Stay-at-Home Mums

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I was having a discussion earlier this week with someone else who works at the university. Somehow the discussion turned to our children and she asked if we put them in childcare.

Has our society arrived at the point where it is assumed that mothers work away from home? Is it rare now to see stay-at-home mums?

49 thoughts on “Stay-at-Home Mums

  1. Did you tell her it would be rather hard to homeschool them if they were in childcare? And why would she ask that? She assumed I worked outside the home, automatically, I suppose.

    My children may challenge me sometimes but I CANNOT imagine being away from them all day.

  2. “Has our society arrived at the point where it is assumed that mothers work away from home? Is it rare now to see stay-at-home mums?”

    Yes on both counts. With certain notable exceptions, it’s generally assumed (nearly required) for mothers to work outside the home in the vast majority of the world.

    With the current cost of living in some of the larger centres and the desire to maintain a certain style of life, the working mother has become the standard and the stay at home mother is the exception to the rule.

    With in-house daycare and flex-hours, businesses are doing their best to facilitate the (desk) working mothers. It’s currently one of the most hotly debated issues in boardrooms today; how to replace the vast number of baby boomers about to leave the workplace.

    Without the inclusion of these women in the workforce, there will be massive shortfalls in workers on all levels of employment.

    It’s going to be an interesting decade to come…

  3. “My children may challenge me sometimes but I CANNOT imagine being away from them all day.”

    Ah, I see, Mary. It’s your inability to deal with the co-dependent relationship you have with your children that colours your choice to stay at home… :P

  4. lol

    Well, and I love being home with them. The like me too, I think.

    Actually on a serious note, I always planned to be a stay at home mother. My stewardship, I have to answer for.

  5. >>Actually on a serious note, I always planned to be a stay at home mother. My stewardship, I have to answer for.

    Me too. I could quote all our favorite quotes like “No success in the world makes up for failure at home” but at the core of it, I feel that my family is my stewardship and staying at home is how I feel I can best take care of it.

  6. PDOE

    It’s good to know I am not alone. :) Well, ok, I know I am not. There are many other wives and mothers who feel this way, but sometimes its hard to “say it out loud” when you get the strange looks after the question, “What do you do?”.

  7. My wife and I got married last year and immediately had a baby (yes we have a honeymoon baby). We were living in New York City, both working, and enjoying quite a good life. But with our baby coming, we made a choice to leave New York City (we could not afford to live there on just my salary), find a job in the boondocks of Pennsylvania, where life is cheaper, and live on just my salary so that my wife could be at home for our daughter. We couldn’t be happier in our family and our lives.

  8. “Has our society arrived at the point where it is assumed that mothers work away from home?”

    Maybe- but I think it certainly has within those who work in academia.

  9. On the other side, I think it is difficult for working mothers within the church when faced with the assumption that are a stay-at-home mom, like in the case of my wife. Well, that’s why I back at school to see if can up my earning potential.

    Welcome Dan…I was sad to see you leave linkup and am pleased to see you pop up here.

  10. “…and the desire to maintain a certain style of life,”

    I disagree with this point… I would have given anything to stay home and raise my children instead of going to work. Even with both of us working 2 jobs each most days, we still drove vehicles (and with that we only ever had one vehicle to share never 2)that were never even in the same decade that we lived in, never got to go on big family vacations, and big spending on shopping was done at the Army and Navy. We didn’t have credit cards or loans to pay off or any debt basically. If that counts as living a certain lifestyle then I guess we qualified.

  11. Kim,
    She did ask “if” didn’t she? I end up asking people, because I have no way of knowing “if.”
    Part-time work is quite common….women get to try and have the best of both worlds.

  12. Duncan

    I have complete respect for mothers who work outside the home, and no woman should feel denigrated because she does so. My belief is that MOST mothers who work outside the home do so because they need to. I feel I’m fortunate to be able to stay home (and actually I am still trying to get my nutrition business going, from home). But mums who work at home and outside the home literally have double the work. What they have to do at home, with the children and with the house doesn’t change because they go to work. It is that much harder. I don’t think I could do it. At least not effectively.

  13. I would love to stay at home, but as our student debt and rent is more than my husbands salary (and we currently live in the cheapest housing market in the US), I have to…if you know, we want to eat. So, yeah…alot of people assume being a stay at home mom is a luxury of the rich and famous. Thats how the ladies at my work view it – Staying at home = spoiled. (not saying thats necessarily true…but, it is a luxury)

  14. Thanks for your thoughts. We feel the disapproving opinions of others at times, but often it is internal as we struggle with not living up to an ideal.

    Things are closer to that goal as my wife’s work allows her to work when the kids are at school and be home to send them off and welcome them home.

  15. hey mtnnomad, yeah I had to leave Linkup. Got fed up with Jed’s politics rules. I do have a blog where I keep up on my political thoughts though. It is RHMD’s Thoughts on Politics. The blog linked to my name here is my family’s blog.

    On the subject, my mother had to divorce my dad over his abusive nature, and had to work at one point three jobs to raise up my sister and I. I have the utmost respect for single mothers who have to raise their children. I also respect all mothers who have to work as well as their husbands because the cost of living is just too high. We were able to make into just my salary, but we have to make sacrifices in order to live on just my salary. Gone are the cell phones and cable TV. We try to find deals on food and clothing to keep expenses down. We’re doing well. But for those who can’t, you do what you have to do to make it in life.

    The only mothers I don’t respect are those who shirk in their responsibilities to raise their children even when working. The same goes for dads who don’t spend time with their children as they are growing up.

  16. Interesting thoughts on this subject.

    Is it possible that some women use the children as an excuse to be taken care of? I have read stories of women who shared their husband with other women and they had to work to support theimselves and their children.

    Is the stay at home mom a luxury concept that happened after World War II?

    Is it easier to work than to be a stay at home mom?

    Should a woman whose children are grown stay a stay at home wife or should she get a job and work for the benefit of the world?

  17. “Is it possible that some women use the children as an excuse to be taken care of?”

    Huh? Um, so are you saying it is better for strangers to look after one’s children? I know daycare is sometimes necessary, but when the mother CAN be home, isn’t it best that the children have this?

    “I have read stories of women who shared their husband with other women and they had to work to support theimselves and their children.”

    Huh AGAIN? Are you talking about polygamy? Why would a woman share her husband with another woman? Do you mean this in a marital way??? Where on earth do you find these things?

    “Is the stay at home mom a luxury concept that happened after World War II?”

    Luxury? I don’t agree. I don’t think being a SAHM is a luxury. We do without a lot of things for me to stay home, and with all the daily tasks, I certainly don’t see it being a luxury. Ok, if you have a housekeeper and a maid, maybe it would be a luxury.

    “Is it easier to work than to be a stay at home mom?”

    Neither. As I said a mother working out of the home doesn’t have any less tasks when she gets home and it’s hardwork keeping the house up to a decent standard and being at home with your children and plus you don’t get paid for it.

    “Should a woman whose children are grown stay a stay at home wife or should she get a job and work for the benefit of the world?”

    I don’t think she “should” do anything she doesn’t want to do. I also wonder where the idea that having a 9-5 paid job is “benefitting the world”. I suppose some people see contributions in different ways, but getting a 9-5 job certainly isn’t the only way to contribute to society.

  18. I am always impressed with how well explain your viewpoints. Being a stay at home mother is a very hard job. Your work is never done.

    I have 2 daughters who are stay at home moms and watching them take care of the grand children is worth every penny I “loan” them when times are tough for them.

    I am very liberal in some areas and stay at home moms is one of them. I think the government would be wise to pay mothers to stay home and take care of their children. That is pretty liberal.

    Stranger Care, I mean Day Care is not a good thing. Lots of money is made taking care of other peoples children. A lot of our social ills can be traced to latch key kids and stranger care kids while they were grwoing up.

    Just a child needs a father in the home, the child needs mom to be there.

    I support any woman who will stay home and go without so their child has mom there.

  19. When I said staying at home is a luxury, I don’t mean its easy. See in my mind, every mom wants to stay at home and be with her kids. But, not every family can afford to do that…so its a luxury. Maybe privelege would be a better word? my point was, even with sacrifices and going without sometimes one salary just doesn’t cut it. I think the idea that “you can be a SAHM if you are willing to sacrifice” is a myth. Sure, if you are in the middle class, you can do that. But, for the average young/new career family living in an average city in the states (or canada)…one salary just doesn’t pay the bills! Just my two cents.

  20. Which is one of the reasons we moved from a city of 2 million people to one of 70,000. I am making roughly three times the income now than I did previously and we own a house.

  21. Veritas

    Oh I know, I wasn’t referring to you. I was referring to “George’s” comment.

    Oh you can be a SAHM if you sacrifice, but it can be a HUGE sacrifice (like food, rent, etc etc).

    But even so, very few can stay at home and live comfortably, even if you can “afford” to do so, it’s not easy.

  22. Sally’s point is well made. There are a large number of families that fall into the conditions she describes, and it’s only going to get worse.

  23. Oh, and I should qualify my statement, three times the income may sound a lot until you realise that at one point in Vancouver I was making only 13,000$/year. The income I make helps us get by, but we’re not rich. It’s even arguable whether we’re even comfortable.

  24. I’ve found there are many things that contribute to the spirit in the home and the well-being of a family. Even though the mother at home with the kids all the time…the dad could be going out of his mind to make it work. He’s not at home very often and is stressed because he is stretched too thin to fulfill his other duties. The mother is glad to be home with the kids, but longs for some time out of the house and wants to make some money herself.

    If she got a part-time job that fits her and the kid’s schedule, she could get a breather and her husband could slow down, be home more and less stressed. Maybe finding a balance that works for your family is more ideal than the strict adherence to the Dad at work/Mom at home scenario.

  25. “If that counts as living a certain lifestyle then I guess we qualified.”

    So Sally, did your removal of yourself from the workplace make yourstandard of living increase or decrease? A “certain style of life” is living just above the poverty line, as is starving. I’m pretty sure I’m choose the former over the latter.

    Maintaining one’s standard of living applies equally to those who are talking about maintaining the cabin on the lake as it does to those who mean being able to pay the rent *every* month.

    Lost in this discussion are the father’s who would love to be stay at home dads. Given the option, that being my wife had a significantly higher earning potential that I did, I’m sure I’d have chosen to stay at home with the kids. At every stage following breastfeeding it’s an option for the father, although I’m not sure how well it is accepted by society yet.

  26. Stay at home dads is a growing trend. I see this option as preferable to both parents working outside the home and the kids in daycare, but I wonder how many would agree with me. I often get the feeling that some feel it is a gender role reversal that against the teaching of the LDS church.

  27. That’s a good point, Duncan. I wonder if people think about that.

    Part of this I think is the way we “genderify” qualities. By saying that nurturing, charity and love, for example, are female qualities (or that women have these qualities inherently), then what does that say when women go out to work and men stay home to raise the family?

  28. Unless you live in Utah or Alberta, yes stay at home moms are definitely in the minority. I live in BC and 99% of the mothers in my kids classes work part time or full time. My youngest are now entering the school system and I am debating whether to work part time. Interestingly enough, most people react postively when I tell them I’m a stay at home mom. I feel blessed that I’ve been able to do this. While it is expensive to live in BC, we have still managed to buy a home etc. on one income. It is how you manage your money not how much you make. I know there will be some who don’t agree but that is my experience.

  29. You might be missing the fact that the safe conversational assumption is that the mom is working and the children in some paid childcare. Then if the children are in paid care you’ve not a big deal of what is probably perceived as a necessary family arrangement. If the children are at home, you can say, “Oh, how lovely!” or something like that.

    At least, that’s how it works in this expensive town, where it’s very difficult to buy a house for under a million dollars. More of the married mothers are passing up paid employment to rear children full-time than not, but the work assumption is safer.

    Actually, many at-home Moms have some paid childcare help, since the employed spouse may be working 80 hours a week.

  30. A married women with children should stay at home to raise the kids and have dinner on the table before the husbund gets home. If a married women enters the workworld, then it shows that she is discracing herself as a women and shows the husbund is not there to take care of his own wife

  31. “A married women with children should stay at home to raise the kids and have dinner on the table before the husbund gets home.”

    If a married woman does not have children, should she stay home?

  32. STAY AT HOME!

    This culture desperatly needs young women of God to rise up and start training some Godly warriors for the Kingdom of Christ! We need to embrace our role as women instead of always trying to “prove ourselves” by stealing man’s. Theres a problem in out society…men love to abdicate, and women love to usurp. Women don’t understand that the only way they will be truly fulfilled is when they walk in their calling and role as WOMEN by coming under the God-given authority and leadership of the man and learn to serve OTHERS instead of only serving themselves.

    Many mothers (and fathers too) in our society have in a sense “divorced” themselves from their responsibility raise their children in the nurture and admonishion of the Lord (Eph. 6:1) and “Train up their children in the way they should go” and they have “married” their kids to the childcare and school system and have left it to the employes there to do their JOB for them.

    I am only 16, and a few years still away from marrige, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15. I plan on having as many children as the Lord so chooses to bless me with, and I’m going to homeschool them because why would I let anybody deprive me the joy of spending so much time with and teaching MY children why I believe is important, not what the government says they should know. Children are a gift from God, and I dont want to miss a minute of enjoying them and give the pleasure to some “teacher” instead :)

  33. “not what the government says they should know”

    Interesting. And what are your children going to do themselves when they get older, I mean other than breed and propagate these outdated ‘ideals’ you’re so fond of?

    Isn’t it odd that both my wife and I worked but my kids never spent more than an hour with someone other than the two of us?

    I’m afraid your world is very black and white and mine seems to be a bit more gray.

  34. Just to add on to what Rick said…of course having a parent home with the children is important. However, you don’t always get to live in that fairytale world. There is this thing that we like to call money, that is also needed to survive. I really didn’t want to work a shift until 3:00am, and then have to get up at 7:30am because I had kids to care for. We were able to make it work so our kids were only with a sitter for an hour, but other sacrifices were made. I am fortunate enough to be able to be home now for my teenage children, but sometimes things don’t always work out how we want them to be.

    Also, it is “not what the government says they should know” it is curriculum, something that all students must learn, and if your children are planning on attending a post-secondary institution, they probably should have this important knowledge also.

  35. What will they do? Are you kidding me? Please tell me you are not suggesting that you need a Dogwood or a highschool dimploma or 4 years at a university to “survive” life. If so, I can give you a list of hundreds of people who have “survived” quite well thank you with “my ideals” and without a “government education”.

    I never said that it’s wrong if your kids ever leave your sight, but 6 hours a day 5 days a week is a lot of influence from somebody who dosen’t have the same morals and values that I would want my children to be taught.

    Sorry, but I find that statement a little hard to swallow. Your telling me that your kids have never been to a friends house, daycare, school, relatives, or been away from you for more than an hour throught their whole lives? How about speniding time with a TV or computer? This seems very improbable/highly unlikely….

    Yup. Black and white describes my worldview pretty well.

  36. In all fairness, Dar, we have the thing called money as well, and we’ve managed on one income for the last 13 years. That includes having 3 children, owning a home and owning a new vehicle.

    My point isn’t that one way is better than the other, just that it is possible to survive on one income.

  37. Maybe I should have clarified…I had to work while Rick was in still in school. However, some people can not survive on just one income. It just doesn’t always work out that way.

    Was it easy for us? That would be a big Negatory. However, it was what we thought was best for our children at the time. We were not living the life of luxury at the expense of our children. My point is just that it is easy to say “I am going to stay at home, home school my kids, and bake them cookies and home made bread and be the perfect wife and mother”, but life throws us these littles trials and suddenly you find yourself in positions where you need to do certain things that you thought you wouldn’t have to do, and you have to deal and make the best of the situation. It isn’t always so “black & white”.

    To Janessa:

    Of course you don’t need a University Diploma to survive life…I am doing quite well. However, children do need to interact and have social skills, and learn about what is really in the world. You can’t shelter them forever. They have been to friends homes, they have watched the tele, they play on the computer, have facebook, etc. But we don’t live in the “Village”. It is a real world we live in. We can teach them morals and values, and guide them in their short time that we get to raise them in hopes that they will be able to deal with situations that they will be facing as they move out on their own, whether they choose to continue their education or not. But, keeping them in a bubble, and pretending that we live in a perfect world isn’t helping them at all. Unless, you are going to keep them under your wing your whole life.

    Well, if this is the case, I hate to say it, but at some point they may go off the deep end, and do something that is against everything you have ever taught them.

  38. Ah yes. The classic response to homeschoolers….I hear it all the time…

    “It is a real world we live in”

    I am fully aware of the fact the the world is “real”. Yeah, the world is full of sin. I don’t plan on lying to my kids and telling them it’s not. You don’t have to live on the street to experience the “real world”. I hate it when people try and tell me that rasing your children with high standards and not allowing them to experince things they call “real life” (but the Bible describes as sin) somehow will make them not be able to “handle” the “evils” of the world when they finally walk out of the front door. It just dosent make sense.

    I think yes, in a sense “sheltering” our kids and not letting them run wild and party BETTER prepares them for when they are on their own, because they have been taught pricipals to live by and if they have been trained well they’re not going to fall prey to a lot of the junk in the “real world” because they have been given a solid foundation that wont make them go “off the deep end” when they see a couple making out or sniffin’ something.

    When people say things about being “sheltered” it has always confused me. I have never pretened to live in a perfect world, in fact, the exact opposite is true. How could I not see all the awful things that go on today? For that to be so, my parents would have had to have locked me in my room for my whole life. Dar, please give me an example of what you think “keeping your kids in a bubble” is, and how you think it is harmful to them.

  39. Kim, I would say that some of the home schooled kids that I know are lacking social skills, however, I was referring to home schooled children lacking in social skills based more on Janessa’s comments of sheltering children:

    “6 hours a day 5 days a week is a lot of influence from somebody who doesnt have the same morals and values that I would want my children to be taught.”

    “Train up their children in the way they should go” and they have “married” their kids to the childcare and school system and have left it to the employees there to do their JOB for them.”

    I think that it takes more than just parents to raise and teach children. I am assuming that you all do to. You send them off to Sis. So & So, or Bro. Bob, who could be a complete wackadoo for all you know. It takes interaction from peers, teachers, family, friends, and even the freaky deakies to make a well-rounded socially prepared person.

    Janessa:

    Our children have been taught morals, values, and high standards. We don’t let them “run wild and party”. We have had plenty of discussions with them about making out, sex, drugs, and all the things that they do see at many of the “LDS” parties that they are invited to in this town. They do not “go off the deep end” like many of their friends, who have never talked about it with their parents who live in a bubble world.

    Bubble World ~ Definition by Dar
    These are people who think that if they take these kids to church, have daily family prayer, send them to seminary, have FHE, send them EFY, don’t let them watch tele (at home), no R rated movies (again at their house) absolutely no dances or dating until they are 14 or 16, no talking of sex drinking, or drugs (especially if you experimented as a youth),and give them the full armour of God, (some are even home schooled) basically, think that they are protecting them from all the evils of the world, and in some cases pretending that there is no way that anything evil exists, or that your child is participating.

    Our town, and many small LDS communities are full of bubbles. Many of my family members are also living in bubbles.

    In many cases…I have seen a child from a bubble family move out into the “real world” and go wild, because they feel betrayed by their parents for keeping them so sheltered. It starts with simple things…R movies, drinking Coke, going to a bar (just to dance), and progressing to more serious things.

    However, if you give your children a little taste of this world, and are very open with them, it isn’t so TABOO and they don’t feel the urge to try these bad and dangerous things.

    I am not claiming to know everything, I am just speaking as a parent, from experiences I have had, and from conversations that I have had with the youth in this town through my work.

  40. I would say that some of the home schooled kids that I know are lacking social skills

    Do you know any public schooled children lacking social skills?

    I have seen a child from a bubble family move out into the “real world” and go wild, because they feel betrayed by their parents for keeping them so sheltered.

    Likewise, I have seen so called bubble children fully interact in the world as adults without the effects you listed, and I have seen non-bubble children react just as you described upon leaving home.

    I think it’s difficult to say with any accuracy that one is the cause of the other.

  41. “Do you know any public schooled children lacking social skills?”

    Yes Kim I do, and you only asked me about my opinion of home schooled children previously. And, as I said before, the same applies here, it is also in relation to being sheltered by the parents.

    I feel like those who choose to home school tend to be ultra sensitive and defensive when it comes to the topic.

    It is your choice. Whatever works for you. I didn’t say that your kids are lacking in social skills, or that all home schooled kids are lacking in social skills…I said that “some of the home schooled kids that I know are lacking social skills.”

    In response to your “bubble world” theory, I said “in many cases” not, in all cases, or without a doubt, this is the absolute cause…like I said in #42, it is just what I have observed, and therefore, my opinion.

  42. I haven’t proposed a theory.

    I feel like those who choose to home school tend to be ultra sensitive and defensive when it comes to the topic.

    That usually seems to be the case of anyone who is repeatedly judged by others for their choices.

    Janessa,

    While I admire you for having conviction and already knowing how you want to spend the rest of your life, you should consider that your future husband may right now be thinking the opposite of what you are thinking. The ability to comprise is an admirable trait in a spouse.

  43. Dar, I do agree that it takes a Village to raise a child. Looking at the public school system however, I don’t think that it’s the Village I want to choose.

    “Our children have been taught morals, values, and high standards. We don’t let them “run wild and party”. We have had plenty of discussions with them about making out, sex, drugs”

    Hey, it looks like we’re in the same boat here! I’ve been fully educated on all of those subjects too. I think you may have some misconseptions about our family…let me give you a bit of background so you know where I’m coming from.
    I started homeschooling in Grade 3 for a number of reasons…basically my dad was the VP of a local Christian school so he knew the ins and outs of what went on, and needless to say, we weren’t too impressed. Around 4 families in our church all pulled out the same year aswell. I have in no way grown up in a perfect bubble world, where I’ve been hidden from the things of the world…we do have a TV, computer, facebook, etc..and I’m at dance classes twice every week where there a girls who talk about partying and drinking, and it happens at my youth group among “christian” teens as well.

    I’m friends with people who go to school, as well as lots of home-educators, with people who are Christians, and those who aren’t, people who are walking with the Lord, and ones who are running a bit “wild”.

    I don’t plan on not filling my kids in on what the world “has to offer”, but my goal would be for them to be so in love with Jesus Christ that they realizes that the life of abundace He offers us is FAR surpasses that anything they’ll find out in the world. That the people who drink, smoke and sleep around? They mostly end up unfulfilled, empty, broken, or with STD’s brain damage, and lung cancer.

    I believe that if kids are FILLED with JESUS from a young age, they’re not going to desire the things of the world later on. They wont even want a “taste”, becuase frankyly, God schools everything.

    That’s the way I’ve been raised; that The Lord is all I need. And I’m completely satisfied in Him.

    I do know that sometimes parents sincerly try their very best and kids still go awry, but the Bible does say if you train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he WILL NOT [not maybe] depart from it.

    To Kim, yes theres always the question of finding a spouse who shares the same convictions as you. And I do realize that you will never find a guy who perfectly meets all the things you would like, so somewhere you have to learn to come to a comprimization. My parents have modeled that wonderfully for me.
    However, many of our friends (how have sons my age might I add) DO share the same views as us, there are several in out church, and we were actually just down at a conferance in Seattle a month ago with over hundreds of families (or 1000 people) who are all on the same track as us.

    So don’t worry, I know God has it all taken care of and I’m sure it will work out just fine :)

    On another note…what is FHE and EFY?

  44. “my dad was the VP of a local Christian school”

    This brings to light something I’ve never clearly understood. People who are trained educators in the public system home-schooling their own kids.

    Is it that they know that they and their peers do such a poor job at work that they wouldn’t want their kids to have to suffer through?

    Something bugs me about this, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  45. Yeah, a lot of people are confused by it. It’s confused us before too, though we usually just laugh at the irony of it. But hey, it’s just a job like any other. He had already been there for 8 years and was making good money so there wasn’t any point in leaving just because we didn’t per say, agree with everything that was going on. He loves his job there, and has poured his heart and soul into the running of it because yes, he still “supports” it, even though he didn’t particualarly want his kids there.

    I actually know several people who are teachers and have chosen to homeschool their children.

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