chase “hot” tips and trade on impulse, they get better returns and also save on transaction costs and capital gains tax. This is supported by a study conducted at the University of California at Davis, which found that women’s portfolios gained 1.4% more that men’s portfolios (from 1991-1997). (Food for thought if you haven’t been involved in investment decisions.)
The gift I gave my husband that year was a montage video of our boys’ first year. It cost me nothing but time and patience, as I wasn’t too swift with the video editing program. That same month, my husband gave me a present, as well: a life insurance policy on me. I had been covered at work, but now as a stay-at-home mom it didn’t occur to me that I needed to be insured.
“Are you kidding me? Do you know what it would cost to take care of the kids if something happened to you?” my husband asked.
I guess sometimes it’s not about how much you bring in, but what you are bringing to the table that matters. Thankfully, my husband didn’t need reminding.
|Three Ways to Celebrate Your Worth|
|1) Find out what your “Mom” salary would be. Check out: http://swz.salary.com/momsalarywizard/layoutscripts/mswl_newsearch.asp to calculate a personalized paycheck based on the number of kids you have, their ages, whether you work or stay at home; where you live, and the roles you perform.|
|2) Get life insurance for yourself. Term life insurance is an affordable way to go. Websites like Selectquote.com can give you a quick quote.|
|3) Get involved in the investment decision-making. Your input can really make a difference. Also, it may discourage any unnecessary/extravagant spending if you and DH map out a plan to achieve your financial goals.|