I have a JD, and I am currently staying home w. my son. We will likely have one more child, and when the hypothetical second child goes to school, I will return to work in some capacity. I expect that this will be very difficult and that I will need to reeducate myself pretty extensively b.c at that point, I will have been out of work for at least 8 years. But to us, it's worth it. I don't think that there is anything wrong w. being a working mother or in sending your kid to daycare or what have you. Life is just significantly less stressful this way.
Point is, yes, I don't think that you have to choose between getting an education and staying home with children. It is okay to be very well educated AND raise children. I will not stretch logic here and say that my law degree is somehow helping me change diapers and sweep floors, but it is not a hinderance, either. It is also much easier to get your degree before having children vs after having children. Also, if my husband was suddenly unable to support us, it would be easier for me to get a job w. my degrees as opposed to a high school diploma.
Also, it's good to keep your options open. I know several women who were positive that they wanted to be SAHMs. Then they had babies and were dreadfully unhappy staying home and longed to return to work. I also know women who were positive that they wanted to be working moms. Then they had babies and could not bear to leave them to return to their careers. I know women who planned to stay home and had to return to work for financial reasons, and women who planned to work and ended up staying home b.c they had special needs children and could not practically outsource that care. I really don't think you can know how you will feel about it till you're in the thick of it.
I'm quite a new mum, so I don't really consider myself a SAHM yet, but I think I will become one. I've got to master degrees, one in academics and one in fine arts. My plan is to stay at home until my last child goes off to school, but being an artist (or rather, having my toe in the artistic pool) means I can work from home with design and illustrations. My fiance is also working at home, so I'm planning on going back to teach yoga a few times a week in a while, but I would not consider myself a working mum if I had a couple of classes a week.
I think it's right to be a SAHM (or SAHD) if that's what's right for you. No one should make that decision for you, and if you don't want to you shouldn't. I don't want to send my child to nursery until she can talk properly (I want to know what's going on!) and I don't want to her to have full days before she's ready for school. That's why I want to stay at home. But we have the money to do that, I understand this is not an option for everyone. I also understand that not everyone wish to stay at home, not everyone's suited to be at home. And I kind of disagree with your boyfriend, I think having a degree is wonderful if you're a SAHM. A university education has a lot of value, not just the degree, but you learn to think in a different way, to be independent and lots of other things I think is important to be a good mother.
It's one of those things where there isn't a right or wrong answer; every mom must decide for herself what works best for her and her family.
It bugs me when people think a degree is wasted on SAHM'ing. Your education, even an extremely advanced, specialized, esoteric degree, is not a waste! As a SAHM you bring a lot to the table when you've had the intestinal fortitude to finish something very difficult, and your kids can always benefit from your knowledge.
I have a bachelor's in biochemistry and am almost finished with a masters in biology but currently have no plans to work outside the home. I realize how fortunate I am that I have the choice to either.
I have two-and-a-half college degrees - a Bachelors in Literature, a Bachelors in Teaching, and I'm currently doing my Masters. My husband and I are TTC and I plan on becoming a SAHM, at least for a couple of years. I would much prefer to have a fantastic career. I have plenty of regrets, career-wise. At this point, I'm happy to become a SAHM because I want to get out of teaching! Sorry to those of you who are studying teaching right now! If I had my time over, I would have studied something else and maybe I'd have a career I enjoy more. But what's past is past and I'm currently doing my Masters in Information Studies, majoring in Librarianship, so we'll see what comes of that. I'd never say a college degree is time and money wasted, even if you never use your degree. The experiences and skills you learn are invaluable. Education is so important. Also, I think the money thing is different in Australia. When you start a degree, you can apply for HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme), where you basically rack up a bill to pay the government when you finish your degree. So, while you're studying, you pay no tuition fees. You don't have to pay back HECS until you're earning, I think, at least $30,000 a year. At the moment, I'm working as a relief teacher, and paying zero off my HECS. If I become a SAHM and never work again, I'll never have to pay off my college debts! Yay for Australia, lol.
This is a very interesting thread, thank you for posting. I'm also very happy about the balanced, kind, and generally open-minded responses you've gotten so far! I love the Nameberry forums for that exact reason!
I'm going to agree with most pp's and say a college degree is NEVER a waste. You learn so much pursuing a degree - and I'm not even talking about just the academia you study; you learn a lot more than that. It's an important life experience for your own personal growth and that will always make you a better mother.
A few other important things to keep in mind - the people who are bringing up the point that even if you have a degree; once you've been a SAHM mom and have been out of the work-force for 5-10 years, you're still most likely going to struggle to find a job. Employers will want, or require, you to have recent experience/schooling. So you'll have to find your own path through all of that (going back to school, interning, whatever). Depends on your career field too, of course, but most professional careers want lots of experience - and they especially expect it from someone in their 30's or 40's. It's a bind millions of people face all the time (men and women; you need recent/current experience to get the job, you need the job to get experience!).
Also, one other big thing I think someone else mentioned: life is completely unpredictable. You just absolutely never know what is going to be thrown your way. I know it's awful to think about but the reality is many couples get divorced. You don't want to end up having to stay in an unhappy marriage simply because you have no other options to support yourself. Or what if, even worse, your hubby dies unexpectedly? Again, these things happen and having a degree will absolutely ease the burdens you face in these situations.
Anyway, just my opinions of course. I have 2 master's degrees but I am desperately hoping to be able to afford to stay home with our first baby. Not sure if it's going to be possible just yet but we're both hoping to be able to make it work. But I also fully realize that it may not suit me 100% and I may be unhappy with not working. If that's the case, going back part-time would be my next option. Not every woman in the world is suited to stay home with her kids - many of us are better, happier, healthier people when we work. And that means that we're better, happier, healthier moms and everyone, including the kids, benefit from that. It's one of those things we each have to figure out for ourselves and we have to figure it out as we reach that part of life! :)
as for the part about being a yoga teacher, I think that's a great amount of work for a SAHM! I'm a dance teacher (so basically the same idea) and my hypothetical plan would be to teach one or two nights a week.
Originally Posted by ottilie
I have a Master's and work in a field that is in pretty high demand. I love my job, but I would definitely prefer to work part time after I have children. Honestly, I love what I do so much, (and I truly feel it is my calling,) that I wouldn't feel right about not working at all. But that's just me. Maybe I will feel differently when I finally get to hold my baby in my arms!
Women today, who have the intellectual and practical ability, need to get an education to be able to support themselves. You never know what life will throw at you. The part that sucks, especially if you don't end up using that education for an extended period of time, is that the cost of higher education is ASTRONOMICAL. So I can totally understand how a family just couldn't justify having mom or dad stay home when they could be working to pay off the student loans that they took out to get the education to do the job... that they're not doing. I actually know two families who are struggling with this exact problem right now. It's an ugly catch-22. It's basically where my hubby and I are right now; and I'm just thinking about going part-time.
There is no good answer! And each family/situation is different. I think the key is to be open-minded about other people's situations.
I just finished my second degree, and I've always wanted to be a SAHM. My parents definitely felt very strongly that I get an education so I will be able to support myself, but luckily they let me do this on my own time (I took a year and a half off after high school, and they never pressured me in to having a timeline before going to university). My dad is very much of the mentality of, "Be an independent woman, you don't need a man. Go travel, go have fun, go have a career you love." which is nice, and my mom was a SAHM while I was growing up and I really appreciated this, and that my dad's job allowed for her to stay home.
Because my mom stayed at home when I was a kid, I honestly couldn't imagine sending my kids to daycare or to a babysitter. I'd do it if I had to, but it's not really my ideal situation. I'd definitely like to stay home until the youngest child is in school all day. Thing is, with the cost of living comfortably, it doesn't always allow for families to be single-income.
I have two degrees for things I really love. I love one more than the other, though... but I'd love to put either in to practice. Or both, ideally.
It is WAY WAY easier to go to college before having kids, you're right. There were two women in my section this year with young children and I have absolutely no idea how they managed. It's doable to go back to school as a parent, but I think it'd be hard. Plus, degree requirements are changing all the time, so sometimes it's a matter of "Do it now before everything changes."
I truly don't believe that going to post-secondary and then being a SAHM is pointless. I totally agree with you- you're improving yourself, studying something you're interested in, continuously learning, being social, learning/ refining life skills (organization, time management, resourcefulness)... this doesn't seem like a waste of time at all.
I didn't have time to read everyone's responses, but I am a SAHM with a degree. I got a B.S. in biology. I always knew that when I had kids, I would be a SAHM while they were young, then pursue a career after they got into school. So getting an education was a no brainer. I needed a degree for work before kids, and I'll need a degree for after kids. It just makes sense to get an education while you're still somewhat free. Plus, I loved my college experience. It was amazing, and if I hadn't gone to college, I never would have met my husband. I have had a couple people that were surprised that I was a SAHM with a degree. Apparently, if a woman is a SAHM, it's because she didn't get an education in some people's eyes. It kinda irritates me. I am happy with my decision though. I've even considered staying home longer and home schooling. We'll just have to see :-)
I have a college degree from a top 20-university that wasn't cheap for my parents. I taught for a little over 3 years and have been home with my kiddos for the last 11 years. I am a much better mom because of my college degree. Knowing how to interpret text, reason logically, write and speak clearly are important skills even if I am not financially compensated for them. Additionally, my experience teaching has helped me work with my kids' teachers and I am able to supplement my kids education with confidence. Also, if something were to happen to my husband (death, disability, job loss, etc) I'm sure having my college degree would be a life saver. Finally, if I had been unable to have children I would have remained in the work force and of course a college degree would have been essential.