As Mother’s Day draws near, it has us reflecting on the mother-figures in our lives. Moms come in all forms and can also encompass that caregiver that took on the role of mom for you growing up – an auntie, a grandma, or even a teacher. Our series, “Milk Money”, showcases this diversity in family structures along with the unique financial challenges that come with raising children in a time when it can cost as much as $284,570 to raise just one child, according to Department of Agriculture (USDA) data*. In honor of Mothers Day, I sat down to re-watch the series and rounded up some of my favorite financial lessons learned from some of the great moms on the show.
It Takes a Village
In episode 7 we meet Elena, a single mom who works as a science teacher at a high school all the while studying to get her masters degree and raise her son. In this episode, Elena talks about the importance of being able to rely on help from family to raise a child. Elena is an inspiration as she is raising her son in a traditional setting on the reservation all while breaking down barriers as a single but fearless mom with the support of her extended family. They take care of each other. Elena’s story teaches us that it’s ok to ask for help.
Time is Money
In episode 5 we meet Amirah, a single-mom and ex-soldier, who created a budgeting system where she lays out how much time, rather than how much money, a purchase requires. This helps her decide whether a purchase is worth it or not. She also emphasizes that as a mom, you have to take care of yourself because you’re the example to your child. In order for them to be happy, they have to see you happy too.
Juggling It All
Molly is a super-mom of 2 with a third on the way, and her husband Pat is currently on deployment with the military. Molly juggles raising a family, many times as a single parent while her husband is away, and working as an occupational therapist. Molly has a nanny that comes and helps with the kids as she finds it important to continue generating income and working in her field all while being there for her children and family in her husband’s absence. Their plan is that once Pat completes his service their roles will reverse and Molly will work full-time while Pat is the stay at home dad. Molly proves that being the spouse of a military man or woman doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up your profession; you can have your family and your career too!
No one knows more about the act of sacrifice and sacredness of money than moms. A mother will do anything for their child to thrive and “Milk Money” shows the many versions of what this looks like.
For me, the biggest lesson that my beautiful mom, Brenda, instilled in me was how to communicate with your partner about money. I come from a larger family; the oldest of 3 girls and there were times when it was challenging to stretch a dollar. My stepdad was certainly the saver, and my mom the spender, but their consistent communication allowed for them to make it all work – bills were paid on time, food was always on the table, and from time to time there was even extra money to do fun things like family vacations. I saw that the value is in family and communication above all else and making smart financial decisions together.
Share your favorite financial lesson from mom!
What are some of the best lessons and advice your mom has given you? Share them in the comments below!
*U.S. Department of Agriculture. “The Cost of Raising a Child.”, May 1, 2020.