Work & Money – Part 1

I believe (with a few rare exceptions) that moms who work outside of the home choose to do so.  Unfortunately, even many of us working moms have been convinced otherwise and feel forced into our circumstances.  How many times have you participated in this conversation?

“Are you going to stay home after you have your baby?”

“No, I’m going back to work.  I have to.”  This statement is usually accompanied by a scrunched-up face, head tilt, shoulder shrug, and apologetic tone.

You may have been on either side of that conversation.  In fact, you’ve probably found yourself on both sides on more than one occasion.

I believe in living life intentionally, and I will tell you I choose to work.  I will not shrug my shoulders and avoid eye contact, leading you to believe that I am a terrible victim of unfair circumstances.  Even more importantly, I will not imply that my husband is not a good enough provider to allow me to stay at home if I wanted to.

In fact, he is.

I am certain that if we chose to, we could live on his income.  We could eat, we would have clothes, we would have shelter, we would still have good health insurance, and we’d even have enough money to have a little fun once in awhile, too.

But we would not be living in our current home, driving our nice new(er) cars, feel secure in our retirement accounts or ability to pay for our kid’s college.  We would have fewer “toys” and our recreation & travel would be significantly scaled back.  But we could do it.

Sometimes, those choices are made before the kids arrive.  A hefty mortgage and new-car payments make it feel like the decision has been made for us, but we made those choices, too. 

[Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m not selling out my son for an easier lifestyle.  There is so much more to my choice to work, but right now I’m just talking about money because that seems to be the biggest “trap” we fall into as working moms that makes us feel like we have no other choice.  End of disclaimer.]

So if the decision to work is a choice, we have the responsibility to make sure that this choice we made is a blessing to our family.  And since today’s post is about money, then let’s talk about money.

If we’re working to bless our family but all of our money goes to take-out because we didn’t plan well enough to eat at home, then how have we blessed them?  If we’re working to provide a good education for our kids but aren’t wise with our money and have none left over to save at the end of the month, are they really any better for it?  Are we sending our kids to daycare solely so we can afford the payment on a nice, new car?

Of course not.  And in the day-to-day of life sometimes it’s tough to see the bigger reason we’re working.  I challenge you to be intentional, planful, purposeful, reflective, and brutally honest with yourself  – about the reasons you ARE working, as well as the reasons you’ve been TELLING YOURSELF you’re working.

So to go along with the idea that our families should be blessed by our choices, and that we should be good stewards with our paychecks, I will be writing 2 more posts in this series with simple, fool-proof budget tips that have worked well in our family.  I’ve got a million of ’em, but I’ll spare you.  For now you’ll get two.  Stay tuned!

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