Before you answer our title question, read on a little bit. And don’t throw things at the computer screen.
I am a stay-at-home mom. I have five kids 10 and under. So when I came across this article, I’m pretty sure I should be highly offended. Especially since there are sentences like this in it:
“Her professional ambition is to watch Live with Regis & Kelly while wearing her jammies and visiting Amazon to order Halloween costumes for her kids.”
“Becoming a stay-at-home mom is not a “goal” for several reasons, the least of which is that a goal implies expending some effort.”
These phrases are guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of every mom on the planet – especially those who stay at home with their kids. I actually had to read the article several times – like a bad car wreck that you can’t look away from. The more I read it, though, the more I started thinking about the author’s points. It got me thinking (which, I’m sure, was the point).
So, last week, I asked you all, “Should a stay at home mom go back to work if her family is in debt?” I got a lot of answers, here and on Facebook, where I also posed the question. The responses took two forms: 1) It depends, and 2) Probably not.
(Incidentally, our culture has a bi-polar tendency to sometimes judge everything everyone does and at other times be super-reluctant to tell people what they should and should not do. This was one of those moments where most of the people who responded said some variation of, “I wouldn’t want to tell anyone what to do, but…”)
Am I considering going “back to work”? No, I’m not considering getting back into the workforce. But I have been working from home for several years, doing whatever I can to supplement our income. I don’t know if the woman referred to in the article works from home at all, but it’s worth nothing that this doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” decision. (As in: get a paying job outside the house or not work at all.)
In addition to working from home, I also contribute to our family’s finances by working hard in other ways. It’s my job to balance the checkbook, pay bills, create and implement our budget, make and receive phone calls during the week…all of the financial responsibilities required to run our household are my responsibilities. Doing these jobs, and keeping our household running smoothly, also make it easier for my husband to put in extra hours at his full-time job.
Should having kids be a purely financial decision? I don’t believe so. Does that mean that finances shouldn’t be considered at all? I know there’s many different schools of thought, but it has to be acknowledged that having kids is expensive. We didn’t plan like we should have, and it’s been much harder for us financially than it could have otherwise been.