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Staying at Home "On Welfare"

post #1 of 1188
Thread Starter 
Maybe someone can clue me in. I've sometimes heard people speak disdainfully of sahm's who choose to apply for, and receive, taxpayer-supported benefits such as WIC, Foodstamps, and Medicaid for their families. I've heard this referred to as "staying home on welfare."

Yet I've never heard anyone refer to public-school families as "welfare-recipients." There also seems to be little or no negativity expressed when low-income parents receive government subsidies for childcare costs.

Why this distinction? My dh works and pays taxes into all the various assistance programs -- and I did, too, until we started our own family. So if we choose to apply for Foodstamps when we're short money, how are we "on welfare" any more than our neighbors who send their children to public school?

Please note: I'm not criticizing public-school parents -- just honestly questioning why some taxpayer-supported programs are "welfare" and others aren't.

Edited to add: my purpose for starting this thread actually goes beyond just wanting answers to the above question. I want to hear from people on both sides of the issue -- and to each side I think there are many different facets: I'd like to hear from everyone.

This means, for people who frown on SAHM's who use public assistance -- I should prepare you that some of us will try to persuade you to look at things differently.

At the same time, I want to be open to changing my perspectives, too -- so I'm not asking anyone to be more flexible in their thinking than I am.
post #2 of 1188
Becoz welfare mamas are bad bad eval oh noes! Hope that clears it up for ya. :
post #3 of 1188
I don't subscribe to this belief but perhaps it is because everyone is entitled to send their child to public school regardless of resources but not everyone is entitled to WIC/Medicaid/etc. So if DH or I have a good income, we could never benefit from these programs where we could from public schools. I do have a lot of childless friends and it is a popular talking point to complain about paying for public schools because "they don't have kids and would never benefit from them" or "they don't want to pay for someone else to breed."

Anyway, people don't really understand the intangible benefits from these programs and still don't after they are explained to them. I just shrug and walk away.

ETA: Some people don't believe in paying for a group road system or sewer system. :
post #4 of 1188
Because most people in our society put public schools in the same category as roads. They're part of the public infrastructure we've decided as a society to provide for everyone's use.

"Welfare" programs, on the other hand, are perceived by most people as being intended as a "safety net" to assist those who are unable to make ends meet without them, hopefully temporarily. The idea being that people ought to be trying their darnedest to make as little use of these programs as possible -- and therefore, that SAH parents ought to be getting jobs in order to improve their families' financial circumstances in the long run, so they won't have to continue to accept public assistance in the future.

Which, of course, ignores the fact that decent childcare is difficult to find and expensive, thus making the idea that a SAH parent should enter the paid workforce a little less practical than many people seem to think.
post #5 of 1188
Becoz welfare mamas are bad bad eval oh noes! Hope that clears it up for ya.( quote thismama)





: Welfare moms/families are convenient scapegoats. Most are living below the poverty line whilst recieving 'benefits' ( a paltry little handout to prevent us all starving after we have been robbed of everything else including our rights to a decent, liveable wage, imo they do owe us a living )Social, economic and political policies prevent many families from earning a decent wage and so the myths are reinforced time and time again that welfare recipients are living an easy life. Oh spare me! Welfare moms are called parasites, this conveniently moves the focus away from who the real parasites are. Families on a regular enough wage who do not qualify for foodstamps, medicaid etc then turn their angst onto.....guess who? yep welfare recipients instead of us all focussing on the real culprits of our crappy systems, who decides who wins and who loses,the governments, who have a vested interest in perpetuating this system and who incidentally are rolling in it.
post #6 of 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by forthebest View Post
Welfare moms/families are convenient scapegoats. Most are living below the poverty line whilst recieving 'benefits' ( a paltry little handout to prevent us all starving after we have been robbed of everything else including our rights to a decent, liveable wage, imo they do owe us a living )Social, economic and political policies prevent many families from earning a decent wage and so the myths are reinforced time and time again that welfare recipients are living an easy life. Oh spare me! Welfare moms are called parasites, this conveniently moves the focus away from who the real parasites are. Families on a regular enough wage who do not qualify for foodstamps, medicaid etc then turn their angst onto.....guess who? yep welfare recipients instead of us all focussing on the real culprits of our crappy systems, who decides who wins and who loses,the governments, who have a vested interest in perpetuating this system and who incidentally are rolling in it.

Yes!! You tell it, Mama.
post #7 of 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalaland42 View Post
I do have a lot of childless friends and it is a popular talking point to complain about paying for public schools because "they don't have kids and would never benefit from them" or "they don't want to pay for someone else to breed."
That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Sure, they might not have children of their own, but the children--and not just your own-- of today are the backbone of tomorrow. When these child-free adults and their peers are 70, 80, 90 years old they will need health care providers, food producers, truck drivers, store merchants, hair cutters, road workers, manufacturers, bankers, utility workers, janitors, news reporters . . . Being a parent is not a "lifestyle choice". Children need the support of their whole community, and when things come full circle it will be the younger generation providing for all of us.

We are planning to homeschool and I SAH (for now anyway), but I believe in quality schools and child care *choices* for all.
post #8 of 1188
Because SAH is seen as a privilege for the parentto enjoy, rather than as something the parent does for the child. This has to do with larger cultural messages that SAH is of no benefit to the child or the larger society, but essentially a frivolous, irrational lifestyle choice which others shouldn't have to 'pay for.' (Although they have no qualms paying for day care while mom is forced to perform minimum wage labor.)

I believe that it is a human right for women not to be forcibly separated from their young children for any length of time. Phrased like that it's a bit of a no-brainer huh? But our society's blind worship of $$ keeps people from seeing economic coercion for what it is.
post #9 of 1188
Yeah, I used to be a welfare mommy. I left my 1st husband when I had a 3 year old and 6 week old. I spent 2 years on welfare, WIC, medicare, foodstamps... all of that. I knew some people looked down on me but I just shake my head sadly for them and hope they never need it and are forced to eat humble pie.

I was grateful for and careful with every cent they gave me. I am deeply thankful to the state of Massachusetts and all those who's taxes helped us get by for those years. If they begrudge me any of it, well, the energy they put out into the world will come back to them in some sad form. There is nothing I can do about that.
post #10 of 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalateaDunkel View Post
I believe that it is a human right for women not to be forcibly separated from their young children for any length of time. Phrased like that it's a bit of a no-brainer huh? But our society's blind worship of $$ keeps people from seeing economic coercion for what it is.
Amen.
post #11 of 1188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalaland42 View Post
I don't subscribe to this belief but perhaps it is because everyone is entitled to send their child to public school regardless of resources but not everyone is entitled to WIC/Medicaid/etc. So if DH or I have a good income, we could never benefit from these programs where we could from public schools.
And yet -- does ANYone really know they're ALWAYS going to have a great income, or even the ability to earn money? I paid into these programs for years, never dreaming I'd ever be on the receiving end. Of course, now that I recall, I DID do my unfair share of judging. I guess what goes around comes around.
post #12 of 1188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gargirl View Post
I knew some people looked down on me but I just shake my head sadly for them and hope they never need it and are forced to eat humble pie.
Good point!

It's funny, I started this thread just outraged about some comments I'd heard some others make -- and now a little reflection is making me remember my OWN pre-kids days.

I guess some of us just don't understand 'til we're in line for the humble pie.
post #13 of 1188
Thats the dumbest thing I've ever heard. So what? Are people wanting a single mother to go to work for $7 an hour, use most of that for daycare, and THEN apply for foodstamps? Just so that she can say she 'worked' therefore 'contributing' to society? Geez. I think (jmho, so dont jump on me, k?) that a mother staying home is contributing FAR more to society than putting her child in a mediocre, overcrowded, under staffed daycare. But again, who am I, right?
post #14 of 1188
I was just recently talking about this with dh! It came up b/c I had been chatting with my friendly neighboorhood grocery store employee. She talks about her family sometimes and I found out that she is on public assistance, and has 5 kids from various fathers, etc. Initially I was really upset b/c I thought "how could this nice woman have put herself in such a situation and just expect us (the taxpayers) to take care of it?!" but, the more I thought about it the more upset I got that the state was paying out i am sure MUCH MUCH more than she is making at the grocery for childcare for her 5 kids (I don't know what assistence progarm she is in, but her chidcare is from the state). It just seems so rediculous that she can't just stay home with her kids and save everyone $$ and do a better job taking care of them!
btw, I was tOTALLY one of the childless who was disgusted with breeders and having to pay for "their public schools!", now I am just pissed about paying for public schools b/c they suck so often and we won't use them anyway!
post #15 of 1188
I think that people choose to focus on stories of mothers on welfare having more kids to make more money(yeah, like that makes sense). Not that I don't think that there are a small amount of people who abuse the system by being dishonest...The majority of people receiving assistance (myslef included) are just trying to do what is best for there children and families. We don't qualify for all of it but my dd has Title XIX and I had it while I was pregnant. My mom had a fit that I was using Title XIX and hired a doula. I had an intervention free birth. I wanted to be like "do you know how much money I saved tax payers by not involving an anastesiologist?" so yeah I spent the money on a doula! I think that those people who are working and maybe don't have as much $$ or as many things as they want need to have someone to blame. Unfortunately they ignore the fact that 1% of the poplulation has like 95% of the wealth so I am not the reason they are struggling.

Also I don't think people know that financial aid for college comes from the same fund as other welfare federally. You don't hear anyone complaining about college students using that program. For example my sister got a federal need based scholarship of several thousand dollars and my mom didn't say BOO but she just bought herself an IPOD. Why is that any different than me being on Title XIX and hiring a doula?

I believe I have a right to stay home with my child and she has the right to be with me, maybe if our society had better maternity and paternity bennefits like other countries woman and families wouldn't have to use publice assistance as much. If I did go back to work I would have to try and get a block grant for childcare which would probably cost more than what I am receiving now.
post #16 of 1188
It makes no sense to me how we subsidize so many programs for working/student mamas (which I agree we should), but begrudge moms who stay home. It should be about the best interest of children, not about a couple extra bucks.

People have their priorities so backwards!
post #17 of 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilysmama1124 View Post
I think that those people who are working and maybe don't have as much $$ or as many things as they want need to have someone to blame. Unfortunately they ignore the fact that 1% of the poplulation has like 95% of the wealth so I am not the reason they are struggling.
I think you hit the nail on the head. IME the people who really feel bitter towards women who receive welfare to SAH are those who are just above them on the income scale. That means they do have a steady income, but it's very little, and their kids are in substandard care while they work. So they look at the SAHMs on welfare and think, "What, I'm struggling and sending my kids to a daycare I hate so you can have welfare benefits and stay with your kids?"

I believe their bitterness is misplaced given the wealth distribution in this country, but I don't blame them for feeling angry. Yes, it's the wrong target, but the anger is valid.

That's why I think that if we had high quality subsidized childcare available for all, there would be less resentment of SAHMs on welfare. If people weren't so worried about their own kids, they could be more generous to people on welfare.

As for public school, I believe public school (and financial aid) is perceived differently because there is a sense that society at large benefits from those institutions, whereas there is not the same feeling about SAHMs (wrongly, IMO).
post #18 of 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by bekkers View Post
btw, I was tOTALLY one of the childless who was disgusted with breeders and having to pay for "their public schools!", now I am just pissed about paying for public schools b/c they suck so often and we won't use them anyway!
Yeah, but our country is better off having them. Every country needs to have free education for anyone who wants or needs it, now if we would just respect education in general rather laughing at it, we might have a better system.

Speaking of education, I think part of the problem is politicians have completely blown out of proportion how much of the federal budget welfare comprises. Compared to the price of the war, welfare is the money thrown into the tip jar at Starbucks.

Sometimes I sit back and wonder why people don't rise up against the 5% of people with all of the money. Is it easier to pick on someone who has less status in their minds or are they just stupid?

Oh, and one of my friends who hates every government program makes over $300k between him and his wife. I tried to tell him that he wouldn't be making that money if there weren't jobs for regular people to prop him up, but he wouldn't listen. I blame that on Ayn Rand though.

And as for the most rediculous thing anyone has ever heard, I used to work for this guy in WA that lives in a town that has declared itself sovereign from the US. They don't pay property taxes, car tabs, they made their own drivers licenses... They repudiated every tie to the US. Just ask them about their SS#. That is some funny stuff.
post #19 of 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2abigail View Post
Thats the dumbest thing I've ever heard. So what? Are people wanting a single mother to go to work for $7 an hour, use most of that for daycare, and THEN apply for foodstamps? Just so that she can say she 'worked' therefore 'contributing' to society? Geez. I think (jmho, so dont jump on me, k?) that a mother staying home is contributing FAR more to society than putting her child in a mediocre, overcrowded, under staffed daycare. But again, who am I, right?
That is my feelings exactly. I COULD go work somewhere, but by the time you take daycare and transportation into consideration, I may bring home $20 a week. Why bother? Esp. when it is so hard to find decent childcare. I worked in daycares for 4 years before finally being able to stay home with my dd, and I am so much happier now. My dd is also much happier. I am currently looking for a night shift job, because that is really the only time I really feel comfortable leaving them
post #20 of 1188
Quote:
Originally Posted by libranbutterfly View Post
That is my feelings exactly. I COULD go work somewhere, but by the time you take daycare and transportation into consideration, I may bring home $20 a week. Why bother? Esp. when it is so hard to find decent childcare.

Ditto! But I didn't even take into account transportation and I was going to have to use my own car for work! It was a really good job and I was very excited about it until I did the math.
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