Bam. Take that whoever you are, insinuating that being a SAHM might even come close to luxurious. For a good part of the afternoon I thought of reasons why being a paid-working mom is more of a luxury than being a SAHM. I compiled a list of things that make staying at home anti-luxury, and I thought of how I would write a blog about it.
Then my husband came home and I told him about the "SAHM = luxury" preposterous proposition over dinner. He sided with the whoever they ares and said that a lot of people can't afford to stay at home, so that's how it can be considered a luxury.
Ugh. Of course I knew he was right about how some families can't afford to have a stay at home parent. I was just mad at the terminology and the semantics of the whole thing.
Luxury has 7 definitions on dictionary.com & none of them fit what I am.Luxuries are not necessities. I consider myself necessary to G and my husband. If you want to get technical, neither of them would die without me, but their lives would not go on in the same manner if I weren't around.
Maybe the whoevers meant that some mothers MUST work to provide for their families, while others do not. Okay, that's fine, I don't have to work because my husband and I are good at living on a one-income budget and we don't have a lot of luxuries (in the actual sense of the word). I believe, then, one could argue that if I had a job... IT would be a luxury. We don't absolutely need additional money, so it would be luxurious for me to work for pay.
We could, however, surely use the extra money because we have student loans and want to buy a house some day (so saving for a down payment would be a lot easier if we had an additional income). We aren't living super poorly, and we do enjoy our life, but we certainly think twice before buying anything.
For example, we just bought a grill last weekend after talking about it for months. We shopped around, we read reviews, we browsed online, and hashed out the finances. No decision involving more than a few bucks is taken lightly around our house. We had been wanting to go on a little Memorial Day trip, but it just doesn't seem to be in the cards for us right now. Traveling is expensive. If I had a job, we'd surely be able to afford a little weekend getaway. We'd also be paying down our student loans faster and we'd be a lot closer to a down payment. Those things are luxuries. Staying at home with my daughter is not...it's a choice I've made.
So...why don't I have a job?When I graduated college with a teaching degree, I did, in fact, want to teach for several years. I never considered putting my future kids in day care, though, so I knew I would eventually be a SAHM, regardless of finances. I love teaching and I wanted to work for a few years, but G was very unplanned, though not completely unexpected. I never got the chance to have a full-time job before she came into our life. We had 1.5 years of marriage in college, half a year of my husband working full-time & me working part-time (as a substitute teacher), and a few months of me being a stay-at-home wife before G was born. Our family has never really known 2 salaries. Because of that fact, we didn't take a financial 'hit' when I became a SAHM. We are actually doing better now, financially, with me staying home with a baby, than we were doing in college. I don't feel that getting a college degree was wasted, because I matured in mind and heart through my education. Perhaps I might go back to work when G and our future kids are school age, although I may home-school them until middle school (depending on where we live).
I know there are some families who need both incomes to still fall short of $40,000/yr and they thankfully get some assistance with childcare. I also know there are families who have free childcare through various relatives, so the parents can both feel more comfortable going to work, knowing a family member is half-raising their kid instead of a daycare center.
But.... there are those families who make a decent enough living but aren't willing to give up a few real luxuries to stay at home with their young kids. Maybe they don't want to downsize, or neither parent wants to stay home... that's fine, I'm certainly not judging you because I know being a stay at home mom is NOT easy. I clean every day. I do laundry on a regular basis (especially with cloth diapers). I make a comparative grocery list and do budget shopping. I teach G a variety of things, most recently how to clean out a dishwasher ;-). I read her the same book 15 times a day and give her plenty of cuddles no matter how tired I am. I handle her tantrums with patience and love. I keep her entertained throughout the day. I am on full mom duty 24/7. No one else will help teach my kid to use the potty, or clean up her messes as she learns. No one else takes her to the park every day. I'm the one who taught her to fall asleep on her own, and endured the crying that came with it. I'm the one who prepares her breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I love staying at home with her because I'm not missing a single milestone, and I'm raising her better than anyone else could because she is my responsibility.
So don't look at me being a SAHM and deem it a luxury.