Women, College, and Stay at Home Moms


#1

I'm posting this in response to one of the other threads on here where people have been discussing the issue of women and college, and I'm really interested in the discussion and what everyone thinks.

I myself am currently dealing with the financial consequences of having gone to college and yet aspire to be a SAHM, at least while my kids are young. (I am not yet married.) I always knew I wanted to stay at home, but felt that I couldn't necessarily count on getting married. I figured if I didn't that I would at least have a degree and be able to support myself as a single person. So I went off to a small Catholic college, and it was the best experience of my life. I grew in maturity and spirituality, and never doubted that it was the right place for me. I do believe that if I had not gone there I would not be as faithful as I am now, nor as grounded. However, even with scholarships, it was expensive and I am now in a significant amount of debt.

To top it off, the jobs I could find afterward were so awful (both salary-wise and otherwise) that I was compelled to return to graduate school. Though I had dated in college I wasn't in a relationship- I left my job, went back to school, and then began dating my current boyfriend. I didn't incur much debt as a grad student because I had an assistantship and lived with my parents, but going two years without an income made things worse anyway.

Anyway, this is all to say that now I am wondering whether I even CAN be a stay at home mom, because of all the debt I bring to the relationship. My boyfriend doesn't really support this, and thinks that it's going to be essential that I work. (He has no debt.) I am willing to sacrifice to be able to stay at home, and I think he would support that if I didn't have so much debt. But since we'll be starting off in the red, I just don't know what is fair to expect. I feel terrible that I will be weighing us down financially, and I don't know whether it's unfair of me to expect to stay at home or not.

I guess I am looking for some perspective and insight from people who have either been in this situation or will be. Or from anyone who has something thoughtful to say, really :)


#2

The REAL question is going to come down to marriage.

When you get married, look at the reasons for why you're getting married. What are your priorities for YOUR SACRAMENT.

Children are a blessing, and a gift of that sacrament, but they are not the sacrament itself. What I mean is, choose your husband based on prayer and keeping in mind that the goal of marriage is to get each other to heaven. Then, you pray together, ask God to lead you and guide you in your family life, and then submit to your husband in mutual love.

Staying at home is a *wonderful *gift to the family, but it's not a *necessity *for a sacramental marriage or a happy and holy home.

But this all begins at the time you choose your husband. If he is someone you would submit to in the most sacramental love of matrimony, the details after that are secondary.


#3

[quote="Marie682, post:1, topic:220136"]
My boyfriend doesn't really support this, and thinks that it's going to be essential that I work.

[/quote]

If staying home with your children is super important to you, then find a husband who also thinks it's super important. :) I was like you, I always wanted to be a SAHM, ever since I can remember... I was like 3 years old when I told my grandma that I wanted to be a wife and mother. My husband feels very strongly about having a SAHM for his children (his mom stayed home, just like mine did), and I would not have married him if he didn't.

Everyone has their "deal breakers" in relationships. When I was younger, finding a husband who would support a family by himself was one of my deal breakers because it was that important to me.


#4

[quote="Truly_Beloved, post:3, topic:220136"]
If staying home with your children is super important to you, then find a husband who also thinks it's super important. :) I was like you, I always wanted to be a SAHM, ever since I can remember... I was like 3 years old when I told my grandma that I wanted to be a wife and mother. My husband feels very strongly about having a SAHM for his children (his mom stayed home, just like mine did), and I would not have married him if he didn't.

Everyone has their "deal breakers" in relationships. When I was younger, finding a husband who would support a family by himself was one of my deal breakers because it was that important to me.

[/quote]

Ditto.

Plus I wonder if the bigger problem isn't how you two might view money and financial responsibilities in general. The SAHM and being able to afford it and how you two see it, may just be the tip of the iceburg when it comes to how you two see how a married couple/family should meet their financial obligations and how to arrive at a budget you both can agree on. Better to talk it all out now before you even get engaged. But if being a SAHM is very, very important to you, then it might be a deal breaker.


#5

[quote="PatriceA, post:4, topic:220136"]
Plus I wonder if the bigger problem isn't how you two might view money and financial responsibilities in general. The SAHM and being able to afford it and how you two see it, may just be the tip of the iceburg when it comes to how you two see how a married couple/family should meet their financial obligations and how to arrive at a budget you both can agree on. Better to talk it all out now before you even get engaged. But if being a SAHM is very, very important to you, then it might be a deal breaker.

[/quote]

:yup:

And this is my personal opinion, but having a husband who considers his paycheck OUR paycheck is ideal for SAHMs... I don't have an "allowance," and his debt/my debt is OUR debt. :)


#6

You are in a difficult spot. No doubt about it. If you really want to be a SAHM, find a guy that will understand about your debt.

I do think it is a bit unfair for a wife to expect the husband to pay for her debt. However, you need to give your husband a reason to WANT to pay off your debt. I know if it was me I would be more willing to pay off debt if I felt she was an exceptional woman. However, if she is not an exceptional woman I wouldnt be happy about having to pay off the debt. Sometimes, there is a payoff to making a sacrifice and other times you decide there is not a payoff.


#7

[quote="mjs1987, post:6, topic:220136"]
You are in a difficult spot. No doubt about it. If you really want to be a SAHM, find a guy that will understand about your debt.

I do think it is a bit unfair for a wife to expect the husband to pay for her debt. However, you need to give your husband a reason to WANT to pay off your debt. I know if it was me I would be more willing to pay off debt if I felt she was an exceptional woman. However, if she is not an exceptional woman I wouldnt be happy about having to pay off the debt. Sometimes, there is a payoff to making a sacrifice and other times you decide there is not a payoff.

[/quote]

Wouldn't the woman you marry ALWAYS be an exceptional woman? I mean if my husband ever thought I wasn't worth the sacrifices we would make together for the sake of our family, why get married at all?


#8

[quote="PatriceA, post:7, topic:220136"]
Wouldn't the woman you marry ALWAYS be an exceptional woman? I mean if my husband ever thought I wasn't worth the sacrifices we would make together for the sake of our family, why get married at all?

[/quote]

Not necessarily. You can love someone and accept them for their flaws. However, if the girl was better than average girl you might want to do more to keep that girl than for a girl than was just your average Jane.

Why must every women see marriage in overly romantic terms? Not every wife can be exceptional.


#9

[quote="mjs1987, post:8, topic:220136"]
Not necessarily. You can love someone and accept them for their flaws. However, if the girl was better than average girl you might want to do more to keep that girl than for a girl than was just your average Jane.

Why must every women see marriage in overly romantic terms? Not every wife can be exceptional.

[/quote]

Because if I didn't think my husband was exceptional, beyond measure, I never would have married him. Its not about being overly romantic, its about marrying the person and taking the vows and pledging ALL, not just some of your life. Of course you accept their flaws, we're all flawed. But if you're going into a marriage and you think there is part of their situation or their life that you can not accept, don't get married. If you don't think your spouse is exceptional, or just slightly better than the "average Joe" you need to keep looking. Anything else is settling.


#10

[quote="mjs1987, post:8, topic:220136"]
Not necessarily. You can love someone and accept them for their flaws. However, if the girl was better than average girl you might want to do more to keep that girl than for a girl than was just your average Jane.

Why must every women see marriage in overly romantic terms? Not every wife can be exceptional.

[/quote]

There are millions of possible attributes a person can have. There's no such thing as an 'ordinary person' when you look closely.


#11

[quote="PatriceA, post:9, topic:220136"]
Because if I didn't think my husband was exceptional, beyond measure, I never would have married him. Its not about being overly romantic, its about marrying the person and taking the vows and pledging ALL, not just some of your life. Of course you accept their flaws, we're all flawed. But if you're going into a marriage and you think there is part of their situation or their life that you can not accept, don't get married. If you don't think your spouse is exceptional, or just slightly better than the "average Joe" you need to keep looking. Anything else is settling.

[/quote]

Most people DO settle. Many dont realize it until after the marriage when all the infatuation is gone. That is why divorce is so high today. They build up their spouse to be something they are not.

What is the problem with settling anyways? Maybe that is why so many women are single. There are only so many exceptional men and women. Not everyone is exceptional. It all depends on if you want to be married or want to be single. The exceptional person may nt be attainable.


#12

I think that you and your boyfriend need to continuing discussing what life would be like after getting married before you start taking any steps towards this. For example, if you have debt and he doesn't then how is this debt going to be paid when you're married. Will only your paycheck go towards paying off the debt, will both paychecks be used, will you not pay it off sooner than you have to (if it's a student loan with a low interest rate), etc.

Talking about being a SAHM is only one part of the equation. The entire equation is talking about expectations for married life. Perhaps talk to your local priest about topics that the two of you should be discussing prior to discerning marriage or maybe look up a book at the local library.

You didn't say how long you've been dating or how close you are to engagement so I really can't tell if your worry is somewhat premature or not. However, I do agree that if you truly feel a calling to be a SAHM then you need to make this very apparent to your boyfriend. If he's adament that you never be a SAHM then perhaps your wants are not aligning appropriately and it's time to consider your long-term life with him.


#13

The economic reality is that women, as well as men, will spend much of their lives single, and need to be able to support themselves.

The child rearing years are not the majority of adult life. Married women may need employment because of economic necessity, divorce, widowhood, spousal disability, or other reasons.

The child-woman who thinks, "Oh, poor little me. I will stay at home and have someone else take care of me," is much less well regarded as a potential mate, especially if she brings large debt to the marriage.

Women are not helpless dependents. They are quite capable of useful paid employment. Two incomes are usually needed, in the modern world, to maintain a decent family living standard.

I believe young women should obtain an education, and that they should be willing to continue employment during their married lives. That is a true partnership, between man and wife.


#14

[quote="mjs1987, post:11, topic:220136"]
Most people DO settle. Many dont realize it until after the marriage when all the infatuation is gone. That is why divorce is so high today. They build up their spouse to be something they are not.

What is the problem with settling anyways? Maybe that is why so many women are single. There are only so many exceptional men and women. Not everyone is exceptional. It all depends on if you want to be married or want to be single. The exceptional person may nt be attainable.

[/quote]

You just said yourself what is the problem with settling in your first paragraph.

Even if the person you are considering is "average" by your definition, you still accept 100% of that person and what they bring into the relationship, debt and all. You accept whatever is going to happen to both of you, 100%, you have each other's back and you work for the better good for your spouse and your relationship, before you work for your own needs and wants. If you don't think the person you are marrying is worth you putting in 100% of your time and effort, walk away.


#15

[quote="Magickman, post:13, topic:220136"]
The economic reality is that women, as well as men, will spend much of their lives single, and need to be able to support themselves.

[/quote]

I agree with this. My husband and I didn't get married until he was 31 and I 29. I would not have wanted to live at home with my parents from 22-29 (after college graduation until marriage) because I refused to get a job to support myself.

[quote="Magickman, post:13, topic:220136"]
The child rearing years are not the majority of adult life. Married women may need employment because of economic necessity, divorce, widowhood, spousal disability, or other reasons.

[/quote]

Again, I agree. A background to fall back to during hardship times is very important.

[quote="Magickman, post:13, topic:220136"]
The child-woman who thinks, "Oh, poor little me. I will stay at home and have someone else take care of me," is much less well regarded as a potential mate, especially if she brings large debt to the marriage.

[/quote]

I disagree that this was the intent of the OP. Nor is it the intent of many SAHMs. I am not choosing to be a SAHM to have someone take care of me. I'm making this chose because my DH and I believe it is in the best interest of our family - for our children AND ourselves.

[quote="Magickman, post:13, topic:220136"]
Women are not helpless dependents. They are quite capable of useful paid employment. Two incomes are usually needed, in the modern world, to maintain a decent family living standard.

[/quote]

But not necessary. If a couple is willing to forgo the extras in life they may very well be able to afford to live on one income. Your idea of a decent family living standard may not be my idea. And being a SAHM does not make one a helpless dependent.

[quote="Magickman, post:13, topic:220136"]
I believe young women should obtain an education, and that they should be willing to continue employment during their married lives. That is a true partnership, between man and wife.

[/quote]

I also agree that women should obtain an education. I myself have a Masters degree in Technology Management (similar to an MBA but less accounting and more computer science). I am willing to continue employment should my family need me to work. However, if my family does not need me to work and I become a SAHM this does NOT mean that my DH and I are not in a true partnership.:mad: It's just that our partnership is defined differently than yours.


#16

I have always felt very strongly that my children would get to stay at home with a parent, most likely me.

It was so important, that yes, it would be a deal breaker if my future husband had said that would not have been possible.

Thankfully, DH and I are on the same page with all this. And as for exceptional, he IS exceptional. I wouldn't have settled for any less. :shrug:


#17

Well, frankly, the problem is that the OP had a life's goal - be a stay at home mom. She then made a decision that was contrary to that goal - she took on a significant amount of debt for an education that did not allow her to find a job to pay the debt off. So, she took on MORE debt in a hope of paying off the previous debt.

Now, she wants to marry someone who will provide for her, allow her to stay at home, and pay off her debt.

I wish her good luck.


#18

[quote="PaulinVA, post:17, topic:220136"]
Well, frankly, the problem is that the OP had a life's goal - be a stay at home mom. She then made a decision that was contrary to that goal - she took on a significant amount of debt for an education that did not allow her to find a job to pay the debt off. So, she took on MORE debt in a hope of paying off the previous debt.

Now, she wants to marry someone who will provide for her, allow her to stay at home, and pay off her debt.

I wish her good luck.

[/quote]

THANK YOU... this is the part that bothers me... it's just the attitude of simply deserving *what you *WANT.

I *want *many things in life... I've had to make decisions along the way that sometimes get in the way of those wants, which make it necessary to work harder to get to those goals.


#19

[quote="PaulinVA, post:17, topic:220136"]
Well, frankly, the problem is that the OP had a life's goal - be a stay at home mom. She then made a decision that was contrary to that goal - she took on a significant amount of debt for an education that did not allow her to find a job to pay the debt off. So, she took on MORE debt in a hope of paying off the previous debt.

Now, she wants to marry someone who will provide for her, allow her to stay at home, and pay off her debt.

I wish her good luck.

[/quote]

Be that as it may, the question of whether she had the means to make the investment she did is a horse that has left the barn. She went into debt to get an excellent education in a faith-filled college. Her question is: Now what?

Fortunately for her, she's brooding over a chick that hasn't hatched yet. She is not married and she has no children.

This would be an excellent time to see how she handles the frugal lifestyle required of most couples who choose to have one parent be the primary caregiver for their young children. If she lives close to the bone while she is single, she could both pay down her loans and get herself used to the financial "standard of living" that SAHMs must cope with.

I say: You don't know you can't do this. Work hard and start saving money hand over fist. By the time the Lord sends you a child, you may have the financial freedom and habits to do quite well at it. Those are also the habits, BTW, that you will need if something happens to your husband and you become the primary breadwinner for your family.

I also think her intended husband might be much more open to living in a one paycheck situtation if his intended shows she has the financial self-mastery to do it without killing him. That starts with making whatever sacrifices are necessary to pay down that debt.


#20

[quote="EasterJoy, post:19, topic:220136"]
This would be an excellent time to see how she handles the frugal lifestyle required of most couples who choose to have one parent be the primary caregiver for their young children. If she lives close to the bone while she is single, she could both pay down her loans and get herself used to the financial "standard of living" that SAHMs must cope with.

I say: You don't know you can't do this. Work hard and start saving money hand over fist. By the time the Lord sends you a child, you may have the financial freedom and habits to do quite well at it. Those are also the habits, BTW, that you will need if something happens to your husband and you become the primary breadwinner for your family.

[/quote]

:clapping:


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