To be a stay home mom … or not

Just recently, I was reading an article posted on Femme Lounge about mommies deciding to go to work or stay at home. Quite understandably, the issue of the woman choosing her career versus being a stay home mom has been one that has plagued women since the beginning of the industrialization era. Emotions of guilt and sympathy for the baby frequently surfaces when the mom has to leave her baby to go back to work. I remember the dark teary emotions that suffused me the  day I had to resume work after six weeks maternity leave (Yes, I did say six weeks, because that’s all you get in the US of A). It was extremely tough leaving my baby to the care of my hubby (who by the way had a good job as well). I didn’t want to go back to work, but I had to if I wanted my family to have health insurance as my husband’s job did not provide this benefit for their employees.

Now, while I do not have any easy answers to the question of if a woman should stay home or go to work, I do have this to say: Our world has become more complex in the past years…with challenges of economic recessions and the like. More and more women are being required to go back to work, so they can support their families. The reality is that few jobs out there can support a family on a one-person paycheck. The mortgage/rent has to be paid, children’s tuition has to be paid, there’s the cost of rising petrol/gas, and with all this talk of world disasters and poor economy, there’s a spike in the cost of everything. Even food. That single paycheck from the breadwinner is becoming increasingly difficult for supporting your family even if you are cutting down expenses to the maximum allowable. 

There‘s also all this unpredictability in our world now. Nobody wakes up in the morning expecting that tragedy will befall him or her suddenly during the day. Deaths happen. And statistics shows that men die quicker than women do. Even more common are divorces. If your man is the ONLY one in charge of making the bread in your family, what happens if (God forbid) he falls out of love with you and says he wants to call it quits? I know that many women are saying it can never happen to them, but I am a realist, and the truth is that things like this happen in our world simply because no man/woman is 100% dependable. Not every man is God-fearing. Neither is every woman. And even the God-fearing ones still have the temptations to deal with. We are all like shifting shadows…what we want today is always different from what we want tomorrow. Since we constantly change, disappointments in ourselves and in each other is sometimes inevitable.

Therefore, my advice is this: For every woman whose man is making the dough, even if it affords you to live comfortably, and even if you both have a joint account (as my husband and I do), make sure you continue to develop yourself intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and most importantly financially. Women are sophisticated creatures. We are built to handle more than one task at a time so you can still successfully manage your home and still do something with your life just in case the cards you are dealt with in life requires you  to financially support your family. I know a friend whose husband can afford to take care of the family financially. My friend is a stay home mom and she watches over her neighbors kids for a fee. It’s not a lot of money, but it is something. I know of another stay home mom and she is in school part time studying for her MBA. She drops her kids in school in the morning and hurries to her own class in a university that is about thirty minutes drive from her house. She finishes her class at almost the same time when her kids are done for the day in school. When her kids are doing their homework or napping, she is busy doing her own school work too. Another friend of mine who is a Pediatrician sews clothes when her two-month-old baby is napping. She and her husband, who happens to be a Doctor too, pastor a growing church. They have a live-in Nanny, yet my friend will say that she has to make herself productive since she has temporarily given up her medical career to be with her new baby and support her husband in the ministry.

Women who take time to invest in themselves like these ones are prepared for life’s unpredictability. And I think every woman who considers herself wise will do the same.

P.S: For Wale Taylor(Final part) is now on Femme Lounge. Happy reading!

Categories: Blog, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “To be a stay home mom … or not

  1. Very wise words, Bunmi. I think every human being, man or woman has talents that when developed can be traded to yield revenues that are more than gold.

    I think it is not only unwise but also somewhat irresponsible for anyone, man or woman not to invest in or develop themselves. The more we invest in ourselves, the more our giftings enable us to support our families while being there for them when we need to be. For example, you write, in addition to your day job and your writing has the potential to make your day job no longer needed, so that you can kill many birds with just one stone.

    You are right, women have the God-given ability to multitask. That ability can be put to productive use. For married people, I believe the man has the responsibility amongst others, to ensure that his wife is very developed and can thrive independent of him.

  2. I truly enjoyed this post, It needed to be written.

    In this century, we must not make the same mistakes that our mothers made.

    Being a SAHM myself, having worked for many years and deciding to quit the rat race to raise our young family. I feel more empowered now than before to use this season in my life to discover and pursue my passion.

    I learnt a valuable lesson when my father died, being the breadwinner of the family. When he died, the money died with him. I vow that i will never put myself in such a vulnerable situation ever!

    Life is unpredictable, you never know when roles will reverse and you will have to step up and save your family.

    As women there are no excuses to not discovering and pursuing our God given passion that is where our blessings are.

    This is a must read for every woman, working mothers or SAHM.

    • Bukky, for many women, they learn the hard way that it’s never good to depend on one person for their source of livelihood. Your Dad’s passing positively taught you a valuable lesson that I hope many women in our generation will know and understand. You taught me a new word too “SAHM”. Thank you.

  3. Oh wow, what can I add to this? Lara, this is a great post, I loved reading it, and thanks for sharing.

  4. Lara,

    I just can imagine how you felt when you had to resume work…did you say 6 weeks? Wow! I’m afraid I had the luxury of one year’s maternity. The law in Scotland allows for that. But then again, I struggled to return to work afterwards which is why I’m temporarily a sahm.

    Valid points you made and I loved the part of being a realist. I had to learn that the hard but it’s so true to life. We have the potential to become better by the use of our time and resources available to us.

    Thanks for this post. It’s given me the additional push I need.

    • MOH, wow you have all the fun in Scotland. I think I might just relocate there (Just kidding). I still cringe whenever I remember that I had 6 weeks maternity leave, but hey, I got through it. I’m so glad this post gave you the push you need. We women need to encourage and continue empowering each other. So, you are most welcome, and thanks again for reading.

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