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Do All You SAHMs feel elitist?
Terry at Ornaments of Grace has her druthers up because she just read an article saying that only elite women are able to stay at home. Their husbands are rich, and these women are basically living off their men, who will one day leave them for more interesting women they have found at the workplace.

Give. Me. A. Break.

Terry goes on to document how UN-elitist she is. She certainly doesn't live a glamorous life!

Now, it's hard for me to talk right now because my husband is a doctor. We do have more than most people, for which I am eternally grateful, and with which I feel we must share, which is why we take our kids to an orphanage in Africa quite frequently.

But I digress.

When the kids were little and Keith was in school we had very little, too. We bought second hand clothes at Goodwill. We bought second hand baby furniture and toys. I bought second hand clothes for myself (you could never tell, anyway).

We didn't have cable. Well, we still don't.

What we did have was the knowledge that the kids needed me, and we wanted to create a close-knit family.

Terry deals with all these aspects well, but something else I was thinking about was how much money it actually costs to work. You need a second vehicle, you need to pay for childcare, you need different clothes. Chances are you eat out and grab coffees more often. You probably buy take out for dinner more often, too, because you're too tired to cook.

But when you're home you CAN make money by saving money. When you clip coupons, sew some clothes (I've even been making cloth menstrual pads, but that's another story), get to the library, cook in bulk, make your own meals, do your own housework, and more, you can make a significant contribution financially to the family, even if you don't have an income.

I think if people truly totalled up how much it costs to work, they would find that they maybe only make $3.00 an hour. It may be worth it to work for $15, but is it worth it to work for $3? Because after you subtract everything, that may be what you're getting.

I wrote about this in one chapter in To Love, Honor and Vacuum, and I also have a CD with a talk titled "Making Decisions Between Work and Family" (scroll down the page to the CDs). Check them out if you want to figure out the calculations in detail!

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At 2:33 PM , Blogger Becoming Me said…

Great post Sheila. Let's see, I just got back from Big Lots where I now pusrchase my pasta sauce and cereal...uh elites here. :-)


At 3:30 PM , Blogger Jenni said…

Definitely no rich SAHM here! I love the part about making your own THAT is FRUGAL! :) I'm still new to the coupon craze and I couldn't sew clothes to save my life, but I do the best I can with what I have. And yes, I too, live with the deep conviction that I need to be home with my children. That is what keeps me looking for other ways to cut back.


At 3:47 PM , Blogger Tara said…

Elitist? No. My husband is a Christian school teacher. He makes less than even an entry level public school teacher despite his 13 years of service. I stay home 100% with our four kids. I feed that family of 6 on under $350 a month with minimal eating out (and no drinks or apps when we go out!) We don't have cable tv, high speed internet or a cell phone that does anything but make and receive calls. We live without video games and ipods. I"m making mac and cheese for my 3 year old's birthday dinner. His request!

No elitist feelings here! Just immense feelings of being blessed to have a husband who is willing to be the sole bread winner for our large-by-today's standards family!


At 5:17 PM , Blogger Terry said…

You're great, Sheila. I've already said my peace but I appreciate that you pointed out that it actually costs quite a bit of money to hold down an outside job as well.


At 6:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Oh my goodness, that is just 'rich' isn't it... (pun intended!) Yeah, all of us in single-income families are staying home because we are rich?!

Right... you can see how rich and elite we are!
We drive vehicles that probably weren't made in the same decade we own them.
We shop at consignment stores and GoodWill.
Our kids qualify for free medical insurance from the government.
When we go on a vacation we take a tent and a cooler rather than flying off somewhere tropical.
Our kids (gasp!) share bedrooms, sports equipment, toys, and clothes.

Okay, I could go on, but I'm starting to feel self-righteous... time to back down!

After #3 was born my husband suddenly lost his job. Yikes. My then-five-year-old said, "Mama, will you stay home with us while we're little?" He wasn't protesting at being left with a sitter for a rare 'date night' - he wanted to make sure I didn't go out and get a job!

God has graciously provided all these years. (Not to leave out all my husband's hard work!) The sacrifices are nothing compared with the joy and satisfaction of making our house a home, raising our own kids, and BEING THERE for all the little spontaneous moments of their lives.



At 7:35 PM , Blogger MaryLu said…

I too, am blessed to be able to stay home with my kiddos. We decided through help from Larry Burkett, (now Crown Financial Ministries) that me working and paying childcare for only one child was not beneficial. We now have 6 children, I would go in the hole each month if I had to pay childcare for that many.
I do many frugal things to help my husband pay the bills. We do not buy on credit, AT ALL! I can produce all summer long, whatever I can get my hands on during the plentiful summer months, I sew, mending mostly, which can make a huge dent in the clothing allowance.
I have also sewn my own pads and use them faithfully each month.
I sewed my own diapers for my toddler and saved nearly $300 a month not buying diapers.
I recently had a visit from that expensive vacuum saleman who tried to convince me that I could get it with no money down and only $60/month. Sounds fabulous doesn't it. Not when the price tag is over $2000!
Ok, done on my soapbox, pretty passionate about this topic. Thanks for the grat post, Sheila!


At 8:48 PM , Blogger Tiffany Stuart said…

Fun to find your blog.

Hope to be back.


At 9:11 PM , Anonymous AtHomeMomResources said…

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon your blog -- but I'm glad I did. I agree with your 100% -- many don't realize how little money they are bringing home when you subtract out all the expenses. I've been 'at home' for 28 years now and it hasn't always been easy! Of course, at this point in our lives things are a bit better financially -- but I still can't see wasting $ when it's not necessary - or wasting my time outside the home for peanuts. I think I'll be spending some more time on your blog.


At 9:32 PM , Anonymous Jennifer in OR said…

Cloth menstrual pads. I just couldn't do it. I'm frugal, but... :-) Really, though, great post and good job debunking an obviously ridiculous claim.


At 1:52 AM , Blogger TONYA said…

You had me at 'making cloth menstrual pads'. Seriously? Okay I need to know more about this.

No rich SAHM here. I stay at home because my husband is in the military. He is gone anywhere from 6-12 months every year. We have 18 month old twins and I would never be able to make enough money during the day to put both babies in childcare and forget working nights or weekends because I also have an older child that has activities, homework etc that he needs help with.

Great post. I'm glad I found your blog link on Dawn's comments.


At 10:51 AM , Blogger Wifey said…

We're certainly not rich, but that's a sentiment I've heard a lot. My sister in law wants to be a sahm, but when she told a family member that she was greeted with "you can't afford that!" We have to live on a budget, but we've decided that having a parent home with the kids is worth it.


At 2:13 PM , Anonymous Jill @ Live, Laugh, Blog said…

We are by no means rich, here. But we do okay. We don't buy new cars, we don't have too much house, we buy clothes on sale and we manage our money carefully, because that's what God has called us to do.
I stay home with our girls because we think that's what's best for them and our family.
Don't get me wrong, there are days when I would rather be doing something else. Staying home is the hardest job I've ever had and the pay stinks. But I love it (most days).
Some women need to work outside the home for fulfillment and there is nothing wrong with that. God has made us each wonderfully made. I know it's hard for SAHM's to grasp what working moms do and it's equally hard for working mom's to see what all we SAHM's do.
They are both so hard and important. It's time that we MOTHERS come together and support one another.
I would love to read the entire article. But I would probably lose my cool with it!


At 2:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Funny. All of the "rich" people around here are never home. I'm constantly amazed by the size of the homes going up in our area, most of which see no life between the hours of 9am-5pm and most evenings when mom and dad are chauffeuring Junior and Princess to various extracurriculars.

I'm home, though. My house isn't as big as the McMansion down the street, but we're all here, having a great time and enjoying life. I don't think anyone would call us "elite", but, considering our family is usually together, at home, every day and evening, under no stress, laughing and having fun, I'd say that makes us pretty rich indeed.


At 3:16 PM , Blogger Jane @ What About Mom? said…

This SAHM stuff seems to go around every few months. Was it Money magazine who calculated that a reasonable SAHM salary would be abt 130K for all the work she does?

It's all about priorities. And differentiating needs from wants. I know a family about to have their third kid who make less than 20k/year. I don't now how they survive on that. But I admire the mom for continuing to SAH.


At 4:18 AM , Blogger I am Joy. said…

Elitist of the elite here! ;o) My husband works from home... does that mean the woman he'll run off with is me?! Our BMW is a 15-passenger Dodge van. Our second car is an ugly green Ford something with seat belts that chop your head off when you open the door - very stylish! And those aren't even at the top of the list... Yes, God has blessed us and there are times when I feel that I am part of the extremely elite! :o)


At 4:19 PM , Anonymous a frog in my soup said…

It's all in the attitude really! I always wanted to get married and be a mom . . . it never ocurred to me that mothers worked outside the home until I was an adult. Before my hubby and I were even engaged he mentioned that it was definitely right for me to stay home once we had children!

It was never an option, simply a fact . . . I would stay home with the kids. Hubby is in construction, we are not well off financially and have 6 sons now (God has a great sense of humor), yet somehow we are always provided for :).



At 12:54 PM , Anonymous Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice-Simmons) said…

Great article! I had to have my husband come read it with me. His new favorite phrase is, "What a glamorous life we live," mostly in reference to the baby functions we have to endure as parents! I'm definitely passing your article on!

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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