Monday, March 19

I Spend My Husband's Money

No, I don’t ask permission.  No, I’m not stealing.  No, I'm not taking advantage of him.   

Yes, he knows.

I write this from the perspective of a woman who for a while, made more money than my husband, and who supported us as a couple.  I consider myself strong, intelligent, and independent.

I love what God says about humility.  That we either live humbly or we become humbled.
Well boy did the Lord work on my heart.  While I am aware that talking about finances makes people really uncomfortable, lets just go ahead and start the fidgeting, wiggling in our seats, and get out of our comfort zone shall we.  Our story about our finances has been on my heart for a long time.  Really, ever since I became a “stay at home mom." Which I don’t know who even came up with that term considering we do everything but stay home most days 🙈  I personally prefer "professional homemaker" as it says on our tax return.

That’s really the turning point of when a lot of things stopped making sense and started making sense for me all at the same time.  When Ariella Love birthed me as a mother, in many ways I had to get to know myself all over again.  Things that I used to be so confident about became my biggest source of insecurity.  As I reflected and relished in this beautiful tiny little baby whose existence changed my entire being, God started to speak to my heart about my identity and I started to share my journey on my blog.  I wrote this blog post on why my degree was not a waste of time because I slowly but surely started attaining the confidence to rest in the peace of my new calling, my work.

I used to think this about my own mother.  An incredible woman who dedicated her life to taking care of my dad and my brothers and I.  I used to think that she was weak for settling, where somewhere along the way she had lost her ambition, and that surely no one chooses this.  We had delicious home cooked meals every single day and our clothes were always perfectly folded and she made sure that every new Arab person in town felt welcomed and that our home was their home away from home and she clothed the naked and fed the hungry and volunteered at churches and mosques and synagogues and conducted tolerance events and went to the cancer center to rub a dying Irani woman's feet who was in America with no family.  I can't even begin to describe to you what it was like to watch my auntie rub my own dying mother's feet.  For a long time, I didn't know nor did I appreciate what I had in my mother, until I became a mother myself.  I don't have any regrets but so much of my healing right now is to tell you about things that I wish I would have known then, and what she is continuing to teach me now, even though she isn't physically here anymore.  My father has always told me "Ya Madina, if you can, learn from other people's mistakes so that you can save yourself the heartache of making them too."  How right you have been Papa.  I have and am preparing myself for my own children’s perspective of my choices, which is a big reason why I write in this space. For our precious daughters, to know their mothers heart and to be encouraged and perhaps to have insight into why they are my why.

My husband and I have had a joint checking account since about 3 months after we started dating. Now I know that sounds utterly idiotic to some, but as soon as I met him, I knew I wanted him to be my husband and I was determined to not let money become a reason that broke us apart and be yet another statistic.  I’m not saying everyone should do this, in fact, most of you probably shouldn't.  I’m just saying that this was something that was laid on my heart not truly knowing the impact that it would have on our future as a married couple.  He was a poor medical resident and I had been working as a full time clinical pharmacist for a couple of years.  I’ll never forget on our first date, I told him that I had a financial advisor since I was 23 and he told me how sexy that was.  I also let him pay my tab hah!

I had gone on a different date a couple of months prior to meeting the love of my life and obviously it didn’t work out thank goodness. This particular guy told me that independent women such as myself were not attractive and that I should probably pay my own tab since I made more money than he did. Haha, bye bye buddy, your insecurity, not mine.

After quitting my job a week before our wedding in 2012, I’ll also never forget the day that my husband and I decided that I would not go back to pharmacy.  We were at the Starbucks drive-through, I was 4 months pregnant.  It’s one of those moments that is forever ingrained in my mind because of the impact that I now know that conversation has had on me as well. My darling Brent told me that nothing would make him happier than me being the primary person raising our children.  And whether I would consider trusting him to provide enough for us.  I said yes, to him then, and I’m still saying yes to him now.

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here, that you have to make the same choices as we have, please please please. The thing is, I have understood that this is a privilege, to even have the ability to have this choice to make. And I promise I don’t take it lightly or for granted and this is why I'm writing this.  I'm tired of justifying to people that he's not my sugar daddy.

Shortly after, we moved to Hawaii, one of the most expensive places to live on Earth, and I had to trust my husband, to provide enough for us as we embarked on our new life as parents.  We lived in a hotel at first, and then a 1 bedroom apartment.  We didn't have room in our home or in our budget for much more than necessities.  I had to put aside what I realized had become a part of my identity, how much money I made.  I had to humble myself as to what I thought defined a strong, intelligent, and independent woman.  I had to be ok with less, when the world still tries to tell me that we need more. And more.  And more.

The day that I started seeing my work as a wife and mother as a calling, as a ministry, that’s when everything changed.  The way that I had viewed my mother completely changed.  Our daughters see their mama take a few hours to go get her nails done, and hair done, and exercise.  I know that sounds so super boogie (is that what the kids call it these days?) but I’m not apologizing for it.  My husband is the one that encourages me to do so.  Our girls see their mama scrub the toilet, wash endless dishes, wipe poop off the walls, prepare healthy homemade meals for their incredible daddy, for them, put furniture together, use Powertools, they see me sacrifice endless hours of sleep to cuddle them at night to make them feel safe and loved, and surrender my breasts to breastfeeding them day and night, sacrificing time with my love to be there for them when they only want mama.

I read a study once that monetized what “stay at home moms” would get paid, if we got paid for all that we do.  It was something like $120,000 a year.  Yeah, afford that.  We are household managers, spiritual leaders, encourages, nurturers, booboo kissers, financial advisors, detectives, teachers, lovers, friends...

Brent and I have budget meetings and talk about money very openly.  He trusts me to make the best financial decisions for us just like I trust him to do the same, but to be a Godly man first.  Don't listen to the lie that says marriage is 50/50, marriage is 100/100.  Marriage is hard work.  Parenting is hard work.  And on top of that, he works really really hard to provide enough and encourages me to make sure to take some time for myself, so that I can pour out to him and our daughters from a full cup.  The funny thing is that he's the one that asks me before he buys stuff.

My husband believed in me before I ever believed in myself.  I love him so much for that.  I've told him this before but let me tell him again.  My sweet darling, your endless love and support and grace that you have given and continue to give me is what brought me to the Lord.  If you ever start questioning your purpose or feel that you haven't done enough good in this world, just remember what you've done for me, showing me the love of God is the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

I guess all I’m really trying to say is that my marriage and motherhood journey has made me realize that this had so much less to do with finances and more to do with my own self worth.  What we do on a daily basis is priceless.  The mundane, the repetition, the seemingly uninteresting or unimportant tasks of the day are everything but that.  It is enough.  The thing about enough is that what I miss most about my mama aren’t the lavish things that we did or things that she bought for me or the house that we lived in or whatever else.  I miss the mundane.  I miss peeling potatoes with her in the kitchen.  I miss the way she put her perfume on before she went to bed.  I miss her cooking.  The way she folded my clothes and how she refused to use a dishwasher.  I miss the way she scrubbed the floor, the Algerian (read difficult haha) way with a big wash rag on a squeegee thing (you literally have to be Algerian to understand this) because she didn’t believe in mops.  I miss exercising with her around our neighborhood, I miss the way she brushed my hair.  No amount of money or title or whatever can ever replace that.

In her last days, my mama told me that she was so proud of me.  She poured her heart and soul into being my mother, and forever, she will always be enough.


  1. You have one very important "job."

  2. I loved this. My mom passed away 7 years ago and it's true, you miss the mundane, not what was purchased.

  3. Having an open understanding and trust about finances is so important to a marriage!

  4. I love the way how you see life. Allah yarhmek tata Soraya

  5. Awe, this made me cry! Unfortunately my husband and myself are not (nor do I see it happening any time in the next 10 years) in a position for me to be a SAHM. We split our bills 50/50 and even then, some months there is hardly anything left over. We have two kids and are in a tiny one bedroom apartment. I work a full time job and he works an on-call job, which has given us the fortune of him being able to watch our youngest (18months) most days, and me work from home when he is called in to work. I so often finding myself questioning if I am doing my children a dis-service by working, not being with them, and then coming home and trying to juggle the motherly and wifely duties, and some days not giving them all of my attention the way they so much deserve. Thank you for putting in perspective that we do not live forever, and the time spent here absolutely should be spent making memories and not just "paying bills". I absolutely love your blog and follow you on every social media platform. I didn't have a mother figure growing up and watching you has greatly helped me see the kind of mother and wife I hope to grow in to <3