I met my husband when I was just shy of 20. I’m almost 40.
That’s half my life people.
When we met we were both in college. I had a job, he didn’t. He was in the army so while he was in (public) school, he got his tuition paid and received a monthly stipend for expenses.
On our first date, I insisted on paying my part of the bill. No man was going to try and “buy me” with a dinner. As we continued dating, I paid, he paid, and we split paying for things. The money, though not plentiful, just worked out.
Once he went to a private college, his tuition was NOT paid for. I continued to work and would pitch in when he needed stuff. I remember going to the grocery store with my nightly earnings (wow that makes me sound like I worked the pole) and buying him food.
Fast forward a few years and we were moving in together. We decided the only way we were going to be able to make it work was pooling our money together. He put my credit card debt on his credit card (he had a better interest rate) and I contributed my meager savings with his. We were doing this. Together. Teamwork Mothereffers.
Wow, that year sucked. We were dirt poor. I remember our rent being $545 for a 2 bedroom place. I worked in a restaurant and he tutored. Some months when my tips were lower or he had many cancellations, we would have to put groceries on a credit card. But together, we did it.
(Insert years of getting better jobs, a new cockroach free apartment, paying for our own wedding and finally buying a house together)
When I became pregnant, there was no plan. Besides the obvious. We KNEW there was going to be a baby in 9 months but preparing for it? We did none. I guess we both assumed that I would go back to work. We never once even talked about what would happen with the baby while I was at work. We didn’t once even look into options or costs. Denial River was wide.
And then he was born.
I enjoyed being home with my new baby. I was breastfeeding and didn’t realize how that might affect me going back to work.
I guess I’ll go back once he weans, I thought.
And then my husband started traveling more for work.
I guess I’ll go back once my husband’s schedule isn’t so all over the country, I thought.
And NINE years and another child later? I’m still here.
Um, people? What the hell happened?
I’ve been home for 9 years not making a damn cent and I have the social security statements laughing at me to prove it.
But do I feel guilty? Hell no.
Does this extra responsibility on my husband cause stress? Well. Yes.
In our house, we’ve always HAD to have our money together. I’ve helped him out, or he’s helped me out. But it was US supporting each other.
Ok. But none of that is my point really. So stay with me for a moment.
I was at a school fundraiser event last night and struck up a conversation with a woman (A) who also happens to be a stay at home mom. At some point she mentioned how since her husband makes the money she would feel guilty spending it on X or Y.
My mind? Blown.
Now, on the other hand, I have friends (B) who work, are married with families, and who keep separate accounts. They have the bills divided between them.
I am NOT judging what might work for family A or B.
But here’s my thing.
Woman A feels guilty because she stays home and doesn’t make the money of the household. She may really debate buying something because it’s not her money. She may also NOT buy things because of this guilt too.
Does woman B feel that way? Do working moms ever have the guilt of spending money even though they work? Do they feel MORE justified to spend money because they DO work?
Just because I’m home with children doesn’t give me free reign to spend OUR on anything I want. But am I going to debate whether or not I buy that 6 foot skeleton for Halloween?
I don’t know. I honestly can’t relate to either. My husband works. I don’t. Do I view it as HIS money? No. I view it as money that he works for that supports HIS, OUR family.
Here’s the deal. I don’t like to stir any pots of SAHM vs. working moms and I swear to all the baby, teenager, and elderly Jesus’s that I will delete any comments that are negative. I’m looking for respectful conversation on the matter.