If I’m being totally honest, there’s nothing I want to do more than check out of being a mom for 40 hours per week, be surrounded by adults, and drink coffee all day that someone else has to pay for. Working and feeling like I’m a valued member of a team would be an added bonus. Let’s face it, though: I mostly need a break.
It Doesn’t Always Make Sense for Moms to Work Full-Time
For myself and many women like me, however, it doesn’t always make sense to get that break at a full-time job outside of the home. Since having my first child in 2005, I’ve managed to work a couple of full-time jobs, but I was a nanny at the time and able to bring him with me and make that work.
With each additional child, though, I’m finding that it’s harder and harder to be able to re-enter the workforce. Fortunately there are some great ways to make money at home and I’ve outlined a few here.
After you tirelessly gestate and spawn (you fucking hero) two or more children, working outside of the home can be crazy hard unless you have a great support system, a high-paying job, or a partner who makes enough money for it to make sense.
The Cost of Working
The costs associated with a 40 hour work week can add up quickly. These include: child care, clothes, gas, lunches out, and social activities outside of work. According to a 2016 CNN article, the average cost of daycare (at $9,589 per year) for a child under the age of four now surpasses the average cost of a year of in-state college tuition (at $9,410).
For a woman without a degree, making $14/hr. in a 40 hour work week**, she can expect to spend about 1/3 of her pre-tax income on childcare. She may also be required to pack snacks, lunch, and extra money for outings during the summer.
I had my first child at 22, before I went to college and got my Bachelors degree. While although I have a degree, I do not have the necessary experience that many employers are seeking, and as such, would make little more than the $14/hr skilled office worker, myself.
With three kids, and an average nationwide childcare cost of $9,000 per year, I would be pretty damn close to losing money for the privilege of working outside of my home, and many other women find themselves in this same situation.
The Work Doesn’t Stop at 5 pm for Moms
Cooking, cleaning, laundry. Don’t forget the sleepless nights when baby is teething or your middle-schooler sharts himself in his sleep. Working 40 hours per week outside of the home doesn’t absolve one of their responsibilities in the home (READ THAT ONE AGAIN, DUDES).
On average, women spend 2.3 hours per day on household activities (these include: food prep, cleaning. laundry, household management, food clean up, lawn and garden, and household maintenance and repair), compared to 1.4 hours for men.
Women also spend double the time caring for and helping household members, and 25% more on making purchases for their households.
This means that once you get home from putting in 8 hours for someone else, you now get to put on your apron and start the second shift, whether you want to or not. You’re mom. The default parent.
Full-Time Work=Less Flexibility
With daycare and school come the dreaded viral illnesses that strike multiple times per year, and usually at the literal most inopportune times they possibly could.
Ask Yourself These Questions
When working a full-time job outside of the home, one has to put serious consideration into what they will do in case of illness:
- Are you able to take off work and take care of the child?
- Can your partner?
- Any other family members?
- What are the repercussions of missing too many days at work?
- Is your child chronically ill or otherwise require a large number of medical appointments?
More Difficult to be Involved for Most
There are a number of stay at home moms who are willing to pitch in and volunteer in the class, or help with other kids’ activities, and that’s fantastic! But if these are things that you want to be a part of, it’s going to be very hard to juggle along with working.
I’m not super mom. I feel more like garbage mom most days. I’m stretched thin, lacking patience, just needing a few minutes to get things done without someone giving me puppy kisses (aka licking my fucking arm).
The prospect of the added stress of working 40 hours per week outside the home makes me begin to hyperventilate and track down my emergency stash of Ativan.
Women Still Make Less than Men
Welcome to 2017, where women still consistently make $.80 on the $1.00 compared to male earners. If you’re a woman of color, you can expect to earn even less, at $.54 cents on the $1.00 for Hispanic women, compared to white, non-Hispanic men and $.63 on the dollar for African-American women.
These are facts.
Moms work just as hard in the workforce as their male counterparts. However, they receive only make 80% of the pay that men do.
Add this to the disproportionate amount of housework you’ll be faced with after a long day and it starts not making sense to leave.
Know how to make it all work?You’re My Shero.
If you have a job outside of the home and make it work, you’re a rockstar.
I’m of the belief that whatever a woman chooses to do for herself and her family is the right thing to do. I am only attempting to highlight some of the reasons that it may not make sense for some women to work outside of the home.
Many women find themselves in the predicament of trying to figure out how to juggle everything.
Family, work, extracurriculars: they all add up and take time. Moms especially have to decide what their priorities are and how to make it work for their unique families.
What Some Moms Do Doesn’t Work for All
Some moms choose to spent 40-60 hours per week doing something they love that makes them money. That’s ok.
Some moms stay at home with their kids, but want to find a way to make more money so they can do things they love. That’s ok.
Some moms stay at home and are perfectly content with their kids being their life. That’s ok.
Some moms spend 40-60 hours per week doing something they merely tolerate, but takes them away from their other needs and causes more stress than it’s worth in the long term. That’s not ok.
What Do You Think?
Have you found an effective way to balance working full-time outside of the home with being a parent? Share with others mom below!
Notes (that I think are important)
**This is a very generous hourly wage assumption and based on a skilled office job. There are far too may women still making much less. Please consider that and the fact that the federal minimum wage is still only $7.25/hr and has been since 2009. When looking at this through a lens of what a fast food worker or convenience store worker would make per year at an minimum wage average of $8.36 (average of all states minimum wage), the results are eye-opening, disgusting, and depressing. Her annual, pre-tax income would be $17,727.02. This means that her annual childcare costs could come close to half of her annual income.
***Also note: Some women work full-time in the above mentioned scenario and LOVE their job and find ways to make it work. That’s fantastic. This is a no mom bashing zone! I’m not mad at anyone other than the system that keeps women in these situations.