You’ve probably seen many of these videos while scrolling through TikTok. Moms and wives joke about Amazon packages arriving when their husbands are home, or telling their delivery drivers to “hide” the packages. Are these videos funny? Yes. Are they relatable? Totally.
Are they also problematic? Also yes. For many reasons.
You’re probably assuming I’m going to cite sexism as the reason why it’s a problematic attitude, fear and now funny trend. And you’re right! But it’s more nuanced than just saying “women shouldn’t have to hide how they spend money from their husbands in 2023.”
Do I think every single one of these husbands gets viscerally angry about his wife’s Amazon packages? No. Do I think that every single one of the wives in these videos lives in fear of her husband’s retribution? Also no. Abusive and controlling behavior isn’t something to be taken lightly, nor should anyone be making blanket statements or wild assumptions about other people’s marriages or finances based on a 15-second video.
But at the root of this trend is a collective fear that our husbands or partners will judge us for our spending habits and purchases. And that’s not OK.
Women do the bulk of the shopping for the household. A January 2021 CivicScience survey reported that 70% of women say they make all or most of the household/children’s purchases for their home, while just 38% of men say they do. That’s a lot of additional time and energy spent on shopping for household necessities outside of working, raising children, cooking, housework, and keeping everything together that women and moms already do.
Thanks to our 2023 State of Motherhood survey, we know that 58% of moms report they are primarily responsible for the duties of running a household and caring for children, up 2% over 2022.
So what makes life easier? Online shopping.
The only guilt I personally feel when it comes to online shopping is the guilt associated with feeding the capitalism machine and giving unethical companies my money. But at the end of the day, we’re all victims to capitalism with varying needs and privileges. Online shopping (primarily Amazon and Instacart, I won’t lie) makes my life easier. It offers accessibility and convenience that I find wholly necessary to stay sane. I handle a majority of the morning chaos because my husband leaves super early for work, I handle pick-ups and drop-offs, I work a full-time job, and I handle a majority of the household management.
Why should I spend my few and far between, precious free moments driving to and shopping at the store? When I see how many hours I’ve saved shopping in the grocery store on my Instacart app, the monthly fees I pay and the (30%) tips I budget for are worth every single penny.
Do I make frivolous, unnecessary Amazon purchases? You betcha. Because I also don’t feel like standing in front of a department store mirror, frowning over a bunch of outfits. I’m a sucker for organizational hacks and products that make my fridge look aesthetically pleasing. I get a lot of makeup online, because I know what I like and finding dupes for expensive products is my superpower. And if my child needs their 45th “theme” outfit for the school year and I’m in a jam and can’t get to the store? A pumpkin shirt can be at my house the following day, lickety-split.
My husband jokes about the Amazon packages because of course he does. I’m sure he inwardly groans about more “stuff” piling up in the house. I feel the same way when his 10th package of weird-looking fishing lures arrives every spring. But he also recognizes all the seen and unseen labor I put forth for our family and in this house, and he would never begrudge me anything that made my life easier or happier. I earn 50% of the income around here, and we don’t tell each other how to spend our money—nor do we apologize for it. We keep track of our spending and stick to our budget as best we can, and that’s that.
So while the “hiding Amazon purchases” TikTok trend is funny and relatable, my point is this: Don’t let anyone make you feel shame or guilt for buying what you buy or shopping in a way that makes your life easier. My personal motto is if it doesn’t hurt anyone, if it will bring you some semblance of joy big or small, and it’s not irresponsible or unaffordable—buy the thing. Life is short, and we work our butts off.
Now go kick those empty boxes into the garage like we all do and enjoy your day!
A version of this story was originally published on Sept. 13, 2022. It has been updated.