So you are an independent, forward thinking, happy-to-work modern woman. Then you meet the love of your life, get married and have children.
One or two years in, you have a nasty incident with a house help. Maybe she abuses your child or she decides to quit her job one Monday mid-morning when both you and your spouse are at work, leaving your eight-month-old by herself all day long.
So in the heat of the moment, your partner suggests that you quit your job. Not forever though – just until your child begins school then you can re-enter the corporate world.
In the current circumstances, this seems like a brilliant idea, so you quit and immerse yourself in the care taker role.
Months in, you realise that you are broke. You have to ask your husband for money for everything.
You have asked so many times that it begins getting to him and you begin to resent him. “But you don’t work. You sit around all day,” he snaps at you one time in the middle of an argument. You start wishing you could go back in time.
A few days ago I had a conversation with a woman who is in this exact predicament. She feels excluded from the ‘family’ finances. “I contribute to the family. I shouldn’t have to beg him for money,” she told me. I agree.
You may not be bringing in a paycheck but child care is a valuable input. If anything, raising children and running the household is just as important as putting bread on the table.
This value should be recognised. A woman who, in agreement with her partner, stops working to raise the children should not have to ask for money from him. Neither should she feel guilty about spending money on herself.
I met a woman a few years ago who quit her job at a bank to homeschool their children because she felt the education they were getting at school was not worth the money they were paying.
When I met her, she was her children’s teacher and every end of the month, she got a salary from her husband for it. I am not sure of what she plans to do once all her children are in high school and re-integrated into the school system but what they have now seems to be working. Her contribution to the family isn’t being overlooked.
Just because you are not getting paid for your input doesn’t mean that you do not know the value of money. It might seem so to your partner, so get involved in the family finances.
A good place to start is educating yourself on the family’s financial situation. Know how much you pay for what bill then ask to be involved in the budgeting decisions. Don’t let him do all the worrying and in return, you will not have to ask all the time.