Why don’t I just let my partner provide for me while I am pregnant / on maternity leave?
Tracy brought up a great question A LONG WHILE BACK in my December 2013 Budget roundup that I thought I ought to address properly in a post. (I am REALLY happy she asked this!):
A question I have, your baby daddy works also as a consultant, yes?
So presumably he makes around what you do when you are working, ($100 – 300K a year depending on contract) which is more than enough to support a family of 3.
I can’t help but ask, since he’s working, why doesn’t he take over more of the expenses instead of it coming from you? (who is not working) I’m talking about at least rent, groceries, and household equipment.
Or does he also only work a few contracts year like you did … in either case, you ARE pregnant … he should provide!!!!
I just want to clarify that if he doesn’t work, he makes $0 a year too. It happens in freelancing, it’s called “feast and famine”. She’s not the first one to say this. His mother and sister said that too! They said to me: Forget about working with a baby, just get my son / brother to pay for everything. I chuckled a bit, but never considered this to be an option at all. Why?
1. I CAN PROVIDE FOR MYSELF AND I DON’T NEED HIM TO
I don’t need him to provide for me or the baby. Need being the operative word here. If I were a minimum wage worker or someone who was unable to make the bills if I had to go on maternity leave, I’d see this as a possibility; however with what I have saved, I can provide for myself 100% for the next 3 years or longer without a problem. (I am well aware that it all hinges on how much I spend each year! HAH!)
2. ALSO, I DON’T WANT HIM TO PROVIDE FOR ME
I don’t want him to provide for me either. I am a stickler for this 50/50 equal-in-every-sense kind of relationship we have. I really don’t believe in this big pool of cash that we can both dip into, and no one tracks how much the other contributed. I am not a fan of this “your money is my money, and my money is your money, and all this money we have is together forever” business, having already been on the side of the one contributing 100% for a lazy bum before. We both make equal salaries and as a result we both contribute to joint household expenses. I find this very fair. Whatever we spend above and beyond what we spend together for our family and ourselves, is our business (e.g. my shopping) and I like it like that. Just because I am the one who biologically has to carry the baby for 9 months, give birth and then feed the baby for 3 months doesn’t give me any right to ask him to pay for me when I don’t even need him to. This is an independence thing. I NEED to make my own money, I NEED (for my own self and sanity) to pay my half for everything we do jointly together, and it gives me great satisfaction to do so. For me, having someone else pay for me would be giving up my independence as well. What would I have to do if I wanted something for my wardrobe (that I don’t NEED)? I could just use my own money, but in that case, shouldn’t I be contributing to MY half of the rent and groceries if I am able to spend money on (unneeded) clothing?
3. HE IS A PARTNER IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD
He does provide for me but I don’t think just giving money is the be-all and end-all of the word “provide”. For instance, he splits all household tasks with me at least 50/50 (sometimes he does more!). He is truly my partner in and out of the home. I know other women who have husbands who think taking care of their child is “babysitting” (no, it’s called being a father if it’s your own child), and basically don’t bother lifting a finger around the house, or wanting to do anything with the kids that requires work. This is not our relationship at all. Also, I am in a very lucky position that I do make as much as he does which means he is not the primary breadwinner (and neither am I), so we both are on equal footing. I really, truly want to keep it this way and I don’t think that asking him to provide for me when he doesn’t need to (I have my own money), and I don’t want him to would be fair. To put it another way, if the positions were reversed and it was him carrying the child, I’d still want to keep things this way.
4. WE ARE BOTH PRIMARY CAREGIVERS
He isn’t asking me to quit my job to take care of the children. If he did, we’d have a whole different conversation altogether (for the record, I’d never quit to be a stay at home parent). Even though I am carrying the baby for 9 months and being the primary caregiver for the first 3 (at least), it doesn’t really give me a right to demand that he pays for everything just because I am carrying his child. It’s my child too. This is how I envision it happening:
- When he works, I’ll be the primary caregiver.
- When I work, he will be the primary caregiver.
- If we are BOTH working, then we will jointly pay for outside help (daycare).
We’ll switch on and off the role of worker / caregiver, and for me this is as equal as it gets. I plan on working as soon as I can, within 3 months of giving birth (maybe less if I am able to swing it). He already knows I am not interested in giving up my job, staying at home with the children and not working, and he is 100% behind this. So unless he or I say otherwise, this 50/50 relationship will stay the way it is.
5. WE DON’T SPEND A LOT OF MONEY JOINTLY
Jointly, our expenses come to about $15,000 a year each. I can certainly make $15,000 net a year to cover my half of our joint expenses if I chose to. I personally spend above that $15,000 but that’s my business, not his.
6. I SELECTIVELY CHOSE NOT TO WORK WHILE PREGNANT
As in.. I chose to not pick up any job. I wanted specific jobs, specific contracts. I didn’t turn anything down that looked viable, but nothing panned out. I would have gladly worked until 2 weeks before delivering if I could have. I am of the belief that when you want to work, you’ll find plenty of work, and this held true for me. Case in point: I could have picked up minimum wage jobs to work, but I chose not to. Not even minimum wage, I could have joined a company and made 6-figures this year but I chose not to because I hate being an employee. So …why would he have to pay for me choosing to NOT work in anything but my chosen job — freelancing?
7. WHAT IF HE MADE LESS THAN I DID?
I always think about the fact that if I made the money I did and he made less than I did, would this change things? Of course! If he was making $20,000 a year but I had $200,000 saved, I wouldn’t be asking him to pay for my share of the bills and household now would I? In that case, money and the way we divide joint bills has nothing to do with the fact that I have to be the one to physically carry and care for the baby for 9 months and at least 3 months after. A lot of working mothers I know went back to work after as short of a time as 3 weeks. I have another friend who went back at 7 weeks, and another who said she couldn’t take off for more than 3 months on maternity leave because she was needed back at work. Not all of them wanted to, but some did. Heck my own mother couldn’t take more than a month off when she had each of us. She didn’t tell my dad: Hey! I’m going to quit my job so I can take more time off for each baby and you’re paying for me. She just went back to work. Why would I ever think I have the luxury of being able to tell my partner: Hey I’m taking a year off and you’re footing the bill because I don’t feel like working even though I can? I’m sure he’d like the choice too, with or without a baby.
8. I AM ALSO A BUSINESS OWNER
As mentioned above, I’m basically a business owner. I can’t really leave my freelancing to go to ground if I want to stay relevant and continue to work (and build my career). As a result, if I work, I make money and if I make money, I should pay my half of the bills, especially since I already expect him to contribute half of his time and energy towards the home and baby as well. In summary, I do not feel like I have a right to demand that he pays for me because I don’t believe it’s fair to. If he could, he already said he’d carry the baby the second time around to be fair to me (even with the pain and all that!), but alas, we are not biologically engineered that way.
Oh! I had completely forgotten about this but thank you for answering. 🙂 (PS I changed my blog to a more appropriate URL name LOL)
I think everything you said fits your personality very well. You seem very independent. In my relationship, my BF makes more money than I do so even though we split groceries and rent 50/50 he generally pays for more extra things than I do. (Nights out, restaurants, movies, etc) I imagine when we get engaged/married we will end up using a joint account. 🙂
So I guess my question is, if your partner made more than you did. (Which I’m not sure if he does) Would you expect him to pay for more of the shared expenses?
Shared or joint finances doesn’t matter. But I was wondering, right now you say expenses are $15k/year but what happens if that should go up? How does that affect working or not? How do you manage to rent for $300/month (assuming 2x= $600/month) total rent? Do you live in that cheap COLA that you can rent anything for $600/month jointly?
That’s my biggest issue. Is how do you keep housing expenses so low? I know mr money mustache and many other early retirement people have paid for homes. But you are renting and somehow it’s very, very cheap comparatively. Studios where i live start at over $1k/month. So I just don’t know how to budget for such cheap living.
Well I’ll be the odd one out here! When we got married, we joined our finances. When we had our daughter, I became a stay at home mom.
I didn’t demand he take care of me, we discussed what we wanted our family to look like, decided we wanted our daughter to have a parent around, and decided that I was the one who would value staying home the most.
Also, as for asking for grocery money: I just stick to the budget amount that we set together. Frivolous spending is discussed first, both ways.
Pooling finances and staying at home isn’t for everyone, but it works for us. Sounds like you have a good plan and that separate finances will work for you!
I agree with you in not wanting to have my future husband provide for me if it’s not necessary, and just by default. I’m curious about your comment that says, “If we are BOTH working, then we will jointly pay for outside help (daycare)”. At what age would you start to consider putting your child into daycare? And I know from being a long time reader that you have strong values and beliefs, so I wonder if your son is in daycare (depending on the age) that do you want him being subjecting to the ideas and beliefs of what daycare may provide him, versus either of you raising him at home – and forgoing daycare – and raising him with your values primarily instead. I have quite a few friends who worry about what their children come home with after being in daycare, it can be pretty funny at times, and worrisome too. I know you can never shelter your children, but we all know that parents make a huge impact in our formative years. Interested to see your take! 🙂
Okay that link to how you were contributing 100% didn’t work. I like the idea of joint finances but not the reality of it. So I keep my finances separate from my partner’s. A lot of people talk about joint finances and the like, but when the time comes to divorce…then it becomes the wars of the roses (they were real dynastic wars for the throne of England).
There’s also a movie about a couple who have a bitter divorce called “War of the Roses” with Michael Douglas. You’re a rare breed among bloggers…many of them think that if you have separate finances your relationship isn’t as strong.
A lot of people think that keep separate finances is setting yourself up for failure aka divorce but I don’t think so. People who get divorced often wish they hadn’t combined finances. Nobody thinks they’re going to get divorced but life happens.
I’ve noticed that in a lot of relationships where the man cares for his wife/partner, that he often ends up treating them like a child and no longer treats his wife/partner as an equal and that can have devastating consequences on a relationship.
This doesn’t always happen because there are good men out there who treat their wives/partners with respect even though he is providing for them 100% but it is something I’ve noticed that can happen and I want to avoid.
Kassandra @ More Than Just Money
After years of separate finances, mainly because we had lived apart for over 4 years, we joined our finances this year. So far it’s working out well as our incomes are close to equal at this point. However, if DH or I ever see that it’s causing any issues in our relationship and separate finances would resolve it in a heartbeat, you can bet we’ll go right back to it. I dislike when some people and bloggers think that separate finances for couples is complete blasphemy – drives me nuts!
I just cringed when my friend said “I spent 7 years with him so he owes me a house” last week. I couldn’t depend on anyone, even worse have to ask for money for grocery shopping, etc. no way. I wouldn’t mind living for free at his place but I would shop for groceries and pay the bills, or something to even things out. I think your relationship is pretty fair. We do something similar except we also have joint business expenses, then I do what I want with the rest of my money.
Oh, my god. THANK YOU! I am not alone in my quest for separate finances and contributing equally.
Caveat: first baby I was making barely above minimum wage. Quit half way through my pregnancy to go back to school. Husband, and my scholarships, picked up the slack. I’m back to work and he’s in school now, so my income allows him to cut back on hours so he can do things like, you know, study. Ever.
I don’t have a beef with your 50/50 and all that. Here’s my buts though:
What if your health (due to pregnancy) was so bad you couldn’t work? Ever again (always possible, but not likely, agreed).
I also wonder how you manage the logistics of your 50/50? I know the BF and I have an account we put in 50/50, and we put the same amount in every week. IS that how you rock it? Or do you send each other ‘you owe me this for bub’ etc? I can only imagine as a toddler and school child the costs will be more ad hoc (rather than large planned purchases)? Love to know more…!
@SarahN: Same. Separate finances is one thing as DINKs but sounds like a headache to me when there’s kids! Would be curious.
Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way
I made my own money and I don’t want him to provide for me either! Usually my friends only depended on their husband’s income, but I don’t like that idea. Why would I depend on his money while I can make my own money? Btw, that cute baby picture is sooooo adorable!
I’ve had the slight temptation once or twice on the really rough days to wish PiC could carry us both. But that feeling passes pretty damn quickly.
We do have shared pot/combined money, which is what suits my neurotic control freak nature, because then I can use our combined resources to build investments for both of us; I’m not at all sure I’d feel quite so comfortable making all those decisions if I weren’t providing about half the income. We make nearly the same, depending on the year and increases and so on, but I remember when I made significantly less and was hugely resentful. Not of him but of the feeling that I wasn’t pulling my weight, even though he never felt that way. So, agreed on the sanity thing: it’s way more about how I feel about the situation than whether he’d be willing to carry us both because I know he would. I just don’t want him to have to if I can earn.
We do have a mystery in front of us about mat leave though… We’ll see about that period.
Amanda @ My Life, I Guess
I honestly love your attitude on this subject! I’ve been thinking a lot about “letting my partner provide for me” because I’m unemployed and will be running out of EI in about a month. I know it’s not the same situation as having a baby, but I may not have “much” of a choice but to have him support us… Obviously I’m trying to avoid that situation, but I worry that I’m not doing as much as I should/could be doing. I am fully capable of working, I want to work, I want our relationship to be 50/50. I just need to find a job to make that happen…