This week, we will celebrate International Women’s Day and I wanted to bring to the fore, one of the many issues that affect women. The issue isn’t really related to the #metoo and #timesup movement, though those are significant issues that affect women.
The one I want to pause to discuss today is one that affects millions of women- how to show your financial worth if you are the parent who stays home while the other partner works outside of the home. According to The Guardian, about 25% of women with children are SAHM. I actually prefer the term WAHM (Work at Home Mom) to SAHM (Stay at Home Mom). Afterall, both parties need to work at providing for the needs of the family. Relationships should be fifty-fifty.
But how do you show your worth when you may not even take home a salary? I will share with you ten tips for showing your financial worth in the home. I will leave it up to you to decide how much your dedication, drive, commitment, and hard work are actually worth. All you have to do is to work out how much it would cost if you had to pay for someone else to do the things you do. Ready? Let’s go.
Make the running of the home your area of expertise
Seriously, no disrespect meant here, but no one does a better job of taking care of the home than you. Take pride in the tasks that you do. You are saving your family finances by doing them, rather than hiring help. The laundry, dusting, ironing, decluttering and cleaning can sometimes seem so repetitive and boring, don’t they? But done well, they cost a fortune. So the next time you are minded to think that these jobs seem so mundane, think of the overall effect these have on the smooth running of your home.
I know that some women may be offended by the term homemaker. I don’t get why though. It is such a huge responsibility to produce a calming, pleasant and peaceful environment that is run in an orderly fashion. How your partner and children turn out, is a big reflection on you.
Family fun time is your priority
Are you the most fun adult in your household? Or do you leave it up to your partner? I recently visited my friend in Holland. She is a SAHM and takes great pride in putting the fun factor in her family. So days out, holidays, and other outings are planned routinely. She showed me what she calls her ‘fun days’ planner, and she even has a spreadsheet dating back many years, of all the fun places they visited as a family. She embraces a frugal lifestyle so she made little journal/album style books for the children to write about where they’ve been and the fun times they’ve had. In each, the children also put one or two of their favourite photographs of the trip as well as a postcard or other souvenirs. I couldn’t help but notice her absolute enthusiasm when she told me about how long in advance she asks her husband to book certain periods of time for family holidays. Man, she runs her household like clockwork, and I was truly impressed she didn’t just focus on the cooking and cleaning, but the fun times too.
Your family in the community
As social human beings, we belong to a community. Social class is real. And everyone wants to know that they do not belong to the lowest class, and also that they grab every opportunity to rise socially. I like to think of social class, not just in terms of objective measures regarding economic welfare, but also how the family positions themselves and the reflections they give in their own community. The upbringing of the children, their education, and social exposure are major factors which can enable social mobility for the entire family. See how much power you have in your hands?
Keep your mind active
Read, read, read. Keep up with current affairs and keep your mind active and alert. Read for pleasure, but also for the sake of learning and extending your knowledge. Can you really learn too much? I remember asking for a ‘meeting’ with my son’s teacher once as I just couldn’t understand some of the ‘new-style’ Mathematics problem solving they were doing. I got chatting about that and other matters and learned that the style of problem-solving I was asking about had actually come full circle as that was how it was being taught ‘before my time’. Of course, I had a read up and found that that was indeed true. I’m sure you can think of dozens of more occasions when reading up and reading ahead has saved the day for you.
Learn about, and practice taking care of your personal finance
Do you know that you can save your family thousands by practising good personal financial planning? Health insurance, motor vehicle insurance, and investments will take some time to plan, organise, and implement. Mistakes made in these areas can be costly. Try to make the time to check out what it takes to live frugally. This, of course, doesn’t mean low cost. You can still get the best value for money with a little bit of experimenting, planning, and trial and error.
Keep the family documents in check
Be honest. Do you know where to find the following documents:
All birth certificates for the family
The last year’s mortgage or rent receipts
What is your system for making sure that documents are always at hand when they are needed? Filing documents is something I need to do better with myself. But I can only imagine how expensive it would be to pay to get this done with a system that is easy to update and use. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to entrust my family’s personal records and record keeping to someone else.
Have you ever thought about what would happen if, heaven forbid, the chief wage earner either lose their job or their life? If you have never thought of this before, you now have the opportunity to. Death often comes with no warning. But somehow, we are expected to be prepared. Have you got any ideas of what your first and next steps would be? Forward planning would see you having somewhat difficult discussions with your significant other. Things like will, life insurance policies, succession, etc, are topics that you must bring up. Try to ensure that nothing is left vague or undiscussed. It does take bravery to front these discussions. Hard to put a monetary value on this though.
Don’t just let charity stay home
They say that charity begins at home. Just don’t let it stay there. Seek out opportunities to be neighbourly and to instil a charitable spirit in your children. A part of social mobility is learning about and acting on the circle of life. What about choosing a charity or charities for your family to support? It could be one that is close to the heart of the family or to the local community. Whatever the charity is, you are inspiring the next generation to think of others and how they can be of benefit to them. How honourable!
Start up your work from home empire
I often read posts about ways that you can make money working from home. These days, many people stay home and run a business from there. Is it something you could do to supplement the family income and help show your own worth? Think about it. Every little adds up. I’ve interviewed some phenomenal women whom I really admire. They have partners and children and yet manage a business from home and homemaking at the same time! Awesome I say!
So now you know, you’re so worth it. If you calculate the cost of doing all the things I’ve listed here, along with the other things I am sure you also do, you will feel confident that you can lift your head high as an equal partner financially and that your worth should not be denied.
I am sure that you can think of myriad other things that you do, can’t you? Hopefully, you will not have to ‘fight’ to prove your financial worth, but if you are, just draw for your notepad of calculations. If you do have to ‘fight’, remember:
- that you are ‘fighting’ for your family, not against it
- that you might have to educate your partner especially if they are minded to think that you just ‘stay home’
- to practice what you preach, so don’t just ‘stay home’
- embrace the opportunity to enlighten others about their worth too
- Speak politely as anger and aggression will not help your cause
It is hoped that you now feel empowered and confident as a woman of great financial worth.
I’m linking up with #WomenRockMoney which is a great hashtag to find lots of other similar articles for you to enjoy and be inspired by!
Check out this post on how to close the gender pay gap by my friend and money blogger Hollie.
I am also proud to say that other UK money bloggers have taken time to pen their thoughts for this years’ International Women’s Day.
Check out Emma Maslin’s post which is written in the form of a letter to her daughters on this special day.
If you enjoyed reading this post and can identify with it, check out these other good reads below:
- Maria at The Money Principle has written about the excuses woman have for not investing and how to destroy them.
- Lynn from MrsMummyPenny has written about the women who inspire her.
- Jennifer from Mamafurfur is a mum of boys but has written about what she would teach a daughter about money.
- Jamie from ThriftyMumma ThriftyBubba has written about the money lessons she’s learnt from other women.
- Faith from MuchMoreWithLess has written about are you ready to invest?
- Araminta from Financially Mint has written about why finance is a great degree for women.
- Kaya from Earning by the Sea has written about whether MLM empowers or exploits women.
- Cat from Penny Wise, Rich Life has written about empowering women around money.
- Eileen from Your Money, Sorted has written about why we need to talk about money.
- Emma from Mums Savvy Savings has written about how sporty girls are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
- Nikki from The Female Money Doctor has written about why great women need great support.