Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stay-at-home moms: RETHINK!

We had wonderful times together, my sons and I. The parks. The beaches. The swing set moments when I would realize, watching the boys swoop back and forth, that someday these afternoons would seem to have rushed past in nanoseconds, and I would pause, mid-push, to savor the experience while it lasted.

Now I lie awake at 3 a.m., terrified that as a result I am permanently financially screwed.

As of my divorce last year, I'm the single mother of two almost-men whose taste for playgrounds has been replaced by one for high-end consumer products and who will be, in a few more nanoseconds, ready for college. My income -- freelance writing, child support, a couple of menial part-time jobs -- doesn't cover my current expenses, let alone my retirement or the kids' tuition. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of two teenagers must be in want of a steady paycheck and employer-sponsored health insurance.

My attempt to find work could hardly be more ill-timed, with unemployment near 10 percent, with the newspaper industry that once employed me seemingly going the way of blacksmithing. And though I have tried to scrub age-revealing details from my résumé, let's just say my work history is long enough to be a liability, making me simultaneously overqualified and underqualified.

But my biggest handicap may be my history of spending daylight hours in the company of my own kids.

(Read the rest in the url)

Interesting read. It made my blood boil in parts but she made good points in others.

Here's what I have to say about it.

First off, the most noticeable. We are in a recession. She isn't the only one who has been having a hard time getting a job. Is it because she stayed at home for 14 years, or because she's a freelance writer trying to get a job...during a RECESSION. We won't know because there are too many other factors going on.

I do know that when I applied for a job 4 almost 5 years ago, that I was hired the same day, with no Nursery experience but with a love for plants and a knowledge to back it up. I know that I had been a stay at home mom for 6 years prior. I know that the company I work for now would have more people to choose from and could be pickier, and I know there's a chance I wouldn't have gotten the job now if they were hiring. Does it have to do with my being a stay at home mom? Absolutely not.

I do know that telling people to continue to work part time is a good idea, IMO. Whether it be from home, or a few hours a week, allow something on your resume if you decide to go back to work. Although stay at home moms work their butt off, it's still good to be in the work field.

The idea that the NEED for stay at home moms is not there anymore and that more are choosing NOT to stay at home...could this ALSO be because of the economy? Just because the numbers are down doesn't mean the want isn't there to stay at home, it could mean that people can't afford to live without two people working.

She talks about how she is divorced and has nothing and that there is no money for her kids school. This is about planning, or in her case, the lack thereof. No one plans to get divorced, and I am not naive in thinking that "it will never happen to me" (if you divorce me, love, I am kicking your ass) but I am also of the opinion that if you have marital struggles, you do something about it. You go to counseling, you make time for each other, you communicate and you are a good spouse. I don't know what happened between her and her husband, but I am not an advocate of divorce. I am also not a fan of marrying an asshat who doesn't help support her kids. Being a single parent is hard, regardless if you had been a stay-at-home mom or not. Plan, that's all I am saying. If it's not divorce, it's the possibility of your spouse losing his/her job, or worse...dying.

The thing that upsets me the most is the way it seems she is blaming her kids and raising them on her troubles right now. I would hate for her kids to read this, and see the guilt that they feel that mom isn't feeling like a winner right now...and hey, she thinks it's THEIR fault. Awesome. Being a parent (stay-at-home or not) is about sacrifices. You don't get to go out as often, you don't get to buy the newest and greatest car, your friends might slowly start dwindling because they DON'T GET IT. It happens. To me, it's worth it. Everything is WORTH it. I am a parent and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Here's the deal: I believe that kids can be perfectly fine growing up in day care. I do. I just choose to raise my kids the way I want to. I choose NOT to have someone else raise them. I choose to live a life a little differently than others who choose to work. I never judge anyone who makes the choice to work over the choice to stay at home. I figure we, as moms, need to stick together and support each other because either way, being a mom is HARD. No matter how you slice it.

Also, whoever came up with the term "opted out" when it comes to stay-at-home-moms...screw you.

What do you think?

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