Why SAHMs are an easy target

Read this article real quick about an angry mom who was denied a Target credit card (seriously, it’s a quick, easy read) and we’ll start from the same vantage point.

Let me start by saying that I am a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. I work about 6.5 hours/week outside of the home and maybe 2 hours/week from my couch. I do this for many reasons, none of which have anything to do with this post, but I enjoy my job and am thankful for it.

That being said…

SAHMs need to GET OVER IT. We all know that the work we do within our home (or at the park or while homeschooling or while nursing your child until grade school) is extremely important. We all know that we are often labeled many things that are untrue by choosing to stay home. We all know that we are not paid financially by doing so (though I won’t go into all the flexibility, extra time with kids, etc. we get by doing so).

DEAL. WITH. IT. Or change your status.

I have steamed over the women in this article for an inappropriate amount of time since reading it yesterday afternoon. I was seriously so irritated that so many smart women would not be able to understand that  “Just because I don’t get a direct paycheck for [my work], doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile work that I’m doing” has nothing, I repeat NOTHING, to do with getting approved for a credit card.

Let’s take a minute and step back, quickly, for a little lesson in corporate finance: If I lend you money, it’s because I expect you to be able to pay it back. Let me repeat that:  It’s because I expect you to be able to pay it back. Now, if you don’t make any money, I will likely not lend you money because you won’t be able to pay it back. Makes sense, yes?

It doesn’t matter if you are homeless or the best SAHM who has ever walked the planet. Your self-worth adds nothing to the equation or my decision to grant you credit. In both cases, you don’t make any money and therefore have no ability, on your own, to repay a loan (which is effectively what a credit card is).

I understand the need to feel like your job is important, worthwhile, and seriously valued. But that isn’t the purpose of a credit card. And a credit card company should not lend you money if you don’t have an income.

“It’s about fair and equal access to credit,” you say? You’re right! You couldn’t be any more correct! Access to credit is dependent upon your ability to REPAY. I go back to the previous two scenarios: a homeless person and a SAHM, both with equal income of $0, will get fair and equal access to credit. It has NOTHING to do with who you are. As it shouldn’t.

As women, we need to fight for things that matter. We don’t need to join the mommy wars of working vs. nonworking, breast vs. bottle, co-sleeping vs. no co-sleeping, let the list go on. We need to be smart, fully capable women who can manage our family’s finances as well as the 14 kids running through the yard. We need to understand that our emotions, which women are so well known for, play no role in whether or not we should be approved for a credit card.

Because that’s what is happening: at some point, we’ve felt demeaned, under-appreciated, laughed at by the media who can so quickly turn us on each other. And we’ve run the wrong way with the emotions that those things bring. We fight against credit card companies for being denied a Target credit card because our SAHM job is “worth” something? I mean, really? Have you read THIS blog post?

Have your husband co-sign the damn application and move on. Or get a job. It’s that easy.

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About Katie White

believer. wife. mom. friend. life in transition.
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5 Responses to Why SAHMs are an easy target

  1. Joanne says:

    I disagree, although not in theory. In theory, I agree that it would be easier to just have your husband sign the application and that’s what I would do if I didn’t have every credit card under the sun already. But in practice, I think that it’s dangerous for a whole group of women to lose good credit because they are home with their children. I always think it’s ridiculous when salary.com says how much SAHM’s would make if they made money, because, well, we don’t! What do I care what I would be paid if I am in fact, not getting paid?

    But I know women who have been decimated by divorce and who have been unable to get credit because they never had a loan or credit cards in their own name. And if previous credit means nothing, what happens to someone if they are divorced, or widowed? I am lucky, I have been a SAHM for seven years and not once has my husband ever made me feel like he is the only person making the money. We talk about our finances, what we make and what we owe. But I don’t think it’s ‘that easy’ for everyone, that they can just ‘get a job’. There are a lot of people in the world and a lot of them have different situations than I do, I try to remember.

    • Katie White says:

      Joanne, I don’t disagree, for the most part. People don’t lose credit by staying at home with their kids – they lose credit by abusing it. Having a credit card with your spouse helps your credit as long as it’s used appropriately just as having one solely in your name. I guess I just don’t get why it’s such a big deal to have your spouse sign the application if you are in fact relying on household income to repay the balance. A credit card is a LOAN – I think people forget about that and think it’s something they’re entitled to.

      And I definitely wasn’t comparing a SAHM to a homeless person in any other way than they both earn $0. And while you have a “household” income, if you’re relying on that income to repay a loan, the credit card company has every right to ask for the “household” to sign for the loan.

  2. Joanne says:

    Also, I kind of resent being compared to a homeless person just because I don’t make any money as a SAHM (I do work part time, about 15 hours a week). I DO have the capability to pay back a credit card, because we have a *household* income. That income is able to be earned because I’m home watching my husband’s kids. We both contribute, literally and figuratively.

  3. deb baresic says:

    LOVE what you wrote

  4. Katie, I agree. This isn’t about value as a person, this is about the ability to personally pay back a debt.

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