According to a recent Ad Age white paper on working women, almost 65% of working women would rather stay home with their families full-time if money weren’t an issue.
Over at The Wall Street Journal’s “The Juggle” blog, Jennifer Merritt writes about a friend’s decision to quit her job to become a full-time stay-at-home mother to her almost 1 and 4-year-old kids. It sounds as if this mom wasn’t enjoying her job anymore and couldn’t justify spending most of her paycheck on childcare.
By cutting back on extraneous spending and dipping into savings, she and her husband felt they could make it worth financially with her at home. But most families these days don’t have this option — they simply can’t afford to live without two incomes. Then there are parents who hang on to their jobs simply so they can keep the health insurance.
When I left my full-time reporting job to stay home with my first daughter in 2002, I was so naive. I had this romantic notion that as soon as I was ready to go back to work, there would be a job waiting for me. Luckily, as a writer, I was able to stay at home and freelance. Still, I’m sure because I haven’t had a regular office gig, I have lost out on many opportunities and I know for a fact that my bank account has suffered. When was my husband was laid off, our financial future was that much less secure. If I had a regular job, that would have cushioned the blow.
Plus, with many careers, once you’ve taken time off to stay home, it’s difficult if not impossible to get back on track. There is no way to compensate for the money you lose by stepping off the career track. But, then again, your kids are only young once, so for some moms, staying home is worth the financial hit.
Merritt herself acknowledges that she has occasionally fantasized about quitting.
“It’s not just financial need that keeps me at work; more significant is my work as a journalist,” writes Merritt. Interestingly, when she does contemplate quitting, Merritt admits that it’s not because she wants to stay home with her kids. Instead, she dreams about pursuing something different or freelancing. But then, she writes, “I snap out of it. I thrive on the stimulation of an office and the pace of a newsroom.”
Some moms work simply for the money and others work because they find it satisfying. If money weren’t an issue, would you quit your job and stay home with your kids?