April 4, 2007

Are we giving up too much?

I would like to be a working mom, yes! But I have never heard a more ridiculous reason to be one. "Oh What if my husband dies at 47? What will I do?" Please, give me a break! Have you never heard of Life Insurance? And when the father of my children "drops dead", I'm supposed to console my children by saying "Well, at least I have a job"? What Bull! And what a negative way to look at life! Chee chee chee!
Is it really worth it to be home when your second child loses his fourth tooth if something happens to your spouse and you end up losing the home entirely? Your children lose their rooms, their local area, their friends and their school. For them, the cost of having a stay-at-home mum is high indeed.

Thanks Akkare for the link.


GettingThereNow said...

Actually, it is realistic and practical to think of all possibilities, however improbable or impalatable. It sounds cold and harsh when someone declares she is working to secure her financial future in case her husband leaves her or dies, but I would say it is a realist's approach. Of course, Life Insurance is there. You might NOT always be able to afford the premiums for the adequate amounts that you need to sustain the same (or similar) life style. I know - we are facing that problem. According to our financial advisor, we are way under-insured and if something were to happen to me or my husband, the surviving partner will NOT be able to provide the same life-style to our kids. We can't purchase adequate life-insurance because we cannot pay the premiums without considerable financial worries. My motto in life? "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst".

I have an aunt who is well-educated but never worked out of home because her husband and in-laws didn't want her to. Her husband died at the age of 42. It was a sudden and unexpected death - he died within a day of experiencing a backache which turned out to be a result of a silent heart attack. He had no medical history of diabetes or a heart condition. She and her daughter struggled hard to make ends meet (the daughter had to leave college and take up a job). Now her father-in-law wants to throw her out of the house that her husband built but foolishly registered in the name of his mother instead of his wife's. Had my aunt been financially independent, she wouldn't be facing the stress she is under now.

So, one might not understand someone's reasons or motivations but one should try not to judge them. There are enough women out in the world who are struggling to make ends meet because their life-partner suddenly left them or died. Ask them how they feel about their previous decision of staying at home. I am sorry that my comment turned out so bitter, but that is the way I feel....

B o o said...

Cee Kay - My motto is exactly the same too, is nt that funny? But where in the article do you see hoping for the best?
And I agree with your statement:
"So, one might not understand someone's reasons or motivations but one should try not to judge them."
And the author has done exactly that - judging SAHMs. I would rather stay at home and watch my thirds child fourth teeth fall than worry about being homeless widow when I am 45 and why is that hard to digest for the author? I might regret this decision but its my choice and no one likes to be told that they have made a stupid choice. I mostly agree with the content, its the tone which reeled me up! And personally, I know I would nt be homeless or financially ruined if the inevitable happens but thats not the reason I chose to be a SAHM. Thats just sad if thats the only reason working moms work, dont you think?

SS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SS said...

Dear Boo
Thank you for this post. I read Akkare's post earlier today and it evoked such antithetical feelings in me b'coz I felt as though the author of the article was belittling SAHM's.

I have strong reasons for choosing to be a SAHM and I am confident that every SAHM is doing so knowing fully well what she is giving up or gaining in the process. It is a lifestyle preference. I don't see any articles dissing working moms.
Then why such a condescending tone when it comes to SAHM's ?

Every mom thinks about the future, financial security and death of a spouse. Just b'coz we are SAHM's doesn't mean we have donated our intellects.

I wish the article had been more fair and not so harsh .. it disturbed me greatly. I realise that this is turning into a rant .. so shall stop here !! Thanks again :-)

GettingThereNow said...

OK, now I think it is turning into a heated debate - or will soon enough :D But couldn't resist my follow-up. And I am sorry that this is going to be a long comment.

Boo: I understand the reasons most SAHMs consider for making their decisions. I do agree with you that the article has harsh words for those who make this choice and that could have been avoided. But I also think the article is trying to put out the real picture so a woman who wants to be a SAHM can make a more informed decision. The author does say that if a woman wants to stay at home even after knowing all the risks, it is her prerogative. And frankly, there is risk involved in everything we do today. So I am not contesting your argument that you chose to live with that risk and you shouldn't be condemned for making that choice. Ever since I stepped into the middle of this debate, I have been saying that I, for one, whole heartedly believe that is is the woman's decision and hers alone to make.

SS: I don't think that ALL SAHMs take all the pros and cons into account while making this decision. And I definitely know quite a few who have regretted their decisions later in life. I am glad that you and many other moms have made the decision to stay at home after careful deliberation. As for no one dissing WOHMs - are you kidding? :P Almost every other article I read about this issue is trying to prove how having the mother at home can be beneficial for the kids. And I have lost count of the number of posts I have seen where SAHMs slam WOHMs for various reasons and try to prove their choice is the most superior. Actually this is the first article I have read in a long time that so openly leans towards the WOHM decision.

Anyway, in my comment I was not passing a judgment on any one choice - all I was trying to do was point out that possibility of losing one's huband (to divorce or death) is a real one and some women do base their decisions on that - specially in the US where divorce rates are high. I have friends who worry where their next paycheck will come from when their current temporary assignment ends. They have kids they need to support and having to go without heat or food is a real, ever-present threat they face. Nothing wrong in deciding to work just to make sure your future is financially secure. Just as a SAHM may have any reason under the sun for making that decision and wouldn't like to be criticized for it, WOHMs have their own reasons and shouldn't be criticized for them either.

I don't think it is "sad" if a mother decides to work just to ensure financial security in her (and her kids') future - it is often a choice triggered by something they have experienced in their own life. Men strive to achieve financial security for their futures - why can't women?

GettingThereNow said...

And I think the author is frustrated at the way media glorifies the SAH decision without laying out the realities about the risks one faces. I don't think she was condemning the mothers who make this decision.

Kowsalya Subramanian said...

I am late and whatever I wanted to comment, Cee Kay has already done. This is the first article I have read which has supported working moms [whatever may be the reason] 3 years back when I was in great dilemma whether I was doing the right thing. I got only articles which said Children whose mom stay at home are confident, contended etc. etc and I used to feel very upset and at some point stopped reading such articles even..
As Cee Kay mentioned, My sister's husband died three years back in an accident when he was just 42. My sister got married when she was just 21, out of college and had never worked.. Though my parents are supporting her and her husband made some Life insurance, she does face many problems in trying to give the children the same lifestyle that they had when my BIL was alive. So I don't think there is any thing wrong in someone choosing to work for financial security.

itchingtowrite said...

hi boo
thanks for linking me up. great initiative here. will let u know if i spot a mom that has been missed out

Noodlehead said...

Thanks for adding my blog here :)

i was just planning to blog on this eternal deabte of SAHM vs. working mom! I feel it's a case of the grass is greener on the other side...both roles have their pros and cons and it all boils down to what works for you! I am planning to be a working mom because I have a great support system but of course, if for some reason the support system is no longer there then I will have no choice than to quit my job!

We need to understand that in the west financial security is each individual's responsibility. No one will put away money for you and no will leave you any money, so if you need to be financially stable, you have to work for it yourself! The concept of "giving" money does not exist, it's always "working" for money. I understand the author's perspective and as gettingtherenow has aptly put it - she's not belittling SAHMs but is frustrated that no one is looking into the realities of being one!! It's really not a pleasant thing to wake up when you're 50 and realize that you need to go out and get a job if you have to survive!

B o o said...

SS - As CK says, WOHMs are dissed more than SAHMs for their choice so we dont have a lot to complain! :) I agree with you totally that the article should have been less harsh.

CK - Not much debate when I agree with you mostly! :) The paragraph about SAHMs saying "it wont happen to me" and they are immune to misfortunes really got my goat! We are nt "that" stupid is all I want to say!

Kowsalya - You are right. Working for financial security is nt wrong. SAHMs are the not the martyrs they are made out to be and I am as materialistic as they come! So if I have still made the choice to be a SAHM, I ll have a good reasoning behind it. And as I have said in Rohinis blog, I envy working moms and how they have the best of both.

B o o said...

Itchy - Thanks.

Noodlehead - According to me, Working moms rule! I would never belittle working moms just to glorify SAHMs. The decision totally depends on the individual. I just wish the author has given more credit to women in general. Does she really think women of today are nt considering a million facts before taking such an important decision? For the record, I did and so did SS. So thats two of us! :)

Akkare said...

Hi everyone this is Akkare. I wonder if I am allowed to comment here even though I am not a mother...I am going to do it anyway. I put a link to the article on my blog even though I dont agree with some of what the auther says because I think sometimes this debate can be very one sided. All praise and glory for the "sacrifising" stay at home parent and all bricks for the "selfish" working parent. For women on the threshhold of taking a decision to have kids, there isnt a lot of stuff out there supporting the working mother, even though one choice is not better than the other in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

SAHM or WOHM - it is an eternal debate with no right answer. Staying at home is not for everyone but has its benefits - especially the memories that you have of your children. I see it this way - for the first 4 or 5 years of my son's life - he is entirely MINE. After he is in school, he will be more concerned about the opinions of his friends, peers, teachers etc. This is the time that I have to spend forming & molding him into the person who he is going to be. Do I want an uneducated daycare person instilling him with THEIR values? It would be different if my parents were nearby & willing to watch him - at least then I would know that he is with someone who loves him. And one day when he is a teenager and insists on walking 8 steps in front of me b/c he is embarassed to be at the mall with his mom, I will have fond memories of him holding my hand to take his first steps.

This comes at a huge sacrifice. And of course, I worry that when I return to work after this short stint, that I will have to take a paycut or see others younger than me in higher positions etc. However, don't believe that the world fall apart if something happened to my spouse. I waited until my career was established before having a baby. I have a college & graduate degree and years of experience. If something happened - I will bounce back.

Yes, we've come along way baby but we cannot have it all at once - not without doing everything badly or struggling to keep it altogether while sacrificing our health, sanity etc.

The only other thing I wanted to say was for many women, there is no choice - they must work in order to provide the basic necessities for their family. For others, they are just not cut out for it - I have a good freind who went back to work because frankly it was just too much work for her to stay at home. And still there are others who make so little income that all of it would go to childcare, so they choose to stay at home. Finally there are those who have no choice because they bind themselves to their two incomes because of life style choices. Did my husband & I make a sacrifice in our life style -hell yes! We had to get a smaller home & cut our spending when we went from two professional incomes to one. We know this is temporary & that life is long & there will still be time to build a bank account. We think it's worth it because no material goods - fancy cars, latest Louis Vuitton bag, will make a difference in making our child a secure, happy person. Plus, you can never buy back time - no matter how much money you make.

SS said...

Dear Gettingtherenow and all the others who may have been riled at my post : I just wanna say that I am sorry and that my post was absoultely not intended to offend or criticize working moms.

My comment was my personal reaction to the article. That's all it was. It was not a personal attack on anybody else.

I haven't read any articles supporting SAHM'S - and my ignorance stems from that I suppose. My bad.


GettingThereNow said...

Hey SS! No need to say sorry! We are just having a good, healthy debate here! I just gave counter-arguments to your points. I didn't think you did anything wrong by making your personal opinion known. Sticking to your point is considered a good trait in the parenting world :D Why? In my opinion, the more stubborn a parent is, the better their chances that their kids will listen to them :P So hang on to your opinions and give us a good solid issue to argue about. That is where the fun is!! I LOVVVVVVVVVVVE debates :D

Anonymous said...

I dont know why often I find eachside thrashing the other. From what I see, both choices aren't easy to make.

Moms who work are perpetually guilty that they are not spending enought time with their toddlers. But when the children become more and more independent, they feel better since can work it out so that they are home whenever the kids are and enjoy the independence also.

SAHM enjoy all the time with the kids. But when the kids grow more independent, it could get to them unless they find another outlet.
My mom got married soon after graduation. She was a SAHM till my sis and I entered middle school. After that we didnt need her so much anymore and she was becoming really frustrated. Luckily she could enter my Dad's business and now she is so happy to be able to contribute.

The ideal would be a combo. If women could take a break for maybe 4-5 yrs (maternity leave of 5 yrs anyone? :) )and go back to working...it may solve both the problems. But can everyone drop off and pick up after 5 yrs. If only things were so easy :)

The Mad Momma said...

wow..i'm staying out... i get bashed enough on my blog!! :)have fun.

guilty mom said...

Hey mommies, needed some advice, i have just begun working recently and now left my year and a half old baby in day care, he is adjusting quite well but i still feel really guilty since i suddenly have to devote so much time to work. My husband too is not too keen about me working. I desperately wanted to get to work since i really felt like i had lost all my confidence sitting at home, but now i have started feeling very guilty and selfish and think that maybe its too early to keep my baby in day care.
What should i do, should i stick it out or just quit now and take up work at a later time maybe.

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