Saturday, June 11, 2011

Working Mom

I know what you're thinking.  "What the heck is this entry about?"  I don't normally write about this type of social issue, but my wife gets plenty of grief from her peers about the fact that she chooses to work, and have a career while being a mother.  Some women, who are the champions at being stay at home mothers (otherwise women who don't have jobs while their husband provides all the income) seem to give women like my wife crap for her decision to spend 40 hours of her week working to help augment the income in our house by working a job.  Somehow, they rationalize, it takes away from her ability to be a good mother to her children because she is not spending every waking minute (it seems) coddling and taking care of her kids.

I call BS on that argument!

Now, I'm not going to get philosophical or go into exquisite detail on how I feel; I mostly want my wife to know that I support her and am proud of her for the kind of mother she is.  Lindsay works, yes.  She has a normal 9-5 type of job that puts a decent chunk of money into our bank account each month.  No, she doesn't make as much as me, but she makes enough so that our lives are better through financial security.  Her money doesn't buy happiness, but is sure makes dealing with life a lot easier for us, as we do not struggle (financially speaking) nearly as much as some of our counterparts. 

I also feel it is good for a person, man or woman, mother or father, to get out into the workplace and deal with their peers on a professional level.  I know there is only so much I can take of those play-date groups and such, and there is only so much jibber jabber I can take from my 1 1/2 year old before I start yearning for an adult conversation from someone else - be it professional or just talking about guns or cars.  Having a demanding job or career helps keep your mind sharp, focused, and grounded in the real world.  When I hear these hens at church talk about working moms in a negative light, I feel pity for them because they obviously aren't living in the real world today.  Oh sure, they may have gotten away with it back in the 50's when cars only cost $2,500 and a house went for $24,000, but in this over-inflated economy, a two-income household is oftentimes necessary, unless you want to live in a tiny house on a shoestring budget, waiting for the next WIC check to arrive.

Oh and another thing.  If you are getting support from WIC or some other form of welfare, and you are capable of working, but don't... GET A JOB!!! 

The time my wife spends away from our kids, like the time I spend away from my kids, is well worth whatever "sacrifice" that may come from being away for 8 hours a day.  The fact that we have the financial capacity to get them superior health care without blowing our budget to hell is, by itself, worth every bit of sacrifice. 

And it's not like our kids are being shipped off to some daycare, where they sit in a chair and wait to be fed in an assembly line fashion.  No.  Our kids are with their grandparents, which is beneficial to all involved.  My parents get to see our kids often, the kids are loved by more than just mommy and daddy, and my wife gets the break long enough to fulfill her professional commitments and help keep the gears of this family well lubed. 

Now, I know I'm ripping this off from someone, and for that I apologize, but it is so brilliant.  If Lindsay spends 40 hours of the week working, what is she doing with the other 128 hours?  Oh yeah, being a stay at home mom, duh!  The kids come home just about the time she gets off work, and from there, she removes her career persona and picks up her mom persona.  She still spends more time in a week (4 times as much) being a loving nurturing mother and parent to our children.  Being a mother (heck, being a parent) is not a 9-5 job at all.  It's a 24/7/365 type of deal.  Don't think for a second that Lindsay would hesitate to leave work early to take care of an emergency with our kids. 

I'd pit my wife's attention to detail and mothering (nurturing, care, love, devotion, etc) up against a stay-at-home mother any day.  From our experiences with our son, daughter, all the books on her shelf, the overwhelming online resources she accesses, and the fact that she is willing to go to hell and back for our kids makes her the best of mothers in my opinion, and she leads by example by instilling a sense of responsibility because my kids see a mother that works for a living, and makes money with her time instead of going to play dates, watching The View and stroking herself for being so great because she stays at home listening to toddler babble all day long.

My wife is intelligent, diverse, a pleasure to be around, funny, sarcastic, very cerebral, and she takes upon herself the responsibility of working to provide a means for this family to be financially stable and secure.  The health care benefits that she is able to receive from working in the health care industry take a huge burden off our shoulders because it is very inexpensive for her to insure the entire family. 

Could she be a stay at home mom?  Well, let me rephrase that, since she already is a stay at home mom 75% of the time anyway.  Could she be an unemployed non-contributing member of society?  Sure.  We could do it. I make enough to keep us afloat.  But we'd really have to pare down everything we have since we do live as though we are making more money that those who don't.  Hey, it's just the nature of the beast.  You make more, you spend more.  Yeah, I don't think I'd give up living in a big comfortable house, suffer myself to pay out $500 or more a month in health care insurance, and put myself on a budget so tight that every single dollar has to be thought out and planned.  Nope, that's not for me.  And it would drive my wife crazy.  Whoever said money doesn't buy happiness never had any to begin with.  I'm here to tell ya, there was a time when Lindsay and I made very little money.  In fact, our combine incomes were a little less than I make by myself now.  From those experiences, and not having kids at the time, living in that tiny house, operating on a budget that made a shoestring look appealing, I would never choose to live like that again. 

They say that financial problems are the number 1 cause of divorce in this country.  I'd believe it.  As much strife and drama as having no cash caused in our early years, I'd be amazed if financial problems weren't the number 1 cause.  So why cause strife in the relationship over something so seemingly trivial as money?  Because money isn't trivial.  This is business.  Marriage, among other things, is a business arrangement.  And business is in the business of making money.  Money is the grease that keeps the gears of this relationship turning.  Love is an idea - an emotion.  Love doesn't put food on the table or gas in the car's fuel tank.  Love doesn't send my son to speech therapy (love plants the idea of sending him to therapy - money makes it happen).  I'm sorry if you don't feel this way... sorry for you.  People who allow themselves to become impoverished and suffer as a result, then live in the denial that somehow it is for the greater good are fools, and living that lifestyle is a fool's errand.  You can stand on your moral soapbox all you want and proclaim how apostate and evil we are for sending our kids to their relatives for a time each work day, but in the end, we are building a better life for ourselves and our family.  The money my wife makes with her sacrifice allows us to put ourselves in a place where we can put our kids through college, live in a house large enough to spread out and not be cluttered and confined, allows us to spend more time together on vacations away from the humdrum of life, and enjoy a few creature comforts in between.  Are my kids spoiled?  Probably.  If you can provide them with a better life, then why not?

Kudos to my wife for working.  I wish more people would work.

-James

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