Dana Rudolph publishes Mombian, a
website for lesbian moms. Don’t worry; Mombian is not a “mommy
blog” where she’s posting about what her adorable toddler did
today. There’s none of that here. Instead Dana is online, typically
twice a day, providing sustenance for moms that’s served up in a
newsy, lifestyle format. She covers parenting and politics and
everything in between including finances! I asked Dana for her
perspective on money… as a parent, as a partner, as a child, and
as a stay-at-home mom.
- Mombian includes the practical side of parenting and
one such resource is your frugal list of baby
gear essentials. We all know that children
cost a heck of a lot of money. Are they worth the
If I wanted to be flippant, I’d say “Ask me when my son turns 18.”
In truth, though, I’ve known from before he was born that it’s not
about the money. That’s not to say kids should be
overindulged–just that they’re priceless.
- What is your most significant memory about
My parents often said “Let’s wait till the end
of the month” when any of us wanted to buy something. We weren’t
poor, but we were pretty much using up my dad’s paycheck every
month to cover the necessities. At the end of the month, when he
got paid, we might use a bit to cover a few extras. It taught me to
be frugal and patient with my spending.
- What is your worst habit around finances?
My one big indulgence is books, and I tend to buy even when the
library would suffice.
- When you gave up a career at Merrill Lynch to stay at
home with your three-year-old son what were some of the adjustments
made in shifting to one income?
I had to learn to rely on my partner for support without feeling
guilty every time I wanted or needed to spend money. She had to
learn not to let the pressure of being the sole provider get to
her. As it happens, though, I had been the only breadwinner for a
year just before and after she gave birth, then we switched. We’re
thus better able to understand what the other is feeling about
these issues. In terms of practical adjustments, we did cut back on
some spending, like dining out, but we were pretty frugal in the
first place. We’re also not able to put as much into pure savings
now, though I know we’ll start doing so again when I go back to
- Which is more important: how much you make or how you
How you spend it. This says much more about one’s core
- Do you and your partner see eye-to-eye on
For the most part, yes, and that’s a big benefit to our
relationship. We’re both savers, but not misers.
- I read
one article about your online venture
that says “Mombian” keeps you from becoming “mombie”. How important
is it for stay-at-home parents to keep one foot in the adult/work
I think it’s very important. We don’t immediately lose all our
outside interests when we become parents, and we need adult
interaction to keep us balanced. None of our children would want to
become parents themselves if they thought it meant giving up
everything else in their lives. Non-parental interests force us to
step back and not become smothering, obsessive parents. They can
also help keep our skill sets sharp for going back to outside
employment. One has to find the right balance of child/adult time
for oneself and one’s family, though. There’s no single formula
that works for everyone at every stage of parenthood.
- If you could buy one thing right now what would it
My partner and I are in the process of moving to a new state, so
I’ll have to say a new home. If I was going to choose something
frivolous just for myself, I’d get a KitchenAid stand mixer–the
575-watt kind that makes the lights dim when you turn it on.
Cooking is my one claim to domesticity, and I’ve wanted a bad-ass
mixer for a while.
- What is the most important lesson you hope to teach
your son about money?
That it’s a means to an end, but not an end in itself.
- Does money buy happiness?
No – or at least
not in and of itself. I’ll admit that money can sometimes
facilitate the things in which one finds happiness – a home for
one’s family, a nice dinner with one’s partner, or a new iPod for
oneself, for example. We have to create the happiness from these
things, though – it’s not just handed to us as part of the
More about Dana Rudolph
Dana Rudolph publishes Mombian, a lifestyle site for lesbian
moms, offering a mix of parenting, politics, diversions, and
resources to strengthen and sustain lesbian moms in all their
varied roles. She lives with her partner of more than a dozen years
and their three-year-old son. Prior to motherhood, she worked for
over a decade in the online industry, at both the startup and
corporate levels. Most recently, she was vice president at Merrill
Lynch, developing marketing and business strategies for several key
online initiatives. She was also the first leader of the firm’s
global LGBT employee network.
Read other Queercents interviews in the
Ten Money Questions archive.