The Fulfilled Mom

How to Manage Money in Motherhood with Chelsea Brennan

March 3, 2022

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Chelsea Brennan is an ex-hedge fund manager turned financial educator. Her mission is to change the way that we talk about money. She and her team work to help moms connect with all aspects of their money, overcome emotional blocks, identify what they most want and go about the business of creating positive, healthy money habits that make that life of their dreams a reality! 

We are diving into how to overcome those negative mindsets you’ve been harboring about money, how to model a healthy relationship with money for our kids, and even tackling those hard conversations about everything from spending and saving to decisions about college and the investment that means for our 18-year-old kiddos. 


Chelsea stepped away from her wall street job where she was a hedge fund manager. In fact, she quit her job from her hospital bed after having delivered her second son, to start Smart Money Mamas

We dive into how we can work to develop financial confidence – that knowledge that we know what to do, how to do it, and how to implement these skills with the day-to-day and long term management of money.


Sometimes we just don’t talk about money because it’s one of these topics that we’ve been taught it taboo, and that makes us really uncomfortable. We don’t want to touch or talk about it, but the reality is that money impacts everything that we do. It affects where we will, where we grocery shop, what kind of clothes we wear, where we send our kids to school, and even the number of humans that we bring into this world. 

We have this fight or flight response to money because it affects our ability to feed and house our family. That can make it really hard to talk about money.

Chelsea’s advice? Start talking about the values you want to live, what you want your life to look like, and first talk about what matters to you and what you dream of and then start talking about the financial aspect. 

Generate confidence in your own ability to manage money by creating what Chelsea calls a Money Smile File. Sit down, take a couple of minutes, play some music and write down every time you have done something good with money. Small things like the time that you drove past McDonald’s and made dinner at home and bigger things like when you paid off your credit card or student loans! 

Our brains are wired for self-defense and therefore it takes NINE positive interactions or reminders about our ability to manage money to overcome ONE negative thought or experience. Use your Money Smile File to reinforce that you ARE able to make really great decisions with your money. 


We all have money mindset work to do. Yes, that means that you have some work that you can do to unpack how you feel and what you think about money and your ability to manage money well. (We all do!) 

Research says that our core money beliefs are set by age 7. We can think back and identify the first time that we remember identifying what money is and latching onto a small thing that we go on to make big assumptions about money. 


Let’s face it… someday our kids are going to grow up and leave home and in doing so, they’re going to need to know how to manage money when they DO leave home.

It’s important to give ourselves grace as we teach our children how to manage money and work to instill both skills and confidence with managing money. 

The first thing is to identify your Family Money Values – what are your top three or four things that you believe about money and how it works and matters in the world – head to Smart Money Mamas to download your free resource to identify your values. 

For young kids here are some things that we can do to teach them about money:

  • Allowance where we pay children for work that they do. Helping the kids to manage this money into categories where you SAVE, GIVE, and SPEND. 
  • Transferring age-appropriate agency to the kids for this money that they have earned. 
  • Eventually, transferring their allowance from a cash system to using a digital form of allowance with a prepaid debit card, loaded with the money that they’ve learned. This is key, because as they go out in the world, they will need to know how to manage money in a digital form that they can’t see and touch the same way we can manage cash. 


There is value is your kids seeing that you don’t know all the answers, learn alongside them, fail and grow as you manage your money. Teaching kids about money is something that you can, in a way that doesn’t scare them, share the ways that you’ve screwed up and walk through learning opportunities with your kids.

Important to remember that it’s easier to talk to kids about older, healed issues – it’s easier to talk about scars than it is to talk about open wounds with kids – lead with telling kids that, even if things aren’t going great, everything is OK – there is food and a safe place to live. Share the situation with the kids. Give them the opportunity to ask questions. 

Share with your kids the progress you are making towards their goals. Get their buy in and help them to be creative and invested in things like a staycation, the budget, and spending money within the bounds of the plan you’ve created with money during that time. 


If you are (or aren’t!) planning to help your kids with the cost of cars, tuition, housing for college or further education after highschool, this requires both a lot of intentionality on your part and second a lot of conversations with your kids.

Share with your middle school aged kids what you have saved, what you plan to have saved when the time for college comes we expect to have this saved and that means that we will be able to help you with this portion of state school, this portion of private college, or that we’d be willing to help you with an entrepreneurial venture with these specific guidelines. 


Ultimately, we need to, as a generation of moms, pull back the curtain and share with our kids about money; what it is, how it works, and how for kids to learn how to manage this money in a way that leads to values-based living and intentional spending, saving and investing. This takes intentionality and practice, so grace-on-grace and head to Smart Money Mamas for a wealth of knowledge and resources that can help you on this journey!

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