Alright, as promised we are going in on the second nugget from my conversation on Saturday. If you missed the first nugget than please read, Womanhood the Real. Today we are going to talk about financial dependence and independence.
Like I’ve said and will continue to say I have been on both the side of working and having my own income as well as being a stay at home mom with absolutely no income. In this day and time there are many stay at home moms who have businesses on the side now. This wasn’t something I was aware of back when I first began being at home in 2011. I was laid off from a job at the end of 2010 and the choice to stay home was prompted by baby #2 on the way and my move to Philadelphia. During that time I still had some unemployment coming in but eventually like all good things it sadly ended. Now my husband who was my fiance at the time was the type that if I needed something all I had to do was ask. Often times I would have his debit card for weeks at a time. Yes a lot of people had no clue but I literally could wake up and decide I’m going to the zoo and happily didn’t have a worry. The flip to that situation was that we were living with his mom. We were on a 5 year savings plan and a lot of normal expenses we would have had we didn’t. For most people this isn’t a normal situation. Yes normal to live with others especially in this economic times but not normal to not have a lot of living expenses. As my mom stated to me numerous times, I was living the life of Riley.
Here were my issues with this, I didn’t want to continue with my hand out for my basic needs. Yes I know we were building a life together and all of that but if you read my blog from yesterday you know fiance and girlfriend is in no way a financial plan. However the fall back was that I would have to find a job that could help pay for daycare and a daycare that I trusted. After being out of work for a few years its not always an easy jump back into the work force. Let me say please read some of my employment blogs, as well as my 5 year anniversary blog. It will shed some light on a few missing pieces. There are many women who are actually damaged by taking time out for work. Let me say there is a way to spin it. When I would interview with companies I let them know what a day in my life was like. I let them know that even though I was at home I was acting CEO of my home and all of the moving parts were headlined by me. This is because often times one of the first things future employers want to know is how are you going to be able to handle a vigorous day. Yes I was able to handle it after I had a baby rolling around needing my attention and a high in demanding toddler, laundry, dinner, etc going on at the same time, being present at a job was a walk in the park compared to that.
I eventually took a job as an office manager with a financial firm. The issue with that job was that it wasn’t paying me the money that I needed. There were many other benefits like flexible schedules and bringing a sick kid to work, but let’s face it apples to oranges I was working to put the kids in daycare. Now I absolutely loved where the kids were going and the rate for 2 children I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else but all of my checks was going to gas and daycare. Literally no lie and the extra sad side was I didn’t have benefits because I was covered under my husband’s plan for healthcare. So where did that leave me, with my hand out again looking for help for whatever I may have needed. I know its the proper thing to say well its all going to the same pot and in general it was, but if all I had coming in was daycare, I could essentially stay at home and I would be back to square one. There were many battles because in the beginning I was so stubborn to think about hey at least I had a job and was out of the house right? I had not before then EVER negotiated my salary. I had no idea about seeking more. Not only so I could treat myself to more than just a coffee but because I was worth it.
My husband appeared to be Hitler to me. I know that sounds bad but it was how I felt. All I could see was a check to my name but not the fact that at the end of the day all he wanted for me to see was that I was worth more and that I needed to negotiate my actual expenses, and needs into a salary. It wasn’t that he was tired of working and providing. So fast forward now I know better and although I have set a financial goal for myself and the things I want to get done, I’m definitely closer than I was back in my blinded days. I saw myself as a financial dependent and for lack of a better term I really was. My husband when we were preparing to move was even taking 2 jobs. Yes my man had 2 jobs because I was unwilling to negotiate better. I saw it as well you are the man, you need to make it happen. I wasn’t making anything happen for me. So my thought is for many women, are you comfortable? I know we are independent and don’t need a man but the reality is all of that Destiny Child stuff aside, are you comfortable? I didn’t want to be dependent and having my husband work so hard because I didn’t want to see my worth. I wanted us to negotiate our price and bring in what we needed as a unit as well as individuals. So with those eyes I’m very close to that now. I’m not okay with my husband having to swipe his debit card just because I didn’t have. If you are okay with that than so be it but I’m not. I want to be a contributing factor. At one point I was. When I was a stay at home mom the money we saved was pennies in comparison to the outings I did with the kids. There was a net worth for me. But now I needed to change the net worth. I don’t think whatever I am compensated is a direct reflection of what I bring to a company’s table but if I’m going to leave my home and pay someone else to do a second class job in comparison to the level of care for my children it won’t be for pennies. It won’t be for daycare and gas. It’s going to match my experience as well as my degree bottom line. I’m not afraid to negotiate my price. I’m no longer going to be dependent on my husband alone to make it happen. I’m okay with having my own separate goals and match my husband and my vision for our family and home.
I know like I said in times past I was okay with just swiping away. But there’s nothing wrong with me supporting my husband, being grateful for his provision, and still wanting to add to the pot on a level where both my, his and then our needs are met. I used to think that was wrong to say and desire. I was supposed to just sit back like a damsel in distress and let him make all the financial moves. He was the leader in our home right? Well he can lead with me right next to him supporting him and bringing in a few pennies for me too. There’s nothing wrong with that desire and if you are in the cuff of that feeling it will take some prodding but you can do it. It doesn’t take away from my husband if anything it relieves him of a few stressors. My husband has already proven to me and our family that if I had to stop working or if he has ever lost his job he is the type that would work 2-3 to make it happen. For that I salute him, but the flip is that since I’m the Beyonce to his Jay-Z we gonna ride together on all levels.