Feminism has taught us that men and women are the same, or at least that women should do what men have historically done. A woman achieves fulfillment (whatever that means) by earning money in the workforce, or so the reasoning goes.
Personally, my wife and I decided as soon as we had our first child that she would stay home. Taking a wife and siring a child meant my job was to provide. Providing for the family, and carrying that burden was to me a mark of manhood. Thankfully, my wife shares my convictions, and she has happily embraced homemaking as her vocation. She makes good food. She decorates. She brings warmth and stability to our house. She makes our house a home, and she fills our home with love.
When we made this decision many years ago, some suggested that it was a financial sacrifice. When she doesn’t work we make less money, and thus we make a financial sacrifice. Or so they reasoned.
We need to understand that absolutely everything is a sacrifice. On one hand we might sacrifice finances, and on another hand we sacrifice time with the children and quality of the home life.
That said, I honestly think the financial sacrifice of homemaking is a misnomer and nonissue. What I mean is that I don’t think families save much money when mom takes a full time job. I have not taken the time to do the math, so I’d be happy if someone actually did the math on this, but I do believe that the financial sacrifice of having mom at home is a lot less than some think it is. Actually, my hypothesis is that the net financial gain, with all financial expenses and losses associated with a working mom considered, is likely negative. There is a good case to be made that homes with full-time homemakers have a higher earning potential. Below I share a few ways stay-at-home moms can save money or even contribute to the family income.
A career woman needs her business wardrobe. And because she’s a working mom she has less time to shop clearance for herself and her family. A stay-at-home mom has more flexibility in her wardrobe, and she has more time to shop for deals.
A career woman needs transportation to work, which likely includes gas, a second vehicle, more frequent maintenance on a second vehicle, and insurance on a second vehicle. A stay-at-home mom will need less gas, less vehicle maintenance, and perhaps one less household vehicle.
A career woman, unless there is a generous family member nearby, needs to hire daycare. A stay-at-home mom needs no daycare.
A career woman will have less time to bake and cook meals, so she will likely rely on more expensive ready-made food and restaurant food more often. Further, the amount of time she has to cut coupons and shop for sales at the grocery store is severely limited. A stay-at-home mom can make every meal from scratch and even pack her husband’s lunch. She will not need to spend money on ready-made meals or restaurants. And she can spend regular time looking for sales and coupons at the grocery store. She can even garden and can food at home. My wife has likely saved us thousands upon thousands of dollars over the years by researching grocery sales, cutting coupons, making meals from scratch, and price matching.
A career woman will have less time to shop, and she, because of that, will save less money on household items, whether they be home decor, furniture, clothing, or appliances. A stay-at-home mom, has more time to research the market before purchases to spot sales and sift through Kijiji ads. In the 15 plus years that my wife has been at home, I think she has likely saved us tens of thousands of dollars on clothing sales, Kijiji purchases, and countless other sales that she would otherwise not have the time to save money on.
A career woman pays income tax. A stay-at-home mom does not pay income tax. Also, all Kijiji purchases have no sales tax on them. So a stay-at-home mom who takes the time to shop second-hand not only avoids income tax, EI, and CPP, but she also avoids sales tax on used purchases.
A career woman has less time to fix things around the house so she’ll inevitably hire people more often. A stay-at-home mom has more time to fix things, paint things, and clean her home instead of hiring someone else to do it.
A Christian family will likely have the proper conviction to give at least 10 percent of their gross income to the church. A career woman, if she feels this burden (which she should), will conscientiously give more money to the church than a stay-at-home mom.
A man married to a career woman will think more about the house and give more energy to the family than a man with a stay-at-home wife. Monetarily, all things being equal over the long term, the man with a stay-at-home wife has a greater earning potential than the man whose wife works outside the home. He typically has a clearer and more focused mind. The division of labour between a housewife and her working husband allows for the working husband to have a competitive advantage over his peers in the marketplace. That advantage should over the long-term create more potential for career advancement and salary increases.
An industrious stay-at-home mom will eventually use her skills to make money. Whether it is with housecleaning, canning, food prep, crafts, or something else, a housewife eventually becomes so good at what she does that she learns marketable skills that she can earn her some extra money. My own wife has done childcare and also started her own home organizing business. So the idea that a stay-at-home mom does not earn money is false. Inevitably she often does.
While some people will argue that being a housewife is a financial sacrifice for a family, it hardly is. A savvy and hardworking housewife will end up being a financial blessing to her family over the long-term. But money isn’t everything. Having mom at home brings a quality of life that in my experience is priceless. She fills the home with her own decor, the smell and taste of good food, love, and such things provide stability for the family and great blessings to the children. Personally, I enjoy coming home to a home made by a homemaker.