I’m a Mom and I Help Support My Family Financially — But Apparently That’s Wrong?
By Natalie Romero
Photo © nina_p_v/Twenty20
Mar 25, 2020
As a working mother I often find myself reading articles and studies with tips on how to balance work life with family life.
Recently, I read an article outlining why a woman working outside the home doesn’t harm their children and found myself wondering why we are even writing about this anymore.
Isn’t this just common knowledge? Aren’t we past the days of thinking that not having a mother at home is detrimental to a child’s upbringing? A glance at the comments section showed me how wrong I was.
Men and women alike were throwing shade at working moms accusing them of caring more about money than they do for their own children. And then there’s the outrage because they "put their own wants and needs" before their families by working outside of their homes.
No two families are the same financially. Find out what life is like for one family of five in Newfoundland here.
I don’t see fathers being judged in this way
Fathers, I've learned — are the heroes for supporting their families. They are the top dogs when they come home from a long day at work to throw a ball with their kids in the driveway. They are cheered on when they are seen anywhere in public with their kids — no mom in sight.
This tells me that society still sees a father’s role as the financial provider and the mother’s role as the keeper of the house; a child rearer.
The straight-up truth as I see it is that in the world and economy that we live in, it is very difficult to raise a family on one income. While sacrifices can definitely be made, it’s often not enough to support a family.
I have worked outside of the home since the end of each maternity leave. I work outside of the home because I enjoy the work I do and I’m proud of that work. I enjoy the challenges that I face in my job. And I really like the idea of my kids seeing me work hard to achieve my goals.
The Reality of Work is Simple
But let’s be honest, I don’t only work outside of the home because I want to. I also work outside of the home because I need to. Our family needs both of our incomes to thrive. My job brings in money so that we are able to pay our mortgage, food bills and other living expenses. The money that I make allows our kids to play soccer and hockey, to take dance lessons and join clubs. It gives us a little bit of freedom to take family vacations and enjoy trips to museums, science centres and art galleries.
We live a comfortable middle class lifestyle and to be able to maintain that we need two incomes.
So, why is my financial contribution to my family not as valued — or valued in the same way — as my husband’s take-home?
A Woman's Worth
Women get praised for being good mothers. I’ve been told it’s the hardest and most important job I will ever do. I’ve heard and been sold the idea that I’m not supposed to care about anything other than my kids.
I’ve been led to believe that good mothers are willing to sacrifice everything for their kids. And that giving your life up for your family is worthy of the highest praise.
But not once have I received praise for bringing in a paycheque that helps ensure the financial stability of my family.
The world is starting to change in terms of expectations of fathers. We are slowly starting to see fathers as active participants in their children’s lives rather than just someone on the sidelines. We aren’t fully there yet — just ask any father who has been applauded for babysitting their own kids — but we are moving in the right direction. The world hasn’t quite caught on yet to the fact that mothers are active participants in the financial health of their homes.
To be honest, I’m not comfortable leaving my financial stability in the hands of my husband or anyone else for that matter. I don’t like the idea of not being an active participant in my own financial health. I don’t want to be out of the workforce for long periods of time. What if one day I find myself on my own? What do I do then?
Can a family survive on pasta and $20,000? Barely.
It's Not My Pressure Alone
I also don’t feel that it’s fair to put that kind of pressure on my husband. Life has become extremely expensive. I just have to take a look at our weekly grocery bill to see how the cost of living has increased dramatically. I don’t want him to bear the weight of that alone.
We are in this together. We are equal. We are a team.
All I can do is hope that my children are growing up in a home where they see that hard work goes a long way in achieving your goals.
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