Whenever I get paid, I like to treat myself. If I have had a good month -- by writing things I'm particularly proud of, or hitting a target, or it's been sunny at least two days in a row, then I might go on ASOS and order a couple of dresses that I've been eyeing up for a while to say WELL DONE to myself (or the weather).
If it's been a bad month, say, I don't feel I've achieved much at work, or I've not spoken to my friends and family enough or it's rained a lot, then I might go on ASOS and order a couple of dresses that I've been eyeing up for a while to say NEVER MIND to myself (or the weather).
My money is my money and it's my money to spend. I earned it. It's mine.
In the last year, I've saved and splurged and saved and splurged again. I tucked away enough money last summer to buy myself a new bike, and the pride I felt as I wheeled my beauty out of the shop, knowing that I'd worked so hard for it, was enormous. Every time I pass the spare room at home and see it in there, waiting for summer again, I see a week's hard work all rolled up into one lovely Dawes Duchess. I'm not sure I'd love it as much if I didn't save up and work for it myself.
According to this survey I read this morning, 32% of women in the US would prefer to give up work and rely financially solely on their partner, and a further 13% weren't sure what they'd do if given the option to carry on supporting themselves or giving it all up and being "a lady of leisure." I was really surprised by this, maybe because the idea of having no money of my own makes me feel really uneasy.
I've spoken before about money and my terrible, although slightly bettering, spending habits -- and I expect my anxiety about having to ever rely on anyone else financially boils down somewhat to my history of frittering money away oh-so-easily, but still, that number seems really pretty high to me.
I know I am lucky in that I enjoy my job, so would never be looking for an easy way out -- a golden handshake from my beloved into the world of staying at home and earning my keep by washing up. As someone who contributes half of our rent, our bills, our living costs, I do not expect to have to bow down to my boyfriend's every want and need (unless I want to of course! I'm not a MONSTER!), which is something I think I'd feel obliged to if I were not contributing to the household financially.
Is that what worries me? Becoming a Stepford Wife, at home with a feather duster and an apron, whipping up endless Victoria Sponges?
I know that one day, I'll probably go on maternity leave. I'll leave my job and be paid for a certain amount of time, before the numbers in my bank account start dwindling down and down and down. I know that realistically, it will be up to my partner to provide for the family, if I am staying at home with children and unable to work full-time. I know that I'll have to swallow my pride, and accept money that isn't fully mine.
I don't like the idea one bit. I hate the idea of having to ask for money.
This being said, I love being taken out for dinner and will happily accept a Valentines gift, or a cinema trip. But that's different! Isn't it?
I think my problem is that I want it all. I want to be able to have children, a career, my own money, a partner who will share exactly 50% of the home/life workload AND who'll also take me out for dinner. Does my fantasy scenario even exist in today's society? CAN I HAVE IT ALL?
I'm not judging you if you are in that 32%. Each to their own. Your idea of perfect is going to be different to mine. Go for it.
But when I have a bad day, I get home and have a peek into the spare bedroom and see my bike, gleaming, asking to be ridden, and I feel that pride surge up within me. I would hate to never feel that pride again.
Have I got it all wrong? Are you one of the 32% that would give up your jobs and financial independance in a heartbeat? Or like me, does the idea of leaning so heavily on another person make you feel a bit stabby? I'm really interested to hear your views.
Still wearing tights even though it's April over on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM