How many times have we heard financial “advice” along the lines of how cutting back on Starbucks, avocado toast, and manicures can make a notably positive impact on our savings? Too many. Way too many times. While it’s normal for moms to worry about finances, a recession, and the economy—should we really be tasked with trying to “fix” these issues ourselves? Because we can’t. And neither can avoiding the nail salon.

According to Motherly’s 2023 State of Motherhood survey, eight in 10 mothers are concerned about a possible recession, and a significant majority of moms report they’re planning to cut back their spending this year as a result.

“I feel constantly worried about money and definitely have been way more reluctant to spend money on anything.” – Sarah B.

Motherly’s 2023 State of Motherhood survey

That’s not the problem. It’s valid to be concerned about the unbalanced state of the economy and to feel compelled to save money to help your family. The issue here is what moms are cutting back on—and why.

Related: This is what moms get wrong about self-care, according to a therapist

According to our survey, entertainment and eating out top the list of planned personal cutbacks, followed by spending on themselves. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction, isn’t it? To immediately put ourselves and our needs on the chopping block before anything else?

Little joys are not unnecessary luxuries.

Now, one might argue that those “fancy” coffees, yoga classes, nail appointments, and dinners out aren’t “necessities.” But I’d argue that they are, very much so. Because all of these aforementioned things and others of their kind have two things in common: One, they’re not luxuries and shouldn’t be considered so. Two, they each in their own way contribute to our well-being, which is necessary for mental and physical health. Our families thrive when we’re thriving, after all.

It’s been reported that countries in recession experience high unemployment rates and a decline in living conditions, which, naturally, negatively influence their populations’ health—physically and mentally.

In an unequal economy, the average family isn’t going to improve the state of their finances enough to eliminate financial stress and anxiety.

TL;DR: Little joys are not unnecessary luxuries. Going to the movies with your partner or out to dinner with your family shouldn’t be perceived as an excessive expenditure. And even if you put every last dollar from 100 manicures and pizza nights and lattes into a savings account for your family, it’s not going to improve the state of the economy or the enormous cost of inflation.

“Self-care is all about purposefully carving out time for me. For too long, I tried to go without it, but I realize now that time for myself makes me a better parent.” – Anne K.

Motherly’s 2023 State of Motherhood survey

Unless you’re a member of a legislative body, operate the Federal Reserve or are a member of the one percent class, you do not have control over an impending recession. In an unequal economy, the average family isn’t going to improve the state of their finances enough to eliminate financial stress and anxiety. Get the manicure if you can. And don’t you dare feel bad about it.

Millennials are the butt of many, many money-related jokes (here’s an “avocado toast” explainer in case you need it), yet Millennials are more frugal and financially cautious than our parents’ generation. Housing prices and student loan debts and the cost of living continue to rise while wages remain the same. Cutting back on life’s little pleasures can’t change a thing about it.

Related: 11 ways to save money every month + not even feel the pinch

Middle-class and lower-class families still deserve to spend money on things beyond mortgages, rent, utilities, and groceries—especially when a national mental health crisis coincides with an economic recession.

It’s possible to “treat yourself” and your family without being financially irresponsible. Spending money on your own enjoyment is a form of self-care, and moms shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or irresponsible for doing so.