Our culture is so material-driven that it keeps many of us in jobs we hate, stressed out to the point that it is unhealthy, and disconnected from our own families. The position of “Stay At Home Mom” has been eliminated in order to achieve the “American Dream”. When we get out of high school and before we have kids we are told by family, friends, and the really friendly salesman who has a special deal just for YOU that we should go into debt to get:
A four year degree
Not just any college, but the best one student loans can buy so we can get the best job out of college. You know, the job that will help us pay back the $50,000 in student loans for the great $38,000 a year salary.
A new, reliable car
Anything older than the current President’s term in Office is unacceptable! It could break down at any time and leave us stranded on a busy street with only our cell phones to call for help. What about the kids? The car must be reliable (the term women use is “safe”), so it has to be new.
Renting is just throwing away money, right? We need to rush and buy now before rates go up again! By the way, the house needs to be big enough to start a family so get the biggest monthly mortgage payment – er, I mean “house” we can qualify for. It doesn’t matter that electricity, heat, and cable is include in many rental agreements – renting something that fits our current needs but allows us to save for a good down-payment would just take too long – we need a house now!
Yes, this entire post is DRIPPING with sarcasm
But this IS the message our culture (in general) believes. So we, the average American citizen, are paying $300+ a month in student loan debt, $1,500+ in monthly mortgage payments, and $900+ a month for two “safe” cars. That’s $2,500 a month and it doesn’t include food, lights, gasoline, clothing, home repair, insurance, or even a movie from the RedBox.
It is no wonder that the noble profession of “Stay At Home Mom” is going away. It takes two people to make the money necessary just to service the debt for the American Dream, not live it.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Stay At Home Mom vs Working Mom
The following numbers are based on a woman working FTYR (full-time, year-round) and 50 weeks at work (52 weeks a year – 2 weeks vacation). Some data comes from 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Be aware of a few things you will lose:
- Employer match in a 401k (and retirement income produced by it)
- The forced social interaction with other professionals
- The feeling of working for a great company & building something great
What your job is costing you
- $6,347 Income taxes – Earn less money, pay less income taxes
- $5,060 Car expenses:
- $300 Car Payment (monthly)
- $1,200 Drive-to-work gas (annually)
- $60 extra oil changes (2 at $30 each)
- $100 extra insurance coverage
- $600 Lunches ($6 a day, twice a week)
- $800 better clothing
- $100 Pitching in for coworker gifts, baby showers, flowers death
- $500 for a better vacation (to get away from work)
- $5,000 Daycare ($100 a week)
Total = $18,307
Increase spending to be a Stay At Home Mom
Things that will go up:
- $1,200 more groceries
- $200 higher energy bills
- $300 Mommy’s day out
- $200 More gifts for birthday parties $200
Total = $1,900
Difference in working vs staying at home:
- $40,000 a year job
- $18,307 less in work-related expense
- $1,900 increase expenses to stay at home:
$23,593 a year (or $453.71 a week)
PLUS the non-measurable benefits
- You get to be a stay at home mom!
- Kids feel more grounded, more loved
- The feeling of nurturing an entire family & building something really great
Could your house operate on $453 less a week in order for you to be a Stay-At-Home Mom?