Whenever I think about money it brings to mind the Abba song “Money, money, money”. (I’m dating myself I know!) The chorus goes:
Indeed most of us feel that more money would make our lives better. Was this not at the core of women fighting for equal pay? In the modern world money equals freedom and women want that freedom. So how does this intersect with motherhood? Recent research has shown that there is no longer a divide between the pay men and women receive, the real divide is now between mothers and non-mothers. There is a perceived divide between stay-at-home-mothers (SAHM) and mothers who work outside the home. I have even read an article claiming that to be a SAHM is anti-feminist and women who do so are undermining women’s rights. Certainly being a mother means endless hours of cooking, feeding, organising and co-ordinating. Housework has taken a back seat and home cooking has decreased as fewer women spend time on these activities but men don’t pick them up, at least not at the same rate. Mothers feel judged for staying home and they feel guilty for going to work. So how do you reconcile it all? Here’s the thing, we are not going to reconcile it. We will simply make the decisions that make the most sense to us.
Equal pay for work of equal value was really a way for our culture to feel less bad about how women were treated. It was a nice clean, simple concept that could be legislated, controlled. But here’s the problem. What about all the work women have traditionally done for no pay? Is there no value in that? We’re all so busy looking for ways to make this capitalist system work, for it to be fair, we forgot about that small thing only women can do: bring new souls into the physical realm. Oh we didn’t completely forget about it; we legislated maternity leave. But what about everything that happens after that first year (or twelve weeks if you are reading from the U.S.)? Do children look after themselves? Did we forget we are humans and not, say, deer or bears who are adults at one year? I don’t think there are any simple answers here. Capitalism is clearly not going away anytime soon, and honestly it has a lot of good points to it. I think for everyday women, who have to make practical choices now, we have to have the courage to decide for ourselves what the right path is. And I don’t mean be a SAHM or a working Mom. There are so many more choices than that.
I have been reading a lot of books written by Jerry and Esther Hicks, transmissions from the non-physical entity Abraham. Now I don’t know if you believe in such things but I have found a lot of wisdom here. In the book “The Vortex” the idea of flawed premises is introduced. These are ideas that we base our thoughts and decisions on that are incorrect. Several of them are applicable to the problem of how to have what we want in our lives. One flawed premise is “I cannot have everything that I desire, so I have to give up some things that are important to me in order to get others.” Another is “There are right ways and wrong ways to live.” The relationship between motherhood and money to the first premise is obvious. Numerous books and articles have been written about how women can “have it all” or how they can’t. But I think most of those books miss the point. I think most of us are not pursuing what we really want. We are pursuing the options that we are told are available to us without really looking into our own hearts for guidance. I think this is where we really need to start. For each of us the solutions will be different; which is where the next flawed premise comes in. I absolutely reject the idea that all women should work outside the home and I reject the idea that all women should stay home. I also believe that our children benefit greatly from us spending most of our time with them, especially in those first, precious five years. Some of you won’t like to hear that. But put down your arguments, take a deep breath and think about what you really want, in an ideal world, if you didn’t have to worry about money or losing your career.
Now we all think that we work in exchange for money. I think that too. But I think it’s incorrect also. I think this would come under another flawed premise “The path to my joy is through my action.” We think the path to money is through our action too! Now, I’m not saying action isn’t required in life. We live in a physical world where physical action is required. But I am beginning to believe that our thoughts and feelings are much more important than any action you can take. This idea still seems a little unreal to me to be honest but I am playing with it. Certainly it points to a possible solution for all the mothers struggling to juggle money and motherhood.
Right now I am very aware that I am privileged to have the time to write and read and practice spiritually without having to worry about supporting my family. Any money I bring in provides the comforts, not the necessities for my family. It has not always been like this. For many years I was a single mother and received no support of any kind. I was solely responsible for all the things money could provide for me and my son. So I do understand that this is a very real, very difficult issue.
Still, I can see how our beliefs, our expectations and our feelings play out in how much money each of us brings into our experience. It is easy to look around and see the woman who was raised in a rich family and seems to effortlessly attract huge amounts of money, while other women work incredibly hard only to barely survive. I think very few of us are really pursuing our authentic dreams. Most of us are so focused on what we have or don’t have right now and just trying to survive, that we give little thought or energy to even discovering our true dreams. If you are one of the many who struggle with money, I invite you to join me on this journey and rather than try to figure out what to do to improve your situation, begin to work on your thoughts and feelings around this topic. Next week I will begin to share some of these techniques.