There was a time, not all that long ago, when I wouldn’t think twice about spending $200 on a pair of jeans or $30 on shampoo. I had no mortgage, no child care payments and loved the way that designer jeans fit and the smell of the fancy shampoo. I haven’t bought full-price jeans in five years. I buy drugstore shampoo. Like most parents, my spending priorities changed when I had kids.
I blame it on “mommy guilt,” which can rear its head when you spend money or time on yourself, rather than your kids. I suffered from mommy guilt pretty often until Avery was almost two. I bought the kids nice clothes and nothing for myself. I rushed home after work rather than working out. Then I realized, with money as well as time, my kids would be better off, if, every once in a while, I spent on myself.
I’m not suggesting that you spend money you don’t have (credit cards are evil!), or that you let your kids wear shoes that are a size too small so you can buy new boots. But I do think it’s okay for moms to look at their disposable income and allocate some to themselves rather than spending it all on their kids.
When I’m contemplating a purchase (of a good or service), I determine if it will make me happier, and if so, it’s probably worth it. I couldn’t stand the carpet in our house. All the carpet cleaner in the world could not make it look clean, so last year with my bonus, we got new carpet. Do I fantasize about carpet? No. Is it exciting? No. But does it make our house look 100 times better? It sure does, and I still smile when I look at it. For many moms, it’s the little things.
Personally, I am willing to pay for things that make my life easier (cleaning lady, store-bought Halloween costumes and party decorations, etc.). These things cost money, but they also give me back valuable time. Chase and I also prefer to spend money on experiences rather than stuff. In our nine years together we have bought each other maybe three gifts. We’d rather use that money to do something together. But that’s our spending priority, and while I don’t want more stuff, some people do and that’s okay too.
A friend of mine was coveting a nice purse for years. She has three kids and felt guilty at the thought of buying it for herself. Finally, she gave in and she loves it. Another friend has a great interest in (and talent for) home decor. She redecorated her home and it looks beautiful. Some of the ladies I work out with spend most of their money on their kids, but like to buy nice workout clothes. They make them feel good. For these women, their kids have all they need, and the moms are happy. It’s a win/win.
Everyone’s spending priorities are different, but for those of us with a bit of disposable income, it’s sometimes possible to find a little room in our budgets for ourselves. I would never judge another woman for how she chooses to spend her money. They work hard and deserve to treat themselves on occasion. Purses and shoes aren’t my spending priority, but a night away is.
It’s your money, so you should spend it how you (and your spouse) want to. Enjoy!