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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5 Steps to Get Organized in 2017

It is that time again! New Year’s Resolutions! 2017 is going to be different. It is a brand new year and this year you are taking control of your life! Are you pumped up to organize your house yet? An organized home has huge benefits, both for your mental and physical health, that’s right, organization is a matter of your health!

First of all, having an organize house saves you time. How many of us have spent an afternoon trying to find the craft box for the picture frame craft you had planned for your kids and their friends the next day? I know I have spent way too many hours of my life trying to find things, and that ends with organization! How about money? Have you ever bought multiples of a tool just because you couldn’t find it when you needed it? Sure, you can sell it on Craigslist for half of what you paid for it, but now that time going to the store and that extra money you spent on the tool you already have is forever wasted.

Organization also reaps huge benefits on your state of mind and your overall mental health. It is said that an organized house gives you a sense of calm and a sense of control, and who doesn’t need to feel like they have more control over their life? You will likely also have the added benefit of increased concentration without having the clutter in the house distracting you from getting that report in on time, and of course you will be more inclined to have people over at the last minute because your house is already organized. I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me quite as happy as an impromptu afternoon drinking tea and talking to a good friend or neighbor!

Now are you convinced to get organized in 2017? Are you hesitant because it seems like a huge, insurmountable, daunting, and miserable task? Ah ha, I guessed it. That is my problem with getting organized as well. I’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps so it doesn’t seem quite as daunting to get your house organized.

1. Dedicate a Day or a Weekend if Needed. 

Personally, I need a weekend, but you might not be starting out quite as disorganized as I am. If you have young kids, find someone to take them for a day. We are lucky because my mom lives close and loves to have the kids over for a sleep over on the weekends whenever she can, so I’m going to just ship my kids off to Grandma’s for a weekend of cookie making while I organize. If you have older kids, enlist them to help. Give them small projects to do, or if it’s easier to not have the distraction, send them away for the day as well!

2. Team up with a Friend. 

This is also great for finding a place for the kids for the day if Grandma doesn’t live nearby for you. Team up with a friend who is also dedicated to getting organized in 2017 and have them take your kids one weekend and then you can take her kids the following the weekend! Also, it is great to have someone to keep you accountable, it’s like having a workout partner, you are more likely to keep working out if you have a partner who is going with you, it’s all about accountability. Help each other out and be there for moral support.

3. Get the Gigmi App. 

The Gigmi app is all about organizing your stuff. Know your stuff! Remember the example I gave in the beginning of the tool you needed but you couldn’t find so you went and bought another one and now you have 2 of them? That’s where Gigmi comes in to rescue you! With Gigmi you take a picture of your items, give it a quick description and put it in the box. Now when you need that hot glue gun for the craft project you just have to type it into your app and it will tell you which box it is in and where it is in your house. This will help you stay organized for years to come, so you won’t ever have to do this huge project again! Go to your Google Play or Apple Store and download Gigmi. It also has a web platform at http://www.gigmi.com

4. BOX IT UP! 

Here is crazy statistic I found on Get Simplifized a professional organizer. The average 3 bedroom home has 300,000 items. Can you believe that? 300,000. That is just too much stuff. Get a shelving system in your garage if you don’t already have one and box that stuff up! If you don’t use it regularly, there is no reason to have it out lying around your house causing clutter. I have 3 boxes with my kid’s toys in them at all times, and I rotate the toys on a regular basis. This way old toys are new again, and they are much more interested in their “new toys” that you just unveiled from the garage. Aren’t we mom’s tricky?!  With Gigmi you will be able to quickly find the items you boxed up and you won’t ever spend afternoon looking for that pesky glue gun again!

5. Plan an Awesome Reward for Yourself. 

Maybe having an organized house for 2017 is enough of a reward for you. It’s not for me! I need something awesome to look forward to! If I’m spending a whole weekend or even just a whole day organizing my house I want a huge box of chocolates and a girly mom only movie to watch. Team up with your organization friend and have a girl’s night to celebrate this new organized life you have created!

What are you going to do to celebrate your newly organized house?

Share in the comments!

Why All Men NEED to Know the Realities of Violence Against Women

It is baffling how much violence still exists against women and how so many men don’t understand the scary realities that women face everyday. I have realized that the main reason that many men don’t understand how prevalent of a threat the male species is in general to women is because we don’t talk about it. We keep these realities to ourselves because they are too painful to talk about, or people might think we are dramatic, or we just don’t want to think about them any more than we do so we shove them to the back of our mind where the survival portion is working to take care of us so the rest of our brain can focus on what a beautiful morning we are experiencing.

I would like to say that I have always talked to my significant other about these harsh realities, but I have always used the last excuse I listed above; I refuse to live in fear, so I don’t want to think about the seemingly quirky self protection measures I take by voicing them to my husband. However, now that our daughter is getting older, I have realized that these issues are soon going to be my husband’s problem as well, as he helps me in raising our daughter to be a confident, competent, and street smart young woman.

To be honest, I didn’t give a lot of thought to how differently men and women go about their day until my husband started asking questions about why I do certain things. Such as locking the door when he runs into the gas station to get an energy drink. One day I didn’t unlock it as soon as he got back and he asked me why I locked the door? Did I see somebody suspicious? No, I just always lock the door because you don’t always know what a bad person looks like until it’s too late, and I made an easy target being a woman with the car running.  It was a very simple thing, but it made me realize that men, even ones like my husband who are very cautious by nature, see the world from a different perspective.

Last weekend, we were out walking around downtown with the kids on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We walked past a parking garage where there were 2 girls, probably college students, waiting for the elevator for the parking garage. One of the girls commented to the other, I never take the stairs here. My husband was confused and after we were out of earshot he commented that was weird she wouldn’t take the stairs. He wasn’t being rude, he just lives in a different reality than a lot of young girls and women, so it never occurred to him what could possibly wrong with taking the stairs, it’s great exercise, and our society needs to walk more stairs. I almost felt bad telling him why women don’t take the stairs in sketchy areas, or even in seemingly safe areas. Not very many people take the stairs and they echo so you aren’t sure exactly where noises are coming from, and in the case of a parking garage there are a lot of easy ways to make a quick get away. For instance, a predator can wait in the middle of the stairs and as you turn the corner knock you out, either against the wall, rail, or by throwing you down the stairs, then they can do whatever they want to you there or they can drag you into their car really quickly if they had planned it correctly and were parked near the door. He gave me a look that was mixture of horror and anger.

This is why this important. My husband is an amazing man, it would never occur to him to hurt a woman, ever. This makes him less aware of things that happen, because he would never think to be aware of what another man might be doing in the stairwell because if he was hanging out in a stairwell it would probably because he was trying to catch a rare Pokemon! But now he knows to watch out for not only me and our daughter, but for other women as well, if he passes a man just hanging out in the stairwell and he sees a girl come up by herself, he will instantly be on alert because now he knows that she might be in a dangerous situation and he will be there to help her if needed. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It is so important for the many, many great men in this world to know what to watch for and how to help women when we need them. An important fact we can take from the recent case with the rapist, Brock Turner, was that it was two men who stopped it. It would have been easy for these two men to see some people having sex and move along, but they were aware of what it is like in a woman’s world and noticed that something did not look right. In the statement read to him in court Brock Turner’s victim thanked the two men that saved her, “I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my head to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. To have…felt their protection and love, is something I will never forget.” Buzzfeed

There are a lot of men in this world who are heroes, and who would step up to help in a heart beat, but they have to know where and how to look for situations where they can help. We have to make the great men aware of the threats we face every day so they can better understand the harsh realities of being a woman and they can do their part to change them for the better!