In Discussions, Life, Money, Parenting, Women

“Why do you always crap on stay at home mothers?”

I don’t. It may seem like I do, but I really don’t and here’s why:

False sense of complacency is what I dislike

What I don’t like at the core of it all, is people who don’t know anything about their money nor care about it, and then if something unexpected happens, they are unable to do basic things like balance a budget, pay bills, or worse, realize too late that they have been left with debts to the point where they have to sell everything and/or go back to work.

What I care about, is people who are in that position of “Oh I am not working, ergo I do not need to think about money, SOMEONE ELSE will take care of it for me“, and falling into this false sense of complacency that they don’t need to care when they should.

I dislike it in stay at home parents, working parents, women, men, children… basically anyone, regardless of who you are. This idea of “someone else will handle it”, irks the hell out of me.

I only talk about what I know/like

I am someone who tried staying at home in between contracts and hated every moment of it. That’s me. That isn’t you, your wife, your sister, daughter or anyone else.

I personally hated it.

So when I post things, it’s about what I like – making my own money, being independent, working, not staying at home and so on but I 100%, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT hate stay at home mothers nor do I hate their choices.

I wouldn’t choose their choices if I had to consider it FOR MYSELF, but not for them.

….I only hate it when women are not given the option

I hate it when women are asked to give up their jobs, asked to go part-time, and essentially through societal, peer and spousal/family pressure, forced into giving up their independent means of making money when they do not want to.

By default, women are conventionally expected to stay at home. They’re expected to give up their ‘pin money’ and they’re expected to watch the kids, keep the house, etc.

If you are a woman or know someone who CHOSE this, this is what I support. I support the CHOICE that they were given to do so, and a FREE choice at that.

If they want to, it’s fantastic. My friend’s wife did this and she loves being at home with the two children and not worrying about making money, and it works for them. It just isn’t my reality, but that’s okay because we both got to. choose what they wanted to do.

What I don’t love, is hearing messages from women who say that they were pressured into giving up their jobs by their spouses “why work? just stay at home and I’ll take care of it all, I make way more than you anyway“, and not understanding how to give the verbiage to what they were feeling which was: “if I stay at home, I lose my only means of making money independently which is core to my sense of self“.

Other not so nice ways I have heard this said:

  • “I want our children to have a mother at home like I did, so you have to stay home for the sake of the family.”
  • “I don’t want our children to be raised by strangers, so you have to do it.”
  • “We don’t need your salary to live on anyway, so why bother?”

Also, when men do not consider themselves as part of the stay-at-home contingent when they make these decisions on their own, that’s where I have an issue. When they just assume it will be the default parent (mother), I take issue with that. They are not giving her the choice to decide, nor are they deciding together as a unit, and as a family, they’re telling her what they want with no regard as to what she wants.

They are deciding on their own, and I hate that. If together, you sit down and come up with the conclusion that it is best for him to stay working outside of the home and she stays at home (for whatever reason), then it is a common, agreed-upon decision, not something forced upon her as a “you do this my way or it’s the highway“. And even if it makes more sense economically. for her to stay at home, sometimes, they may not want to, and not acknowledging HER CHOICE or working out a solution where she is able to continue working outside of the home, even part-time, is also something I take issue with.

Even if their spouses made billions, sometimes, there is something so satisfying about being able to make your own income, buy your own things (no matter how small) and to not have to rely on someone else to pay for them.

Some women, like myself, and like my mother, are in this mindset.

Some women are not, like my friend’s wife, and that is perfectly fine as long as SHE GOT TO CHOOSE.

Wait but you crap on women not making their own money!

No I do not. I don’t like it when women lose sight of their money, and when women do not take agency to care for their own money.

Making money is not the same as having your own money.

I see this as two subtle but very powerfully different concepts.

Making Money = Outside sphere of the home, traditional job, paycheque.

Having Money = Getting money either from Making Money, or having it be shared out equally from Outside Household Income

So what I believe in the most, is that household income should be 50/50, and things should be equal and fair. In theory, everyone says they do this, but if they really checked deep down if it was true, it may not be the case at all.

Let’s face it, when someone else is making the money, unless they are upfront and CLEAR that it is ALSO your money (by repeating it constantly), there is always a little doubt that “well.. I didn’t make that money” that makes women hesitate on asking for their fair share.

Women were not taught to grab power, to take their share, and to traditionally, stand up for themselves and their values. I was not taught this by society, by peers, by observing female role models.

So, we don’t think we deserve that money because we undervalue our time, our work and our efforts and I am against anyone who thinks what they do at home has no or lesser value than someone who works outside the home.

As a result when I was growing up, I saw lots of situations where the mother stayed at home (all my friends actually, no one worked outside the home), and the mother had to ask permission for the money.

Even in my mother’s case, she was going back to school & then later, trying to get work but unable to get hired because of racism so she ended up staying at home most of the time. She had to ASK my father for money and he would give her cash to go buy food or whatever. In those days, no one had any concept of financial abuse, to be honest.

That simple act of asking, is subtly quite humiliating, at least from what I saw of my mother and my friends’ mothers when they did it. It’s an uncomfortable tactic that makes you feel shamed into feeling like a child asking for an allowance, and it chips away at your dignity.

So when my mother finally got a job, and a good paying one at that, she clung onto it fiercely and never let it go. She kept repeating how she tried so hard for over a decade (and we all witnessed it), to get this job, and she NEVER GAVE UP, which is of course, the moral to the story of her.

It’s why my mother said this:

So what do you believe stay at home mothers should do?

I think stay at home FAMILIES (not just the mothers), should be on the same page to do the following:

Understand outside work is equal to inside work

Meaning, if you make money outside of the home, you are working as hard as the one working inside the home.

Inside the home – the act of caring for children, keeping the house and so on, is invisible, unappreciated labour that is not generally regarded by society and others to be on the same level as when you work outside and make money which is utter crap because I find working at home to be more difficult than my actual career.

(Also, inside, invisible home work never freakin’ ends. It’s a 24/7 job. No one gets to ‘clock out’ from watching the children and just go home to an blissfully empty room where they get to do everything they want to do as an individual. So give the at-home parent a break please.)

Understand that outside contributions are for the family

Any money made outside, regardless of who made it, is considered to be for the family and is not an individual endeavour.

How many times have I heard:

  • “Well it’s my money, I worked hard for it.”
  • “Who else do you see paying the bills around here?”
  • “Who the hell do you think makes all the money to pay for all these things you want?”
  • “I deserve to spend my money the way I want to”
  • “Do you pay half? Pay your half and I’ll do my half in the home”

These are all real things people utter, and to be clear, one of them, is my friend who is the breadwinner businesswoman and her husband is more the at-home parent though he works in her family business.

If your spouse is inside the home, working hard at invisible labour and life to make things easy for the family, you are working outside the home to make sure bills can be paid, and it is also for the family.

Screw this notion of individual income and make sure that whatever is made OUTSIDE is equally considered to be for the whole family.

It’s also really toxic to say these things (I told her that, don’t worry), because it undermines their confidence, their sense of worth, and it confuses them because they work very hard as well, it just isn’t paid work and it’s hurtful to hear this.

Pay the common bills & set goals together

Sit down together, make a budget & track expenses together, and understand all the bills that have to be paid. Knowledge is power, and knowing that you have common goals of saving for this or that retirement fund, allows you both to see what is important which is that you may think that $500 is “free” to invest, but someone else might say: I actually need half of that for the children’s fees this month… these discussions happen naturally as both partners sit together and hash out what costs what and where the money should go.

Set common money goals together so that you’re both working in sync. If you want to max out a retirement fund this year

Make sure you have savings and retirement accounts for both of you and individually

This is up to you, but I always suggest individual savings accounts even for the smallest reason of what if you want to buy something as a surprise for them?

Or maybe like me, you want to go and get some microblading done on your eyebrows and it costs $300 …..(OKAY FINE, $500… sheesh…) but you don’t want to get judged for it (even in a kind hearted teasing manner!), so you pay for it out of your own account.

Or, more seriously, you are in what you think is an increasingly toxic environment or relationship, and you want to leave. How can you leave if you have no money saved in your name, that they cannot access, touch or revoke?

How can you leave if you have no savings at all of your own? Remember that all joint accounts pending a divorce are frozen. If you are in the midst of a divorce, you can’t sell any joint assets until things are settled.

In this situation, you NEED individual accounts of your own with savings, and some money to be able to get away.

Or, even a credit card for the interim to pay for bills. I knew a woman who left her controlling husband by using her credit cards to put the first month’s rent down on the apartment, buy basic groceries, and furniture. She racked up $6000 in the first month but she was finally free.

Aside from this rather dark reason for having your own credit card, I’d also suggest individual credit cards so you each can build your own credit rating – adding someone as an authorized user is not as great for 2 reasons:

  1. You do not get the same credit score or any sort of residual bonuses as the account holder; you’re piggybacking if you’re an authorized user and considered a non-entity in terms of credit score generation/building
  2. The authorized user can be cut off at any time – I have heard too many horror stories about this where they simply cut them off financially in all aspects and they were left with nothing

So authorized user is not the same as an account holder, without the same credit score nor rights. Just keep that firmly in mind.

By the way, you’re a feminist if you believe the above

Hate to break it to you.

I for many years did not want to be defined as a feminist because of all the negative imagery and connotations, but I am clearly one.

Once I realized who has been portraying feminists as negative, soul-crushing man-haters and you might realize they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The ones who are against feminism have a vested interest in portraying feminists as bad, negative, and detrimental to society, when in fact… we should all be feminists if we care about equality of the sexes, and giving women the right to CHOOSE just as men do with what to do with their body, lives, and so on.

The ones who are against feminism and are women themselves, may be just indoctrinated into the patriarchal mindset where they simply don’t know any better because they haven’t seen anything else to compare it to.

I liken it to a child living at home – if you teach them that it is XYZ, they will not know anything beyond XYZ because… there isn’t anything else. Only once do they go out into the world and see ABCDEF, they start to realize that maybe, XYZ wasn’t the only way, or their whole world.

So what I hate in the end, is the lack of choice and agency that women are not normally afforded by default.

Not stay at home mothers.

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4 Comments

  1. Jen

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and never felt attacked as a SAHM. The beginning of your post describes my own mom. She knows nothing about money, doesn’t want to know anything about money. Oh, she’ll spend it though. And she refuses to get a job that might involve handling money because it “scares” her. My dad has helped foster this by controlling all the finances. And of course he would get pissed off if she overspent, but there was no communication that I know of about budgeting.

    Honestly, growing up in that household, I was on the same trajectory. When I headed off to college, my dad had me sign up for several credit cards to cover books and such. I had a GOOD summer job, and put him as a joint account holder on my bank account so he could “take care of” the credit card bills (which were sent to our home, I never saw them). Only he didn’t. I didn’t know a thing about credit or how credit scores even worked until I got my first “real” job and was denied a car loan because my credit score was crap. I learned that all three credit cards had late payments (60-90 days) and had 27%+ interest rates as a result. I was appalled. I researched and learned about money on my own and paid off the credit card debt in a year. I vowed never to let another person handle my money ever again.

    I did decide to be a SAHM when my first child was born, and some will think I was nuts to do that, but to each her own. I consider myself early retired 😀 I do freelance here and there now that my kids are more independent. I am anal about budgeting and keep tabs on our money every day. That’s how I’m able to be “retired,” not because my husband makes a ton and I can do whatever.

    My parents can’t retire. We are on our way to being millionaires. My credit score, FWIW, is in the 820s now (but I don’t carry a balance on cards). I know I’m a nerd, but I enjoy being the “accountant” for our household. There’s definitely some trade-off financially if you decide to be a one income household, but we’re okay with that, and my husband likes his job fine.

    Moms, do yourself a service and learn about money. Everyone needs to know. You need to teach your kids, too, because school won’t.

    (Sorry for the lonnnng post)

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      No, this is fantastic. THIS is what everyone needs to hear, coming from someone who is a SAHM. I was only one briefly for short periods of time, so I have an idea but I do not have the in-depth insight you do. Thank you.

  2. Steveark

    Well said, my wife chose to be a stay at home wife, I tried hard not to influence her decision either way. I was a high earner but she is the hard worker, me having 50% ownership of our income is overly generous to me because I’m fairly lazy by nature. Even my substantial family inheritance immediately became equally hers because that was our agreement from the start. There is no gifting involved, she earned every dollar being the glue that held or family together and the primary reason our three adult kids are self sufficient and successful. I don’t understand men who are the larger earners thinking that entitles them to more than 50% ownership or more than 50% decision making power. My wife is smart and wise and better than me at making most decisions.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      THIS is the attitude that all breadwinners should have, men or women. I really dislike it when they don’t treat their partners who stay at home like equal-earning partners and THAT is what I am angry about, which is why I ask the ones who stay at home (mostly mothers) to stand up for themselves. It just doesn’t come off the right way partly because I do not have pages of text to say: “Disclaimer – this is what I feel” prefacing everything I say. At the core, I care about valuing work inside and outside the home.

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