Wealthy Single Mommy (WSM) used "poor" judgement yesterday when she criticized Salary.Com for their task breakdown of what a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) is worth. WSM's tagline is, "The Business of Building a Rich Family - all by yourself." It comes as no shock that she is a working mom.
The blogger suggests keeping one foot in the door, professionally, which isn't such bad advice. Conducting interviews for my former teaching position, I observed how rusty one of the candidates was. She had been a SAHM for a number of years and was now attempting to reenter the work force.
WSM criticism was based in her claim that Salary.com and "feminism has gone too far. Far, far too far."
My immediate response: someone has to be extreme, or no one would value the SAHM. Extreme and radical ideas give people voice. It is rather radical to state that a SAHM is worth $113,568. However, cut the figures in half, and it's still $56,784. At least someone is assigning a number to the most important job in the world. Perhaps, if a numeric value is attached, then being a SAHM will be viewed as just that: something with value.
"There is no way to quantify the 'successful' stay at home parent."
You want to quantify it? Try this ratio: 1:1. OR 1:2. OR 1:3... As a former teacher in Chicago Public Schools, several classrooms had upwards of 40 kids. I was one of the lucky ones, with "only" 26. Pray tell, where is the day care center that offers a 1:1 or even 1:4 caregiver to child ratio? While WSM is well educated, it would surprise me if she has ever served in education.
"There is no evidence to support the notion that kids raised with a parent at home fare better."
WSM, you could bring me every study in the archives. None of it can refute the evidence that I see in the development of my son. Because I am home with him, he can speak French, make homemade peanut butter, and soak up children's literature 30 minutes every day. Find me the daycare center that replicates this. While I'm sure some are exceptional, nothing can replace home.
"I do not believe that being a FT (full time) SAHM is an option for anyone interested in their family's security."
After reading several of her posts, I'm curious to see what WSM defines as "financially secure." College for the kids? Retirement? Both? It's a relative term. The mere fact that you have a job does not guarantee security. Anything can happen.
And she would know.
Unfortunately, her divorce was the result of the hardships that came after her husband (at the time) suffered a brain injury. Her story illustrates how you need a rainy day fund and financial security, but here's where I think she misses the boat: it also illustrates how life is fragile, and a devastating event can drastically alter one's life.
You could be hit by a bus tomorrow. If you want to be a working parent, then work. If you want to be a SAHM, then stay home.
While it's not feasible for WSM (or any single parent) to stay home, she should rest assured that there are those of us, in two parent families, who are planning and investing our finances responsibly; who make one parent working work.
Yes, we budget. Yes, we plan for college and retirement. And yes, we spend a winter morning outside in the freshly fallen powder, scraping the shovel against the driveway, on the lookout for the largest block of ice for a two-year-old to smash into smithereens. This, Wealthy Single Mommy, is the portrait of a "successful" stay-at-home-mom.
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