For those of you who might have seen my Facebook post about stay-at-home moms, this is sort of a continuation of the topic. I just can't stop thinking about it, so I'm doing what I do when something runs over and over in my head: writing about it.
The nagging question: why can't women get paid to be stay-at-home moms? I don't know anyone who works harder than stay-at-home moms - they manage the house and keep their kids entertained 24/7. Stay-at-home moms always have to be "on." I realize this from having stayed home with my son off and on for a year and a half. You don't get lunch breaks. You don't get interaction with adults. It's the hardest job I've ever had. Yet I would give up the working world in a heartbeat to be able to do it again. But I can't because the system in America sets us up to fail. We're overworked and underpaid, and everything practically costs your firstborn (literally, in this case). So one income is rarely enough. My husband doesn't even make enough to cover all our bills, and we don't live extravagantly by any means. Our cars are over 10 years old. We have the most basic internet and cable package, which we rationalize because I need internet for the days I work from home and we never go out to the movies so we stay at home and watch TV instead. So women like me are forced to work outside our homes. Almost an entire paycheck is spent on daycare when, in reality, we could be doing most of the same things with our children at home. What's left is wasted on other bills, leaving virtually nothing leftover for funsies (yes Madcap and PB, I'm totally borrowing the word funsies). So what's the point of leaving our children every day and working our asses off to have nothing to show for it?
The result of all this is moms who spend their mornings crying after dropping their children off at daycare, hearing about everything their child did that day through someone else instead of being able to witness it for themselves, and having to interrupt their work at the office to take a call from their daycare providers. Their heart isn't in the work because they think about their children all day and their heart aches to be with them. Does this sound like a productive worker? I think not.
So why not give women the choice? If you want to go to work and you feel like going to work will make you a better mom because you're just not cut out to stay at home, then by all means, go for it! You're not a bad mom for wanting to work and should never feel guilty. But if you think your calling is to be a stay-at-home mom, then you should be able to.
The biggest obstacle in my theory is where the money would come from. Any thoughts? If it comes from the government, I would imagine moms would be subject to inspections and standards just like daycare providers would be.
I read somewhere that, based on the job description, a stay-at-home mom's worth is $138,000 a year. So why are they under appreciated and overlooked? Staying at home should be a choice, not a luxury. I'm certainly not advocating that high of a salary, but some sort of compensation wouldn't be the least bit unreasonable. Maybe it's all a pipe dream, or maybe I sound like a 50's housewife, but in my ideal world, everyone wins.