Back in the day, when I was a starry-eyed young mom, I received an email from an equally young reader, a newlywed who wrote, “My husband landed an amazing position and I will never need to work again. Please give me suggestions on ways to fill my time until we have our first child.”
As far as I recall, I came up with various ideas for charity work, gardening, crafts, and housekeeping. Today, however, I would give that sweet lady – and my own daughters, when they reach the proper age -a completely different outlook.
I would say, Congratulations on your husband’s new position. I hope he will retain it throughout many years and provide the necessary financial stability for your family.
I also hope that your marriage remains healthy and happy, and that your spouse never makes you feel like ‘less than’ for not bringing in an income.
If you plan to stay home with your children, I applaud your choice. Children thrive when there’s a parent to be with them in their early years. Families thrive when one spouse has enough flexibility to keep the common ship sailing smoothly.
But no matter what, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’ve burned your bridges and locked yourself in. Keep something you can fall back on.
Whether it’s a flexible profession, a business you can upscale if necessary, or a degree that allows you to work from home, always have something to give you financial security in tough times.
This isn’t negativity or pessimism, any more than purchasing an insurance policy is. It’s just common sense.
We live in a hugely unpredictable world. Businesses fail. Wars rage. Global pandemics flare up. Economies flounder. People lose their health and earning capacity. And, sadly, sometimes marriages fail as well.
I have lived through this. I gave up on the ability to support myself, on the security of a husband’s good job and a house purchased outright. Then, when the job was lost and the house swallowed by a black financial abyss, I found myself in an isolated outpost, with no transportation, no stable internet access, and not even secure electricity or running water supply.
Eventually, I rallied and started fighting for financial independence (a process that’s still ongoing). But it was hard, and knowing that I put the torch to my own bridges didn’t make it easier.
You aren’t a less devoted wife and mother for having a plan B. Do what you must to protect yourself and your children. If you are lucky, you may never need it.
But if you do, you will be glad you prepared for every scenario.