CNN Money recently ran an article entitled ‘Moms: I can’t afford to work.’ http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/18/pf/moms-work/index.htm?iid=SF_PF_Highlight The story explains that after subtracting child care and all the other normal expenses associated with working, many moms are finding that it doesn’t pay for them to work. This is true even among college-educated mothers making above average salaries.
Several women were interviewed for the article. One woman, Sunah Hwang, calculated that after paying child care expenses, she would bring home $18,000 and in her words, “It wasn’t worth $18,000 for us to let somebody else raise our son.” I applaud Ms. Hwang and other mothers like her who are making the choice to give up some extra family income to stay home and raise their children. Ms. Hwang explained that the family has made some sacrifices, including family vacations, to get by on one income. It’s not easy, but they are making it work.
I was blessed to be able to stay home with my children when they were young and to work part-time in their schools when they were school-aged. Giving up my job to stay home with my children was a sacrifice I was happy to make, despite the years I had spent in college and graduate school. And in some ways the sacrifices continue even today. After being out of the job market for many years, I don’t have as much work experience as most women my age. I don’t make the salary I would be making if I had been working continuously for the past 30 years. However, I would not trade a higher salary, a more impressive job title, or all the material possessions in the world for the time I spent at home with my children.
Since I was at home full-time, I was able to take care of many of the family chores while Steve worked. This allowed him to spend more time with the boys in the evenings. Steve protected his weekends and evenings to have as much time as possible with our sons. We will reap those benefits for the rest of our lives. Our sons have been raised with our Christian beliefs and strong family values. We have a close relationship with each of them and enjoy spending as much time we can with them. They, in turn, are devoted to their families and are committed to making the sacrifices to allow their wives to stay home with our grandchildren.
I would encourage parents to consider the joys and blessings of having one parent committed to raising the children, even if it makes sense financially for both to work. You will give up some income if one of you quits your job, but the benefits you gain will more than make up for it.