Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A thought explosion from a non-mother RE: Matt Walsh Blog/SAHMs

So we all read that article Matt Walsh posted about What Stay-At-Home-Mom's DO all day, right?  I don't mean to encourage the debate, or offer yet another irrelevant anecdote, or even rehash points that have already been made around the internet.  I don't really know a whole lot about this dude, but I can at very least appreciate his candor.  How he comes up with his 'logic' is often times flawed though (I know this thanks to my involvement with a philosophy scholar for the better part of a decade, I have learned how to logically argue fairly well!)  I am saying this after being especially fired up about his latest gem about the EBT glitch/welfare recipients being thieves... another blog for another day!

So this whole post MW wrote was regarding comments that people he was apparently acquainted with asked about his wife and kids.  Their comments about his wife staying home seemed totally innocent and/or just people making small talk, but it stirred up enough ranty-ness for a blog post.  I thought it was very kind and deserved to celebrate the stay-at-home Mothers.  Just the way it was written, I can see how every other mother (or child raised by, for that matter) who didn't fit into this ideal would be offended.  I was raised by a SAHM, and I was a bit peeved.  Thus this blog

First of all.  It will never be possible to determine if a single human person would be 'better' had they had the opposite of what they experienced.  If my Mom worked when I was growing up would I be less polite?  Maybe not as good at school?  Would I have wound up a pregnant or drugged up teen?  I personally feel like my mother did a fabulous job raising me, but doesn't everyone?  Would I have felt any less loved?  Impossible.  (as far as I know.)  I look to my group of adult friends and colleagues, and we are all normal regular people functioning well in society, and some had parents that worked, and some didn't.  Long story short, in the end, I don't think the fact that you work outside of the home makes a meaningful difference in the long run. 

Secondly, I really hate how jobs are even compared to parenthood.  The only factor to compare is how you spend your time for 40-50 hours per week.  Jobs will always be just jobs.  You show up, get your paycheck and go home.  So whether you have that on your plate or don't, you still have full duties of motherhood and fatherhood going on.  It isn't like you choose one and forgo the other.  I know the counter-argument is that SAHMs are always 'at work' because they never get a break from the home and kid duties, and I feel sympathetic to that for sure.  To that though, I say maybe you need to work in some 'mom-cations' or something because you won't ever be able to escape the need to take care of your living place or your family on the regular(unless you work, of course).  I know I take 'wife-cations' from making dinner sometimes and we eat pizza bagels every night for a week. #don'tcare.  Everyone needs a break, so take one!

I think SAHMs are a rarity these days for several reasons.  A big one is opportunity cost.  I have been working on this little career of mine for some time, and have spent big dollars on educating myself and the like.  It hurts me to even think of putting all I have worked towards on hold for more than a couple years.  If anything, I 100% think if I were to temporarily take time off work it would make way more sense to do it when the kids are teenagers than when they are babies.  I am getting away from my point...  So if one were to not work for about 10 years or so at a professional level, which I am, I'd lose about $750000 in income over that time (est), $75000 wouldn't go into my retirement fund which would eventually grow into around $385K less the cost of daycare (I'll even highball it at $300/wk is $15600 a year - for 5 years is 78,000 per kid.  For say 3 kids that is $234,000.  When I subtract taxes from the mix I'd earn $925,000 in total value and pay $234,000.  Net gain of kids in daycare is $691,000.  Is being at home with my children worth almost three quarters of a mil?  Can you put a price on it?  It is hard to say, but my childless self right now thinks about the nice home we'd be able to provide, and the college educations we will be able to afford, and the vacations we will be able to take.  It seems a bit more appealing to outsource some of the diaper changing, in my opinion. 

I can't really say one way or another of course, because I have no kids, but this article really made me think about my own mother.  My father had a good job that allowed her to stay at home with my brother and I.  I think about how a sense of ambition and wanting to be successful in a career and importance of education all in part came from her and her sacrifices (?right word I am looking for) and how we were raised.  If I didn't have a successful career, and decided to be a career homemaker would that be a giant slap in the face to her?  I think I might feel that way if I had done so much to set my child up for success in the world. 

I don't think I will ever be a SAHM when the kiddos eventually come along.  Mostly just because I need insurance (not the health/life/car kind).  I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  Aaron might wake up 10 years from now and be diagnosed with a terminal illness like my father was.  Or he might get struck by lightning, or a drunk driver.  Or he might just decide one day that he doesn't want to be married to me anymore, or I to him.  I can't have nothing to fall back on.  Life insurance, and prenuptial agreements are great and all, but they just don't feel like enough in my mind that I could take care of myself forever if I needed to.  Plus I would want to be an example to my daughters (I decided we are only having that they can be and do anything.  But they are for sure going to be astronauts and doctors, I've decided. 

So I am clearly on the team of working mom over here, even though I didn't intend to be.  I think SAHMs are very hardworking and noble people and I am sure there is plenty of evidence to show that there are benefits to having a parent at home with the children, plus what greater way to spend your days than caring for your family? (this post is not researched in the slightest).  I am sure that it is the majority of parents' first choice. 

I didn't really have a point to all of this other to share my thoughts.  I think being a parent in and of itself is an amazing gift, and I hope to be among your ranks one day.  And whether you are a working or SAH anything,  don't let Matt Walsh or anyone else make you feel bad about the choices you make for you and your family.  Frankly, it is none of our business to even be commenting on. 

Play us out, Socrates


1 comment:

Megan said...

I read that article as well (it was being posted all over Facebook by my "friends") I agree with what you said at the beginning that I felt like some of it was blown way out of proportion-especially the first lady he quoted). I think people take offense too easily. I don't have kids, but I know being a SAHM has to be tough. I'm very thankful my mom stayed home with me and my brother. On the other hand, I know how EXHAUSTED I am from my job and I don't have kids. I can't imagine what it's like to work and then have to go home to kids. I totally respect working mothers. In the end, I think you have to make the best decision for your family. At this point (w/o kids) I'd like to be a SAHM, but who knows what our situation will be when that time comes.

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