Being a stay-at-home mother is basically the equivalent of a full-time job — and a very well paying full-time job at that. There have been studies that indicate that if a stay-at-home mom was paid what she was really worth she'd be earning the equivalent of $160,00 a year. While we know that stay at home moms do a lot of work, often without recognition of any kind, is reasonable to expect a husband to pay his wife or partner a "salary" for the work she does at home? One frustrated stay-at-home mom has asked that exact question online, and the results are definitely mixed.
Recently a stay-at-home mom who is frustrated by her husband's frugal ways took to Reddit to ask the online community if she was out of line by considering asking her husband to pay her a salary for all the work she does at home?
The poster who goes by the Reddit username SillySpeaker2 explained that she and her husband agreed that she would stay home and care for the home and the couple's 1.5-year-old child while her husband works out of the house since he had a significantly higher income than she did when she was working outside of the home. However, it seems that SillySpeaker2 is now frustrated with how strict her husband is with her spending and is wondering if she is out of line to ask for her own "salary".
Here's what she wrote on Reddit: "I've been a stay at home spouse/mom for about 3 years now and it was fine before the baby. But now there are a lot of things I want to change but don't know how to, especially when it comes to finances which I feel like I have no power over. My husband earns good money but he's very frugal about nonessential spending because he wants to be financially independent (no job, earnings from investments) at an early age. Granted he was like this when I met him but I had also had my own salary at the time to do what I wanted. I'm looser with my money because I like eating out, going out with friends, going shopping, etc. All the normal things people in their 20s buy and do.
Well now that I stay at home we have mini fights every time I want to buy anything over $150 (which is the limit he set that needs a "conversation"). This means if I go out to get clothing, makeup, brunch, little treats, etc. and the amount exceeds $150, I would need to call him beforehand and talk about what I'm buying. It feels extremely restrictive and quite frankly humiliating. He spends so little on himself that it seems like to him that I'm the one spending all the money on myself every month."
Silly Speaker2 goes on to explain that her sister has an agreement with her husband that sees her get paid about $3500 per month, as that's the equivalent to what they would have to pay a nanny if they needed one. The poster goes on to write that she wouldn't ask her own husband that much but admitted she's tired of "groveling for money every time I want to buy myself something nonessential." She wants to know if she's an "a**hole" for even bringing this up to her husband and the Reddit community definitely had thoughts.
Many thought that the poster was simply being greedy, even going so far as to work out all the many things she could spend $150 on. "$150 = 2 person meal + drinks at an upscale restaurant $150 = indoor skydiving session $150 = 10-15 cocktails at most bars (or more at dive bars) $150 = a pretty decent grocery store run, especially if you are finding deals using coupons with your SAHW time $150 = some pretty good shoes or a few clothing items $150 = Brunch on Sunday $150 = A paddleboard rental and a few drinks. Exactly what kinds of activities, as a mother, are you being restricted from doing? How often are these? $3500/month? If he makes $100k isn’t that roughly half just for your fun? He may make significantly more, but for most people that is a big number to go towards fun."
Others thought the very idea of getting paid to stay home with your child was ridiculous. "It's crazy to get paid a nanny's salary for caring for your own kid."
Others criticized her and accused her of being selfish. "This lady is delusional, I bet she’d never take her husbands spot to work & have him take care of the kids. She’s a mother now and wants to still live like how she did before - not possible.
While there were many comments criticizing the poster for daring to ask to have some financial independence, some commenters agreed that the husband isn't the only one who is working and helping the family. "She’s sacrificing too: job prospects, independence, security, personal retirement, so he can have the life he wants. I think she’s asking for way too much money, but she should definitely have something."
Others thought it wasn't entirely unreasonable to be in a relationship where larger purchases are discussed beforehand, but always having to ask permission to spend money seems to be a bit onesided. "Having conversations about those purchases is reasonable, but it sounds like she essentially has to ask permission, which clearly gives the relationship an uneven power dynamic."
Others thought she simply shouldn't feel guilty about asking to be paid. "To be a stay home mom is harder than many other jobs and involves having to choose between any other career or be a full-time mom and housewife. So it is a job and she should be paid for it."
The poster clarified in additional comments that she thinks her request is totally reasonable. "I’d like (a separate account) but I’d like to ask for a set amount to be deposited in every month to spend on what I want that can exceed $150 for every purchase. Ideally, I’d be happy with just $1,700-$2,000 a month I think," she wrote.
"It may sound excessive but it really isn’t where we live," she continued. "This includes meals I’d have with friends, personal products, and the occasional pick me up. We’re more upper middle class. Nowhere near wealthy."
While the majority of the commenters seemed to think the poster should feel lucky to be able to stay at home and only have to consult her husband when her purchases surpass $150, many couldn't help but note that her request to have her own discretionary funds really wasn't all that much to ask for.