THE REAL PRICE OF BEING A SAHM  

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As much as being a stay at home mother (SAHM) is a privilege for those fortunate to be able to afford this luxury, there is a greater cost of being a SAHM than just the wage that the mother used to earn.

Choosing to be a SAHM of course means sacrificing a wage, but it also means losing out on superannuation (pension savings). It also translates into missing out on working experience, the ability to keep up with changing technology, it means missing the promotions that may have come your way had you stayed working and leaves you with a big blank space in your resume, making returning to the workforce challenging.

There is a wealth of experience, education and intelligence locked into a group of women where there is little opportunity to return to the workforce. Ideally there needs to be better working prospects that offer flexible, family friendly hours that allow a mother to be there to raise her children whilst still remaining relevant, useful and well remunerated in her chosen career.

Interestingly, becoming a parent doesn’t seem to affect the career prospects of a father, as he usually continues to reach new professional heights, gains added experience and in turn wage increases.

In the unfortunate case where there is a marriage breakdown, the man often has higher capacity to earn, better superannuation savings and better job security, whilst the woman struggles to find work and make ends meet, after sacrificing her career in order to raise their joint children.

In an ideal world, I think both parents should work part time, so they can each earn independently, can each be hands on parents to raise and bond with their children and can each have the ability to continue to feel relevant in their chosen career.

At the end of the day, someone has to take on the responsibility of raising children – whether it is the mother, father or a paid caregiver. The individual financial circumstances usually have a large role to play in deciding how this care is provided.

The cost of being a SAHM is often underestimated, but the pay off for this role can’t really be counted in dollars and cents, rather in hugs and kisses.

 

 

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net)

YOU’RE SO STRICT

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A parents struggle from the moment they have their child is between wanting to ensure their child loves (and even likes) them and enforcing rules that will set the basis for their child to have values and morals that will steer them through life. We have to balance giving them freedom whilst still ensuring their safety. There are no set rules about when a child has the maturity and intelligence to take on additional responsibilities, we just have to use our gut feel as to what is right for our child at that time. Sometimes that means that your kids won’t like you, but hopefully they will respect that you make decisions in their best interests. At the end of the day, we aren’t here to be their friends; we are their parents and have to take that responsibility seriously.

Kids will always play the “You’re so strict! My friends’ mums let them do x,y,z” card and more often than not it isn’t actually the case. Rather, the kids are all bullying their parents into thinking that they are the only ones not allowing their kids freedom. Often if you just talk with the other parents, you will find out that they share a common concern to you.

Years ago I saw a poem called ‘I Loved You Enough’ and it struck a chord with me. I would like to share it with all those parents who have kids who think they are too strict:

 

I LOVED YOU ENOUGH
By Erma Bombeck

 

I Loved You Enough….to ask where you were going,

with whom, and what time you would be home.

 

I Loved You Enough….to insist that you save

your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we

could afford to buy one for you.

 

I Loved You Enough…. to be silent and let

you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

 

I Loved You Enough….to make you take a Milky Way

back to thedrugstore (with a bite out of it)

and tell the clerk,”I stole this yesterday and

want to pay for it.”

 

I Loved You Enough….to stand over you for

two hours while you cleaned your room,

a job that would have  taken 15 minutes.

 

I Loved You Enough….to let you see anger, disappointment

and tears in my eyes.

Children must learn that their parents aren’t perfect.

 

I Loved You Enough….to let you assume the

responsibility for your actions even when the penalties

were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all,

 

I Loved You Enough….

to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all.

I’m glad I won them, because in the end,

you won, too.

 

When our kids are adults and are capable of looking after themselves, maybe then I can be their friend, but for now I’m just a Mother who loves her kids and regardless of whether they like it or not, I love them enough to be stricter than they want me to be and I hope that in the future they will thank me for caring, keeping them safe and raising them to be good people.

 

(Photo courtesy of photostock, freedigitalphotos.net)