when people question a mother’s motives after learning that she quit her job to
be a SAHM. First, parenting is work;
one of the toughest jobs in the world, I might add. Second, it's no one's business.
But what about the third reason? The one no one ever talks about: the fact that
child care can cost as much (if not more) than your current salary. The same
salary you would use to pay someone else to watch your kids if you went back to
The average annual cost to send two children to day care
is nearly $18,000. For those
living in the nation’s capital, that cost is double. Parents
with two kids living in the D.C. area can expect to pay as much as $40,473 per year for child care, and
most states aren’t far behind. Because of this, many
have elected to quit their jobs altogether or, at the very least, find less
demanding work. Still, staying home with your kids doesn't mean you don’t
have to pay.
When a parent chooses to leave their job or place a career on hold,
they lose a lot more than just salary, according to a report from CBS
News. They also lose potential earnings and
benefits, such as medical insurance, retirement pensions and 401k. These lifetime costs are so high, in
fact, that Michael Madowitz, economist and father of two, designed a simple calculator
that will add them up for you.
By answering six
short questions, this custom-made number cruncher will determine exactly what
it will cost you to stay home with your kids. For example, a 28-year-old
woman who typically makes a $35,000 annual salary, will lose a total of $505,438 if she
plans to take five years off to be a SAHM.
Photograph by mom.me
Although half a
million bucks may seem like a good reason to go back to work, the concern over
child care remains because someone still has to pay for it, and that someone (yes,
YOU) is most likely searching for quality child care. Therein lies every parent's conundrum: Who should you trust to care for your child, and how much are
you willing to spend?
Or, "You're so lucky to get to stay at home all day." Free time? Are you kidding me? Sure, my schedule isn't dependent on office hours or a boss's needs. But my hours are dependent on that little human being who wants to show me the block tower she made while I'm trying to clean the bathroom. Or she insists on me reading book after book over and over again instead of preparing for dinner.
There are also errands to be run, diapers to be changed, laundry to be washed, beds to be made, babies to entertain and outdoor time to be had (and I do not mean much-needed yard work). Sure, I can see where people might assume that the days are open for flexibility. But as a SAHM, you're a slave to nap time, lunch time, snack time, diaper time, playtime and give-me-more-attention time ... while also trying to focus on that role of homemaker (cooking and cleaning and other need-to-be-done tasks) that seems to go part and parcel with the role of SAHM.