Mothers Working, Fathers providing, and where shoud it all meet up?


#1

In mainstream America and at 21st century college campuses, this idea could likely get me tared and feathered…but I really don’t want my wife to work unless it is a necessity.

I’m 23, have an English degree and am studying nursing presently. I think I may like to teach English and Religion, but also want to be able to provied for a large (at least 5 kids) family - hence the nursing.

I’m more than happy to not have a 3rd or if it’s possible 2nd car, a boat, a time share, a big TV, or any of that. But with salaries as they are I doubt my ability to teach…heck even to be a nurse, and afford the expenses of a home and family with a mother there full time.

I’m big on these goofy quotes, and I don’t have it now, but I read a quote from a Doctor of the Church that explained, “a mother who chooses to work over staying with her children commits grave sin, unless her working is required to help (or fully) provide for her children’s basic shelter, food, and education.”

I think the idea of a stay at home mom is beautiful. It will take alot of humilty in this culture. It will also take sacrifice by a family to make due with less. But the care that could be provided by a good Catholic woman for her children, it seems more precious that annual Disney trips or dinners at fancy resturants.

Maybe I’ve an unfair advantage. I don’t care for nice stuff. Driving an old car. Watching a fuzzy tv. Eating Ramen. It doesn’t bother me. But those savings may not be enough.

A bunch of questions here:

Is it practical/possible? Even as a teacher?

Exactly how much ridicule might society really fling?
How do I explain to family?

  • I can see my family thinking me lazy for accepting less materially.
  • I could see a wife’s family thinking I’m holding her down and not showing respect.

Any big problems with such conventions that I may not see?

(I’d ask if y’all think I could find that girl, but I’ve found a few who think this way, so they exist :smiley: )


#2

“a mother who chooses to work over staying with her children commits grave sin, unless her working is required to help (or fully) provide for her children’s basic shelter, food, and education.”

Well, with the prices today, dual-incomes are almost a necessity. Maybe not two full-time incomes, but having a bit extra coming in really helps.

With the exception of maternity leaves, my wife maintained her career throughout. Our kids are now 12 & 14. We waited almost 5 years before starting a family. This allowed us to get stablilized (financially & emotionally) before the chaos :wink: of child-rearing got thrown into the mix.

Not to “pigeon hole” you, but being 23 puts you right into the “Me/Me gotta have it NOW… just charge it/credit generation”, instead of the “Gotta save/save/save to get my new … so I can pay CASH” generation that my parents and I came from.
I see so many guys on the crews driving spankin’ new $37K trucks, talking about new ($8K+) ATV’s/Snowmobiles, 15K+ Fishing boats, and their new $400K house… all the time griping about how there’s no money. With the availability of easy credit nowadays this generation missed the lesson that “Yes, you can borrow TONS of money, but you DO have to pay it back!”

From what you’ve described about yourself, you don’t follow your peers! Good for you! You’re not “lazy” for not wanting “stuff”, you just realize that it’s not necessary to have the latest/greatest new toys.

When “family time” came around for us, it was a source of some serious questions. Both of us were from SAHM families, knew nothing else. My wife was doing very well at work, raises & promotions, etc., and she really liked her job! I didn’t want her to have to give that up. Neither did she.
Luckily she works for a LARGE financial institution. There are dozens of job-postings every month. She was able to do a “sideways/lateral” move to a different position that allowed her to work from home 3 days a week. The other days the infants/toddlers/kids stayed at a neighborhood home day-care. I’m a tradesman, out the door at 5:30, and home around 3pm - so I’m around when the kids get home from school.

We got the “How can you DO THAT to your kids!”, “A Mom’s place is in the home”, “A woman should sacrifice her job/career without question…” a lot. Too bad, we’re doing what works for “US”, not you, but thanks for your opinion.


#3

I have no idea what the cost of living is like there, but here it would be difficult as a first year teacher, but once you’ve been a teacher for say ten years or so, the salary is pretty decent. I think someone who knew how to budget could pull it off.

I’m recently divorced from a husband who made a big income, and thought it entitled him to an extravagent lifestyle. Our overall financial picture was not too great, just because he thought it was his right to buy whatever he wanted without thinking about it. I think being disciplined in your spending is probably more important than a large income.

I think it costs a lot more to have a working mom then most people realize. I mean, there are day care costs, higher food costs, gas to get to work, a working wardrobe, plus the two incomes could put you in a higher tax bracket.

I think if you find a woman who wants to live simply and shares your vision, it would be totally doable to have a wife who stays home and takes care of the family. If you want a large family, I can assure you that each kid gets cheaper and cheaper. We have quite the hand-me-down system in our family. I read an article in perhaps Time magazine recently, saying it takes 1.8 million dollars to raise a child. Don’t believe that for a minute.


#4

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom now for 28 yrs. It can be done. In the early days we had one car, rented a cheap house, and did without many things like vacations, eating out, etc. We have 5 kids, only two are left at home now. We homeschool, so they get a high-quality, Catholic education for a lot less. We are doing fine now, financially, but for the first dozen years it was very tight. I sewed clothes and learned to cook everything from scratch. I love this life. I have my own interests and hobbies which I could share with my children, and I had time to help them develop and pursue their own interests as well.

There was a time in the 80’s when I had to deal with some attitudes about women who stayed home with their kids, “what do you do all day?”, that sort of thing, or “gee it must be nice” but really it was something we always wanted to do from the time we were very young, like you.

We did it for several years on a one-income minimum wage. Our attitudes have changed so much in this society about what we need vs. what we want. There are lots of books available to help, living on one income, shopping for groceries, etc. I wish you well and hope you find the girl of your dreams. I have had an incredibly happy life with all these kids, and wish I had even more. There is honestly nothing like it. And now we have a grandson! Talk about fun!

By the way, I still have two unmarried daughters looking for a guy like you. :thumbsup:

God Bless


#5

You can definitely stay at home. Lots of us do. But it takes discipline and sacrifice, something most people don’t want to think about nowadays. I worked as a nurse for many years. Finally we moved to a place with a much lower cost of living, bought a very old house that we are very slowly fixing up, and changed our whole lifestyle. I had to learn to cook from scratch, garden, and do other things that we used to pay for.
It has been hard. But you know what? I’m happier now than I have ever been. It is worth it. So ignore everyone else if they talk bad about it. Mothers are meant to be with their children. I knew this even when I was working. :frowning:


#6

Hey, thanks for the info. You actually sound to have lived pretty similarly to my momma. She’s a mother of 5, the oldest being 26, though she had to work quite a while after a business my dad and grandpa owned went bankrupt in the 80’s. :frowning:

But really, that sewing of clothes, cooking from scratch sounds pretty good. If I can manage to get a place with a decent back yard, I want to put in a pretty nice vegetable garden. It’ll save money and allow for more interesting chores than that ones I had when I was 8 (clean the fire place, clean the toilet bowls, unplug the toaster, clean the toaster, plug the toaster back in :stuck_out_tongue: ).


#7

I stayed at home until my kids were school age…with both kids. I now work, and enjoy my career, and make a nice living…I think it’s a smart idea to stay at home during the baby, toddler years. I don’t think it’s smart for a woman to never have a career of her own. I have watched too many of my friends flounder, when their husbands walked out on the marriage. They were left penniless, and with little choices at that point, on what to do for a career because they didn’t work even when their kids were teens. (Some of my friends are in their 40’s) Not that we should be worried our spouses will leave us…but it does happen more and more these days. Even a death of a spouse, if a woman is ill prepared, and has no parents left to help (like me) …it could be devestating for a family to make ends meet. Plus, I went to college…not to never use my degree.

All this being said–motherhood is the highest vocation, and nothing takes the place of that. At the stage where my kids are now, my career doesn’t interfere with being a good mother. I also think that if something were to happen to my husband, I could handle the bills easily. (even if we had no life insurance)

I think that it should be discussed thoroughly…and a man should NOT decide this for his wife, however. I believe in equality in a marriage.


#8

My husband requires that I work to “help out”. Without my input we would be indeed hurting. I have literally contorted myself to be
home when my husband is not. What would I prefer? To stay home and scrimp. It is my cross, so to speak. So, it is not a sin for me. I don’t think we should judge each other on this, so long as we are not pretentious, like driving fancy cars or living in mini-mansions.


#9

Well I have been told that going to college can 1: help in individual grow, learn, and develope. 2nd is can benefit the children that are being raised by a more informed mother.

I think that it should be discussed thoroughly…and a man should NOT decide this for his wife, however. I believe in equality in a marriage.

I fully agree. This is a matter for agreement and equality. However, I also think it acceptable that a man or woman who really wants or doesn’t want this type of home, to then sever the relationship it their potential spouse feels strongly to the opposite.


#10

good points.


#11

I think that it should be discussed thoroughly…and a man should NOT decide this for his wife, however. I believe in equality in a marriage.

I fully agree. This is a matter for agreement and equality. However, I also think it acceptable that a man or woman who really wants or doesn’t want this type of home, to then sever the relationship it their potential spouse feels strongly to the opposite.

agree on your second point.:slight_smile:


#12

If you teach, you can work summers to supplement your income. You will also have opportunities for coaching and teaching summer school.

You probably won’t be able to work for Catholic schools.

The best thing you can do is get good financial habits now. I love Dave Ramsey for this. Avoid debt!!!

My experience is that dual income families are utterly accepting of single income families. I wouldn’t worry about the social stigma. Most approve of having SAHM even it didn’t work out for them.


#13

I think that being a stay-at-home mom is wonderful and that if a woman is called to do such, she should absolutely follow that. I am grateful that my mom stayed home with us when we were small.

I don’t believe there’s one right answer about women staying at home. If it’s the best for her family, she should, but if it’s better that she works, she should. My dream is to be a doctor, not simply because I want a career but because I want to help heal others in body, mind and soul (holistic medicine:)) I also believe that through this, I can teach my future children the importance of helping others, staying healthy, and continuing their education. I’ve felt a strong calling to be a doctor for years and I’m not going to give up on that dream unless God shows me otherwise.

I also have a friend who lost her father this year. It’s been difficult and I couldn’t help but think, if, God forbid, I ever lost my spouse (years down the road when I am married) and I had children still living at home, I’d want to have a way to support them. Going to college and having work experience would help me provide for my family financially if I ever had an emergency situation.


#14

I think today a lot of women are looked down upon if their primary motivation in life is to be a wife and mother. I’m a university student. I graduate in September. I get excellent grades and everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do next. Am I going to get my Master’s? Go into Nursing? Get a ‘real’ job?
I’ve always known the cutthroat business world isn’t for me. When customers get mad at me, I cry. I try not to, but I can’t help it. I would be about the worst CEO ever. I’m so much happier taking care of the house. My plan is to work a low-stress job for a year, get married, get pregnant, go on mat leave and not look back (God willing, of course, if not, I’ll find my calling in the working world somewhere)
My fiance is happy for me to do whatever I want once we get married and have kids whether I work or stay at home. He knows very well I plan on staying home at least until all my kids are in school. We’ve lived the life of poor students for years (yes, we lived in sin, but we’re living as brother and sister now). Most people think you simply can’t live without a car or cable TV or a dishwasher. We live simply and within our means making less than $20 000 a year.
So many of my friends are dating men who absolutely insist that they work and would feel used otherwise. My parents insist that I should never become dependant on a man and to stay at home would be wasting my gifts. It’s no secret among my friends that I want to have a big family and stay at home with my kids and they all think I’m crazy.
I think it’s a sad trend that men and women seem to think that a woman that stays at home is degrading herself. What on earth is wrong with being a Mom?


#15

Yes…you cannot worry of what others think…or society thinks. I have friends who drive BMW’s and live in ‘mini mansions,’ (to quote a poster above) who put their 6 week old babies in daycare…I never judged…but for them…this is what they wanted. It did seem like they could have made it on the dad’s income, but…some people don’t want to ‘just make it.’ My husband and I scrimped in the beginning, but we also like our new home…but never scrimp on being a parent. NEVER.

Also…working over the past several years…I think my husband and I look at my vocation, as where God wants me to be. It led us to Florida…a place my husband has wanted to come back to. It also allows us to tithe more…to give more to charities…I think that there is a common misconception that women who work are doing so for Disney vacations…and trips to France. Actually, God calls us all in different ways to different things. I am a mother first…and always put my kids first…but my husband does the same. I don’t think that being a mom is more imporant than being a dad.

Just wanted to add that. Interesting topic!:thumbsup:


#16

May God bless you in your endeavors…I enjoyed reading your post.:slight_smile:


#17

Any woman who marries you is getting a great GUY!

I think that your current surroundings have caused some undue concern. Feminism rears it’s ugly head in college, and of course can lead to years of really redundant thinking on a woman’s part. Such as their career defining them. Feminism is no longer helpful, but is rather hurtful to women these days. It’s lost it’s core ideal: equal rights, equal pay, equal footing, decent respect. It is now turned into a multi-head-monster of “I don’t need no man to raise a baby! Why would I stay home with my children?” Factor in the “I want, I need” materialistic views of our current society and yes, we have created a monster! (Thanks a lot baby boomers! :wink: )

The GOOD news I have for you is two fold. 1) There are women out there like me who INSISTED upon agreeing to marry my husband that I wanted children, and I WOULD stay home. “You will provide, I will mother, I will not have children for other people to raise!” He agreed. It was the cincher. 2) Some women may think they plan on working and mothering, then have their beautiful children and realize they just CAN’T leave them. These ladies are easy to spot: they have a great big heart. You can’t miss them.

So before you take the big step into marriage: discuss this very thing! Any woman who adamantly defends her right to stay home and be a mom is the right kind of girl. Especially if she doesn’t feel the need to do so with a new computer every year, a boat and a big screen! LOL There will be no argument in the marriage if the terms are agreed upon before the wedding.

We drive used cars. We have used furniture (I prefer to call them antiques - LOL) and we pay our rent and bills every month. We are not on any form of government aid, and we do just fine. Our kids DONT CARE that they are not riding aorund in a new car: they have their mom at home. I remember once when my eldest was about four, she was friends with another girl at her preschool. This friend’s parents were both attorneys. She was dropped off at 8 in the morning, picked up after 4 or 5. My daughter was there for the standard preschool hours of 1:00 -4:00. She looked at me and said “Claire is ALWAYS here mom, does she ever go home?” Well sure she does, she’s here longer because both of her parents work. “I sure am lucky my mom doesn’t work, I wouldn’t like being away from you all day!” Ahhhhhhhh – and you know, for years she has told me how much she appreciates that I stay home with her and her brother and sister.

So I guess I am telling you that what you are asking for in a future wife is not only admirable, but possible. We DO exist, we DO love our “jobs” as mother’s and wives. I don’t even think you’ll have to look too hard to find us, church might be a good place to start. :thumbsup:


#18

You sound like a fantastic catch. thank you in advance for desiring the mother of your children to stay home. We had four children and I managed to stay home with our kids. It was hard financially and we had to garden, can foods, eat inexpensive meals, and forego some vacations (except those now-memorable camping trips to such places as the Grand Canyon and other great places). It is definitely possible to have your wife stay home. One thing I did to augment our income was to babysit for other mothers, usually just one or two children at a time. It did make a lot of difference financially and added an extra hundred or so per week. You just throw the babysitted kids in with your own brood and it is actually lots of fun!
I didn’t go back to work fulltime until my youngest was in secdon grade and am so glad I didn’t…but now with my career I am so fortunate to love what I do. I agree with the poster who believes that women should consider going to work after her children are in school. It helps out financially and gets the woman out of the house to enlarge her own life with more friends and time away from housework. At least, that’s the way I see it.
God has blessed us greatly for trying to follow a Christian ideal of having Mommy at home with the babies. And I havev had a great career to make me feel even more blessed! Now we go on lots of vacations, can afford college educations for our children, and can do numerous home-improvement projects to make our home a paradise without going into debt.


#19

Therre is really only one person’s opinion that matters…and that is your wife-to-be. As a couple you are entitled to order your values, goals and priorities as you both agree and see fit. No one else’s agreement, disagreement, disapproval or endorsement is necessary or even meaningful.


#20

I am a stay at home Mom, earned my bachelor’s at 21 years old, use my degree every day, and no, I didn’t major in Child Development. :wink: Please be very careful when making statements like this; they can really sting. We SAHMs hear plenty from people who think we’re not using our educations. I entered college (indeed, kindergarten) planning on staying home with my babies until the youngest graduated from high school, maybe longer.

God bless you, Smber, for sticking up for us SAHMs. :smiley:

I am one of those women, too. I asked my DH (boyfriend, back then) how he felt about having his wife stay home. He told me that it was VERY important to him to have his wife stay home and take care of his precious children. He is 100% committed to this. He would work 2, 3, or 4 jobs; sell the house; sell all our “stuff”; anything to allow me to stay home with our babies. After asking some other guy friends this same question, I decided that it wasn’t enough to just marry a guy who would say, “Sure, whatever, stay home if you want,” because he may not have the same kind of commitment to me staying home as a man who says, “Please stay home with my babies; I’ll do everything I can to make that possible, so they never have to be without you.”

DH and I both grew up with SAHMs, and both were forced to endure the pain of our mothers temporarily returning to the workforce (I was in elementary school; DH was in junior high). We associate those times with family discord, personal struggles, and missing our moms. We will do everything we can to keep me at home (especially if we’re blessed with a large family, God willing). The issue is that important – To both of us.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.