If you've read "The Luckiest Girl Alive" author Jessica Knoll's recent viral opinion piece for the New York Times titled "I Want to Be Rich and I'm Not Sorry," you may have joined me in fist-pumping her for her bold declaration that in a world where women are shamed for admitting they want to make a lot of money, she's done making apologies.
Personally, I love to hear about women who know what they want and aren't afraid to go after it, but when I read Ms. Knoll's piece, I also felt the stirring of frustration. It's all well and good to declare that you love money and want to be rich and that you're determined to place your own needs first—when you're not a mom.
Knoll writes, "If you want to create your own wealth, the confidence to take calculated risks is a necessary skill. Placing the needs of others above your own is not." But what if you do have to the place the needs of other above yourself, almost every minute of every single day? What if your very life is devoted to caring for others? What if you are, at your very core, a caretaker for others as a mom or an at-home parent?
Are you still allowed to want more money?
The answer is: YES.
If you're a stay-at-home mom, maybe you aren't directly making an income right now, but odds are you have a huge direct impact on your family's finances.
It feels like there's this saintliness attached to stay-at-home motherhood, like, "Oh, we don't need money for doing the most important job in the world!" But I'm a huge believer that moms, especially stay-at-home moms, can—and should—be part of the money conversation at home and in the world. Why? Because too often, moms undervalue themselves and don't realize their own worth. If you're a stay-at-home mom, maybe you aren't directly making an income right now, but odds are you have a huge direct impact on your family's finances.
You're probably the one making the family budget, allocating funds, planning for long-term expenses and directing the flow of cash in your household. You're probably the one investing in your kids in ways both big and small that will make a difference in their long-term financial independence. And let's be real, you're the real reason your partner is able to put in the time necessary for their job too, so yup, you're 100 percent involved in the family money.
The truth is, women control 83 percent of the nation's non-business spending. We have, quite literally, huge buying power. We influence everything from the housing market to cars to healthcare to tourism. When it comes to the world of money, moms have more power than we realize—even if we're not the ones bringing home the paycheck.
I believe that money is an important conversation for all women to talk about and that stay-at-home moms shouldn't be excluded from the conversation. Moms are allowed to love money too and to use it for ways that they deem important. Maybe that means being a best-selling author and maybe that just means finding ways to pay for your kid's soccer, but either way, the important thing to remember is that as women, we can support each other in all the different kinds of ways we define success—financial and otherwise.