Taking on a Taboo Topic

“The more interest you take in your finances, the more they improve.  As if by magic.”

Mark Butler (a.k.a The Budget Nerd)


My usual M.O. here at Thriving Thursdays is to address the internal stuff that gets in the way of your joy and your ability to do great work in the world—with a few practical strategies thrown in, mostly focused on practices of self-care and self-compassion. 


In this post, I’m expanding my definition of self-care just a bit wider to include caring for your finances—and caring for yourself through your finances—because I’ve found that a crucial aspect of my personal ability to thrive has circled around how I approach money – earning, spending, saving and (of course) addressing internal barriers and blind spots related to all of it. 


Because many of my clients and readers are committed to social justice, many are deeply religious or spiritual, and many are also moms, developing self-care practices related to money can be an especially difficult task.


Here’s what I’ve seen in my own life and that of my clients and colleagues.


We tend not to make a lot of money because:


  • We have chosen meaningful work over financial gain AND


  • Our society has deemed the work we do (“women’s work” in many cases) to be not worth paying much for so salaries in our field are low (anyone out their work in the field of early childhood education?  Do I hear an AMEN?)  AND


  • because we, and many in our religion, culture or spiritual community, believe that good people who care about others (and/or God) cannot also care about being well paid (i.e. people who want to make money are shallow and probably also selfish and mean, so having the goal of making a good living financially means that we aren’t REALLY good people. In fact, we may be headed right towards evil.)


We tend not to spend a lot of money on ourselves because:


  • We genuinely enjoy spending money on others AND ALSO


  • We think selfishness must be avoided at all times.  For some reason, this is the ultimate “sin” in our psyche/belief system AND


  • because we often feel guilty about spending money on ourselves (because our students have so much less than we do, or because good moms always sacrifice for their kids, or because we think to be good is to always be frugal, for example) and since we feel guilt and doubt when we spend money on ourselves, it’s really not that enjoyable, so why do it?


Does any of this sound like you? 


If it does, I hope you’ll do two things: