It's difficult to work towards financial independence as a mother. It's the same pattern; for generations, moms have put their own goals and dreams on hold to raise a family - the most demanding yet, the most underpaid job in the world- and support their husbands' careers. Is it because of societal roles? Maybe - though those are changing quite a bit. Unspoken expectations? Quite possibly.
The fact is that it's becoming almost impossible to lead a good life with a single income, let alone achieving financial independence. As inflation and unemployment rates rise, more and more mothers feel the harmful effect of this economic pressure on their families and the quality of their lives.
Having financial independence means taking charge of our destiny, no matter our gender. But as financially independent mothers, we realize, however, that our financial independence can only positively affect our children's future in every way.
So whether you are on maternity leave, taking time off to care for younger children, making great strides on your five-year plan, or just taking it a day at a time trying to hold on to your job - take action! Having a backup plan that can secure your financial independence is indeed the best gift to offer your children in the long run.
Financial independence helps raise future planners
No matter how reliable and financially secure our partners are, emergencies happen. Layoffs are becoming more frequent, and to be honest, life can be just as insecure as the job, which gives the sole breadwinner something to worry about. This means we better start building our emergency fund and teach our children the skill of planning ahead.
How to do that? It does not have to be a considerable amount, as long as you intend to be "future independent" and not carry your weight in the present. It's crucial to make our hard-earned money and secure our spare lifeboat on a stormy day. So Think, Save, and & Invest!
The rule is simple: 50% on needs, 30% on wants & 20% on a saving plan.
Children shouldn’t carry any family burden; it's a given that they need to enjoy their childhood and even get spoiled from time to time. After all, that's what being a child is all about. However, they will grow to be more financially responsible by understanding the dollar's value and how every penny counts.
So teach your children to save for emergencies to achieve financial independence. For example, what would happen if your child loses something valuable to them or accidentally breaks a toy, a phone, or an iPad? Would you easily replace it for them? You could - but it's an opportunity for you to jump in and explain the 50/30/20 rule and how having some money set aside can come in handy if such incidents happen. The idea is not to spend all their money in one go.
"Monkeys see, monkeys do."
Little eyes are everywhere! You don't have to be a full-time working mom to teach your children the value of money or to have an entrepreneurial mindset. Don't worry - I will not tell you to ask your child to put up a lemonade stand. You can if you want to! But, I will reassure you that, if you have a goal in mind, a side project or an artistic talent you are passionate about, you should go for it. They will observe and absorb that passion and energy, which will in turn empower them to develop great entrepreneurial principles and take steps towards financial independence.
It's all about communication!
Ask your child to set a goal they would like to work on for the next six months. It could be anything, improving a grade, developing new skills in sports, whatever they would like to achieve, and have them note it down. Then, work with them to come up with the small steps they need to accomplish each day to reach that goal. Don’t forget to set deadlines and discuss possible challenges that might come up.
Now, if this led them to success, acknowledge it, celebrate, and push them towards an even bigger goal. And what if they fail? Give them a little time to mourn, but then help them figure out what went wrong and what they would do differently next time. In other words, what lessons did they learn? Then encourage them to try and try again. This technique will help them pivot creatively around any obstacle a few years down the road.
Happiness is contagious
Working has been considered the second-best choice for women in the past years. However, working from home or an office, learning a new skill or aiming for higher academic achievements gives us an identity different from being a mom. It gives us a creative outlet that helps us push ourselves, grow, and feel refreshed, fulfilled, and happy. And financial independence. Thus all reflect on our connection with our children and the quality of the time spent with them. You are keener on playing, connecting, listening & being present because this time is limited & precious.
By doing so, not only are you teaching your little girls to pursue their passions without giving up on their identity outside of motherhood, but you are also teaching your sons to expect more from a life partner and to view them as equals in every step along the way.
Any goal you aspire to accomplish in your career, project or startup is a step towards financial independence. Being in charge of your own destiny will not only help you become a happier and more confident mother but it can also teach your children so many valuable life, work, and entrepreneurial skills for the future. It even addresses gender bias from childhood! So take your time and think about what you would want to do to pave your way to financial independence. The key is to start the journey of exploration today.
Written by: Lara Hamdan, Co-founder of Cloudhoods The Women Empowerment Platform