In lots of cases, especially in high-cost-of-living areas, having a family with both parents working is a necessity.
But along with the extra income come extra stress, financial and otherwise. On the financial side, there is child care, and a host of other services that get done what needs getting done. On the non-financial side, it's just more hectic: more fitting in errands, more eating out or fast food, more running around.
My wife of twelve years has been stay-at-home for the entire time we've been married. A couple of nights ago she forwarded this article and asked me what I thought about it. I encourage you to check it out. The premise that I took away was not only should stay-at-home spouses not feel guilty for being stay-at-home, they should recognize that their staying at home is a gift for the working spouse.
In other words, my wife's staying at home is a gift to me.
All of those loose ends
When I went to talk with my wife about this, I didn't know what the deal was going to be. I didn't assume that she had a hidden agenda for sharing it with me, but I still asked. 🙂
No, there was no hidden agenda. She just thought that I could get a post out of it. (Indeed I could!)
I completely agree with the article. I see what a gift it is every day to have my wife at home. (Actually, it's three times that gift, because her parents live with us as well, and they're similarly unencumbered.)
Many days, I know she's working harder than I am.
I admit that I didn't agree as enthusiastically during the first part of our marriage, but that was my failing, not hers. In many ways, it was good never to have gotten used to living on two incomes.
Having someone available to take care of the gazillion loose ends of life is a gift. Things like:
- Grocery shopping and other errands. This takes time, of course, and it's probably better that one person do it rather than both, because bad things can happen.
- House stuff. All kinds of house stuff: cleaning, repairs, yard work, gardening, painting, raising chickens. (My wife is far handier than I.)
- Holding down the fort. If the cable company makes an appointment to stop by during one of its two incredibly-convenient-for-them blocks — “sometime between 8 and 12” or “sometime between 12:30 and 5” — she can be there.
- Homeschooling. With all of the utter nonsense and horror stories I hear surrounding the public school system — not the least of which is common core — I am so thankful that we are able to homeschool. Hooray for homeschooling!
- General frugality. I can see how dual-income families would tend to spend on convenience. A day at work is tiring. Throw a commute on top of that (not my commute, but a longer one) and I'd be downright whipped. Having the energy during the day to make meals, make clothes, etc., is much more in the cards. The little money-saving things add up.
As the working spouse, these things listed above are largely off my plate. And that is a huge gift. It's not that I can't participate, but I know that they'll get done, and not under extreme duress.
If you're in the same situation (able to have one spouse at home) what other gifts does this bring to the table for you?