#FinancialFridays: A Mother’s Day message.

Mother’s Day is more than mothers, it’s grandmothers, it’s aunts, it’s sisters and friends. It’s all the women in our lives that had an impact on who we are today, who we will be tomorrow and who we can be in the future.

As a mother, as an aunt, as a great aunt, the greatest gift ever given is always time. Time together as family, time to eat, time to play and time to talk.

The pandemic has kept so many of us apart, and as things ease, as tests are available, as we keep our loved ones safe wearing masks, we hope that Mother’s Day is another day of joy.

We know for some Mother’s Day is grief, at the loss of motherhood due to infertility and other losses. So we grieve with each other and find solace in other roles as mentors and aunties to the children of family and friends.

My mother is a strong woman, her mother was a strong woman and my daughter is a strong woman. Strong personalities, but strong in dealing with all that life has thrown at us.

When I think of the advice I’ve received over the years these are the thoughts that stand out.

Don’t shop or eat for comfort. Sooth distressing days with healthy favourite foods. If you have a bad day, don’t go to the mall to make it better, find a tree and tell the tree your troubles.

When you do find something that captures your heart and you just need to have it. Give it 24 hours. Maybe the purchase is emotional, not practical. During rough financial patches, I’ve left my debit and credit cards at home. That way if I want to purchase something, I have to go home. By the time I get home, get in the house, get distracted unloading the dishwasher, do I really need those shoes? Maybe. Maybe not. But at least now I’ve really put the time into thinking about it.

A few months after graduating from college, but still living at home, working, but not in the chosen field, I found my daughter’s debit card in the freezer. I simply questioned “what’s up?” and she just said “I’ll never get started on the next phase of my life if every pay-cheque just whittles away”. This July she celebrates 8 years living in her own home.

If it’s too good to be true = scam. Even more so these days. Never hurts to double check. To say “I’m going to do some research and call you back.” If you can’t post-pone = scam.

Invest in yourself. Education never stops. A workshop, a hobby class, a seminar or even a good documentary can get your brain thinking in new ways. I’ve done classes and pronounced “this piece of art is a commentary on the class struggle of our ages” only to have my friends say “this wasn’t supposed to be about work.” But getting creative wakes your brain up.

Time is valuable. When I started framing my daughter’s heart’s desires in terms of “hours worked” it changed how she looked at her “want” purchases. She always volunteered to work the holiday shifts to get the time-and-half. Extra money for the same amount of time worked.

Know you are valuable. Don’t take safety as an inconvenience, we need you to be safe. And don’t let anyone discount your value. We see a lot of wage theft in the community. Not getting paid to do the clean-up at the end of the shift, or the prep work at the beginning of a shift. Wage theft is real, and illegal.

Think about gender roles. I taught my son to cook and I taught my daughter how to use tools. I also taught my son how to use tools and my daughter to cook. Despite growing up in the 80’s there was still an underlying message that as a woman, I didn’t need to know about money, as that’s what my husband was for.

Ick! Partners in relationships need to work out their lives for what works for them. What roles make sense based on work load, income, opportunity etc. Equity starts at home, and it starts with all of us ensuing that gender doesn’t play a role in the who does what of a household.

Times are tough, it’s ok to be angry. Right now inflation is eating away at any spare money for our households, and for many, the funds needed to stay housed. There’s no room for movies, or even milk it seems these days. If the car doesn’t have gas, we can’t get to work. What is the priority right now?

So if things are tough, reach out to 211 and talk to someone about what’s making things tough and what’s keeping you awake at night. There could be some relief out there.

Mother’s Day is about celebrating what we wish to celebrate regardless of how the day presents to you. Not everyone had a great mom, not everyone has the children they wished for. So don’t get caught up in the false “Hallmark” moments of what the “buy buy buy” media tells you the day is about.

Make the day what you want it to be, within your limits, with your joy.

Francesca Dobbyn