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Old 08-14-2006, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It seems there are a lot of assumptions about why WOHMs work, and why they "should" work. I feel like on this board, as well as in real life, the only reason we are "allowed" to work is if we make the case that it's because we need the money. And your needs better be pretty bare-bones, because if you give that reason someone is bound to tell you that they got by on half your family income with the same number of kids, and you just need to make SAHMing a priority. And we just wind up feeling defensive, even though I suspect that a good chunk of us work for reasons besides merely paying the electric bill. Why isn't it OK for us to say that?

I thought about making this a poll, but realized our answers are probably too freeform for that.

So why do you work/plan to work? Is it strictly for financial necessity, however you define it? To provide "extras" for the family as a whole, yourself or the kids? Is it philosophical? Is it for a sense of security or independence? Because you enjoy it? Do you have a career?

Would you prefer to be a SAHM? Do you wish your partner could stay home with the children? What would be the conditions in which you would be a SAHP?
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:57 PM
 
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If we're talking about the particular job I have right now, I do it exclusively for the money. Because of what I do, I should theoretically feel like I'm "making a difference", but lots of factors conspire to make me feel otherwise.

If we are talking about work in general, I think there is a wide range of why parents (especially mothers) choose to work and that I find the great majority of those reasons valid in my own mind. Working at a career you've spent many years developing and which provides financial security to your family certainly makes sense. Working to provide your children with "extras", especially if you are doing it because it's important to you/your child (vs. a keeping up with the Joneses attitude) shouldn't be dismissed. Women work for such varying reasons that I hate the judgmental attitude that WOHM have to deal with so often.

That said, I would personally prefer to be a SAHM. A lot of that reasoning has to do with having a child with SN, which is obviously not the norm for most parents. If we had even a minimal level of financial security, I would leave this job ASAP. I don't have a career, and can't imagine developing one at this point. I find the struggle to balance the demands of work with the greater-than-average demands of our youngest dd (not to mention the other two children!) to be overwhelming.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:07 PM
 
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I like the mental stimulation. I also like how what I learn might be applied to a future busines of my own. I like my friends at work. I like having a bit of a schedule. I would have made more noise about quitting if my work had not been so great about giving me lots of flexibility...soon, though, I want to work one less day a week.

Most of my mother friends work so I don't get too many judgments from them. A relative of mine said she doesn't see why people have kids if they are not going to stay home with them. I hope I misunderstood her. She has loads of money so staying home for her is no problem, and I am astonished she can't see how that $$ helps her stay home (if I did understand what she was saying).

I've heard on this board about kids who wanted their mothers to stay home...then when the mothers stayed home, the same kids said they wanted more money to do fun stuff and could she go back to work...so as far as kids go, I think it's a big guess as to what they want or think would be best.

In my perfect world, I'd work PT.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:13 PM
 
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Keeps the gas in my Hummer.



(Sorry . . still feeling a little jumpy from that "other thread" .. and OP, I know you know what I'm talking about, as you were a thoughtful contributor throughout.)

I'll keep an eye on this thread and post in a less tongue-in-cheek fashion later.

Mama to 2 mopheaded rascals
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:15 PM
 
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I feel I had/have the best of both. I was able to stay home when my ds1 was born in May 2001. Our ds2 was born in Feb 2004. I stayed home with both until Jan 2006 when we moved to a different state. I became the F/T WOH parent and dh now stays home with the boys.

I was ready to go back to work! I enjoyed the time I spent being a FTM but I am equally loving being back at work and having the chance to get back into using my education and experience! (Plus the stimulation of "working" again)

It worked out well because dh and I were adament that one of us would be home with the boys, so the move allowed us to re-evaluate and decide that we would switch roles. (DH also works from home p/t as being a Graphic Designer leads to being self employed very well)


So while I work for the money, it was also by choice and works great for us!
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:18 PM
 
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My husband's income alone could not pay the bills. It's survival. And to be honest, I need the adult contact and mental stimulation too. If we could afford for me to stay home, I probably would, but that's not in the cards.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ha. Well, it's not just that thread that has me thinking about this issue. It seems like a broad social issue, so I wanted to see what the other WOHMs had to say about it.

And I should add that I definitely *don't* work so I can have a nice car. My car is a '92, with 236K miles on it. But you know something? I don't care if a mama *does* work so she can have a nice car of her very own. Maybe that's a form of security for her, maybe that's her sign that she's made it in the world. Material things are rarely just about money or impressing other people. My house sure isn't just a roof over my head.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:37 PM
 
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I have maintained a full time job for the last 8yrs ( I'm 25) My DH is still at home with DD and I didn't stay home because my income exceeds his income by about 4x. We are getting by on one income but I'm ready to be a two income family again. Also I agree with the PP who said she feels that her DC gets good social interaction from daycare. I'm actually wishing I'd put DD into daycare about 6months ago. She is having a lot of trouble adjusting to being around other children and I think it's definately time for her to learn these skills. I think I would probably work PT even if it wasn't financially necessary just because I get stir crazy having to be "at home".
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:40 PM
 
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I work because it makes me a better person, a better wife, and a better mother when I do so. I need mental challenges and stimulation, and am a bit of a control freak. At work, I manage projects, so my obsessive desire to have everything "just so" makes me extremely effective.

It also gets it out of my system so that I can be more laid back at home with my family. If I did not work, I know I would have a very difficult time being patient with my toddler when she tantrums, and sticking to GD.

TBH, if someone were to stay home with our children, it would be DH. He's very patient and laid back. He also doesn't love his job with the passion I have for mine, and that's a major factor.

Money is a factor, but only in that I really need to have savings lined up. For instance, we could live on just my income no problem. But then our retirement savings and college savings (and just plain savings savings) would suffer. DH isn't willing to stop working until I make enough to cover the loss of money to put towards the future.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
Ha. Well, it's not just that thread that has me thinking about this issue. It seems like a broad social issue, so I wanted to see what the other WOHMs had to say about it.

And I should add that I definitely *don't* work so I can have a nice car. My car is a '92, with 236K miles on it. But you know something? I don't care if a mama *does* work so she can have a nice car of her very own. Maybe that's a form of security for her, maybe that's her sign that she's made it in the world. Material things are rarely just about money or impressing other people. My house sure isn't just a roof over my head.
nak, so i will post later but i really like what you said here. as someone who grew up with a sahm and scarcity i can so relate to posessions representing security.

shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
It seems there are a lot of assumptions about why WOHMs work, and why they "should" work. I feel like on this board, as well as in real life, the only reason we are "allowed" to work is if we make the case that it's because we need the money.
Really? I'm genuinely sorry to hear you say that because MDC has been an oasis for me in general. And I find the women on the working mothers board to be exceptionally articulate and thought-provoking .... and I want everyone to lurve MDC as much as I do. But I've been "dark" for a week on vacation, so perhaps I've missed some bad vibes.

Here are some of my favorites from this board, some of which touch on why we work

Why do you work:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=300304

Anyone here NOT need to work for financial reasons?
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=480150

Anyone a better mom......because you WOH, or go to school?
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=426199

Dealing with Guilt:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=440864

"I suspect that a good chunk of us work for reasons besides merely paying the electric bill. Why isn't it OK for us to say that?"

I'm very interested in exploring this issue. Sometimes I think it's very difficult for women to OWN the decision to work. So I see a lot of people couching it in financial terms, which seems to be an "acceptable" reason to work, but the fact remains that no one asks men, even rich men, why they work.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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1. I love my job. I'd go crazy without it.

2. I make much more money than dh.

3. I am less domestic than he is. We've both stayed home at different times the first couple of years after ds' birth. He does it better.

We are now currently both working (and downsizing our budget) to save money so he can quit in a year. He will be the stay at home parent, homeschool and work on his art.

My family of 3 (plus pup) Indigo (Aimee), Rob (dp), Ryne (ds) & Phebe (dog), plus my BIL's family of 3.

 
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay

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Old 08-14-2006, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ellien C, thank you for those links! I figured there had to be something along those lines around here, but I was getting frustrated because I just kept seeing WOHMs having to constantly defend their choice to work in a way that SAHMs don't seem to have to do around here. Personally, I think we should all cut each other some slack.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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1. I bring home $2000 a month, that's net, after taxes, after paying for childcare. In addition my employer puts 9% of my salary towards retirement. That's a lot of money to give up.
2. We do actually need my salary to be homeowners in this part of the country.
3. I like the fact the entire burden of breadwinning is not on my spouse, I feel it's better for him and for our relationship to not give him that stress.
4. I work for a university. DS will be eligible for free tuition.
5. My employer has been extremely flexible, I work from home 2 days a week. When the time comes I know they will let me work during school hours only, so I will be able to be with him after school. I think it would be hard to find another job that would let me do so.
6. I like being an equal contributer, it means my relationship with DH is more equal in other ways--he cooks, cleans, does diapers, all without me asking.
7. I think due to some psychological issues I am more comfortable knowing I am not totally dependent on DH, ie if he left me (which he shows no signs of doing!)
8. I work 35 hours a week, have 20 vacation days, 14 holidays, 2 personal days... no overtime, no weekends... why not keep this cushy job?
9. I do think daycare is good for DS in that DH and I are extremely introverted and don't really know people with kids in the area. DS also seems to truly love ihs daycare providers (a woman and her sister who run an in-home daycare). He's never once cried when I dropped him off, runs to hug them when he sees them. I am glad he has more adults in his life that he can trust and love!

I don't know if I would stay at home if I could. I do like earning my own money. And I feel if DH was the sole provider we would see less of him--he would feel obligated to put in the long hours so many dads seem to, insteatd of coming home right at 5 each day.

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:25 PM
 
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I work because when DH was in grad school for his PhD, I got a good job with a consulting company that values my contribution. They have supported me through 2 pregnancies, 2 maternity leaves, and 2 transfers. Now they support me working from home. I make significantly more money than if DH worked, and I'm at home. Because DH is a SAHD, we're both home with the kids, even if my office door is closed more than its open. DH and I have talked about changing roles, but I make more money that he could, he would most likely be gone from the house all day, whereas now we're both home, and he's really good with the kids, possibly better than I would be.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:35 PM
 
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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.
I have no time now to formulate a proper reply as I'm on my way out to the park, but in short...most of what you just said and maybe a bit more
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:41 PM
 
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I'm the breadwinner, my DH is a mostly SAHP who does occasional out of home remodeling projects.


I wouldn't mind staying at home until my youngest was maybe 8 or so (I don't think I would home school after that age) but that's not on the table. My DH is an immigrant without a higher education and significantly less earning potential, plus I have a solid government job that is relatively low stress and pays well so it's a no brainer for us. He would have to either have a booming business he was dedicated to (not going to happen, he's not that motivated) or a regular job that paid well (even less likely to happen) for me to be at home.

I should say I don't think I would stay at home perpetually (although I think it's perfectly fine for those who choose to do so). I would feel worried about what would happen to me financially if something happened to my partner and also I think I personally would do better mentally and physically working in some capacity if my kids were in school. However, if I was married to someone doing very well financially I would consider volunteer work, or low paid non profit type of work half time, etc. rather than the sort of career I have now.
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herausgeber
*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.

*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.


I also think about how I have money saved for myself for retirement. I've also heard scary stories about women who've stayed home 10-14 years to rear their children and then have no money to show for it and the husband takes up with a younger woman. I don't think my DH would do that, yet I still like having my own savings and my own money.
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by henhao
I also think about how I have money saved for myself for retirement. I've also heard scary stories about women who've stayed home 10-14 years to rear their children and then have no money to show for it and the husband takes up with a younger woman. I don't think my DH would do that, yet I still like having my own savings and my own money.
I think this has a lot to do with it... My mom was a SAHM. She was "with" my father from the time they were in 8th/10th grade and married for over 30 years. She stayed home & raised four daughters. When the youngest one left home, he disappeared from our lives. My mother was left with no income, no health insurance (with LOTS of medical problems), no home, no retirement savings, no education beyond high school, and no out of the home work experience for 30 years. No one - and I mean NO ONE at all, ever - would have guessed this would happen to my parents. NO ONE. Not even close friends/relatives. Everyone was shocked. 10+ years later, my mother is still barely scraping by. I think that as a very young grad student, that experience really shaped me.

I also spent a long time in school so I could get the job I have now. I love it.

I also don't have the temperment to SAH. I just don't. I spent the 2.5 years of DS's life coming to grips with that fact. He is better off in daycare. It suits his personality. It just does.

Finally, I do need the money - now. I have lots of student loans that I just can't expect my DH to pick up. They were all taken out before I met him, and IMO, it's not fair to make him pay for choices I made without him. We also have some shocking debt that we took on before I got pregnant (a HUGE surprise, actually).

There's more, I'm sure. But, I'm (finally) so done justifying my choices. I just don't care anymore what other people think.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:14 PM
 
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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 : .
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:18 PM
 
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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.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:25 PM
 
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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
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:30 PM
 
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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!
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:58 PM
 
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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

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:21 PM
 
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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.

Mama to 2 mopheaded rascals
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:25 PM
 
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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.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:30 PM
 
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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
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:40 PM
 
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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...

Seperated, Cape Dress Wearing, Covered, Conservative Mennonite Mama to big girl K.
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Old 08-14-2006, 06:44 PM
 
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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

Mother of two. : 4/05 and 1/07 Wife of one. : 7/01
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