You’re pregnant. Holy f*ck.
You exit the bathroom, tell your partner the happy news and enjoy a private celebration. That night, you lie in bed, hand on belly, staring up at the ceiling, experiencing a full-blown existential and financial crisis. The next day, you enter research mode.
But the initial glimmer of financial curiosity is often fleeting, because sometime during a woman’s second trimester, she enters mama-bear mode: a state of being wherein thoughts go from pragmatic to primitive. Steam-cleaning the curtains seems more urgent than looking into Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), and spending your life’s savings on a Restoration Hardware nursery set and a $2,000 stroller sounds like a practical allocation of funds. Yup. Been there, bought that.
Blame the hormones. Blame the algorithms. Blame the ads. But as your belly expands, your inner dialogue starts to chatter and all it says is, Focus on the baby. Nothing matters but the baby. Just keep doing things and acquiring things for the baby.
Then you have the baby. During the early days of new motherhood, it’s legitimately impossible to give a shit about anything other than figuring out what exactly goes into keeping an infant alive. You learn to swaddle, master different shushing techniques and attempt new modes of feeding. You become a human mattress and vomit receptacle. You change diapers full of mustard-yellow shit (theirs) and diapers full of crimson-red blood (yours). You align your rhythm with your baby’s. You become one with them (again). You’re enveloped in the baby haze.
Then, one day, clarity. It takes a few months to get there, but eventually the world that exists beyond the four corners of your baby’s nursery comes back into focus. You can think again. Your priorities have shifted, though, and you start to consider your options: going back to the career you left; finding a new, more flexible job that hopefully still constitutes a lateral career move; or extending your hiatus even longer—“at least until they’re in school”—before eventually re-entering the workforce. You can sense that in making this decision, a significant amount of access is at stake: access to money, access to power, access to the conversations that matter.
It’s so important for moms to be empowered. Standing up for your mental and emotional well-being is a huge piece of the empowerment puzzle. But so is money.
Moms need so much more than a day at the salon to take care of themselves. We don’t need healing crystals or essential oils or a facelift for our vaginas, and we certainly don’t need another suggestion to stock up on wine. What moms really need is someone to show them a clear-cut path to economic freedom. F*ck bubble baths—this is the real self-care.
Money is the international language of power, which means that empowerment simply cannot be fully realized without financial literacy. The old adage “He who has the gold makes the rules” still holds true. The goal now is to amend the pronoun. In order to do that, you’ll have to become financially literate first. Now that you’ve got a family to account for, you need to get your shit together.
Whether you’re debt-ridden and broke or you have some money in the bank that you simply don’t know what to do with, anytime is a good time to take control of your financial future. You can’t afford not to.
Excerpted from Get Your $hit Together: The Rebel Mama’s Handbook for Financially Empowered Moms by Aleksandra Jassem and Nikita Stanley, published by Harper Collins.