Should Mother’s Work Outside the Home?

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Has anybody else seen the pictures and videos on how much a stay at home mom is worth? Recently I have seen multiple on Facebook, you can find articles in Forbes magazine, and I just came across this infograph at salary.com depicting the different roles a stay at home mom must fill and how much each role is worth. As a side note, when you look up how much a CEO is worth, somebody of a CEO caliber is able to read an entire paragraph and decipher a graph, but apparently anybody considering the value of a stay at home mom needs pictures (insert eye roll, but giggle at the same time because I believe it’s healthy to laugh at absurd ideas).

Here is the link to the infograph I found: http://www.salary.com/stay-at-home-mom-infographic/ and the picture is at the end of this blog as well. Please note, I did not create this infograph and all credit goes to salary.com for the infograph and related data.

First of all, if you want to be a stay at home mom and that makes you happy, that is worth much more than $113,000 per year, or even 1 million a year in my opinion, so if you are happy being a stay at home mom, or aspire to be, Do IT, and when someone tells you that you are worth $113,000 per year, laugh at them and say “I’m worth so much more than that honey” and walk away with a mic drop!

However, this blog is intended for the young girls and women who want to have a career outside the home and have a family. I believe the intent of finding the worth of a stay at home mom (or dad) was to defend the brave men and women who stay home and manage the household, which is a worthy cause, but I have noticed a disturbing trend where women who do not want to be a stay at home parent feel obligated to stay home because they can’t make $113,000 per year outside the home. If you are one of these women, this blog is for you!

If you read my previous blog, you already know that it was difficult for me to decide to work outside the home, which is partly what inspired me to write this blog as well, but even more so was an experience I had with a young mother a few years ago.

I was visiting one of my neighbors in my apartment complex, trying to get to know other women in my church better. This was the first time I had ever spoken to this young mother other than a hello at church. It took all of 10 minutes for her to break down sobbing, which was awkward because we had been talking about kids and I was happily going on about how fun it was to have a girl (her daughter was 3 at the time). For the next hour and a half, I quietly listened to this young mother’s story.

She had married young to a very good looking and promising man she met at college. She was excited to be married, be a mom, and happily raise her future children. She had been working through college, but quit to work full time as a receptionist at a Dental Clinic while her husband finished school. She loved going to work and wanted to go back to school to become a dental hygienist. Unfortunately, she was pregnant, and her husband pointed out that it wouldn’t be worth the time and money for her to go back to school and she would barely make more than the cost of daycare as a dental hygienist anyway. She agreed and after she had her daughter she stayed home, worked hard to keep her apartment clean and had dinner on the table every night when her husband came home from work. If this was how the story ended and she decided she enjoyed her life, then there wouldn’t be anything wrong with it. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. She was miserable, she felt incredibly anxious and depressed so her doctor prescribed her medicine for her depression and anxiety, but then she didn’t have the energy to clean her apartment every day and have dinner ready, so the doctor prescribed her an additional medication to give her energy and motivation. That helped but the medications gave her erratic mood swings. She was crying through this entire hour and a half long story, so I really didn’t need the litany of medications to know that she was miserable, but it definitely emphasized her dire situation. Her 3-year-old daughter came into the living room twice while I was there, once to show her mom that the tablet had died, so the young mother gave her daughter her cell phone and then once again to go to a new app on the phone. By her daughter’s lack of reaction, I’m guessing seeing her mother crying was a regular occurrence and not a cause for alarm.

Now, this is most likely an extreme case, but I doubt it’s an isolated case. If you enjoy having a job or have career goals that require you to work outside the home, do it! Be a Working Mom and be happy! Remember how I said being happy is worth 1 million per year? If working makes you happy, it probably makes you a better mom as well.

That’s the emotional side of the cost/benefit analysis of being a working mom versus a stay at home mom, but let’s tackle this infograph real quick as well.

Facilities Manager: 10.7 hours per week. I am not even sure what that means, but I have yet to meet a working mom who is paying for a facilities manager.

CEO: I’m guessing this means making the household decisions? Once again, working mothers do not hire somebody else to make family decisions.

Laundry Operator: If you want to be a working mom but are worried you cannot keep up with the laundry, or cannot afford to pay someone else to do your laundry, I have found the easiest way to do this is to keep your washer and dryer working (my washer and dryer have yet to send me bill for their services). Change the laundry in the morning before you go to work, change it when you get home, and wash bedding on the weekend. When I fold (which it be honest is not every day), I do it while my 5-year-old daughter is reading one of her books to me, so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time.

Computer Operator: Seriously? This is the digital age, our 3-year-old children can operate a computer.

Housekeeper: I’m not going to lie, I could use a housekeeper, but we have a fairly small house, my kids are already helping out (for some reason my kids think mopping and doing the dishes is really fun), and my husband cleans just as much as I do, so our house is at least sanitary most of the time.

Cook: We have home cooked, healthy meals almost every night, if few exceptions. Someday I’m going to blog or do a YouTube video on how I cook dinner. Usually my husband and I get home about the same time so he helps, but even when I get home before him, I can have dinner on the table within 25 minutes, and I don’t use any prepackaged or processed foods. Occasionally I use canned foods such as stewed tomatoes.

Daycare Teacher: You will likely pay for daycare. There are a lot of wonderful daycares who have teachers with a degree in early childhood development, or in home daycares run by men and women who have a knack for teaching young children. Do your research to be sure your kids are in a great place and know they are doing fine.

Van Driver: Uh-oh, I just realized I do not have a designated license to drive a minivan. Let me schedule a trip with the DMV to get my minivan driver certification.

Janitor: When your kids are super young, yes it will be exhausting cleaning up after them, but as they get older, they should learn how to clean up after themselves anyway!

Psychologist: If your child needs psychiatric help and you are not a licensed psychiatrist, you should probably defer this role to the professionals.

Overtime: 54.7 hours– Don’t worry, you will still work this 54.7 hours of overtime at home as a working mom!

I grew up with a working mom. She still made it to almost all our extracurricular activities, for the few that she missed, she would excitedly listen to us recount the event while we folded laundry or did dishes together afterward. She still helped us with our homework after she got home from work.

In my own life, I believe my husband and I have a much healthier relationship than we would if I was a stay at home mom, because it is easy to see each other as equals. We both work all day, we both come home and keep the laundry going, read to the kids (or my husband usually plays the ukulele with them), and get them ready for bed. We make household decisions together over coffee in the morning or tea in the evening, which is critical bonding time for us.

If you want to be a working mom don’t let anybody tell you that you are obligated to be a stay at home mom. If you aspire to have a career outside the home, there is always a way to make it happen. Find your own path to happiness!

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Cover Photo Credit: Jimmy Bay (Over App)

 

 

 

 

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