Money, maternal mental health and me

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Motherhood can be beautiful, glorious and meaningful, but money and motherhood can be ugly.

Your income takes a hit just as you become aware of all the perfect baby nurseries on perfect Instagram feeds. There’s a million ‘essential’ things you’ll need for your baby and forevermore at each key stage of their development. Your desire for money to do the best for your child goes through the roof as you enter a world divided on topics of maternity pay, parental leave and flexible working.

Your ability to earn is negatively impacted as you have less time, less flexibility, less sleep and less confidence.

Time becomes golden, the one thing you wished you valued more when your world didn’t revolve around broken nights, needy tiny humans and the new open door policy sign on your bathroom. You and your partner will have to navigate what life looks like when your income is compromised with maternity leave, returning to work whilst juggling the needs of a tiny human and the cost of childcare. And when your tiny human becomes more vocal, how do you manage their incessant requests for things without screwing them up?

Money facts

Money and motherhood is stressful. Money is inextricably linked to our self worth, self esteem and self confidence. Money affects how we feel about ourselves, our personal relationships and our children. And yet, we don’t talk about it.

According to YouGov research commissioned by Lloyds Bank, money is a bigger taboo than sex, religion or politics, 50% of UK adults believe that talking about personal money matters is taboo in everyday conversation - that’s higher than sex (42%), religion (26%) or politics (14%).

They also found that 1 in 3 Brits have experienced stress about money and anxiety about money in the past month and over a third of people in a relationship have argued with their partner about money.

Money and me

Apart from the facts, my personal experience of money and motherhood is painful. I was not financially ready to have a child, nor was my relationship.

My husband and I knew this, which is why we put off having children until our mid 30’s when we were meant to be more financially stable. I hadn’t yet achieved my career or financial goals, but my ticking body clock became an issue we couldn’t ignore. Money was and continues to be the only major issue in our relationship. Fact — despite everything else I bring to the table, I don’t bring enough money. That causes all kinds of feelings of personal and joint frustration, anger and guilt. It messes with the dynamics of worth, contribution and value in our relationship.  

Talking about the M words

We need to talk about Money and Motherhood. I see lots of good discussion in motherhood circles. Physical health. Tick. Mental health. Tick. Self care. Tick. Sleep. Tick. Mindfulness. Tick. Decluttering. Tick. Organising motherhood. Tick. These are all topics that have a positive impact on mental health for mothers.

But I am not seeing enough open and honest talk about money and motherhood, our relationship with money, and the impact money has on ourselves, our relationships and our children.

Professor Tanya Byron, consultant clinical psychologist and Relate Patron says, “Whilst we’ve become more comfortable talking about subjects like mental health in recent years, money is still a taboo subject for many of us, and people are shying away from important conversations as a result. Feelings about money can be strong... Talking openly about money can help us take shared responsibility, strengthen our relationships, and protect our mental wellbeing.”

Is it possible to make the topic of money and motherhood something we are willing to discuss on the likes of Instagram, despite all the stigma, judgement and shame around money?

Right now, at the very beginning of my money and motherhood blogging journey, I feel like a very tiny weak spark that is unlikely to take hold and start a firestorm of influence. But since 61% of people said they feel better when they do open up and talk about their money concerns, and since talking about money and motherhood more openly would help me, I feel like it’s worth putting myself out there and being that tiny spark. I’m feeling lots of fear and insecurity about pursuing this. It makes me feel sick, but if I can relate to someone who feels like I have felt about money, and make them realise they are not alone, then I am winning.

Your money situation and and your experience of motherhood comes with bags of mixed emotions. Despite us knowing that talking about things positively impacts our mental health, research shows that we have a long way to go when it comes to talking about money and motherhood. But we have the capacity to change things and make money talk normal. I can be the change. You can be the change. Even tiny changes can make a difference to someone. If you’re interested in the topic of money and motherhood then please reach out to me on Instagram. I’d love to hear from you!