A Simple Tip To "Maintain Financial Dignity" As A SAHM
In the post-college chapter as paychecks grew larger, money felt delightfully empowering. I occasionally look back on that time, wishing I could swap out the excessive number of shoes for savings. In leaving my job in my 30s for consulting, then motherhood and blogging, I've left that breed of independence on the table for the time being. I've become, in the financial sense of the word, a dependent.
That identity is a challenge for me and I know for many other girlfriends, who either worry about or experience that change when they make the choice to adjust their career and salary for time at home, a flexible role or entrepreneurship.
The experience of adjusting from a dual income family is so layered with the personal emotional impact of parting with a salary combined with the larger lifestyle impact on your household, it is impossible to expect a partner to put you completely at ease no matter how supportive they want to be or usually are. In reading more about feeling financially secure as a couple and as an individual, the key seems to be agreeing on your collective family needs and how to accommodate your individual needs and wants.
Shaleen Title was a lawyer before becoming an entrepreneur and then moving into stay at home motherhood for a period of time. She wrote a candid piece for Daily Worth about maintaining financial dignity. Her and her husband's respectful financial relationship hinged on creating a monthly "amusement fund" for both of them for extraneous expenses with a no questions asked rule. They may have adjusted the budget when the household income changed but not their share or access. Shaleen cites the example of justifying a $26 eye pencil from Sephora but for some women it's vacations, outings with friends or even their home that they don't feel as entitled to enjoying. Shaleen says a respectful, mutually agreed upon budgeting system allowed them to feel like true partners in managing the household income even if for a time, it was one person contributing financially and the other contributing in all the other ways.
I've been challenging myself to understanding our family finances better as it is such a key element to marital and mental health during job and life transitions. Relatedly, I've become more interested in the Purple Purse foundation (represented by Kerry Washington!) committed to protecting women, most commonly stay at home mothers, from a different kind of domestic violence that emerges in households in the form of financial abuse. To read more about Purple Purse or get involved, pop over here.
Have you struggled with your financial identity in making changes after parenthood? Do you have conversations or tips to get comfortable with the changes? I'd love you to add them in the comments! xo