Making It Work by Living Simply

Posted on July 21, 2011 by

All choices aren’t equal, but we don’t get equal choices either . For example, It’s easier for a woman whose husband makes $100,000/year to choose to be a SAHM than a woman whose husband makes $50,000/year.

The above comment was left on a post written on my other blog. This is an assertion often made by elite, left-wing feminists: that women can only stay home if their husbands make a lot of money. Clearly, they have fully convinced most American women that this is the case. It’s a misconception, however, that most full-time homemakers are married to men in high powered careers making six-figures. They also claim this puts women at risk because what man having been in a prestigious, well paying, intelligent environment all day wants to come home to a woman who hasn’t had a conversation with anyone over the age of six? In the minds of these women, there’s really no question of if these marriages will collapse, but when. And when they do, the poor naive wife who has given up everything to make a home for this man and his progeny will find herself poor, struggling, and alone.

When I ran across this little financial piece recently, it became clear that people who write these kinds of cost analyses have no idea how much a family gains when mom stays at home. They don’t realize that for many, the decision to switch to one income is often made before they can even see how they’re going to manage the finances. Staying home and raising your own kids is about more than dollars and cents. It’s a matter of the heart and realizing that if we are to fulfill God’s plan to raise our children well, someone has to be available to do it. It requires sacrifice!

When I came home 16 years ago, my husband worked extra hard to get us on sound financial footing. While he was pretty well employed for a man his age, we were hardly living the high life. Few one income families do. There are women whose husbands worked long hours on blue collar jobs in order to support their families while their wives stay at home. I know missionary families doing the same thing. Not every stay at home mom is married to a high-powered executive. That may be what Linda Hirshman found when she did her notorious study, but it’s not every one’s reality. It’s not even most people’s reality. I believe she called these women “elite women”. I can think of many adjectives to describe myself, but elite? No! We sacrifice plenty for me to stay home and I’m sure that’s true for many of you as well.

Our lifestyle is far from elitist. I cut coupons, limit and plan my outings to maximize gas mileage, and make my menu each week based on which supermarkets are offering the best deals. I do my own hair, paint my own nails, and rarely make impromptu trips to Target. I cook dinner every night. We eat out about once every three months, sometimes less. When there’s a book I’m interested in reading, my first stop is the library, not the bookstore.

As our family has grown, we’ve had to make more sacrifices and examine our choices more closely, but in the process we’ve come to realize how unnecessary most of the stuff we think is necessary really is. We have grown to appreciate the simple things a lot more. No burger tastes as good as the one cooked on our own grill, for a fraction of the cost. Walking around the neighborhood at dusk is far more relaxing than dodging the crowds while walking through a local mall as part of the materialistic rat race.

Obviously I’m not totally deprived as I’m writing this on my personal laptop and will upload the post via high speed internet access, neither of which can hardly be considered necessities. But in our day to day living, we examine every purchase and make every effort to be good stewards. Life is far from glamorous in this house, believe me. So when I hear or read these feminists saying that being a stay at home mom is a luxury only for the privileged few, I laugh.

I accept that there are many people for whom this choice is not a realistic one to consider, but I also believe that if we are willing to downsize our lifestyles, re-examine what we consider necessities and make tough choices, the privileged few can become a substantial number of families. Cable television, smart phones plans for every family member, meals out weekly, and convenience foods add up to several hundred dollars at the end of the month. And those are just a few of the things we’ve some to believe we simply can’t live without.

The sad part of this whole debate is that we have raised a generation of women who believe that it is unwise at best and stupid at worst for a woman to decide to make such a major life choice for the sake of serving someone else. Since when did selflessness cease to be a virtue and become a naive choice worthy of pity for those who choose it? Thankfully, as the lies of modern feminism are being revealed for the deception that they are, the tide seems to be turning. I hope it continues to do so. We still have a lot of work to do to rescue the next generation from the selfish and fruitless choices of the last one.

Gratuitous caveat: The author duly notes that there are families in situations where the wife must work so that there is food on the table and a roof over the family’s head. There are also more than a few women like this one.

Posted in: Homemaking