If You are a Stay at Home Mom, Do You Feel Guilty About Spending Money on Yourself?

If You are a Stay at Home Mom, Do You Feel Guilty About Spending Money on Yourself? Picture


I had a really interesting conversation with a great friend of mine the other day. She is a stay at home mom and has been since her daughter was born two years ago. In hopes of having another child she has remained at home.  In the interim, she has used her graphic design skills to take a few small odd jobs creating invitations or logos, but most of the money coming into the family does so through her husband’s paycheck.

As we were paying for lunch, she said, “l still feel guilty spending money on myself since I’m not earning a paycheck.”

This guilt isn’t something her husband puts on her either. He doesn’t care that she goes to lunch or dinner with friends or that she goes to the movies or buys a new piece of clothing. Still, she continues to feel strange when it comes to buying items for herself since she isn't technically earning a paycheck.

I have worked since my youngest was born, although I work from home and my earnings are sporadic. If I want, say, a pair of $80 running shoes, I look at it this way: I did this job; I put in this many hours; so I deserve those shoes. 

Yet there have been times when I  have taken months off here and there for one reason or another and not had a paycheck coming in, and at these times I have to admit I, too, have felt a bit guilty when spending money on myself. Again, no one has put this on me. My husband doesn't care if I go out and buy a pair of running shoes, and yet, for some reason, I continue to feel a bit guilty about doing this. So while I don’t agree with my friend’s reasoning, I get what she is saying.

Stay at home moms may not earn a paycheck, but they work hard to keep the home and family progressing, doing tasks that might be done by someone else if they weren’t staying at home, like cleaning and child care. For some families, staying at home actually works better financially when you add up the cost of commuting, wear and tear on the car, babysitting, work clothes and additional expenses, like lunch and childcare over holidays and summer. While a company isn’t paying for the mom to stay at home and do the work that is being done, why shouldn’t she enjoy an occasional lunch out with friends or a new pair of earrings? She has definitely earned this through the day to day tasks that are required to keep a family going, and I’m guessing the husbands would agree.  

I hate that my friend feels this way, but I wonder if it is that way for many stay at home moms. What about you? If you stay at home do you feel guilty if you are spending money since you aren’t earning a paycheck?   

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If You are a Stay at Home Mom, Do You Feel Guilty About Spending Money on Yourself?

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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6 comments

  1. Beth says:

    Yes, I feel the same way. I stay at home with our 12 week old daughter. My husband tells me all the time to buy whatever I want, but I still feel guilty cause I didn’t actually go to a job and earn the paycheck.

  2. katie says:

    ya I feel the same, so i rarely buy anything extra for myself, I don’t go out to eat as i feel guilty, the only time i do is if i go with my husband, I talked about getting a job but he doesn’t want me too, sometimes i feel kinda useless, I do take care of the babies and the house but it doesn’t feel like its enough! 🙁

  3. KIM says:

    I dont feel guilty at all. Although I try not to spend too much so I can get the really nice things I want: like an iPad and a new car :). But Im sure there are other reasons for your friend feeling guilty when she spends money.

  4. MomAgain says:

    Absolutely! I really have an issue with this; I will often put off needed expenses if they are just for me (outside of soap and such of course!). And when the inevitable time of financial crunch comes the guilt is excruciating – feeling that the struggles are somehow my fault and that I’m not pulling my weight. My husband in no way contributes to this feeling, and hates that I feel this way. Unfortunately this seems to be something that defies all logic.

  5. because i’m pregnant and i can’t work because i faint to much but i don’t feel guilty except that i would like to work and get money so i can prepare more stuff for my munchkin

  6. i’m staying home mom

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