Aug 14, 2009

A Kept Woman


Back in the day, a kept woman was a man's mistress whom he took care of by way of paying for her living expenses. And although we're married, some days I feel like a kept woman.

The day that I turned 15, I went out and got a job. A part-time deal at the local grocery store bagging groceries for a paltry sum on the weekends. I continued to work there through high school and college; quitting the summer after I graduated, right before our wedding.

We married in July and I started teaching in August. I worked while Archie finished school and then the day came that I got to retire. When we talked about the family that we would raise, we knew that we wanted our children to be able to stay home and not have to go to daycare. I knew that this meant me retiring from work and being a stay-at-home mom. I accepted this new plateau in life with graciousness. And I wouldn't change it for anything.

The only thing that I don't like about being retired is the feeling of not contributing (financially) to my family. Archie is not only the main bread-winner in the family; he's the only bread-winner. He's never once made me feel bad about money. We don't do that whole yours and mine deal. It's all ours, but some days in the back of my heart, I feel bad for not contributing more to my family. He always assures me that what I am giving them far outweighs any monetary gifts.

Now I'm faced with going back to school to pursue a career that will better suit where I am in life now. I guess that Archie will be left footing the bill for that too. I'm hoping that any money I can make from sewing will help cover some of the costs.

Do you other SAHM feel that same way? Tell me I'm not alone!

14 comments:

Catey said...

I can guarantee you're not alone. There's something awkward about buying your husband a birthday gift....with money he earned. :S Not that he's ever made me feel that way, but I think you know what I mean.
I have no doubt that the contributions made to the family as a SAHM have just as great a value as the income, just in a different way.
Although even with that said, I have to admit that there is a little bit of a "yay!" feeling when my things sell and I'm able to pay for a night out, or stash a little away in the coffee can or something like that. Darn society for making us think that they only way to be productive involves something of monetary value. :P

Laurie said...

Absolutely! I was just thinking about that yesterday as I was writing a blog post about my last 12 years as a SAHM. I do find it difficult not contributing financially at times even though DH has NEVER made me feel that way. But it is true that the value of being a SAHM is immeasurable. It's tough to remember that sometimes though.

The Stiffs said...

You aren't alone. I work part time from home right now but I feel like that is taking away from my kids too. It's a battle that can't be won. When I try to be frugal, which isn't very often, that's my contribution.

d e v a n said...

It was very odd for me at first, being a sahm. I'd supported us both (on a teacher's salary!) while he was in grad school and to suddenly go from that to no earned income was hard! I've gotten over it though now. I think that there are a lot of days that I work harder than he does, so I figure his salary is my salary. :)
I do feel bad about it sometimes though, after all, the financial burden of our entire family rests on his shoulders and that's something that must be stressful at times.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I felt somewhat that way when I stayed home for 3 years. But, you can't begin to pay for what SAHM do!

Mindy said...

oh yes! I'm feeling ya!

lesleehorner said...

I feel this way all the time. I have a very hard time asking for money for things for myself (haircuts, clothes, activities) because I feel like I should be the one to pay for those things and I just can't. Mark and I have always had "our" money...but I grew up with parents that each had their "own" money. I guess some of that is still with me, which is why I often by pass doing things for myself.

Heidi said...

I feel that way sometimes. My mom had Gabe yesterday and Tahd was at work, and I spent a few hours at the beach. Honestly, the guilt got to me so much and I came home - it just seemed so wrong that Tahd was busy slaving away in his office so I could lay on the beach! lol He wasn't the least bit bothered by it, but I left feeling really badly that all the pressure is on him to provide for our family. I also left feeling really, really blessed.

Heather said...

Oh yes. Being a sahm is a blessing as many do not get to do that today, however,I did go to school for pharmacy and I feel like I wasted an education....

Like you, my husband never makes me feel any less of a person b/c I don't contribute financially. He reminds me that if I were not home,then we would be paying for daycare,a maid,and no telling what else. What I (we) do as sahm,well there is not a price tag that you can put on it. We are giving our kids the best of us. I would like to believe that Aiden will be a better person yrs to come b/c of it. Luckily, I don't feel like we are "doing w/out" things financially b/c Joe does make really good money. I feel very blessed that I didn't have to choose work or do w/out...

((hugs)) Heather

JennyMac said...

I am a working Mom. I took a year off when he was born and it was incredible. Working is the best fit for me right now, and our 2 year old goes to private school. I have a more flex schedule so I can take part in some things. My BF, also an attorney, is really really struggling with continuing to work while her kids start school. It is interesting for me to hear so many perspectives. I applaud SAHM because until you do it, for more than a month or so, do you realize the tremendous full time plus job it is.

Kelli @ RTSM said...

Your situation sounds just like mine! I taught in a public school for one year while my hubby finished up his degree and since then I have been home having and raising kiddos! Sometimes I think how much more we could have and how much easier money would be if I was working, but I wouldn't trade being a SAHM for anything that money would buy! I would much rather make due with what we have and stay home with my kiddos while they are little!

~LL~ said...

That is one of the main reasons I coupon. I also "TRY" to keep the house welcoming and clean and such for the days he is home. He has never made me feel badly about anything....and I don't want to give him a reason to.

Sneaky Momma said...

I know exactly what you mean.

I've started making a little money here and there. It feels wonderful to be able to buy things for my family and not have to feel weird about not contributing, although I know I am providing for my family in a different way.

Kristin said...

I struggle with that every day even though the hubs always tells me that me staying home with our little man is priceless. I try to remind myself of that!