The financial aspect was going to be my point too. If you're in massive debt it seems rather difficult to live on one income - esp if both people have massive student loans. If you don't have debt, I don't think it makes any difference if you are educated or not. (If you are going to home school it's probably advisable to have a great education you can pass on to your kids. Especially if they end up being gifted and needing extra academic challenges outside of the normal curriculums, or have particular difficulties that require you to have a wider understanding of education). In those situations (well all) one should consider, if paying for childcare is equal to or almost equal to what you would be making each year. If it's a net-zero game then it really can be purely on personal choice. While I've been working through grad school and have gotten financial grants - so I'll graduate with minimal debt - it would be ironic for me to be a SAHM if my SO and I ever had kids. He does have a BA but isn't thinking about grad school, while I could go for a second degree in a few years and be super happy. (I love being in school.) My mom was a SAHM and she had a MBA (which was a big deal at the time as she was one of the first 5 women to be accepted to her MBA program). But since she was older she got a good 10 years out of it before retiring early and being not only a SAHM but also a single mom.
Originally Posted by blade
I opted for an MFA over an MA because it allows for a potential future job in academia (maybe tenureship) which would be great with future kids vacations and "school time" work hours. ;) What can I say I'd want to be both super-mom and career women. (Yes, yes I know how difficult/impossible that is/can be - but a gal can dream).
I think that one point that hasn't been mentioned is that it is often very different (or at least it was in my case) to imagine what you think you will want to do when settled with a long term partner and having babies when you are making decisions about education post-high school or right out of undergrad. When I was in undergrad I NEVER would have wanted to be a SAHM (I was also very single and not thinking at all about babies when I was 20-which was my age when I graduated with my B.A.). When I had Ramona 8 years later I was 3/4 through my clinical master's degree (one of those ones that costs around 60k) and I desperately wanted to quit school and stay home with her (because I hated school). But now I work part time and I LOVE being able to leave Ramona in quality child care for a couple of days a week and be an adult and an expert and make $50 an hour. But I deliberately chose a field where I would have the option of working part time.
My point is this- one can only make these decisions with the information they have at the time.
One of my closest friends and mentor is a J.D., she didn't think she wanted to be a SAHM when she went to law school. She went back to work full-time when she had her first and realized it just wasn't working for her and her family and she quit. She still stays home with her brood that has grown to 3 with #4 on the way. She loved practicing law but feels strongly she made the right choice. Even as she pays her yearly professional tax and the hundreds it costs to keep her license and her monthly student loan payment. Would it have been easier/made more sense not to have that degree? Maybe; but its moot. She did what she wanted to do and felt was best at the time. When she had kids she adjusted and did what she thought was best again.
People who want to stay home may hate it- or they may spend 10 years TTC and need something else to fulfill, challenge, and occupy a very capable mind (and fund fertility treatments/adoption fees-like in the case of a dear friend and nurse who tried for 10 years before adopting their only son). It certainly seems very short sighted to not continue education in anticipation of something that may not ever happen or may take a very long time to happen. Also, not everyone who thinks they want to be a SAHM is cut out for it. I mean its hard. It would seem very risky to me to completely avoid education (or whatever training needed to bring on a stable career path), in anticipation of something you might not even like or be able to do. It seems equally risky (as Blade mentioned) to invest $$$$$ and time into a career that is very demanding and has little room for long leaves of absence if you think you may want to spend a decade or so of your life at home full time.
It seems to me that the best thing for young women who are not yet in the stage of having children but think they want to be a SAHM to choose a career path that they enjoy that offers a lot of options for women who are mothers, thus leaving your options open. Then work your ass off and pay off your student debt before you have kids.
This is such an interesting thread for me. I was raising my two children in the 70's and at that time most women did not go to university bar teachers and the odd accountant etc. The upside was that we did not have massive debt to pay off due to studying at uni the downside was that most felt unfulfilled in their career. My government job gave me a good wage and it helped us buy a house in three years. When the children came along most of us found baby conversation boring, we had nowhere to channel our minds. Most mothers got a part time job when the youngest child went to school. The difficulty was finding child minding in the school holidays.
I really admire today's young woman who is well educated and balancing motherhood and a full time career. It must be an exhausting combination.
I worry that the cost of education is forcing many of these well educated women to choose a career over being a SAHM due to financial considerations.
Hats off to you all you deserve your careers and I am sure that it must be more fulfilling than in our era. Alas I am not going to study for a degree or not until I am so bored in my 80's that I book myself in to a degree course. I would go mental if they made me knit or crochet rug squares.