Becoming a Mother

The day my children were born was the best two days of my life.  Pure, eternal love filled my heart for my children. They were a perfect, beautiful gift from God. As tough as labor was, being a parent has only gotten harder after that first day.

Mom-Guilt

I try my best to be a good mother, but I still have mom-guilt.

I may regret not playing more games with my kids, or not being more patient.  Nevertheless, I am doing my best.

A Selfless Season of Life

Is the mom-guilt what keeps us from caring for ourselves as women?  Before I had kids, I had no problem making sure that my body and my bank account were in good shape.  Because I was número uno.  I could spend my time and money on things that I knew were in my best of my future.  

Now that I have kids, my needs get pushed to the side.  The kids come first. Then the mortgage payment and student loans.  

I used to spend my time on fun things. Like, reading a book. Now I spend my time cleaning the kitchen and feeding constantly-hungry children.

I used to spend my money on fun things.  Like, a swimsuit that isn’t actually mean to get wet.  Now I spend money on school lunches, piano lessons, and long-list of products from Amazon that I’m certain my kids really do need.

What Not To Sacrifice As A Mother

The truth is that you and I are in a selfless-season of life.  Our families need us to be present, alert, and strong. But, are we getting lost in motherhood and forgetting other necessities?

It’s natural for self-preservation to be replaced with the mother-bear instinct.  Your time, money, and effort is dedicated to your family. Whether it’s working eight hours a day to keep the budget afloat, or changing diapers and picking up the house for the eight millionth time.  

Here are three money tips for moms that your kids will approve of:  

1.  Have an investment account in your own name

As mothers, it’s our nature to put others first.  But, when it comes to your financial future, that maternal instinct doesn’t do you any favors.

Do you have any investment or savings accounts in your own name?  

You should.  In your name alone.  Not a joint account. (Redundancy is sometimes necessary.)

Why is this important?  Who knows what crazy events the future holds for you.  

For me, it was a divorce.  I didn’t have any accounts in my own name, and I regretted that oversight.  For others, it may be a business opportunity that pops up, and you need access to cash without having to get permission.  Or, unexpected car expenses. I think mothers deserve their own account that they can access with no strings attached.

Whether it be to take advantage of an opportunity, to cover expenses during a crisis, or simply setting yourself up financially for the future with no-strings-attached, you should have an account in your own name.

2. Create a financial plan for your future

I mentally brace myself before I bring my kids to a birthday party, knowing that the Pinterest creations will put me to shame.

The DIY habits didn’t start with Pinterest or YouTube.  I think the DIY bug is planted in mothers after childbirth.   Want proof? My mom-friend sews her own diapers.

Just because we CAN do it on our own, and save a few bucks (which is debatable — have you ever added up how much you spend in the craft section?), it doesn’t mean we should carry over our DIY tendencies to our financial plan.

Unless you take the DIY approach seriously, your financial future will not reach its full potential.  The DIY (do-it-yourself) financial planning technique requires a lot of time to self-educate, and includes the risk of making naive mistakes.  

Some things in life should not be undercut.  Downgrading to the generic brand of ketchup is acceptable.  Painting your living room yourself (for the fourth time) is DIY worthy.  Forgoing your dream car because it’s not within your budget is a wise decision. Not setting yourself up for retirement is DIY mistake you should avoid.

If you are a mother who is interested in money topics, then more power to you!  Study up on family financial planning and master the art of a DIY financial plan.  

However, if the idea of that doesn’t excite you, don’t just ignore the topic all together.  It’s the #1 thing not to sacrifice as a mother: a family financial plan.

3.Complete basic estate planning

As mothers, we don’t take much time to think of what would happen to our families if something happened to us.  Who would take care of our kids? If your spouse wasn’t there to help, could you make it on one income?

Because it’s ugly to think about these sad scenarios, mothers often avoid basic estate planning altogether.

Do not sacrifice basic estate planning. You should take the basic steps to make sure that you, and your family would be financially secure  if something happened to you or your husband.

Here are some things to think about with basic financial planning:

  1. Make sure you have life insurance on both you and your husband.  It would be helpful to have enough in life insurance to pay off the mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, as well as extra to set up an income stream for your family during transition.
  2. Make sure you have a will.
  3. If you have minor children, talk to an attorney about a will and possibly a testamentary trust or a revocable living trust.
  4. Update all your beneficiary forms.  Your financial advisor can help you with this.  Or, check the forms yourself on your IRA accounts, bank accounts, life insurance or annuity policies, brokerage accounts, 401(k) Plans, 403(b) Plans, checking accounts, and savings accounts.

He wished his mother took care of herself, rather than solely focusing on him

I was out with a friend the other day, when he told me about his experience growing up.  His parents are of humble means. Despite limited income, they never skimped on their two sons’ clothing and activities.  Him and his brother participated in football, basketball and baseball. They attended expensive summer camps, played on the school teams, as well as multiple private leagues.  They had the best equipment. They wore name-brand clothing to school. As an outsider, you’d never know that they lived in a trailer park.

As an adult, he understands how much his childhood lifestyle cost his parents.  He sees his mother unable to retire, because she chose to provide a lifestyle for her kids that was out of her budget.  Although she didn’t put baseball camp on the credit card, she also did not invest anything into her retirement account for the 20 years that her birdies were in the nest.    

He feels bad to know that his parents extravagantly spent on his extra curricular activities growing up, at the expense of their own retirement plan.

He told me, “I wish my mom would have invested in her own future more, rather than spending so much on me growing up.  I would have been fine without all the sports and camps and clothes. Now, it makes me sad to see my mom struggle financially.”  

Scared of the answer he might get, he asked me, “do you think I will need to financially support them in retirement?”

Be a great mom, but take care of yourself too

Being the best mom you can be requires taking care of yourself and your family financially.  Think of your financial future, so your kids don’t have to be financially worried about you when they grow up.  

It may go against your maternal instinct, but do it anyway.

Happy Mothers Day!