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Why are so many AP families low income?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I may be bringing up a sensitive subject but most of the moms I hang with that I share AP values with are almost completely broke. Our family is by NO means wealthy - but we are middle class - we have a nice but small house, drive decent cars, and go on vacation once or twice a year. I'm in a mom group with a bunch of AP moms and I LOVE them, but I find myself growing quiet during some of the discussions - like when they talk about Medicaid & welfare. I find myself sometimes embarrassed that we live in a decent house and I'm terrified they are going to find out I have a cleaning lady that comes 2x a month. The other reason I'm bringing it up is I've noticed a lot of negative remarks about $$$ on this board. Its as if AP people often think money is bad or superficial. Do you find this to be true? What's wrong with money???
post #2 of 47
I admitI am poor but not due to AP. But I believe many AP families may be lower income b/c one parent stays home by choice so they take a big financial burden sometimes there. They are often socially responsible so the ywork for non profits or other wonderful but low paying employers. They follow their hearts so biug $$ is not the ultimate goal. They may turn down a good paying job if it conflicts with their morals (I wouldn't work for a pharmaceutical company although that's all hiring locally.)

These are some reasons I believe some AP families ar more likely to be poor. Wish the ywere mine but... lol By the way, I am the ONLY broke @$$ AP Mama in my local group, the rest have big houses, etc. I feel so out of place!
post #3 of 47
I don't think it is money that it is frowned on! Just that there seems to be trend OUTSIDE of the AP circle to place material gain at the top of the priority list. When nurturing one's children plays 2nd fiddle to accumulating wealth -- I think that is rightly frowned upon.

But I also think most of us are smart enough to know that not everyone who is well off got that way by neglecting their kids.

I think you should be yourself First Time Mom -- you shouldn't feel you have to keep secrets. Your values speak for themselves.
post #4 of 47
I don't think it is money that it is frowned on! Just that there seems to be trend OUTSIDE of the AP circle to place material gain at the top of the priority list. When nurturing one's children plays 2nd fiddle to accumulating wealth -- I think that is rightly frowned upon.
ITA! That's how I feel, anyway.
We are poor and it *is* due to AP. We used up our savings paying to have a midwife (we were uninsured and Medicaid wouldn't cover a MW) and to keep DH home for most of DS' first three months.
I think it was worth it, though .
post #5 of 47
Well I can only speak for myself. We are so broke because I stay home with my youngest and send our oldest to a private kindergarten. We thought it was very important for her to have a great experience her first year of school and this school provides that.
I just vented today over in TAO about being broke. It stinks but I know it's only for a few more years. Then I can go to work while they are in school.That's the plan at least
post #6 of 47
Agreeing with mamaduck ... it's not the money, it's the materialism ...

We're broke mostly because I'm home (I made more than DH, but he is lacking the necessary ... um ... body parts :LOL) and because of some obligations we have to deal with. And at the moment, trying to sell off a lot of our stuff, in a combination of trying to raise money and trying to simplify.

Looking forward to being solvent some day ... and maybe being able to go somewhere beyond where we can get with borrowing my parents' car ...

- Amy
post #7 of 47
Some people might have also started on the path to AP because of poverty. When I was pregnant the intitial reason I decided to breastfeed was financial...I was terrified of not having the money to buy formula. When I learned how much better it was for him I became commited to breastfeed much longer than I would have "had" to and will probably be nursing for quite a while. (ds is 13months). I couldn't afford all the baby books (or didn't want to spend my money on most that I found since I knew I wasn't going to listen to most of what they said...hadn't seen Sears), so I parented by instinct. When I sought out support online I gradually made my way here. Didn't even know what I was doing had a name (AP). The path from Breastfeeding lead to an entire lifestyle change.

Also, since I feel safe here I am more likely to vent all of life's frustrations....in-laws, other parents, everything, including money.

Personally, I am far from anti-money. I really wish I had more money so we could own a home and drive a decent car and buy organic. If I complain about somebody and money is one of the issues, it is usually a reference to their values, (like my inlaws who help all the other siblings but not us...6-7 figure income and they can't send us $20 to buy food when dh was unemployed) It is not meant as a generalization of all people with money, just frustration with a certain person I know. Plus, I am human and when the money isn't there to meet all your needs (much less want) I, despite my best intentions, get jealous.
post #8 of 47
Where I live now and where I lived until this past August, the AP parents seemed to be predominantly affluent upper middle class people. Although I'm sure lots of people who work for nonprofits and other less lucrative endeavors practice AP, I have met LOTS of AP moms whose husbands were doctors or lawyers so staying home did not present a real financial hardship for them. They also seemed less anti-consumer-culture than I would have guessed. Some people seem to embrace certain practices, perhaps because they believe it will benefit their child or even give her an edge, but don't connect the parenting practices to any kind of broader critique.

post #9 of 47
We're AP but not because we are poor, BUT, AP has been a blessing now that we are poor

Poor....the new Rich.
post #10 of 47
Poor....the new Rich.
aint that the truth! funny DD, but unfortunately more and more true!

I am mainstream and AP combined, but i work with doctors and nurses who practice attached parenting, and are upper middle class....drive mercedes, lexus, etc. the moms pump at work, ebf, cosleep. some of the doctors wives ap also, only the docs arent crazy about the cosleep...they get so little rest as it is. my favorite doctor, his wife breastfed triplets! she is at home full time with now 4 kids. she kicked him out of the bed while she slept with the triplets. much to his relief, and happiness they are together in bed, and the triplets sleep in a king sized bed together across the hall!

i also see welfare moms in the grocery store, with their food stamps and WIC buying formula, disposable diapers, etc.

i think AP requires commitment and conviction, with some people using there precarious financial status as a true "sign" of there dedication to AP. but i find it 50-50. alot of AP parents are poor because they are so dedicated, and alot of well off parents AP as well....for the very same reasons, same conviction, same passion for their kids.
post #11 of 47

I'm not so sure...

To be honest, I don't think there's any relationship between how much you make and your parenting style.

I *do* think that many people use their parenting style to defend how much $$ they do or don't have, though, if that makes sense.

Just like you will meet many SAHMs who say that they are able to live comfortably because they waited to have kids, and worked really hard to get to a financial comfort zone (or did without a lot of frills), you will meet some that say that they SAHM because they're not materialistic like all those people that have different things than them. I think that both are defensive about their households, and both claim an aspect of parenting as to the cause.

I think AP is much the same way. For example, AP can be extremely expensive (if you're doing the Natural Living and must buy organic out of a store instead of from a farmer, if you buy a ton of extremely expensive but very cute diapers, if you only buy wood toys that are durable but harder to find and not quite as cheap, ect.), or extremely cheap. It's all a matter of how you go about doing things.

My husband and I are very comfortable, but live far more frugally than most people I know that have less than half the assets we have. But it's not because we scoff at materialistic people, it's just that our needs are different, and more importantly we know *how* to live frugally. A lot of people in this country don't, and it in NO WAY makes them lower than us on the moral hierarchy. It's easy for me to sniff at people who buy their kids fast food meals all the time...but you know, I've been able to afford and collect tools that allow me to prepare scratch meals from home, someone taught me how to carve up whole meats and make stocks, and all that stuff...and I LIKE it. Maybe someone else invests less in kitchen stuff, and more in saving up for homeschooling supplies or tuition for a Waldorf school for their kid. Who the hell am I to say who's better?

I've noticed a lot of negativity directed at $$ here too...but when I sat down and thought about it a few weeks ago, it's not any more negativity than you find about that on other internet boards or public conversation. It's an easy thing to point fingers at or complain about, because there is always someone higher up and it's safe.

So in all this rambling, I guess I'm saying that probably 'most' AP families are NOT low income...it's probably a pretty even spread. But since everyone has a really different version of 'rich', because there is somewhat of a socially liberal lean to Natural Living and AP in the sense that people agree that we do need to look out for each other, it's easier to compare ourselves favorably to those who buy lots of/different things than us.

I think that gets interpreted at 'rich', but I'm sure that everyone here can think of many situations where people who don't have as big of a bank account (or a great job) do have a lot of extras (cell phones, computer access, cable, lots of fast food, plastic noisemakers for kids, ect.) than people who just choose to spend their money differently.

Sometimes I even thing that money is kind of like body image. Most people see others as being more slender/attractive/richer than they are, while thinking they are fatter/uglier/poorer than they really are in the grand scheme of things.

Just a few observations from bboards and real life, from over here.
post #12 of 47
I think it hits both extremes.

I think a lot of people without muchmoney AP because it is thier only opption. Can't afford a stoller, can't afford formula, can't afford a lot of toys etc. . .

then there are those people whose house looks like a showcase for all the expensive things in AP land. i stayed with someone once who had every wooden toy that I ever wanted, natiral wooden furniture in all thier rooms all organic food. None of that stuff is even close to cheap.

I also see alot of money on this board. People with plenty of money to spend just don't complain about it though so it isn't as obvious. But take a trip around the boards. Check out how much people are spending on diapers, carseats and slings.

Then there is me who would fit right in the middle by now if we didn't spend a ton of money on debt every month (This hospital bill thing is getting pretty old by now - 7 years later )
post #13 of 47
Tigerchild & Lilyka...well said!
post #14 of 47
Thread Starter 
I also see alot of money on this board. People with plenty of money to spend just don't complain about it though so it isn't as obvious. But take a trip around the boards. Check out how much people are spending on diapers, carseats and slings.

This is SO true! That's what's really interesting is that AP costs so much more $$$. That's partly what got me thinking about it because I didn't really care that much about money until I got into AP and now I WISH that I had more so hubby could be home more, we could put our kids in organic cotton clothes, buy only organic food, send them to great private schools, build a house that is more "green," etc. I also agree with what you said about AP parents having less because they spend it in different places. One of my friends who is a single mom and totally broke somehow manages to come up with $500 every month so her daughter can go to a Montessori school. Its amazes some of the things I've seen my AP friends sacrifice.

Its making more sense to me now. And the SAHM thing is definitely a huge factor. When most of society is making 2 incomes, there's no way that families where the mother stays home can avoid seeming poor in comparison. I remember when I worked for this company one of the managers (who made 100,000 + per year in a small, low cost of living town) told me that his wife was coming back to work because they couldn't afford for her to stay home. Meanwhile, they were both driving brand new Lexus's with leather int. That's the kind of thing that gets us AP moms riled up and disgusted with the materialism in our society. Thanks for your responses!
post #15 of 47
"That's the kind of thing that gets us AP moms riled up and disgusted with the materialism in our society."

I don't consider myself 100% AP and that kind of thinking (having to return to work to drive a LEXUS??!) drives ME crazy.

I work outside the home. I dislike it. We can't make it financially if I don't work, however. My husband simply doesn't make enough.

What would it take to get all those moms like me back into the home and out of the workforce? We'd all have to go together. One fell swoop. We'd have to leave the workforce faster than we entered it just a few decades ago. It would neccesitate a giant shift in our society's standard of living.

But I can't go if everybody else isn't going, too. We wouldn't make it long at all. It's sad. We fought to have the choice to work and now, we have to fight NOT to work.

About the organic stuff...we both work and I have NO idea how we'd afford organic food and cotton clothes and wood toys. How folks do it when one parent stays at home full-time and DH even takes paternity leave, I just can't fathom. Amazing.
post #16 of 47
ITA with Tigerchild. I used to peruse these boards and think "wow, there are alot of people here really struggling to make ends meet".

Well, guess what? In real life MOST people are struggling. The median household income in the US is not very much, IMHO (30 to 50 K per year, per HOUSEHOLD, depending on your state). So I don't think this board represents a sampling of AP, it is just a sampling of real life (minus those who can't even afford computer access, so there is a skew here too).

And, like the nightwaking forum where it would seem at first that cosleeping is fraught with problems...those who don't have money problems don't need to post about it.

And yes, it is easy to bash those who have more money than you. Just like it's easy to bash those who are prettier, thinner, etc. Like tigerchild said. Being financially comfortable is a great blessing, but it isn't a recipe for perfect happiness, lol. Anyways, I try not to take any of it personally. People just need to vent sometimes and I do understand. The grass is always greener....yadda yadda yadda.

PS - the NPR show on cosleeping said that the fastest growing segment of cosleepers were educated, professional, white families. Educated women also make up the fastest growing number of BFing women too, I believe.
post #17 of 47
I have not read all the posts here, but the first thought that pops into my mind when you ask that question is,

..because these people who AP don't make money, wealth, and materlialism their priority.

That said, no reason why a wealthy family cannot AP or a poor one doesn't AP. Its all about their attitude and whats important to them.

AP families are willing to sacrafice extra income and all that comes with it to spend more time at home with their kids. I don't think its has to be the mom, though, who stays home. I do think it has to be some arrangement of having a parent giving as much attention to their kids as they can possibly. Sometimes neither parent can be there as much as they want to, but these families give as much of their time to their kids as they possibly can and do so out of love. That is greater to them than any sacrafice they have made.

My Dh doesn't work out of the home and never brought home much money to begin with. I on the other hand make enough money for us to be comfortable on one income. Even with cutting my hours back to 30 a week its still liveable, which is lucky for us. Of course we don't have a huge house with a gigantic mortgage payment, 2 brand new cars, etc... Dh and I are happy living modestly with small luxaries, but nothing overly extravagent. Now Dh can be a SAHD and I can work semi-part time. I love it that way. Feels very much like a partnership. Were so lucky this is workable. I don't think I'd really like staying home all the time and having a partner who worked full time or more than full time if he didn't have to. I think it takes both parents idealy. Not just mom. Not just dad. I'd be hurt if I had a dh who treated me like the kids were all my responsibility. I do know some guys who do act that way, and I think its horrible. In return I intend to never treat dh this way, either.

I think maybe I am a little of an exception to the rule, also. I am sure there are others who think it isn't totally AP if it isn't the mom who is SAH, and that's their opinion. I don't want to over generalize, but it does seem more AP moms are the SAHP and their DH's have a better education and/or better job. Perhaps due in part that they (mom/wife) focused more on having children eariler rather than going to college for years or having a career instead. Don't flame me, but I think for the majority its that way. I never wanted children back then, never planned on it. I just trusted when the time was right I would know it and figure it out then. Whereas many of the wonderful momma's here have always felt their calling to motherhood rather than working or going to college. Nothing wrong with that, its just different than what happened to me.

I know there's some people out there who aren't going to like what I've said and disagree. That's fine. I'm just offering my view point from my situation. Nothing I have said goes 100% for everyone. My generalizations are just that, and shouldn't be taken personally.

In addition I am sure there's people who think my occupation is horrible and evil.. that's your right to have that opinion too. I went into the occupation I did because of my love for science and fascination with it. I did not end up here because I want people taking drugs they don't need and using artifical baby milk, etc.. That's an entire different discussion, though.
post #18 of 47
I've noticed that several of the posts talk about "AP families" that are financially comfortable because the husband makes enough for the entire family so the mom can stay home. We have somewhat of an opposite family because I am the WOH parent and my dh stays home. But I can say as a lawyer that I certainly made huge financial and career sacrifices to get a job that is "only" 40-50 hours a week so that I could be an AP mom. To take those high paying jobs would mean absolutely no time with baby, so I would not really say that a family where one parent works all the time and the other parent stays home is not an AP family, but rather the kids have one AP parent. So if you want to be an AP parent, certain career paths (i.e., the high paying ones) are closed.

That said, we struggle but manage to get by on my income with dh working part-time on occasion from home. I agree with the earlier posters that most families struggle financially. I talked about this with some other moms (who I would say are AP) in my neighborhood who also felt they should have been doing better financially but still had just enough money to pay bills while living modestly, driving older cars, etc. I think that we live in a consumerist culture and if we don't have the perfect house, perfectly furnished, and the perfect car, we feel like we're not matching up to all the glossy magazine pictures, but in reality very few people are.
post #19 of 47
A lot of AP parents know the importance of having a parent at home and that means sacrifices for most people. We didn't plan on having dd when we did so we weren't prepared financially. We wanted a house, a minivan, a 60K+ job for dh...but we don't have any of those things.
But we believe dd is important enough to make those sacrifices for

edited to add:
dh and I live frugally, we have one car that's paid off, live in a nice apartment, etc but we still make too much for WIC :
post #20 of 47
Well...in the last year and a half (co. went bankrupt) dh lost his full time job and has been struggling to get short term contracts. When I first started staying home, we were middle class. Not anymore. All of our savings are gone and we are barely getting by. Not part of "the plan", but I am committed to being home with my boys.

Dh just landed a decent contract and I am going to teach a few yoga classes a week, so once again, I want to believe that things are looking up.

Like some of the other posters here have stated, I am just not concerned about being able to buy more and material wealth. It was never really a top priority. When we had extra income, we would save it (that's why we have made it this far with dh having very little work) or travel. I do enjoy having some perks in life and I certainly wouldn't mind it if we are more financially comfortable in the future. It's just not the be all and end all for our family. I am happy for those child centered families out there who don't have money worries .
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