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View Diary: Not So Fast Summers (270 comments)

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  •  your biases aside... (none)
    My husband and I ARE raising our kid on one income.  We have for most of the 7 years since he was brought home needing 24-hour care as a preemie and my boss wouldn't let me take off from work to be with my son.

    My husband has held some jobs but they have been without benefits, without vacation time, without security and lower pay.  So yeah, maybe I should have married a higher wage earner.  But is it better to have two parents married who love each other and the wife works and the dad stays home, or is it better for the wife to stay home with a husband working a high-profile job who's never home to see the kid?

    We forego a lot of luxuries.  No vacations -- what's a vacation?  Not much dining out, simple meals, $1 movies, central air conditioning taht we don't run to save money, one car that we drive until it's a hazard on wheels, but yes, we splurge on cable and high-speed internet and a few junky toys for the kid, so I guess that's why we are struggling.  And no, we don't have large credit card debt.  No stereo, no iPod, no 2nd house, no jewelry or fancy clothes or gas barbecue or anything like that.  

    But my point wasn't what parent is "better" to stay at home.  My whole point is that my niece seems to think she's a better mom than I am because she IS carrying debt and letting her husband handle it, than I am for working 40 hours a week while my entirely able husband does his share of parenting.  And my other point is (as you concede) that nothing is ever ideal and there are trade-offs.  

    But I do resent the assumption that people who are having a hard-time making ends meet for any reason -- due to job loss, or health bills, or low income, or lack of security net, whatever -- are somehow just living too damn high off the hog to make sacrifices for their kids.

    "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

    by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 01:54:19 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  the question (none)
      But I do resent the assumption that people who are having a hard-time making ends meet for any reason -- due to job loss, or health bills, or low income, or lack of security net, whatever -- are somehow just living too damn high off the hog to make sacrifices for their kids.

      I counsel the poor and low-income financially in my community.

      The first time we meet the people always think the are living on nothing.

      In most parts of the country a family of 4 can live comfortably on $23,500 income before taxes without government subsidy.  That's a job making about $11.25 hour, no overtime pay, no bonuses, no tips.

      I worked with a family for two years that had twin premies (then aged 1), a husband and a wife.  They were able to make ends meet, and save $125/month towards a rainy day fund.  That's almost 7% savings, not bad by any modern standard.

      but yes, we splurge on cable and high-speed internet and a few junky toys for the kid, so I guess that's why we are struggling.
      I don't know why you are struggling, some people have it harder than others.  My guess is that, if you are paying what is average, you are paying about 90-100 a month on cable + internet.  There are other costs of course, electricity for your PC probably runs $5-10 a month, the computer itself probably cost something to stary (though not necesarily) and space (I've been around families who needed a seperate room for their computers.  The difference in rent between a 2 and 3 bedroom apartment is non-trivial).  So, is an extra 100-110 a month killing your budget (not including toys)?  I have no idea.  Maybe, maybe not.

      We have for most of the 7 years since he was brought home needing 24-hour care as a preemie and my boss wouldn't let me take off from work to be with my son
      That's sad to hear.  Depending on your state and the exact time you probably would have had a very good case against your boss.  Assuming you worked for a fairly good size company (>17 employees) and had been there at least 12 months when you went out on leave, you would have been guaranteed either 3 months or 6 months leave.   If they violated that then you would have a pretty easy case.

      And my other point is (as you concede) that nothing is ever ideal and there are trade-offs.  
      Don't get me wrong.  There are ideal circumstances: many families are doign the ideal arrangement: stay at home mom, working dad, good family life.  It sounds like you are doing it also, as well as your neice.  I am not suggesting that your husband can't do his share of parenting.  However, make no mistake.  If you are home with the child while he is working you are raising the child.  He is assisting.

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