You probably know that men generally earn more money than women, although the wage gap has been closing over the past years. It’s common for many women to be the main earners in the family, but if you have kids, you may not have time for a traditional 9 to 5 job. Of course, marriage is all about working as a team, but finances can be very sensitive, so if your spouse earns more than you, you may feel like you are not contributing as much as you should. Luckily, there are a few ways to deal with this type of wage gap.

Balance Responsibilities

If one spouse has a less demanding job than the other, they may be able to take greater responsibility for the kids and take care of more housework. Splitting the responsibilities can prevent bitterness that might spring up from one person doing all the work. Still, it is possible both spouses work the same but you have a lower paying job. If you do work the same number of hours, household chores should be split up evenly. There are ways to focus on increasing your income so you earn closer to your spouse. Focusing on professional development can help you earn that promotion or land a better job. One option is to get your degree in a higher paying field, like business. Taking out student loans makes this more affordable, and an Earnest private student loan gives you many options.

Spend Money with Each Other

All the money you earned combined and the efforts to improve financial status belongs to both of you. It’s a good idea to have shared bank accounts and finances, which prevents feelings of one spouse owning the money they’ve made. Use it to treat yourselves to couples’ date nights or trips, as long as this fits within your budget. It’s easy for resentment to build if one person is earning all the money while the other sends it all. Major decisions are especially important to decide on together. Whether it’s a new TV or a car, important decisions should be made together. You and your spouse might agree that anything over a certain dollar amount should be discussed before being purchased.

Consider Variable Income

More and more people are freelancing to earn money, whether it’s through side hustling or an entire gig-based income. Freelancing is especially helpful for moms who want more flexibility, but it also means your income may vary quite a bit from month to month. Unlike a full-time job, you may not know exactly how much you will earn each month. If one or both of you freelance, make sure to account for this and underestimate your freelance income in your budget. This helps you cover basic expenses, and any extra income earned beyond that can go toward savings or discretionary spending. On the other hand, because freelance work can disappear very quickly, you will want to make sure you have enough money in an emergency fund to continue covering basic expenses while you look for other work. You will also want to make sure you are having enough taken out of your paycheck to cover taxes at the end of the year.