There’s something I’ve heard a lot lately. I used to say it to myself, too… and, whoa, is it a hot button topic!
(Which means there’s tons of juicy stuff there to dig into so, as my 3-year old would say “let’s go, shall we?”)
I got an email last week from a new mom who was really struggling. She has an active 2.5 year old and a reflux-y 4 month old baby at home. She takes care of both all day while on extended maternity leave from work. Her husband, a big firm lawyer, works long hours.
She spends all day on her feet — feeding, rocking, cleaning, swaddling, reading, diapering, baby-wearing. At night, when it’s finally quiet, she answers work emails, shops online, and loses track of time scrolling through that addictive Instagram while nursing a glass of wine.
This sweet mama wrote me a loooooong message, with tender, run-on sentences punctuated by the fatigue that every new mother knows. It was messy and jumbled and I’m sure she hasn’t slept well since before her infant was born.
But she wasn’t writing about how challenging motherhood was. She wanted to sign up for one of my programs, but said she “couldn’t afford it.”
And you know what? I get it.
Taking care of our finances is a key form of self-care.
I believe with all of my heart that you should feel good about what you spend, so hear me when I say this:
Never feel pressure to buy anything that makes you feel badly, whether from me or from anyone else.
That said, I’m gonna’ chat through the “I can’t afford it” loop for a second, because there’s a big problem there (and maybe 2):
Number 1, the phrase creates a feeling of lack.
And lack doesn’t feel good. And feeling good is great! Personally, instead of saying “I can’t afford it,” I like to say “I”m gonna’ spend that money on something else.” Even if the “something else” is the electric bill. It identifies our choice and our fiscal responsibility. (Doesn’t that feel a little better?) Plus, when you feel like you’re lacking, it amplifies your stress level. No bueno.
Number 2, it might not be true.
I’ve worked with hundreds of mamas over the last 10 years, and I know one thing for sure: we usually value our own needs AFTER everyone else’s. Not only with time, but also with money. In fact, money is the most common reason I’ve heard when I ask moms why they don’t invest in their own well-being.
And yet, I often see the very same women overspending on things they don’t really want or need, in order to alleviate the stress that they’re feeling every day. Whether it’s a few bonus sweaters from Gilt, or excessive “flash deals” from Amazon, or even way more groceries than they’ll ever eat from Whole Foods. (Zero judgment here, by the way — I’ve done exactly the same in the past).
In those cases, that money is being spent inefficiently to help get rid of stress, which just comes back. When those same funds could, instead, help get rid of what causes the stress in the first place. Money is power, in that it can help you feel how powerful you are!
Master your mindset.
Think through your spending habits.
And feel good about your decisions.
Because when they’re the right ones, they don’t just feel affordable — they feel fabulous.