Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This Really Irked Me

I was in the doctor's office the other day and came across an article in Ladies' Home Journal by Nancy Bilyeau. The article was referring to The Feminine Mistake, a book by Leslie Bennetts. Here's a quote:

In her new book, The Feminine Mistake, Leslie Bennetts issues a wake-up
call to women who have chosen to leave the workforce to stay home and raise
their kids full-time. "Opting out," she argues, puts women at financial risk for
the rest of their lives. Bennetts, a longtime wife and working mother of two,
spoke to us about the dangerous trade-off she believes such moms are making.

A wake up call? Seriously?

I can think of no greater profession than to raise healthy children who have good self-esteem, know that they're loved, are well taught, and are shown a passion for the Lord. Yes, it is a sacrifice and unfortunately, not all moms can afford to stay at home. But seriously, a "dangerous trade-off"? Errrrr!

If you think you won't get too angry, you can listen to the entire podcast here.


tAnYeTTa said...

I will pass on listening to the podcast.
The excerpt has said it all for me.
Ms. B is doing too much with this article and I'm sure there's a SAHM home right now stressing out over the decision to stay home. I just posted something similar to this but, I have by no means tried to make anyone feel guilty.
I think she's trying to put different spins on something that has nothing to do with her. It's a person's choice and a family choice on what they want for their family.

Tracee said...

Staying at home does put women at financial risk. It's just a statistical fact. Should a SAHM divorce or be widowed she will have lost career ladder opportunities and will return to work for lesser pay, is at risk for not being able to get health insurance and is more likely to retire in poverty.

But, I completely disagree with the assumption that this means all mothers should stay in the workforce fulltime.

If mothers use means like - a non-profit, bi-partisan political action group looking out for the interests of mothers - we can lower our financial risk.

For example, if part-time, freelance and self-employed mothers have equal access to health insurance then we aren't taking as a big a financial risk by staying home are we?

If there is better employment policy that encourages working from home and telecommuting it's not an either/or choice for mothers, as another example.

Moms Rising is pushing for what, I think, is true feminism - more respect for women's contributions to society and that definately includes SAHM mothering.

Also, Suze Orman recommends SAHMS contribute to their own savings accounts monthly - and she'll even give you a free $100 if you do it this month ( ) - to lower the big financial risk SAHMS take.

This may sound unromantic but I've got two middle-aged aunts who are working 70 hrs a week after the end of their 30 year marriages - they walked away with NOTHING and it's not hard to notice their husbands still have a quality of life. This was a very hard conversation to have with the DH - but, one that I felt was important.

I think the author is correct when she cautions mothers to understand the risks we are taking financially. But, I think her assumption that this means all mothers should work outside the home reduces the real value of what SAHMs do.

Karen_thrifty said...

I do think that staying home is makes it harder for your finances. There is no denying that. I agree that I don't like her generalization that working is for everyone.

I sat down one day and figured out the cost of daycare for 2 kids, gas (to daycare, work, back to daycare, home, etc), extra eating out, work clothes, and all that other stuff and it turned out that there wouldn't be much money left over. It just wasn't worth it for us, which was ok by me because I wanted to stay home.

I don't agree with either side making someone feel guilty for their decision. There are some women that truly cannot afford to be at home and want to. Then there are some that would go batty if they couldn't persue a career.

Tracee said...

It does cost money to work.

But, while the mother makes "a sacrifice" for the good of the whole family she also takes on the financial risk alone (turns out what she's sacrificing in her own financial security - not the whole family's).

Hubby's income continues to increase every year mommy stays at home. Mommy's never does. She becomes every less marketable every year. That's a huge risk financially.

Should they divorce - and half do - the mother has assumed all financial risk for the family and will be much worse because she stayed home than had she gone to work.

There's a gender disparity in the risk. Which I think is unnecessary.

We could (I think if we valued motherhood we would) redistribute the financial risk by providing tax incentives for SAHMs, longer maternity leave, equal access to health insurance, point in the social security system, etc.

Which would shrink the disparity between mom and dad and who is financially stable and who is taking all the risk. Doing so would also make it easier for more mothers to be SAHMs.

Tiffany said...

That is just ridiculous! Women need to understand that when they have children, they can not always think of themselves first. Their children deserve the best they can give them. Not to put down women who have to work. I think each person...mother/father...needs to make the choice that is best for their family. No one else can make that decision for them.

Nicole said...

I realize that if something were to happen to leave me as a single mom, I would have to re-enter the workforce. But since that's NOT the case, I'm taking full advantage of being a SAHM. It took me eight years of fertility treatments to have my first child. I wanted a child so much, it doesn't make sense for me to pay someone to raise her.