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Working Moms Excerpt

December 28, 2011

I followed a link over to a post in the CafeMom forums a couple weeks ago, and I confess that I did so entirely because of the title. I kind of hate when I click things that I KNOW are going to make me crazy, but it’s like when someone says, “Oh my god, this smells awful,” and I’m all, OH LET ME SMELL IT TOO. Why, self?

Anyway, the post is titled “I think the death of the SAHM ruined this country” and the author posted the opinion that if “more women would/were able to stay home and raise their children this world would be a better place.”

That’s not actually the part that made me crazy, though. It was the follow-up comments, which featured the argument that anyone can be a SAHM—if they know how to manage a budget.

Okay, so I realize this mommy war bullshit has been around for a long time and the whole bizarre “You’d stay home with your kid if you really cared” guilt trip women throw at each other isn’t exactly breaking news. I’m sorry to even bring it up, since it’s so ridiculous and unworthy of our attention.

The thing is, though, it absolutely blows my mind that anyone still believes this stuff. Today. IN THIS ECONOMY, if you’ll pardon an increasingly tired phrase.

One person wrote,

(…) you learn to live within your means. Most people are infatuated with the latest and greatest material crap the world has to offer. Your kids would rather have you than a SUV and a big house.

Hey, can I get a show of hands from everyone who has an expensive new car and lives in a Hummer house? Okay, now can I get a show of hands from everyone whose top financial priorities are health insurance, medical bills, utilities, student loans, etc?

The “just cut back on luxuries” argument isn’t just faulty, it’s become downright idiotic.

From another commenter:

I wholeheartly believe any one can live on one income. IT CAN BE DONE! I have seen it done on very small incomes. I think it is down right selfish to have children and then pay someone else to raise them. Your child will spend more time at daycare than with you. who do you think is then teaching your child to walk, and talk, and you miss it all because you are at some job making that almighty dollar!

No, it can’t always be done. This is no longer a country where most families can get by on one income. Some can, and that’s great for anyone who can make it work without living in abject poverty, but it’s simply not possible for most people.

That “almighty dollar”—that filthy, filthy lucre that selfish mothers are out earning—is the currency that buys food for our children, provides healthcare, gives them a comfortable and safe place to live, and maybe even helps ensure they don’t have to face getting blown up by an IED to pay for their college education when they’re older. We’re working “some job” because we have careers and responsibilities and we’re providing for our families … just like men do. I know, right?! We can vote and everything!

One more:

For us money isn’t everything granted we are pushing pennies to be able to get by. (…) We are constantly saving every dime we can and we never go out if we go out on a date it’s a homemade picnic at the beach. My life has never been so happy and stress free.

Now, I have total admiration for any mom who works her ass off to live the kind of life she wants, whatever life that may be. Maybe that means being a SAHM, maybe that means working part-time, maybe that means being CEO of a major corporation. If scrimping and scrounging gives someone the happy peaceful existence they always wanted, awesome. But please don’t tell me that’s the right life for my family. Please don’t try and tell me that agonizing over every penny will give me a “stress free” life, because believe me, I’ve been there, and holy shit, no. Not stress free.

To me it seems like it’s the choice of staying home or working that’s become a luxury these days. I understand it may not feel luxurious for stay-at-home moms who are running an extremely tight ship to get by, but it’s still a choice most of us don’t get to make.

As for the original poster, all I can say is gosh, it sure must be convenient to blame our country’s economic problems, educational system issues, access to healthcare, cost of living, unemployment rates, out of control deficit, and political clusterfuckery on one specific group: the working mothers of America.


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