pic via Jezebel
I came across this article yesterday and found it fascinating and frightening. While there are some slight differences in the European mentality with respect to materialism/spending/savings, it really resonated with me. Given that I haven't been working for the past year and a half, I do find myself spending less and less on shopping excursions that are solely for my benefit. I wish the same were true about my Whole Foods adventures. Back when I had my own salary, I wouldn't think twice about popping into a store on my lunch hour just to pick up something pretty. Now, whenever I do that, I hem and haw and often feel guilty about it. It's not that I think my husband will judge me or even begrudge my spending, I just don't always want him to know what I consider (or used to consider) to be "necessary." Granted, I probably derive more than a healthy modicum of satisfaction from looking at all the clothes/bags/shoes in my closet, but I least I know that I worked hard for my money and chose to spend it how I wanted.
Deep down, I know that the work I am doing now, teaching my son to touch gennnnntly, keeping my floors relatively uncrunchy, washing my husbands thousand pairs of socks, is important and valuable. Yet, I miss the paycheck. Lately I have been more seriously thinking about finding some consistent form of employment, be it part-time or consulting. In addition to the mental stimulation, I am simply excited to earn more than my babysitter! I started working when I was ten years old as a mother's helper and always had an income, through college and law school. For a while I joked with the mister that I would take a certain amount of money out of our joint account every month and put it into my personal one, as compensation for services rendered.
Beyond the lack of income, there are deeper issues at play. I'm no longer in charge of the finances and neither are many of the women I know. When I was younger and running my household of one, I knew the details of every bank account, credit card, 401K in my name, down to the last dollar. Now I am relatively clueless about what's happening in our portfolio day to day. Though I still think of myself as a (mostly) smart, capable woman, I suppose I just find it easier to be ignorant and leave it to my husband. Just as the author notes, some of my closest friends, lawyers and businesswomen alike are content to let their husbands run all the household money. Isn't this how women end up broke and homeless when their husband finds a hotter, less nagging second wife? Or when their husbands have been investing money into failing businesses? Of course, that's not happening with my husband, right?
It seems like such a cliche and still it's sad but true for so many women who are completely dependent on their spouses, especially those of us who aren't earning a salary. I'm resolving to start being more aware of what's happening with our money, not just for my sake but for my son's as well. And, also, to maybe stop nagging.