The Cost of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom




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By MP Dunleavey
Article Courtesy of MSN.com

When I was at college in the ‘80s (and a feisty, liberal-arts women’s college it was), the notion of staying home with your kids was, shall we say, unpopular. Why spend four expensive years preparing for your supposedly brilliant career if you weren’t going to put the kids where God and feminism intended them: in daycare?

So it’s been fascinating to watch the pendulum swing the other way the last 15 years, as women of my generation and older faced the untold frustrations of trying to work full time and raise a family. Injuries to the number of women whose heads hit the glass ceiling soared.

In her 1997 landmark book “The Second Shift,” Arlie Hochschild reported that most women who worked full time still did most of the housework. Many others found they were working to pay for child care, so they could keep working—to pay for child care.

No wonder more and more of us began to reconsider the stay-at-home option, or variations thereof (flextime, working from home, extended maternity leave, etc.). As Mary Snyder, co-author of “You Can Afford to Stay Home With Your Kids,” told me, “It’s a total priority shift. Women don’t want the Supermom Syndrome. It looked great from the outside, but once you were in it, you were miserable and you couldn’t excel at anything.”