Amy Committed to Being a SAHM; Now Her Little Family is Always Broke … What Next?
By April Swanson
Note: This is a fictional story. The characters are composites of people I know. The traits are certainly real. The situations common. And the outcomes possible.
Amy’s phone pinged. Overdraft notification.
Wonder what happened this time?
Kaitlyn, three years and three months old, growl-whined. It was time to read This is Not My Hat to her for the 1,712th time, or Earth might explode into an apocalyptic fireball.
The Big Decision
Five months into her pregnancy, Amy had a conversation with her husband Paul that reshaped their lives.
She was quitting her job and be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM).
Her mom recently admitted guilt for working too much and not spending enough time with Amy and her sister.
Thinking back, Amy preferred it when mom wasn’t around. Less negativity. Less hyper-critical judgment.
Should you be eating that?
Why are you friends with her?
You’ll never understand math?
Amy wasn’t that close to her mom any more.
She also had a case of low self esteem. And self doubt.
Amy knew she had to treat Kaitlyn better. And did. But, money stress had a way of cutting her patience short.
At least she’d spend as much time as possible with her daughter, and not outsource her care to a minimum-wage stranger.
Amy didn’t plop Kaitlyn in front of the TV for hours a day either.
She was constantly interacting. Reading books. Teaching her fun crafts. Cleaning up together.
Amy was all in. 100% present.
Which is why she took a sharp inhale, breathed out slowly, and put her phone face down on the counter, moved to the sofa, plopped Katilyn on her lap, and read.
Still, she could feel the stress buzz in her face. Maybe it was the cortisol she heard about.
Paul Explains: Adventures in Money Management
After putting Kaitlyn to bed, Paul let Amy know about the latest overdraft. He wanted to explain at the dinner table, but Amy gave him that “not in front of our daughter” look.
Amy heard it before.
Paul paying this bill versus that bill. Using a credit card for the heating bill to buy an extra 30 days.
His tricks were faltering. They were carrying a balance and making minimum payments. Every few months, Paul dropped the ball and overdrafted their account. Inevitable.
Amy felt a little dopamine hit the next evening when Paul proudly announced he sweet talked his way out of the overdraft charge.
Can the Finances Be Fixed?
In the moments between bad news and temporary fix, Amy often promised herself she’d look into ways to make money to help with the bills.
She didn’t really know where to start.
And, didn’t quite believe she could pull off making money from home.
Maybe she had made a big mistake deciding to stay at home with her daughter.
Maybe that was only an option for rich people.
Scraping by every month.
Constant low-grade money stress.
This was no way to live.
Five months later, Amy and Paul got a gut punch. Paul’s shuffling skills weren’t fixing this!