Friday, January 27, 2012

Working Hard For the Money

I was inspired by my discussion post over at Capitol Hill Style last week to try to post more opinion/debate/personal stuff topics here.  Let me know what you think...

It is often said that being a mother is the hardest you'll ever work for the least amount of pay.  I don't know if that's totally accurate, but some days it definitely feels that way.  Very few jobs require that you start working the minute you get up, get screamed at, vomited on, roll around on the floor, read the same book 30 times in a row (until you figure out how to hide it in the couch cushions), feed, clothe and clean another person without any sick days, vacation, or breaks.  There are a couple, but not many.  But I think the hardest part of being a stay-at-home mother is trying to figure out what (or how) you should "paid."

I've had a job my entire life.  Except for a few semesters of high school, law school, and studying for the bar exam, I've had a paycheck since I was 16.  For better or worse, there is a huge part of my identity that is tied up in what I do and how much I get paid for it.  It just kills me to fill out any form these days that asks what my profession is or who my employer is.  I still write attorney and self.

Beyond just the pride issue, I have trouble spending money on myself.  As someone who always earned a great living (until this year, I outearned my husband every year we've been together) and never felt guilty about splurging on the things I wanted when I knew I could afford them.  Now, I find myself avoiding buying even basic stuff for myself because I don't contribute financially to our household.

I mean, I know I contribute to our household.  But in reality, it feels weird not to have a little tangible reminder every time I get a direct deposit. So, I'm still struggling to determine how to value what I do all day.

Other stay-at-home moms, how do you deal with the finances at your house?  Do you pay yourself? Discuss purchases with your partner?  And moms who are working, do you feel feel different about how you spend the money you earn now that you have a baby?


  1. I work full-time and have a 16 month old. I find I spend a lot less on myself since I found out I was pregnant. I'm also going through a divorce which keeps my spending on myself in check but I do reward myself with something nice now and then but far less then before.

  2. I know some SAHM's that worked it out w their husbands to have an "allowance" of sorts each month they're allowed to spend guilt-free on whatever they desire. I know what you're going through because I've made the same transition & it's driven me nuts on occasion!! Our system is pretty simple: if it's under $50 we don't discuss it before but do discuss it of its over that prior to purchase. Of course there are times we can't discuss it due to time restraints or what have you, but my husband trusts my judgement. I don't buy for myself much anymore anyway, so I think he's just happy I remembered myself. Heh.

    Just talk with your husband & figure out what's best for you both. The guilt-free allowance may be a good idea & motivate you to occasionally get some non-mommy time to go shopping. :)

  3. @Anon I agree that there is definitely the whole pregnancy/baby aspect that makes shopping for yourself just plain indulgent feeling. I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through such a difficult time, hope things improve soon!

    @ToriOreo I've heard of the allowance thing as well and, while it sounds practical, still feels weird. Maybe I just need to get over it.

  4. I absolutely feel the same about spending money on myself - even with the comfy salary I earn. I'll spend ridiculously on the children, but not on me. Target + similar have become my shopping destinations, when really, I know I'll be buying more later because it's not made as well.

    Though work outside the home and earn that salary, my H and I are trying to spend wisely, similar to ToriOreo, where we discuss certain purchases. No limit, per se, but send each other links and such. Only once in a while do we get ourselves in trouble with each other.

  5. I also have a hard time with making no financial contribution. I have also worked since I was in my teens and have found it very hard to let go of that aspect of my life. I left my job after having my son and when I went in to the Dr for a checkup they had me review all of my health paperwork. One of the questions was "who is your employer and when I went to leave it blank it defaulted to "unemployed!" That hit me really hard and it hurt. I know we've made the right decision for me to stay home and I don't regret it but the transition has been very hard.


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