Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

Asking Your Husband for Money

Mothers Need Support

New moms, especially those who’ve just given birth, are consumed by work that allows very little time to make money. Rarely do women start their families with money in the bank. So with no financial resources to fall back on, mothers need financial support from somewhere.

Who's Going to Give It?

You’d think that when a woman is in this type of vulnerable position, caring for a newborn or tending to small children, she could depend on her husband to pick up the slack. The novel idea goes like this: she would focus on the demanding work of childcare while he brings home the bacon. Unfortunately, many men these days were never brought up to think that it’s up to him to support his wife.

Often these husbands expect their wives to pull their own weight. Even after giving birth! I just don’t get it. You’d think that a father would feel some pride in the fact that he can care for his family.

In my work with mothers, I’ve seen over and over how challenging it can be for them to get what they need from their husbands. A mother seems to feel she needs to get his permission first in order to spend any money on herself.

Don't Ask For Permission

My suggestion is to not ask permission for what you need and want. Get it in your mind that his money is your money too. You work very hard for it, 24/7. If you didn’t care for his children, who would? And what would he have to pay that person to do the work you’re doing?

You need to be able to have a monthly or weekly or daily amount to spend without having to discuss it with him.  When I had babies, I told my husband that I wasn't willing to have to ask him for money every time I needed to go to the grocery store.  And I didn't have the patience or time to even go to the bank!  So what worked for us was to have a wad of cash hidden in our home somewhere that both of us could take money from as needed and that he replenished as it dwindled down.  It's important that you both decide on what your budget is and then stay within that budget without having to keep tabs on each other.

Learn How To Communicate

For bigger purchases, aside from the daily, ongoing expenses you might have, it's important to learn how to communicate without asking for his permission.  First, get real clear about what you want or need and make sure you’re serious about it.  Next, learn how to communicate with him. Pick a time when he’s in a good mood, relaxed, and feeling close to you. Using “right timing” is not being manipulative, just practical. No one can really hear anything when they’ve got other things bothering them.

Give Directions

Last, let him know what you want without asking him if it’s ok with him. Generally, men respond better to directions. Women are used to getting agreement and consensus before moving forward with something that affects others. But in this case, asking permission does not work. You need to believe that getting what you want benefits him too and then come to this discussion from that place: expect that he would, of course, understand that. You don’t have to say, “this will help you too,” but instead, you can say, “this way I can prevent myself from being depleted, depressed, tired, etc.”

I’m not saying go ahead and do whatever you want and spend whatever you want whether he disagrees or not.  Sometimes, no matter how you approach him, he may disagree.  Then you can decide whether what you’re wanting is worth going for or not even without his agreement.  But give yourself a better chance for gaining his support by using the skills outlined above.  Tell your husband what you want and need.  He wants you to be well so you can take care of everyone, including him!  In the end, the entire family wins when you get what you need too.                          

Allison Gilbert, LMFT  Free Tips ©2007

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