That old question: Work or stay home?
Last week, MoneyNing posed a question to his readers: Should I be a work at home Mom? Of course the first thing that came to my mind was the iconic 1980’s movie, Mr. Mom. Personally, I would love to be a stay at home “mom” and in some ways, Mrs. Stew is more suited to work outside the home . . . she likes being around people. As for me? Let’s just say that a cabin on the top of a mountain in Alaska sounds like a dream come true most of the time. But his article caused me to reflect on the past six months in our family. Many of you will remember that our family wrestled through the issue if a stay-at-home parent v more income last summer. You can read about our decision here and here. Currently, Mrs. Stew stays home with our children. She home schools our two older girls and also provides in-home daycare to several other children from other families.
In MoneyNing’s situation, he is contemplating staying home to work and having his wife go back to her full-time in order to provide health insurance for their family after the baby is born. The problem of health insurance is a an issue for all of us and often, job decisions are made on this factor alone. It seems to me that MoneyNing will need to be Mr. Mom.
Today, I would like to list some factors and observations that have convinced me that we made the right decision in having Mrs. Stew stay home. Some of you might remember that she had a job offer. A pretty good job offer, but it would have required us to find child care for our youngest and send our older two to school.
We have observed a lot of questionable financial decisions on the part of the people who drop their children off at our home every day. Things like out-to-eat, expensive clothing, pricey club teams/activities, major home renovations, electronic toys, etc. To say nothing of the added expenses of gas, car maintenance, clothes and greater tax liability that are a part of working in the corporate world. Sometimes I think that my wife has a larger amount of take-home pay than the people for whom she is working.
I am not saying that all of this is unnecessary spending, just that with a little bit of fiscal discipline and wise spending, many of these mothers could afford to stay home. In each case, the husband has stable employment with benefits. The mother is working outside the home simply to maintain a standard of living, a keep-up-with-the-Joneses approach to life.
I have to say that our children seem happiest when they are home with mom and for that matter, so is mom. Mrs. Stew has worked outside the home two other times previously in our marriage and both times the result was greater stress in our marriage and more unwanted behaviors in our children. Crying, fighting, whining, sickness and their natural sleep patterns were interrupted more often.
In the case of the children who come into our home, the younger ones almost always cry when they have to leave . . . I really feel sorry for the parent whose child is more excited to see my wife than his own mother and father. This kind of thing cannot be healthy in the long run.
There are many cases where both parents are forced to work outside of the home. I understand that we may be forced to consider that option again in the future. I do not intend to judge or cast aspersions on others who might make a different choice than we did. Just make sure that you are dropping your kids off at daycare for a good reason.Vacations in Jamaica or a new Lincoln Navigator might not be the best reason . . .
Right now, I am just thankful that Mrs. Stew has the option to stay home.
Article by Stew
Photo by Le Petit Poullailer