The Cost of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

Making the most of naptime

I’ve ridden the waves of maternal angst with the rest of my peers, and the stay-at-home option has always appealed. Plus, I’m a writer (I said to myself), so I could always work while the little tyke naps. I wouldn’t even have to lose much professional ground. You know: “Writer Wins Pulitzer During Naptime.” Mmhmm.

So I was a prime candidate to get my butt kicked by Ann Crittenden’s new book: “The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued.”

A former economics reporter for The New York Times, Crittenden documents in painstaking and depressing detail all the ways in which government policy, the tax code and corporate culture penalize mothers who work and the parents who stay at home. The stats are such a downer I won’t get into them here—but for example, working mothers earn 20% less than working women without kids.

But those who pay the highest “mommy tax,” as Crittenden calls it, are those who choose to stay home.