Financial responsibility in marriage is a driving factor in marriage conflict and divorce. Especially for stay-at-home moms or moms married to husbands who have poorly managed ADHD, this division of responsibility can be the source of many arguments. So, should your wife contribute financially? It depends on how much of the daily grind you willingly take on.
What Are You Really Worried About
First, let’s look at what’s really happening here. What’s the worry beneath the worry? What’s the true fear?
As with everything, our top layer complaint is almost never the real problem, or need, that’s driving the frustration. Asking for help with the dishes is not about the dishes.
Somewhere underneath thinking your wife or husband should contribute more is the need to feel less pressure.
The pressure to raise a family is immense. And if much of the burden seems to fall on one person, they can feel exhausted, resentful, and just plain tired. And if you really listen to those words, you’ll hear that their energy is depleted. What they’re really saying is: I don’t/can’t take care of myself because of this pressure. Usually, that’s not true, and they’re placing the responsibility on the other to meet their most basic self-care needs. To really sum it up, they need a damn nap. They are literally exhausted. It’s their body telling them to take care of it. To slow down and just be present. To enjoy life.
Not Equal, Not Even Fair Division Of Labor
What I see as a marriage coach is that usually, the man focuses the most on income and money, and so they feel the pressure to make sure there’s enough of it for the family, whether it’s coming solely from them or from their spouse as well. They tend to have a scarcity mindset around money and, simultaneously, want to save, spend, or invest it as they please. They are either extraordinarily frugal and rigid with every penny, or they straight up hide finances from their wife and hoard it in secret, growing significant retirement funds even when their family right now is not able to enjoy life freely due to the financial constraints they have created.
And for the woman in most of these situations, she is the one making sure everyone is alive and thriving. The pressure of leading her home and being responsible for the needs of every one of her family members is relentless. There is no day off, ever. She is constantly meeting needs right now, planning for the future, considering every possible scenario, and trying to set the emotional tone in the home to make it more than just a building where people live. The pressure is immense.
What happens in marriages where the husband has ADHD that isn’t managed well, and the wife sees him as another person she has to take care of, is that she ends up doing nearly every task in the home. Eventually, her boundaries will develop, and she’ll want to stop doing it all, so she’ll ask for help. But he won’t deliver. So what is the fair thing then? To make it fair, something has to come off of her plate in order to pick up his slack, or they need to mutually agree to outsource those tasks.
Outsourcing To Create A Successful Partnership
Think of your family as a business. If you wanted it to be successful, you would hire someone to fill the following positions:
- Housekeeper/Cleaner – $90,000
- Chef – $125,000
- Personal/Virtual Assistant
- Event Planner
- Gardener – $65,000
- Educator (Just Tutoring) – $46,000
- Childcare Provider/ Au Pair – $85,000
- Healthcare Manager/Nurse
- Financial Planner
- Personal Shopper
- Laundry Service
- Household Manager/Executive Assistant – $150,000
- Butler/Personal Valet – $125,000
- Travel Coordinator – $100,000
- Pool Guy
- IT Support – $100,000
- Gift Coordinator
- Correspondence Manager
- Pet Care
The really rich people you know do precisely this. They choose to outsource the “grinding tasks of life.” And the salaries they pay them are beyond–I’ve added some above. They can, so they do. They view their time as their most valuable asset, so anything that frees it up is worth it to them.
What’s A Mom’s Value?
Back to our plebian marriages… look at that list above, and ask how much of it you do? For most of my clients, the wives ARE that ENTIRE LIST. All of it. They literally do all of it. Adding up only the salaries I included, that’s $886,000+ of work the mom is doing.
And where’s the husband? In most cases, he just works.
Meaning, he might be home and spend time with the kids or make a meal here or there, but the vast majority of the “daily grind” is on the wife.
Bringing in the resources for the family is a noble position. It does require you to trade in your time/value for the resources. It can feel like you’re confined to a desk and missing out on your family. And those are very real concerns that you need to address so you can be sure you’re getting or creating the time you deserve to have with your wife and kids. And that you’re doing work that you’re passionate about and love doing!
But just because your wife’s time & energy doesn’t translate to money doesn’t mean that it’s not as valuable a contribution as yours.
Money Generated Does Not Determine Value
Our value and time in life will not always be exchanged for money. Look at parenting as a whole. Parenting, for the most part, depletes us. It doesn’t refill our cup. It doesn’t put money in the bank. The rewards are immense, but they are not tangible. This is why the goal is not to achieve a transaction. The goal is to enjoy life with our loved ones. To have life-affirming interactions and experiences.
THAT is what husbands are looking for when they say their wife should contribute financially.
Somehow, in their drive to acquire resources for their family, they’ve forgotten to enjoy life. You only get one childhood with your kids, and then they grow up, and if you’ve done it well, move out. Only one chance to experience their cute baby voices, their wide, curious eyes, their snuggles and hugs. Only one. That IS the reward for your time and energy. That is the beauty of watching your heart beat outside of your body and grow into a wonderful human being.
The value a mom brings can be measured in the happiness and well-being of her family. In its joy. In the smile and delight on a child’s face. In the successful launch of an adult into the world. Of a home feeling like a loving home when you walk through the door.
It was never about the money.
It’s about your ability to truly enjoy the present moment. And that is a gift available to you right now, that is completely, utterly, priceless.