About once a year they always put out those stories about how much a stay at home mother is worth. They estimate the costs based on the jobs they do (cooking, cleaning, tending to the children) and how much it would cost for you to get a professional to come and do those things (a chef, a maid, a nanny). It’s always some huge number; I think the last one I heard was $175,000. It’s always a bit ridiculous because who among us (besides the filthy rich) farm out every portion of the child raising experience.
Never the less, when you do have a child (or a second) enter into your family, you tend to evaluate your status as a worker and determine what parts of the child raising experience you send out to others, and what you feel you need to do yourself. I suppose the scale goes from “I don’t want to miss a second” to “Send me a postcard when you graduate”.
We sit somewhere in the middle. We spend all of our non-work time with her now (except for the occasional date night). For our work times, she stays in daycare. As a part-time employee, Steph enjoys Fridays off and with Eva. This makes the balance slightly better, but with a second child coming and attention time further divided, how will we feel then?
The choice for me is easy, I need to work. I think I could be the stay at home dad, but maybe not. Regardless, we’ve got bills to pay and I need to work to pay them. Plus, I do like my work so it’s not a bad option.
Steph has it tougher though. There is a deep feeling that resides in her that wants to stay home and be the caregiver for Eva and the boy. However, also inside her is her deep love for music and the opportunity to teach children music. She loves the children she teaches, but also loves her own children.
Complicating the situation is my (least) favorite topic. Finances. If she stays at home, it’s one less income for the family. However, if she does continue to work we’ll have two children in daycare. A part-time teacher in a private school makes just enough to pay for the daycare costs of two kids, gas for transportation back and forth, and lunch. Mind you, it wouldn’t be a McLunch, but she won’t be on the cover of Forbes anytime soon.
Of course if we could get that $175,000 dollar stay at home check…