‘84% of working women want to stay home with kids’

by Grace

According to a new partnered survey cosponsored by ForbesWoman andTheBump.com, a growing number of women see staying home to raise children (while a partner provides financial support) to be the ideal circumstances of motherhood.  Forget the corporate climb; these young mothers have another definition of success: setting work aside to stay home with the kids….

… according to our survey, 84% of working women told ForbesWoman and TheBump that staying home to raise children is a financial luxury they aspire to.

What’s more, more than one in three resent their partner for not earning enough to make that dream a reality.
Is ‘Opting Out’ The New American Dream For Working Women? (Forbes)

But a high standard of living is more important than staying home.

As one (working) mom of two told me, she may dream of leaving work to take care of her kids, but the (financial) reality of it is not so ideal. “Sure, if my husband made so much money that I could spend time with the kids, still afford great vacations and maybe the occasional baby sitter to take a class or go out with friends, I’d be the first to sign up,” she said. “So maybe while it’s a luxury I do think about, it’s not one I would want unless it was actually luxurious. I don’t want to be a stay at home mom who clips coupons or plans her weekly menu to make ends meet… If that’s the case, I’d gladly go on working to avoid that fate.”

This leads me to wonder if many men also aspire to stay home with the kids.  I doubt it, but maybe part of the reason is because they have lower expectations of what their wives could earn.  Or maybe there are other reasons.

Only about 20% of SAHMs think they’d be happier working outside the home.

Other highlights:

Very few SAHMs are sorry they left the workplace, but I’m intrigued by the odd way Forbes chose to relay this politically incorrect data.  I may be reading too much into it, but when every other percentage in their story is given as an exact number, there seems to be an attempt to inflate this measure.

More than 10% of stay-at-home moms regret giving up their career.

Their wish to be home with their children may be affecting productivity, especially since a happy worker is a productive worker.

Approximately half of working moms agree their overall happiness would increase if they didn’t work. More than a third (34%) of working moms admit that their work performance was slacking a bit and they wished they were home with baby after returning to work. In fact, 47% agree that their overall happiness would increase if they weren’t working. On the other hand, only nearly one in five (19%) of stay-at-home moms admit their overall happiness would increase if they worked outside the home.

Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist, advises women:

Pick your spouse carefully. 
If you want to stay home with kids, don’t marry a guy who can’t earn a living. If you want to stay home with kids, make it clear that even though you earn more than the guy, the guy will be the breadwinner. If you want to stay home with kids then you put all your financial hopes in the guy’s career. Whatever his earning ability is, then that is your earning ability, because you are a team, and he is the breadwinner.

With the declining “supply” of men who are college-educated, our daughters may find it difficult to follow this advice.  My advice would be to first make sure you can support yourself before you go looking for that male breadwinner.

HT Ann Althouse

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2 Comments to “‘84% of working women want to stay home with kids’”

  1. I imagine that quote fits in with Forbes target market, but the general idea applies across all incomes – mothers are motivated to stay in the workforce to improve or maintain their standard of living. In some cases it’s luxury vacations and in others it’s good health care.

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  2. “The author makes it sound like, if only we would give up our luxury vacations, and horror, clip coupons, we would all be so much happier. ”

    I didn’t see it that way. This is a story of how most working women would like to stay home with their kids, but it appears that most do not consider it a realistic option. If you think the quoted mother sounds out of touch, I might agree, but that’s her reality. Should Forbes have profiled the two-earner family pulling in $40,000 for a more balanced article? Possibly

    I haven’t seen any numbers recently, but I can see how there is a trend toward more highly contingent labor. Very few workers feel secure in their employment.

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