Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Do We Really Have A Choice?

Whenever I hear a mother with young children say that they don't have a choice...they HAVE to work...and cannot stay home with their kids, it always makes me wonder if that is really true. It seems to me that except for some rare circumstances (single moms, etc.), we all have a choice. I mean, this is still America...land of the free...home of the brave...right?

It also makes me wonder what would happen if more and more mothers decided to take the plunge and become full-time mothers to their children instead of letting paid workers raise them. Do you think we would see an increase in poor, destitute and homeless people? I don't think so. In many cases, what women are really saying when they say they can't afford not to work is that they are not willing to give up some of the "stuff and things" to which they have grown accustom.

I am really not judging...I'm just getting real. If one wants to go to work so that they can afford new cars, a nice house and furnishings, a closet-full of clothes, manicures/pedicures, frequent shopping trips to the mall (or...fill in the blank...), then they should just say so instead of proclaiming that there is no choice.

Few people take into consideration the true financial cost of having both parents working outside the home. Obviously, there is the cost of daycare. But what about these: the need for two vehicles, extra gas, work clothes, medical expenses due to increased exposure to illnesses, lunches out, dinners out because everyone is too tired to cook, gifts/benevolence to co-workers, and extra taxes to pay.

There is no way to adequately evaluate other costs, such as the emotional costs of having strangers spend more hours per day with the children than their own parents. What about the cost to our marriage relationships when both are exhausted and stressed? My opinion is that this very thing has contributed to the growing divorce rate in our country.

We all have choices and we make them every day. The tricky part is to be able to live with the consequences of our choices.

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