Deconstructing the new mommy money mentality

Published: Wednesday, June 19 2013 4:56 p.m. MDT

As the dynamics of women in the work force have changed, so has the money mentality of many stay-at-home moms.

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As the dynamics of women in the work force have changed, so has the money mentality of many stay-at-home moms. Mothers are now the breadwinners in 40 percent of American families, but 62.1 percent of all women in the workforce aged 16 to 52 have had a baby in the past 12 months.

For some mothers, making the transition from work to home life after having a baby comes with some guilt, according to Kasey Edwards’ article "Asking for a 'mummy allowance'" at Daily Life.

As Edwards points out, these mothers feel they are not adequetly contributing to the family's income anymore, and struggle to justify personal spending.

The notion of combating this guilt by asking your husband for an “allowance” seemed unnecessary to Edwards.

“The idea of asking my husband for an allowance while I took time out of the work force to care for our daughter seemed too regressive, vulgar and infantile to even contemplate,” she wrote on Monday. “The idea of me negotiating access to money because he earned it seemed as ridiculous as him negotiating access to our daughter because I gave birth to her.”

However, Edwards notes that after watching her fellow moms respond to the guilt by saving up money without their husbands finding out, she began to understand why mommy allowance might be a good idea.

"It's not that he wouldn't let me spend his money," she quotes a friend as saying. “It's just about privacy and independence. I don't want to have to account for every purchasing decision."

Edwards believes it was a false premise that drove these women to feel inadequate.

“All of these women have grown up in a world where money is the key to independence, identity and power. For them, being financially dependent on someone else is disempowering. It's a denial of agency,” she wrote.

Because of this, Edwards says, society has convinced women that if they aren’t earning money, they aren’t contributing to their family and thus are not entitled to spend any money for pleasure.

Despite her unease with the “mommy allowance” concept, Edwards concludes that women need to overcome this barrier. By putting a dollar value on their work as child rearers, stay-at-home moms can potentially eliminate some of the unnecessary guilt from buying that last pair of leather flats.

Read more about mothers and finance on Daily Life .

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