Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 29° Cloudy
News >  Family

Mama Bear Moxie: The power of a paycheck

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

I have stayed home for the majority of my parenting life during the past 13 years. My husband and I made a choice that it was better for me to stay home when our oldest was born because I wouldn’t have been able to make enough money to cover a day-care bill while he was finishing college.

Most stay-at-home parents are good at trying to save money. You’ll find us clipping coupons, selling gently used clothing to consignment shops and taking advantage of sales in the grocery store. There is this drive for stay-at-home parents to save money everywhere in order to help the family budget. In my life, this meant knowing all the “free” things that were offered thanks to tax payers. Things like regular library trips, park visits and visits to the community splash pad were a staple in our life.

Over the years, I have done a wide variety of extra jobs that helped bring in some extra cash. I started with being a direct sales consultant for a multi-level marketing company and had a lot of fun with selling home décor items. I then launched into my own micro business making home décor items, selling items to friends, family and online. I also did some babysitting, which was helpful for both my own kids and my wallet. There was one thing I learned from all these jobs: There is power in a paycheck.

As time moved on, I couldn’t shake the urge to earn more for my family. I was one of those stay-at-home moms who didn’t get to use my degree due to being pregnant when I graduated college. I know that staying home was the right choice at the time, but it wasn’t something I had always desired. I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom growing up.

Business is in my blood. I love creating something and being able to sell something valuable to someone else. I struggled a lot because my heart was really somewhere else: the business world.

I dabbled in a few things here and there. Even if it was small, I knew my efforts were helping us save more and pay for those extra items that always seem to come up. After my older boys were in school, I turned to working outside of the home. Being a working mom was very different, and we adjusted as it changed aspects of our home life.

I overheard other husbands voice concerns over these small ways the stay-at-home parent earns extra money. Those who have never stayed at home full time don’t know the struggle. I was always trying to explain to my husband why I was so unhappy with being at home but also couldn’t bear to tear myself away from the kids. He was never going to fully understand, and that’s OK.

Yes, you will get paid in hugs, kisses and snuggles, but there is something about earning money that relieves some stress. When I started to earn a paycheck, I felt like my efforts were valued. I felt like I could have more of a say in where money was used for the family. I felt like my effort to help the family budget was important. Frankly, I just felt better about myself.

I want to encourage those other stay-at-home parents they are not alone when it comes to wanting to earn extra cash. It is normal to want to provide something to the outside world in order to feel valued as an adult.

I also want to encourage those working parents to support their spouses. Understand a stay-at-home parent needs to feel valued after being overwhelmed by childcare all day. Understand there is power in earning extra money for the family, no matter the amount. You may see the work as futile, but all of that work is needed in order to keep your spouse sane with little ones running around all day.

Contact Kristina Phelan through her website,

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.