10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Create a Healthier Relationship with Money

With the exception of the plum lipstick, I didn't really relate to this chapter all that much. Well, I guess there was this paragraph:

Have you ever walked into a friends' beautifully furnished home and found shoes lined up neatly in the mudroom, towels folded with only the rounded edges showing in the stack, and children playing quietly in the basement? In the moment, you feel wholly inadequate as a mom...

STOP. She's got me there. But she loses me in the next few lines.

The familiar bantering inside your mind quickly taunts you. "If you had this kind of money, my house would look like this and my kids would be happy."

Um. No. Actually that's not what I think. I think my kids are perfectly happy and altogether oblivious that my towels aren't turned the right way and our shoes are more often in a (very large) heap in the foyer. It has become painfully obvious to me lately I am the one bothered by asthetic imperfections. As long as the towels are clean, no one here really cares which way they turn. Except for me. I don't feel inadequate as a mom, I just feel all out of sorts and discouraged.

I guess money solves that problem if money buys you a cleaning lady to follow along behind you all day and straighten shoes and turn towels. But really, I don't for a moment think that will make my kids happier. Maybe I just know too many people in perfectly beautiful houses to think that beautiful house = happy. But really, I wouldn't mind that beautifully decorated and ordered home if I could have it with the things that truly make one happy;-)

I think I'm digressing...

Let's stick to the book and not worry about my laundry, neatly folded or otherwise. We're going to talk about three ways to create a healthier relationship with money. (Wait. May I digress just one more time? Do we really ever relate to money? I think relationships are with people, not objects.)

#1 Open your fist and grab someone’s hand—therein lies real security. Now we're talking. The narrow-minded pursuit of money isn't going to end well, even if you manage to get a lot of it. When our young adults are looking for guidance about education and career paths, we tell them to look towards doing what they love and that the money will follow. We don't tell them that they're going to get rich, necessarily, just that when we invest ourselves into those things about which we are truly passionate, about which we truly care, our work has meaning that supercedes its earning potential. And we remind them that ultimately a salary exists to support the family, not the other way around. The relationships with people are why we do what we do. Those passions and talents are most often God's way of getting our attention and pointing us to how He intends us to work for His kingdom.

#2 Ask yourself why you’re opening your wallet. I remember going shopping with a neighbor a day or two after Christmas one year. I usually don't really go out into the world during the holiday shopping season. Shopping isn't really the most fun thing a person can do when she is pretty much an introvert and goes no where without a double stroller and several children under ten. And that's where I was at the day I remember so clearly. But I went shopping, because we had a new bed and I had no sheets for it. There we were in a large bos store that sells linens and every random object ever advertised any where. I watched my friend pick up one thing after another and put them in her cart. It was just a few days after Christmas. She lived in a beautiful, well provisioned home. She hadn't needed anything when we left the neighborhood--she was just coming along for the ride and to help with the stroller and half dozen children. She was recently divorced and I knew money was tight and getting tighter. Finally, I could bear it no longer, "What are you doing? You don't need those things and once you get them home you're not likely to give any of them another thought." She stopped. Thought. Her eyes filled with tears. "Yeah. You're right. I guess I just keep thinking I'm going to find that magic thing that makes everything else all better." 

It's not in a big box store. 

We need to remember that we can't buy that one magic thing. And we need to teach our children that those magic things don't exist. We need them to not expect that their every material want will magically appear in their living rooms. We need to live like relationship (with God, with people--not with with things) is our first priority. They're watching. Do we model coveting or contentedness? Do we take our restless hearts to the mall or to the Lord?

#3  Look close to home for contentment—not to money.

Dr. Meeker writes, The wonderful thing for mothers is that we can train ourselves to have this same contentment.   It will never come if we continually look outward at the next thing we want to get. It will come   only if we acknowledge that we struggle in appreciating what is in front of us. It all goes back to that gratitude list doesn't? Can we be grateful for what we have? Can we look at the detail of every day and see God's generous provision?  I think we can.

What are your thoughts on money?


{{This post is the 9th in a series discussing The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity.}}

The rest of our discussions of  The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity can be found here. The first two conversations are 

Part 1(discussing Habit 1)

Part 2 (still discussing Habit 1)

Part 3 (still more on Habit 1)

Part 4 (Habit 2: key friendships)

Part 5 (Habit 2: your thoughts on friendship_

Part 6 (Habit 3: Value and Practice Faith)

Part 7(Habit 4: Say No to Competition)

Part 8 (Habit 4: Say No to Competition)