my mom always wanted to be a mom. seriously.
she wasn’t even planning on going to college until someone told her that she wouldn’t find a husband if she didn’t go to college. her high school counselor told her she would never get into the university of illinois considering her low a.c.t. scores. how cute is that? she got in though, she majored in elementary education and graduated college in 1982. she did meet my dad in college, thank goodness she found herself a husband!
starting in 1985, my mom had 6 kids in about 10 years. her dream of being a wife and mom became reality.
one of the biggest and most important decisions she ever made was to be not just a mom but a stay-at-home-mom.
it wasn’t a difficult choice for her, but it’s a difficult choice for many women to make. but i do believe there are compelling reasons for staying at home.
let’s take a look at the financial benefits to staying at home. i looked up current childcare costs in iowa today. childcare for 6 kids each from ages 1-5 (assuming public school starts at age 5 and not accounting for after school babysitting/programs) would be anywhere from $190,020.00-$234,816.00 which averages to be about $12,668.00-$15,654.40 annually.
now, the median elementary school teacher salary is currently $43,614.00 according to salary.com. i’m going to assume around 30% income tax, which is probably low because the second income would likely raise the income bracket. that puts us at $30,529.80 in annual income after taxes best case scenario. half of that would go to childcare.
now, if my mom would have chosen to work, there are a whole other slew of expenses that come with that. things like professional attire, two working and reliable vehicles, convenience groceries and items, more eating out, extra fuel, etc. etc. honestly, i wouldn’t be surprised if in the end, they would have broken even. these are tough numbers to see, but i’m convinced that it just wouldn’t be the wisest financial decision for my mom to have worked.
but it was so much more than a financial decision. my parents wanted us to be raised and nurtured by them as much as possible. they decided that the best way to do that would be to allow my mom to stay at home with us. they both wanted us all to know and love the Lord. they wanted to teach us Biblical principles and truths as much as possible. the investment of time, love, teaching, and rearing my mom deposited into us is priceless.
i could not be more grateful for the sacrifice my mom made by staying at home all these years. my little sister (the youngest) is 16 and my mom has just started to work again in the past couple of years. the investment, the love, the care, and the being there was and is the best gift she could ever give to me. i’m so thankful for my dad and his willingness and hard work to provide for 8 people. it wasn’t easy, and we didn’t have much.
after talking to my mom more about this, i learned that we lived in a two bedroom apartment until my little brother adam was born. adam is the fifth child. yep, you read that right. luke, levi and i all shared a room and mark slept in the walk-in closet connected to my parents bedroom as an infant. they bought their first house and we moved in 10 days after adam was born in 1992. how amazing is that?!
i honestly can’t thank my parents enough for making this incredibly huge and sacrificial decision. it was worth it! the values that they instilled in me are life-lasting. i credit my mom and dad greatly for my dream to be a stay-at-home mom.
and you know what is the most encouraging thing about all of this? my mom had fun! she loved her job as our mom and being the keeper of the home. she made life into a game by challenging her grocery budget. she relied on God to provide even the littlest things, like a baseball glove for my brother. and He always came through! she had fun watching God do sweet things showing Himself strong on her family’s behalf.
i think this is my last what would ami do? post. this summer i’m going to be writing about bryan and i’s financial journey over the last 2+ years. our financial goals and plans have a lot to do with our desire for me to stay at home with our kids when the time comes. you’ll be hearing more soon!
i’ll leave you with a two encouraging videos about motherhood. the first is the first 3 minutes of a q&a with mark and grace driscoll. the second is a mother’s day message from veritas by mark arant.