Someday, C and I will have kids. Someday. Right now, however, seeing as though we’re about as rich as we’ll ever be, we are living, working, and saving money like crazy. Why? Because we know that our biggest expense will be a house. And the larger the down payment we have, the smaller the mortgage payment we’ll have. And the smaller the mortgage payment, the better off we’ll be because, well let's face facts: C is a teacher. And as everyone knows, teachers simply don’t make that much money. You can’t earn $30,821 a year and provide adequately for a family, even in a place where housing is still relatively affordable. You just can’t.
However, if it happens that we are able to provide for our family on C’s salary alone, then I am going to opt for staying at home. Why? Because I think it will be fun to sew all day and decorate my house and watch “Ambush Makeover?” Well, yes, but those are not the only reasons. It’s because I believe that my staying home will make a positive difference in my children’s lives.
In a recent article in the Washington Post, a columnist who is having a baby boy in June wrote the following, “I think I'll be a better mother because I have a job, showing my son that women can be mothers and workers, good cooks and great policymakers, football tossers and reporters.” I guess I just don’t understand why she thinks she actually has to work in order to demonstrate this. Why does that son have to grow up in daycare to know that she is a good worker? I am currently working as a statistician and adjunct faculty. When I actually have work to do, I am good at it. Dang good at it. But do my kids actually need to see this to know it’s true? And even if I never had a real job, wouldn’t they learn at home that I am efficient, organized, smart, responsible, reliable, self-motivated—all qualities of a good employee?
The columnist finished her article with the following, “I think what I've learned during these past nine months or so is that no matter what I decide, I'll have to tell myself it's the right choice for me.” This is one of my biggest pet peeves of women who choose to work outside the home. To me, it’s the weakest argument you can make for returning to work after the birth of a child. That’s great that you think this choice is right for you; however, you have a child. Your life is no longer about you. It is about you, your spouse, and that child. So tell me you’re doing this because it’s what’s right for your family. After all, if it is for you, why did you have a child anyway?
If it turns out that we aren’t able to make ends meet based on C’s salary alone, then sure, I’ll work. I am proud that I have the education, qualifications, and experience to do so. I am certainly not against mothers working outside the home. But I just wish that they would make that decision based on what is best for their family and not just for them.