Let's Talk Money & Being Mother Untitled
The value of motherhood and the contribution to the household doesn't come with a W-2 form. So how do you value it in your home? Do you address it often?
For a while I tried the bravado approach as in, wow-ee look at how much I'm still contributing through freelance work while being home with Bodie. Then the heart string approach, i.e. I'm shaping our son's security and confidence in the world. I moved on to the rational - if we had a full time housekeeper and nanny or day care, the cost to our family would be X.
The reality is no one can put a value on either, the nitty gritty or, the impact, of a day of a mother. And harder still, in the case of an educated, previously salaried mother, there is sometimes a "negative value" assigned because of the "missed earning potential".
I've seen quite a few arguments presented on how to value SAHMs (stay at home moms) or WAHMs (work at home moms). I really enjoyed this one, this one and this one. They all candidly address the reality that while the feminist movement granted women equal opportunity to jobs and careers, the unfortunate side effect is a stigma around the choice to pause or adjust your career to make room for motherhood. These articles, and others that I've seen, address the flawed but common thinking that if there are women who are successfully pursuing careers and rearing healthy and happy children, why should other women choose otherwise - is it laziness or luxury? As we all know the day to day does not feel lazy or luxurious when caring for young children, though it is a great privilege that I don't take lightly. Each of these three writings propose an economic or cultural shift to help the rhetoric around motherhood, its "valuation" in society and the transition for women back into the workforce.
But while we're waiting on cultural shifts, how do we deal with it in our homes? In our home, we read and share articles and perspectives, like the ones above, and we talk. A lot. I share the nitty gritty of home life as well as details from freelance work so they can't get missed. I talk about what comes next for me after Bodie and any future child of ours goes to school. We review our finances and see where we need to make adjustments. I check in (maybe too frequently because of self-consciousness) to see if Dan is still on board with this being best for us and our family. I say thank you for supporting our family and I expect a thank you in return for doing the same.
Did your household income shift after parenthood? Have you found any helpful resources or ideas in thinking about it with your partner? I'd love you to add your thoughts in the comments!