Moms never want to reveal their insecurities or imperfections. After all, we’re supposed to be the strong ones, the ones who are the support system for everyone else. We provide advice. We know the answers, and we can make you feel better when you’re lost or afraid.

Yet, deep down, there are moms everywhere who have money concerns. These worries keep them up at night. They’re stressed about their families and their futures.

They don’t want to talk about their stress because to reveal it would show weakness, but if they only reached out to other moms, they’d be surprised how many others have the same issues. Here are some money problems common to mothers.

1. A Spouse With a Habit of Overspending

Many women I talk to want to be better with money. They’ve read numerous books on personal finance, and tune into every money guru on TV or online. They want to do better, to be better, but their husbands are the spenders.

These moms try to save money, whether for the upcoming holiday season, for their children, or a family vacation, only to find their husbands have wiped out their account to buy something unnecessary. These moms are frustrated and scared, and they want a way out.

For these women, I always suggest couples counseling. Sometimes, this issue isn’t about money. It’s not even about spending habits. It’s about deep-rooted issues that only a licensed professional can address.

You’re not alone if this is your problem.

I’ve had countless women bring these concerns to me, including some close friends and family members. It’s more common than you think, so please get the help your family needs.
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2. Buying the Least Expensive Children’s Clothing

My husband hates what he refers to as “bins” in children’s clothing stores. He hates the idea of rummaging around trying to find the least expensive shirt or pair of pants for our children. It’s not the way I envisioned buying clothes for our children, either.

The impractical side of me passes by the windows of gorgeous children’s boutiques, where the outfits match from head to toe with gorgeous bows and bow ties. There is one store in particular that always has coordinated boy/girl outfits that I would just love to put on my twins.

That said, the practical side of me knows this is not a priority right now. My kids mostly live in play clothes throughout the day. They’re not in school. They aren’t even in a preschool or daycare. They enjoy running around outside and throwing spaghetti on their heads. Beautiful children’s clothes just aren’t high on the agenda.

However, there is a small part of me that feels like I would look like a better mother if they were dressed just a bit more fashionably, and I also think someday I will just walk in and buy what I want without feeling guilty about it.

3. Needing a Break but Not Wanting to Pay for Childcare

This money issue is most common with mothers who stay at home full time. Many of them feel stressed or tired and wish they could have a moment to themselves. Whenever I meet a mom like this, I try to encourage her to get childcare. A babysitter for even an hour or two would be inexpensive, and the mom could go shopping in peace or even get her nails done.

Ways to Protect the Finances of a Stay-at-Home Spouse

For couples in which only one partner works outside the home, it’s important to protect the finances of the stay-at-home spouse and ensure that your family is protected financially no matter what happens:

  1. Start Saving for Retirement. “Set up a separate retirement fund for the stay-at-home spouse so that both [partners] have independent income in the future,” says Paul Sundin, certified public accountant and tax strategist at Emparion. The only retirement account available to stay-at-home is the spousal Roth IRA. It can be opened without needing to provide proof of income, but the working spouse needs to earn enough to be able to deposit in both accounts.
  2. Buy Life Insurance for the Stay-at-Home Spouse. To use a hypothetical situation, say as a couple you opted to not have a life insurance policy on the stay-at-home spouse. Now imagine the unthinkable happens and the stay-at-home spouse dies, leaving the surviving spouse to pay for childcare, care for the household, and continue working. The insurance you decided not to purchase could have been used to cover the burden of childcare on your now widowed spouse. Frightening hypotheticals aside, it’s always a good idea to have life insurance to help manage the unimaginable.
  3. Think About Part-Time Work. Your situation can and probably will change over time. As your children grow older and attend school, the stay-at-home spouse will have more free time which could allow for side hustles or a part-time job, which will allow for greater income for your household. 
  4. Look Into Disability Insurance. The only way for a stay-at-home spouse to purchase disability insurance is if they had a policy with a previous employer before they left the workforce to stay home. If a spouse has not worked for 10 years, they also lose eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance.
  5. Consider a Postnuptial Agreement. The decision for one partner to stay at home must be agreed upon by both spouses. “If one person is making a career sacrifice — like being a stay-at-home parent — for the good of the family, a ‘postnup’ can protect them in case of divorce,” says Kol.

Many moms become embarrassed or surprised by this suggestion. These moms left the workforce because they wanted to be with their children during the day, but also because they did not want to pay for pricey childcare.

For them, their job is to stay at home each day with their children — without a break — but even people with a 40-hour workweek are entitled to and should take a personal day now and then.

For all mothers who have 24/7/365 jobs (that is, raising children), an hour or two away from home won’t affect the bottom line drastically. It’s only a money problem if they turn it into one and don’t outsource occasionally for a well-deserved break.

4. Feeling Guilty Spending Money on Yourself 

It’s not uncommon for mothers — who are so accustomed to prioritizing the needs of others — to be reluctant to buy things for themselves. Whether you have a full-time job, work part-time, or stay at home full time, you’re allowed to treat yourself.

It is important, however, to know the difference between small splurges and impulse shopping. If you are frequently going over your budget due to online shopping, the easiest way to curb this habit is to “mute all accounts on Instagram or Facebook that make you want to buy things,” according to Kathleen Porter Kristiansen, founder of Triple Passport. “It puts you back in control and helps you avoid getting subtle influences to consume when you are trying to stay on track.”

5. Being Shut Out From Family Financial Decisions

If your spouse handles all the bills and investments, you may feel like you are being excluded from financial decisions. There is no easy answer to this problem other than to keep pushing the issue. Educating yourself about your family’s finances is one way to be more involved in the financial process.

Have a monthly meeting with your spouse to discuss your family’s finances. “The simple act of talking over your monthly finances will keep you plugged into your family’s financial situation,” states Steffa Mantilla, a certified financial education instructor. 

As a team, you and your spouse can set a budget for the upcoming month and work together on other spending decisions.
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6. Needing to Ask Permission for Purchases

In some households, the husband may feel that he is allowed to monitor every purchase since it’s coming from his larger paycheck. In other households, the wife may feel the need to simply consult with her husband before purchasing anything.

Whatever your situation, know that you should be treated as an equal financial partner. Approach the solution as collaborators, perhaps ensure you both have access to funds in a joint account, and then work together to devise a spending plan that benefits both of you.

7. Financial Accounts Are in Your Husband’s Name

Having all your accounts in your husband’s name may leave you with anxiety about protecting yourself financially if something were to happen. Now is the time to open a joint account if you and your husband haven’t already. It is also a good idea to consider opening an individual retirement account as well.

You do not need to merge your finances completely with your husband, “consider having a mix of joint and separate accounts. This allows for some autonomy and potential self-protection,” states Adam Kol, a couples financial coach.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, moms should be more vocal about the money issues that bother them. Talking to other mothers can show you aren’t alone when it comes to affording better clothes for their children, or wishing their husbands didn’t spend so much money. We all have something we struggle with, especially when it comes to our finances. Let today be the day that you conquer that fear, and try to find a solution once and for all.