I Agree With the Idea of a Wife/Mommy Bonus

I Agree With the Idea of a WifeMommy Bonus

Recently Polly Phillips wrote a piece for the Huffington Post bragging about her Wife Bonus and defended why it made sense that she should receive it. Her article sparked a lot of outrage on Facebook and Twitter, but honestly, I agree with her.

I think what was so offensive to many who read the article was that the bonus was five figures and that her purchases were $1,500 trench coats and designer purses. At times it did seem as if she were rubbing our noses in her designer collections.  I believe the sheer indulgences and frivolousness of her purchases were more than a lot of hard working stay at home moms and even working moms could wrap their heads around. The truth is, Polly and her husband are part of that 1% that most of us will never achieve. When she talked about her hopes of getting a $15,000 Birkin bag next year I admit, the only thought that went through my mind was $15,000 would pay for a semester of college for one of my children.

The title of the article surely didn’t help either. When the title tells you to STFU before you have even read the article it is going to put one in an antagonistisic frame of mind before the reader has even engaged with the content. Of course this title was designed to grab your attention and make sure your sense of outrage carried you through right to the end.

For many women who choose to be a stay at home mom, their family has to make sacrifices. For most stay at home moms her only luxury is the fact that she can be a stay at home mom. Things like fancy clothes, expensive handbags, and designer shoes fall to the way side as the family struggles to make ends meet on a single salary.

Still, once I looked past her shallow snobbishness I had to agree with her premiss. I was a stay at home mom for two years after my second child was born. I had been a gainfully employed woman since the age of thirteen. It was actually very odd for me to suddenly not have an income of my very own. I was grateful for the opportunity to raise my children during that two years, but I admit that I felt awkward suddenly having to discuss my purchases with my husband.

There was never a problem with my buying groceries or clothes for the boys. Food and clothing for growing boys was a necessity. But I felt selfish when I purchased clothes, makeup or personal items for myself. We were already spending so much money each month for diapers and formula.  Eventually, though, I started to feel real anxiety over the money issue. This resulted in a conversation with my husband to ask what was mine, what was his, and what was ours? What could I reasonably spend in the course of a month on non-necessary purchases?

Part of this anxiety came from my first marriage to an abusive husband. He used money as a tool to control me. In my first marriage all money earned was considered his, even though I made more money than he did. He used to accuse me of stealing from him just because I would buy myself something nice occasionally. I didn’t want that kind of a feeling of anxiety to transfer on to my new marriage and my new husband, who was nothing like my first. The struggle I was feeling was my own and my new husband was actually rather oblivious to the fact that I was even having these feelings.

In the end we had a talk and we agreed that I could spend $200 a month. Now that money wasn’t just spent on myself. That money was also used to purchase holiday outfits for my boys, cute things for the house, gifts for my extended family and friends, and, yes, clothing and shoes for myself.

Still, it gave me a peace of mind to know that I had access to my own little reserve of money. After two years I returned to work and once again had my own income. I missed being a stay at home mom but that first paycheck felt so good. I immediately went to Coach and purchased a new purse. It is now five and a half years later and I still have that purse and I have since even purchased a second one. Two purses in six years doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me.

I never considered my money to be my wife bonus. I never thought about it in that way, but now I guess you could have called it that. Really, I view it as a reminder to pamper yourself once in a while. Whether you stay at home or work outside of the home, the bottom line is moms work, and they work hard. Moms take care of everyone else to the point that they often fail to take care of themselves. I truly believe that women need little rewards at times just to give them something to look forward too, to remind them that they matter too.

fabfitfun fallI think this is where the popularity of Boxycharm, Popsugar, and Fabfitfun boxes comes in to play. I admit it, I subscribe to all three. I rejoice when one of these boxes arrives on my door step. Its like getting presents. Often the products inside are things you would never purchase for yourself because the price tags are hard to justify when the kids need new shoes, the roof needs to be repaired, or the car needs to go in the shop. Luckily the cost of the box is a fraction of the retail value inside it.

Hugs and kisses from our children bring a smile to our face, being told by our husbands that they love us sends us to the moon, and getting a new finger paint handprint from our kids on Mother’s Day is something we will cherish forever, yet sometimes a mom just really needs a new lipstick, a high end mascara, or an amazing anti-aging serum. Everyone loves to get presents, even moms.

So while most of us will never receive a five figure wife bonus, I do believe in the idea of wives and moms having the occasional indulgence and pampering, whatever that may be, and what ever it is that works for their family and finances.


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