It just popped into my head the other day, about all the choices people make about setting up their household — having the husband or wife stay at home with the kids or to have dual incomes.
This is an age-old argument, and if you don’t have kids or aren’t planning on any, you can skip this entirely.
I can see the benefits of both sides, although the case is harder to justify dropping two incomes down to two, if both spouses have a high earning power and potential.
Lilila Ronzuli and her baby Victoria at work
THE ARGUMENTS FOR STAYING AT HOME
- One spouse concentrates on making the money, and the other keeps the home going
- Seems to be the model for most millionaire-next-door families; husband at work, wife at home
- No one can care and love more for your child than your own family
- If one spouse is making enough just to cover the cost of daycare, then staying at home is better
THE ARGUMENTS FOR GOING TO WORK
- Two incomes means less pressure for the one spouse to constantly perform
- If both spouses make around the same amount of money, it’d be a better financial situation
- Neither spouse feels upset that the other is being taken advantage of
- Only works if the workload at home is split 50/50 as well, and the division of labour is easy to see
The monkey wrench in all of this is the cost of health insurance in the U.S., and the super short maternity leave (3 months? SERIOUSLY!?).
It is not easy to leave a 3-month old, and the pressure is even worse if it’s the mother who is the one bringing home the bacon.
WHAT ABOUT IF YOU’RE THE WIFE OF THE MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE?
WTF is a wife bonus? And What. Is. This. Insane. Poor. Little. Rich. Women. World.?!
I guess these women have turned being at home into a career.
I guess it sounds fair.. but it sounds so sick and mercenary to treat raising your family like a job rather than.. I don’t know.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around that article.
I guess I’d feel like a slave. Or a mistress, if I was paid to take care of my own kids and get them into the best schools…
THINK ABOUT THE MATERNITY LEAVE ASPECT AS WELL
Being Canadian, 4 months of paid mat leave is pathetic but in the U.S. it’s being heralded as a new era of change which is really unbelievable.
Here in Canada we get a year.
I’m really surprised at any new mother being able to go back to work after a month, let alone 4 months, with that being considered generous.
It’s hard work with a newborn or young baby.. not to mention daycare costs having to weigh out whether or not your job pays enough.
No wonder women can’t rise in the ranks, we’re penalized as new mothers and to top it all, we have to drop out to take care of our newborns.
Of course, the father could drop out of the workforce to take care of the baby, but here are the few, off-the-top-of-my-head reasons why they don’t:
- men usually earn more money than women even in female dominated industries
- fathers get a fatherhood bonus at work – men get paid MORE for being family men whereas women get the motherhood penalty of being downsized or passed over for promotions
- men think that women should take care of the children; even progressive liberal men like my partner are under that misconception for the first while unless you set ’em straight
… is it any wonder that women are stagnating in the workplace if they choose to have children, and penalized for doing so?
No wonder women are opting out of motherhood.
In either case, I think a FAIR division of labour at home, is key and the stay-at-home-parent gets a break.
Taking care of a kid, is a 24-hour job.
You don’t clock in and then clock out after 10 hours, it is constant, even if you are sick, not feeling great, or just not on top of your game.
With kids, you have to be on top of everything. All the time.
For me, I couldn’t stay at home all day with kids, that much, I AM SURE OF.
(Thank you, older siblings for providing “test” future children for me to take care of to have learned this about myself.)
It’s not that I wouldn’t love them so much that I wouldn’t want to spend every minute with them, but children are mentally and physically exhausting.
I also LIKE working. I enjoy my job and the challenges that come with it, so it’s not like I’d feel any relief not working any longer, I’d probably feel anxious.
Making a decision like this isn’t easy, and sometimes it isn’t all about the money.
Other interesting articles? They’re about Stay at home Dads with Power Wives
- Wall Street Mothers with Stay at Home Husbands .. it even comes with a fantastic video here and here.
- Moms on Top: The rise of Power Wives
What I love is summed up in this:
Ms. Black and others say that is the real gift of a stay-at-home spouse: avoiding domestic distractions and competing better against other bankers, many of them men with stay-at-home wives.
Some of the women with stay-at-home husbands are her top performers. […] the more domestic responsibility the men are willing to assume, the more their wives can help the bank make money.
.. and this one made me laugh:
(“You want awkward? Try a swim play date,” one father said.)
Every man interviewed said that many school notices, invitations and Girl Scout troop updates were still sent to their wives, a river they are constantly trying to divert.