Is there a perceived loss of equity and partnership because a stay at home wife/mom isn’t “pulling her financial weight”? Given the feminist fight for equality, should women make the choice to stay at home? Will our daughters revolt when all is said and done?
Historically on this blog, and I’m sure many other sites-the stay at home mom vs stay at home wife vs working mom/wife debate has been heated and at times unbearable to watch or read. It’s one of those debates that stirs the ire of many women who feel strongly about their decision -to stay at home or work outside of the home.
When I started writing this blog, I was a graduate student with no real personal income. Sure, I had PT jobs here and there but nothing really consistent that brought in any significant moolah. This made me dependent on my husband’s income during until I began working full time. At the time, I was OKAY and quite content with being a stay at home wife, but if we’re being honest, I was also quite nervous about “not pulling my weight”. Not because my husband said so but I had a working mom growing up so this was new to me. I had no real responsibilities and able to come and go as I pleased. I made friends with a few wives in our community and we’d either go shopping or hang out during the days when I wasn’t burning the midnight oil on campus.
Since then, my position has changed.
Why? I’m not sure. Well, let me take that back, I do. I love working for my own money. I enjoy making my own money. I am secure knowing that if something were to happen to the other income in our household that I’d be able to hold down the fort.
This isn’t a swipe at stay at home wives or moms because I think we’re all free to make our own decisions around what makes us happy.
Still my position remains the same for women in any situation where they aren’t bringing in money on their own. Where is your safety net should the other income disappear?
To answer a few questions that have come up and still do even now:
Why then did I think a one person income was more secure than a two person income?
I felt this way because we lived within our means and had a 14 month emergency fund. If his income was no longer there then we would have the emergency fund to fall back on with no problem. Usually two income households are stretched to the limit and living outside of their means and this wasn’t the case with us. If one person loses a job then there’s hardly any savings and the other person must shoulder the burden. Now, this isn’t the case for all 2 income households but have you seen the average US individual savings rate lately?
Why tout breaking financial ceilings but at the same time support women who stay at home with no job?
Because I can. Because those women can and choose to do so despite what anyone thinks. Feminism is about choice and I what works for someone else won’t work for me and I’m OK with that. At the end of the day women have the right to choose what situation works for them.
Is it something I would choose to do today? No, I don’t believe so. Since that time, I finished graduate school and I’ve spent some time in my career. The decision I’ve come to is that my ideal would be working 15-20 hours per week if I had a child. Right now I work long hours on site and from home. When I have kids I’ll need more balance and at this time (child-free) I don’t know that I would want to stay at home all day with my kids.
I’m sure it’s the all encompassing dream that some moms make it out to be but I know better given my day job working in mental health. Being a mom is a full time job with no breaks and I respect that. Luckily, I know myself well enough to know that I’d need more of a balance with my career and raising children.
My boss is a great example of this as she owns a business and while she does most of the work from home (I run the daily operations) she gets to be at home with her children (she works from home on other projects) while we make her money. I’m not mad at that at all! In fact, this is my new blueprint for balance when I have children myself.
You see, while I want kids, I also know that I enjoy the financial freedom of making my own moolah. She is living my ideal of having it all- she is a doctor, married, children, successful business and she looks pretty good doing it! Aside: I really admire working moms who don’t let themselves go, I want to be like them when I grow up!
I’d love to hear your position on the stay at home vs working wife/mom debate? Has it changed at all over the years? If so, why? Tell us below!