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post #21 of 134
I work because I don't want to file bankruptcy and live in an apartment. I work because I like to travel and go on vacation where ever I want. I work because I like to watch cable TV. I work because I like to feed my kid. I work because my husband cannot support our family on his income and I don't think it is fair to have him work two jobs so my daughter can stay with me. Why take away all of him for all of me?

ETA: DH was a SAHD and we put Marah Jade in daycare because she has very limited social interaction otherwise and we felt it was important for her to get that. I know a lot of people think that reasoning is stupid but not all parents have the ability to expose their children to other children. Some of us have to pay for it : .
post #22 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
I am a FTM due in November. I plan to return to work after my paid three months maternity leave is up. It has never really occured to me not to work, for a variety of reasons:

*Money, in the short term. It pays for me to work, even after day care, taxes, commuting costs, etc. I know this isn't the case for all mamas. But I delayed having a child until my finances were such that I knew I could afford to support a child decently even on my own. This meant waiting about five years after I felt ready in other ways, but I'm OK with that. Beyond that, though, I don't weigh the cost of supporting my daughter soley against my income. It's partly mine, partly her father's. Same as all our other household expenses.

*Money, in the long term. The day care expenses will drop over the years. My pay likely will not. If I took the next 5 years off, I would return to less than half my current pay, assuming I could get a job at all. My field is very competitive. My paycheck is not the whole of my compensation, either. While I am working, I am also stashing more than 10 percent of my salary into my 401(k) each year. I am earning credits toward a pension. I am able to regularly save money for the college funds of my nephews and niece.

*Economic independence and security. I consider it my responsibility to support myself. I consider it my responsibility to support my child financially. Working allows me to safeguard myself from a variety of economic risks. Working means I have my own health, life and disability insurance. It means that should things go south with her dad, I have my own money to pay for a very good lawyer. I saw what happened to my mother, who was a SAHM when we were young, when my father left. We went from getting by to hardcore poverty. I see other mama friends of mine in the same boat now. I just can't stomach the risk of doing that to myself or my child. That scar is just too deep for me.

*Parenting philosophy. I am partnered to a great guy, who makes a good living that could easily support our little family but I'm not interested in a division of labor in our household that has him out in the world with me bearing all the responsibility of caring for our little one. My income could also similarly support us, yet no one expects him to quit work and stay home since we "can afford it." I want my daughter to see me working in the world at a job I love. I want her to see that daddies can change diapers and go to swim meets and dance recitals, too. I think quality day care is good for children, and aids their social and intellectual development. My partner shares this philosophy.

*My own sanity. I know myself well enough to know that being a SAHM would not suit me. I enjoy working, and get an immense amount of satisfaction from my job. My career is almost to the level of a calling for me. I'm good at it. It is a core part of my identity.

*Feminism. I am lucky that I work at a place that is very accommodating to mothers. We have great benefits, good maternity leave, a very nice pumping station, flexibility in working from home, etc. I also know that the reason we have these things is because lots of women before me used the leverage that came with their skill levels and positions to demand them. I hope to contribute to that.
post #23 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by PennyRoo
Keeps the gas in my Hummer.
(that's hillarious)

ok, as for me, I work part time right now. I have to say, I feel I am lucky because I work in the evenings and sat. mornings, and dh is with the kids while I am at work (and I am with the kids when he's at work) but before ds was born (he's 2 1/2) I worked full time at a bank and I loved my job. I loved working (minus the guilt of leaving my dd at daycare, but that's a whole other issue) and we had great childcare. I spent about 1/3 of my income in daycare costs, so it was still good pay. I decided to SAH after ds was born because, basically, I didn't want leaving ds so small in daycare and it would have been ridiculous to pay $1400 in daycare ($700 a child, per month). Right now I work PT because we like having the extra money- I know some people say you should cut your expenses to the minimum in order to be able to stay at home full time, but I feel I'm a better mom when I have some time for myself everyday, and when we have the extra money. Dh and I would fight every.single.day about money before I got this job, it's terrible and now we're just much more peaceful because we have some room in our budget to move around stuff. I applaud women who stay at home full time, just like I applaud women who don't. Every family is different, and we shouldn't waste our time telling other people how to run their lives. I'm not saying that directed at anyone here, btw, I'm just guessing you guys live with that pressure also, so I understand
post #24 of 134
Because after 15+ years at the same job, my salary cannot be made up by my DH, nor can he get the great medical/dental/vision insurance I have. DH has always done outside sales and it is an up and down, rollercoaster of a lifestyle - he isn't trained to work in any other professional field where he'd make enough money to keep up with our bills, so I must keep working. I work simply because I have to - we've cut back on many, many things since having DS, and do not overspend on anything. If there were some way for me to stay home with DS, I would quit my job in a heartbeat. My Mommy work is far more fulfilling than sitting at a desk answering to attorneys, typing correspondence, and filing paperwork - SSDD EVERYDAY!
post #25 of 134
I work because I love to work. And I have a fantastic work situation.

BUT I quit my job to work for myself because I felt that my old job would not give me the flexibility nor the access (i.e. ability to be at home) that I really wanted for my kids.

Frankly, quiting my job was the best thing I ever did - for my family AND for my career. I run my own company and make loads more money now than I did as an employee. I pick and choose my clients and the work I do for them. I am learning lots as well as feeling like I am part of making the world a better place (I work as a contractor for USAID as well as non-profits and, as of next week, the World Bank). It isn't perfect, but it is pretty darn good.

I also work because I like earning money - yes, we absolutely could live on DH's income but HE would be too stressed from the pressure of being the sole breadwinner, and we can afford a much better lifestyle this way - including flying home to see the grandparents 1 x per year in England. For me, money = lower stress.

And I work because, frankly, I really believe in "it takes a village" to raise a child - but our family is so far away that we have had to create a village of our own - including an au pair who lives with us and extended visits by relatives. These things take $$ - for the au pair's salary and a house large enough for relatives to visit.

That is it in a nutshell.

Siobhan
post #26 of 134
It's pretty simple why I work - because without my salary DH does not make enough to pay for the basics - mortgage, property taxes (the latter 2 items are ghastly expensive in our area), car insurance & taxes, HH utilties, home upkeep, food. Nor does his job cover the family's health insurance, so thus enters me and my job.

I'd be at home if I could be, and then ideally once my oldest was in school would resume working 3 days a week. DH would be a lousy SAHD so that's not really something we've considered as an option.

We have at times toyed with selling our house and moving to a less expensive area to enable me to SAHM. We bought a run-down house in a seedy but safe neighborhood on the edge of a fancy neighborhood and property values have gone up considerably as our neighborhood gets less and less seedy. It's a cool old house but a far cry from big and fancy - we have only one bathroom, for example. We've also done a ton of work ourselves to improve the property and as a result we have some pretty good equity in our house. But the prices of everything have gone up concomitantly, so there is virtually nothing acceptable we could afford unless we moved away from the expensive north east. We are not willing to do that right now, however - for one thing, our families are here. For another thing, so our our jobs!

We have decided to hold on to our house as despite the struggle to make the mortgage and real estate tax payments it's the one positive thing we have going in our lives, financially. Neither DH nor I thought we would be in this precarious financial position which in many respects is worse than when we were just starting out in our 20s. I have always chosen a social justice/not for profit career path and we assumed DH would be the breadwinner and I would either SAHM for a while or work minimally after the birth of our first. Our plans were altered as DH's business tanked and led him heavily into CC debt to make ends meet.

So, that's where we are today. I support the choices of all parents to work or not work as they deem best for their families. Many families define "just getting by" differently. Some 2 income families make enough to get by on the salary of one but work to provide retirement money for themselves, or college tuition for their kids, or private school tuition because they live in an area with unsafe and terrible schools. Other 2 income families work because both parents love their jobs, which I fully support as well. I don't describe my own financial circumstances to make a case that "I work but only because I have to, so I'm an OK mom" but only to answer the OP's question, and to provide yet another anecdote about the various reasons why moms work.

Peace, mamas.
post #27 of 134
I work because I have to. We could not survive on what my DP makes. He recently got a new job and hopefully once we have #2 I'll get to stay home. I hate my job and find not satisfaction or anything from it. However I hope to work on becoming a midwife once I'm not working out of the home full time. So even when I don't :have" to work anymore I will still be doing some schooling and apprenticships.
post #28 of 134
I like this thread!

1) I work because living in poverty on government assistance in a "bad" neighborhood (and all the bad statistics that go along with that) is not the kind of life I want my child to have. My dad was the first person in his family to ever go to college and he went to college so that hopefully his children and grandchilden could have a better life than he did growing up in poverty. I've been told that I have "different" priorities because I work but I disagree. My priority is my family and working is just one of the many things I do to ensure their happiness and health.
2) I work because I'm a smart woman that has alot more to offer this world than staying home.
3) My work helps to make my community safer.
4) I believe that as a mother, I bring a valuable perspective to my projects.
5) Because if all moms stayed home, this world would be a scary, scary place dominated by men and childless women!

Kim
post #29 of 134
I am a single mama so obviously I cannot be a SAHM.. altho i did do that til dd was 5... i personally need mental stimulation... i need to be with grownups.. love my dd but i need to be in the adult world...

I work right now part time and bring home approx $1500-2000/month.. its only the two of us.. and its only part time so its not like she is being left at the sitters all the time... but it doesnt matter because our childcare is family.. and they love her so i feel comfortable leaving her there...

and now im going back to school... and will continue to work part time... in my case.. showing dd that she doesn't need to depend on a man to get things she wants or do things and she can be independant is important... we know too many women who define themselves by their men.. and its sad...

ok i don't know if thats coherent.. i jus came from a job interview for doing another job.. possibly WAH medical transcription...
post #30 of 134
I love my job, I love paying off my student loans myself, I love saving for my retirement and knowing that my children will never be in the awkward spot of trying to support themselves and help me, I love the financial security we have.

Honestly, I would love to be a part-time SAHM. I think it would be the best of both worlds, all of the benefits I listed plus more time with my favorite people in my favorite place. We could do the SAHM thing if we cut back and moved into a smaller house but we like our lifestyle. I like what I am modeling for my child and I am not sure that I am SAHM material.

Suzy
post #31 of 134
I work 20 hours a week. I *could* go back to work full time, my boss has offered more than once, but the set up we have right now is that DP is home with the children while I work and then I come home and he goes to work so they never have to be in daycare. If I worked full time they would be in daycare and I *hate* that idea.
The reason I do work at all is because DP just doesn't quite earn enough for us to survive on just his income. My measly $700 a month is enough to cover the utilities and things like clothes and birthdays/holidays and little things like that.
post #32 of 134
I have often asked myself if I would quit work if I ever won millions on the lottery (oh please Universe, send that blessing my way lol) and the answer would be no. I would still work part-time, but would probably navigate more towards voluntary work in areas that I am passionate about. I am in part-time paid employment now, but it's a job that isn't very fulfilling. If I won the lottery, I would more likely feel that I have the choice to work in areas that would fulfill me.

I love my ds passionately, but I don't think that mentally I could cope with being a SAHM (I'm not criticizing any person who makes this choice)
post #33 of 134
Hi! I'm Laurie, a working mom of two boys (Isaiah is 4.5 years and Xander is 2). I have a career as a legal assistant. I worked very hard to get where I am and I really enjoy my career, which is one major factor in why I work. There are many more reasons I work - for one, I actually tried being a SAHM after my first son was born. I live in Canada so I get a full year of mat leave (which I did take with both boys!), but originally I thought I wouldn't go back to work after my leave was up. I found though that I needed more in my life - I missed being part of a work environment, I missed having my own income, and I enjoyed the extras that my income allowed our family to have. I returned to work when Isaiah was 13.5 months old and knew I would work full-time after my second child was born as well.

I also like working as I see my children having positive experiences with daycare - they have good relationships with their teachers, their peers, and even other adults in our lives, which I feel is attributable to their having had to learn some independence. I wasn't a super-motivated stay-at-home type of mom, I didn't get into crafts and stuff as much as I thought I should - but at daycare I know they get a lot of that stimulation.

Also, I know DH really appreciates having a working wife. He likes that he is not fully responsible for our expenses, he likes that we each have pension plans so that we will be able to enjoy our retirement and that we are able to live a very comfortable lifestyle with two incomes. DH makes double what I make so him becoming a stay-at-home parent would be very impractical and I think he would find it very difficult, as he (like myself!) needs more adult interaction than SAHP's tend to get.

As to what it would take for me to stay at home - the lottery? I wish! I would probably still want to work if I won the lottery, but only in a more supervisory capacity (ie owning my own business or something).
post #34 of 134
I'm going to be mostly staying home in a few weeks, but I'm probably going to end up going back part time. I haven't been a SAHM with my 10 year old DD at all, so I qualify!

I work because I worked my a** off for this degree, and if I step out of the workforce for a few years I'm going to have a hard time stepping back in. My field does not lend itself to taking years off. I make good money and would net a decent amount after child care. I've been able to put a good amount in retirement over the past 10 years, enough that I have the luxury to take a few years off without destroying any plans to retire. We've also been able to pay off most of our debt (except house and student loan) so we won't be struggling to put food on the table. My salary helped us do that.

All that being said, I don't enjoy my job itself, only the security and the money. So while I'm staying home, I'm planning on working very part time to keep my skills up (another luxury afforded by my years I already put in--working part time from home and making decent money is only available to me because of my resume). In the meantime, I'm going to see if I can figure out another path to take and take some classes to get there.
post #35 of 134
In no particular order...

1. I like working. I like my job. I like the mental stimulation I get from handling complex transactions for the government.

2. The pay and the benefits are wonderful. I make more than DH and probably will do so because of my line of work. I get a wonderful 401K plan to which I put in 15% pretax and my employer puts in a matching contribution. My medical/dental plan is better than what DH gets at his job. I cover DH and DD. I have a generous leave policy. I get every other Friday off (paid). I get to spend that whole day with my DD.

3. I worked really hard in college and grad school to get the education I needed to do this job. I want to use the skills I developed and I can't do that at home. I'm happy where I am. A happy mother is a better mother, IMO. I stayed home for several months with DD after she was born. I LOVED it. It was wonderful. But there were many times where I felt isolated and lonely. I am one of those mothers who is a better mother because I am out of the house for several hours each day.

4. I don't worry about sitters or day care because my mother watches DD while I'm work.

5. Our long-term retirement plan, savings, and college plan for DD depend on both DH and I working. I don't want to put the entire burden on DH when I can and want to do my part.
post #36 of 134
This is an interesting thread. I am enjoying many of the answers, and I feel very similarly. Maybe because my family is a homeschooling family, we often seem to be around people who expressed and/or implied attitude why have kids if you are going to work. Of course DH is a SAHD, so we get a type of get out of jail free card, but the attitude is often still there. DH just took a PT job at the beginning of the summer- we bought a house in Jan and knew that we would need him to do some PT work to make it work for us financially. I get the feeling that somehow that that has raised some eyebrows- we no longer pass the skinflint budget test or something. Dealing with this type of attitude, I have made a decision never to justify to anyone (outside of my immediate family) why I work. On the off chance that someone asks I tell them politely it is none of their business and dodge the question, or if I am feeling particularly agressive I say how many people have asked your husband why he works? I just got back from vacation, and we stayed with a friend who has an 18 month old and both she and her partner WOH. I also visited with the mom’s group I was in when DD was born. Many of them are WOHMs, and some are SAHMs. It was so nice to be in a place where we could openly talk about parenting and WOH, and it wasn’t treated like some type of skeleton in the closet. I love that quality about this forum too.

I like my job and I am good at it. I would like to think my job makes a difference. I feel very satisfied when I come home from a good day at work. My job pays great benefits, including a great retirement plan, it has predictable hours, I get paid holidays and plenty of vacation and sick days, and there is even a little bit of flexibility in my schedule. I would like to have more time with my kids, but I don’t necessarily long to be a SAHM. If the circumstance arose, I would be a good SAHM- I would feel satisfied and happy doing that too. There is a lot of support for SAHMs in my area, I don’t think I would feel isolated or bored. In fact, considering my own personality, it would probably be the opposite- I would probably have the tendency to be overcommitted to stuff. I think there would be some challenges for me, different challenges that I face as a WOHM, but I would work through them just as I do now, with the best that I can muster.

I guess I just don’t define myself as a person by whether or not I work a job. That seems so superficial to me. I often tell people when I meet them what my profession is, because it is a big part of how I spend my time. The parts of me that draw me to my profession and my job are the same whether I am working or not- I guess working is just a different way of expressing that part of me.
post #37 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
I am a FTM due in November. I plan to return to work after my paid three months maternity leave is up. It has never really occured to me not to work, for a variety of reasons:

*Money, in the short term. It pays for me to work, even after day care, taxes, commuting costs, etc. I know this isn't the case for all mamas. But I delayed having a child until my finances were such that I knew I could afford to support a child decently even on my own. This meant waiting about five years after I felt ready in other ways, but I'm OK with that. Beyond that, though, I don't weigh the cost of supporting my daughter soley against my income. It's partly mine, partly her father's. Same as all our other household expenses.

*Money, in the long term. The day care expenses will drop over the years. My pay likely will not. If I took the next 5 years off, I would return to less than half my current pay, assuming I could get a job at all. My field is very competitive. My paycheck is not the whole of my compensation, either. While I am working, I am also stashing more than 10 percent of my salary into my 401(k) each year. I am earning credits toward a pension. I am able to regularly save money for the college funds of my nephews and niece.

*Economic independence and security. I consider it my responsibility to support myself. I consider it my responsibility to support my child financially. Working allows me to safeguard myself from a variety of economic risks. Working means I have my own health, life and disability insurance. It means that should things go south with her dad, I have my own money to pay for a very good lawyer. I saw what happened to my mother, who was a SAHM when we were young, when my father left. We went from getting by to hardcore poverty. I see other mama friends of mine in the same boat now. I just can't stomach the risk of doing that to myself or my child. That scar is just too deep for me.

*Parenting philosophy. I am partnered to a great guy, who makes a good living that could easily support our little family but I'm not interested in a division of labor in our household that has him out in the world with me bearing all the responsibility of caring for our little one. My income could also similarly support us, yet no one expects him to quit work and stay home since we "can afford it." I want my daughter to see me working in the world at a job I love. I want her to see that daddies can change diapers and go to swim meets and dance recitals, too. I think quality day care is good for children, and aids their social and intellectual development. My partner shares this philosophy.

*My own sanity. I know myself well enough to know that being a SAHM would not suit me. I enjoy working, and get an immense amount of satisfaction from my job. My career is almost to the level of a calling for me. I'm good at it. It is a core part of my identity.

*Feminism. I am lucky that I work at a place that is very accommodating to mothers. We have great benefits, good maternity leave, a very nice pumping station, flexibility in working from home, etc. I also know that the reason we have these things is because lots of women before me used the leverage that came with their skill levels and positions to demand them. I hope to contribute to that.
DUDE. Have we met?
post #38 of 134
I work because I make almost twice dh's hourly wage. I enjoy having a 401k. Sadly, DH is flighty when it comes to purchases (bought a Harley w/out even talking to me about it first). We would be in debt up to our eyeballs (ok we already are, but we'd be filing bankruptcy) if it was up to dh. My job is the type of job that if I left, I would be out of the loop and upon returning to work would probably sacrifice $$ and have to take on a more entry level position. My dh is home with dd most of the day and she is a sitters for 3 hours/day. Its my friend's mom that watches her and she is like my dd's grandmother. I had a ton of cc debt prior to meeting dh and I don't think that is fair to expect him to pay it. My company offers better health insurance. I have 5 weeks paid vacations a year and 11 holidays, it almost seems that I hardly ever work a 40 hour week

On the spendy side, I love spending $$ on my dd and buying her fantastic cloth diapers, remodeling her bedroom just for her, buying her a nice chariot carrier bicycle trailer and lots of pedoodles shoes : Not that she cares about any of this stuff, but it gives me pleasure to provide such things for her. OTOH I do cut corners so that I can afford to buy her nice things.

We also have 2 loving family pets that I provide premium dog food for & provide proper vet care as needed.

My employer is also fantastic about pumping (I was able to pump right in my office twice daily for about a year), family emergencies (last minute calls about no sitter or sick baby or whatever).

And the commute is less than 15 minutes from my house

I just wanted to add that if I won the lottery you bet your patootie that I'd be home not only with dd, but working on whole tribe of babies
post #39 of 134
Q for the group - I know many SAHMs (at least ones I have met IRL) believe strongly that being a SAHM is the best way to raise kids. I have never found a WM who flat out stated that working while raising kids was the best way to raise kids. They may say it is best for their family, but other than Linda Hirshman (see http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?...rticleId=10659) - no one seems to say they think it is better for kids or moms in general.

I am NOT trying to start a debate about which is better or best, but rather get at the fact that either we feel inhibited to state our true opinions OR most WMs feel that there isn't one best way.

I personally fall into the latter camp - I think there isn't any one best way to raise kids.

I do NOT think that the ideal is one parent at home. I think the ideal is high quality childcare (delivered by a parent, grandparent or other relative, or a third party) and a loving family environment.

Thoughts?

Siobhan
post #40 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber

I am partnered to a great guy, who makes a good living that could easily support our little family but I'm not interested in a division of labor in our household that has him out in the world with me bearing all the responsibility of caring for our little one. My income could also similarly support us, yet no one expects him to quit work and stay home since we "can afford it."
The Bold is my input to this very important point. This is true for us as well, yet no one is questioning my husband either.

I absolutely love what I do and it never occured to me that I couldnt do both I do not find it difficult. I am home 4 days a week. I am very much present in our home. I am working tonight, but made sure I had tomorrow off, so I could do the ice cream social at school. I took my son to his high school orientation. We swam several times a week, went to the denver museum to see Body Worlds, went to the movies, went for hikes, had a great summer. Ans while I am eternally grateful for the time and effort and all the sacrifices my husband has made to make this life possible, I am also pleased that *I* have made a contribution to make this happen as well. The only thing is, I'm doing both

We also married young, in our very early 20's and like many who did things that way, we had little in the way of life experience, work experience, or much else for that matter, so now that our oldest is 19 and in college, we had little savings. Now, in the last 4 years its is different, but we managed to pay off alot of debt, refinance our house and do a few upgrades (windows and new carpet, an a new fence because the old one was falling down and our very old neighbors are too ill to bother, and we are fine with taking on that responsibility). So with our daughter in school, we are paying cash for her tuition and books. We pay for her car insurance. Our middle son goes to college in two years (he is a junior in high school), and we plan on paying for his education cash as well (as long as it isnt an Ivy league school!). So while some people are confused as to why I work, and equate my love for my children in terms of materialistic things, my reality is quite different. And my kids are awesome, all three, and think I am the bomb. I get text messages saying I love you from my daughter, my middle boy has walked home in the middle of the day because he got an unexpected break in classes because of testing and hung out with me on the playground at the elementary school that my youngest goes to and I volunteer at. My daughter also brings me baked spaghetti from Fazollis where she works on the nights that I work, because she knows I love it. My husband on the way home from racing his car at the track will stop and pick up coffees for all the nurses in the ICU. He takes me to dinner so I dont have to cook, I wake up to all the wash done and the dishwasher unloaded. Coffee is brewing when I get up and I get coffee in bed.

I am loved and appreciated (most days anyway!). Respected and adored.
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