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Mothers and the Green Stuff

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By Dr. Meg Meeker

Money, money, money must be sunny, in a rich man’s world!

Who among us doesn’t give a hearty nod to these Abba lyrics? We don’t want to agree, because we should know better, but come on—doesn’t every one of us yearn for just a little more money?

Mothers, in particular, struggle with these lyrics. I know because I am one. And, as a pediatrician who has listened to thousands of mothers, I know how we think. Money is a huge deal to us moms. It gives us a sense of freedom, independence and security. Having more money also gives us a greater sense of value—both as women and as mothers. So here’s my question for every one of us mothers: Should money mean so much to us?

The truth is, money feels like it’s alive to us. We have a relationship with it. We dream about it, worry about it, and we want to touch it. We wonder how we can make more. Could it be that some days we think more about money than we do about our spouse and our children? Hmm. This is dangerous territory.

I have watched mothers fall apart when their finances crumble, and I have seen families disintegrate over a mother’s obsession with earning more so that the family can go on nicer vacations, buy a third car, or even provide an Ivy League education for the kids. But here’s my deep concern about money and moms: We have allowed money to have control of our relationship with it. It holds power over us. That’s why Dave Ramsey’s work is so critical. He shows us how to take back the power.

When we control our money, something extraordinary takes place. Money begins to settle into its proper place in our lives. Budgeting helps diffuse the power it holds over us, and we see that we really need a whole lot less than we thought. Real independence comes when we let go of our need for so much that it buys. And as far as allowing our incomes to give us a sense of value—we all know deep down that this isn’t true.

It’s time we mothers square away our relationship with the green stuff. It isn’t a living thing; it's just money. After we take charge over where it goes, let’s work to keep its power in our lives as limited as it should be. Sacrificing time with loved ones to earn more doesn’t make life sunny. And if we really want to live with a sense of freedom, we can open our hands and let a little fly away to those who need it more than we do. Earning more to buy nicer stuff for our kids doesn’t make us better moms—loving them better does. And as far as enjoying real security, there’s only one Being who can give us that, and He isn’t green.

Pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books, Dr. Meg Meeker is one of the country’s leading experts on parenting, teens and children’s health. Get her new book, The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers, today!

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