Is it just me or is EVERYONE in the world talking deals, coupons and how to save money?
As a new inductee into the world of moms who blog, (I really don’t like that other term) I’ve signed up to receive a lot of RSS feeds from various parenting resources and I’ve “liked” just about every conceivable relevant website on Facebook. Now my news feed and inbox are full of “Save Money Here!”, “Deals, Steals and More!” and of course, coupons – tons of coupons.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE saving money. While I’m certainly no spendthrift, and my husband would argue that my idea of a good deal on shoes and his are very far apart, I appreciate that every penny saved is one less penny I have to try and earn. I have featured articles about couponing more than once on this site and I greatly admire the women who are able to make it work for them. What I don’t love about all this saving talk is that it seems aimed squarely at me and just me. Now that I have a child and especially now that I stay home with my child, I feel like these sites are telling me that my life does (or at least should) revolve around shopping. Shopping for food, shopping for clothes, shopping for “fill-in-the-blank,” and not just shopping but saving money while shopping.[pullquote type=”2″ align=”right”]
There is something insidious about aiming all this money talk at moms.
Our family made a lot of sacrifices financially so that I could stay home with our daughter in the first few years of her life. We moved to a new town so my husband could take a higher paying job. We sold a home we loved for a loss and in the process spent all of our savings to avoid defaulting on our mortgage. We sold one of our cars and paid cash for a vehicle that rattles, has a sticky door when the weather is cold, and smells slightly of an odor whose origin I would rather not guess at. It was all worth it and now that it’s done, let’s move on.
I get that when you become a SAHM money is high on your list of things to worry about, but I don’t think it has to be the only thing and I don’t think you have to do it alone. I’d really like it if these sites acknowledged that budgeting is something best done by the WHOLE family. There is something insidious about aiming all this money talk at moms. The sites seem to be saying, “now that you are not making money, you must find other ways to earn your living.”
I was talking to a friend recently who went back to work after spending the requisite three months at home. She was getting ready to take a day off just to spend it with her now six-month-old daughter and she said to me, “I really wish I could stay home, it must be so nice.” Yes, I acknowledged, it’s wonderful and I fully appreciate how lucky I am to be able to stay at home and now work from home. But there is a downside too, one most SAHMs don’t talk about much. When you go from a two-income earning couple to a one-income earning family, the dynamic in your relationship changes.
Suddenly, the balance you might have had is gone. One person has a lot more pressure at work and the other person has a lot more pressure at home. As someone who once felt like she had it all figured out, that has been the hardest adjustment. Is it fair to still expect my husband (the cook in our family) to come home from a long day at work and then make dinner? It worked for us when we both had incomes. Why should it be different now?
The problem is, it is different. I suddenly feel guilty when the laundry isn’t done, the house is messy or I don’t contribute to dinner (despite the fact that I could effortlessly win America’s Worst Cook). By the virtue of the fact that my work is at home, “keeping house” has become my domain. My husband still cooks – no one in our family wants to do away with that. But for now, I’ve become the housewife I never thought I would be. I get it and I deal with it because in the big picture, I appreciate that it’s a short-term problem and one I am lucky to have.
But when it comes to coupons, I am making my stand. Kudos to all you mothers who have the energy, the resourcefulness, and the will to search out the bargains and manage to feed your family on pennies a week. I admire you but I am not going to be one of you. I may be a domestic goddess but I am no coupon queen.
I’m just too tired.