Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Two-Income World

I often hear that it's necessary for most families to have two incomes these days. I now know that's not true. Most families, with a little effort and work developing skills, can live on one income.

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things women pay other people to do, that we could learn to do ourselves if we had some time? In other words, are all these little conveniences worth your hours--your life?

Many women who work, work so that:

- they can pay other women to care for their children
- they can pay others to privately educate their children
- they can pay somebody else to clean their homes
- they can pay somebody else to bake their bread
- they can pay somebody else to make almost all of their meals (convenience foods)
- they can pay some company to both make and serve them their meals a few times a week (restaurants)
- they can pay someone to wash their car
- they can pay somebody else to mow and care for their lawn
- they can pay companies mucho bucks for the convenience of browsing through gleaming store aisles and buying mass-produced household products and decorating items so that their home can look just like everybody else's. (Rather than making or purchasing used one-of-a-kind items and fixing up).
- they can pay for the car to get to the job to pay for the car
- they can pay somebody else to press their husband's collared shirts
- they can pay someone else to file their income taxes
- they can pay other people and companies to entertain them in their few hours off each week (movies, events, entertainment venues).
- they can pay somebody else to cut hubby's and children's hair
- they can pay someone else to teach and help their children learn new skills, through various classes and extra-curricular activities
- they can pay for therapy for themselves, their marriage, or their children, because this crazy running-around lifestyle (from work to school to daycare to swimming lessons to the restaurant to the dry-cleaners to Pottery Barn to get that latest kitchen gadget they won't have time to use) is taking it's toll.

I'm sure the list could go on. Please understand that I'm not against conveniences or restaurants or women who use them! I like to eat out and buy something at a nice store now and then too. But it often comes to a place where families are literally working to pay other people to live their lives for them. And it doesn't have to be this way!

A couple more points:

Why is it fulfilling for millions of workers to spend their lives performing the above services for stressed and grumpy people they don't even know, and not for women who would do them for their own families? (Right, Becky?:o) I think it's pretty boring to do the same one thing over and over and over each day, but the homemaker gets a huge variety of tasks to perform! She can pursue whatever skills and interests she wants to that she thinks would benefit her family!

If a family isn't crazily running around all day long, they might actually have the time and energy to pursue mind-engaging activities, like reading! (I think I heard somewhere recently that 40-something% of adults haven't even cracked a book in the past year) Your children might have time to sleep. They might not get childhood obesity from being raised on fast food and watching TV three hours a night.

Best of all, the family that works and plays together, stays together. I would much rather have all day to work and learn with my future children than two hours a night to "luxuriate" together in utter exaustion.

Please don't take this post wrong if you're a working woman with a family and you like it that way. I'm not against you! I'm just sharing why I wouldn't choose to be you:o) And ladies...most of us do have choices, as long as we have the willingness to work hard and be creative! I recently read the blog of a woman whose husband makes $7.50 an hour and they're happy with five children and the wife at home. Now, obviously, that's not an easy situation. But I would rather be that woman than the wife in a wealthy family that never has time together. Isn't it wonderful to have choices?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm dittoing you on your list and adding that you save money on health care when your kids aren't in daycare or school because they aren't exposed to germs and are fed better. We do most of those things ourselves to keep me home with 5 kids. I would add that moms at home have the opportunity to expand their household income by preventing its outgo and you don't pay extra taxes by doing this either like if you earned more money instead.You also tend to have
better connections with the trade and borrow pool of baby stuff and
kids clothes. Plus the local moms at home often share info on area freebies. What is the name of that blog please?

5:48 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Carrie said...

Very good points! I'm so thankful to be able to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

6:27 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

First of all, I want to read that woman's blog too!

The frustration for me right now is that we ARE basically a one-income income. My husband finished his MBA in December and still hasn't found a full time job. When he does, we will have no problem living on his one income. But until then...we're living on mine.

I was really grouchy about this on my way to work this morning..."Why do I have to leave my house every day, come home to a mess at night, not have the energy to clean it..." And then I remembered that God HAS blessed us in many ways, and I need to be thankful! At least I HAVE a job at a good company, with great co-workers, doing something I enjoy (although I would enjoy homemaking much more!), with full benefits that are taking care of my baby's and my medical needs. Those are all things I need to remember to thank God for.

8:46 AM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

The blog I was referring to is:

This post shares some of what this family does to get by (and makes me feel spoiled when I complain about our deprivations! Of course, they're better off in one big way in that they don't have debt! Good for them!!!):

Kathryn- Good points! I hadn't really thought about the tax savings before, but that's so true! The government hasn't yet come up with a way to tax services that we perform for ourselves, although I'm sure they would if they could:op It's interesting to note that if a woman is able to save $15 by doing something herself, she is actually saving $20 or more (the amount she would have to earn before taxes to have $15 to spend!)

Becky- hang in there. I'll pray that your hubby finds a good job soon! We went through a time about a 1 1/2 years ago when we made a move and neither of us had work. We actually had to stay with my parents for several months. Talk about humiliating!:op All I could do was pray and cry and feel frustrated alot. I think about single mothers and women with disabled husbands, and wonder how they deal with that situation on an ongoing basis. I think it must require an extra measure of grace. But I have to believe that God, who knows our desires as women and knows what's best for our families will make a way somehow, whether through a home business or other provision! In your case, a job for your hubby:o)

What type of job is he looking for? My husband has a business degree too, but not an MBA. We are thankful for the job he has right now, though it's not what he would choose for the long-term. He's dying to work for himself and feels trapped at times. I'm humbled to be reminded that I get to embark on my dream-career while hubby is still hoping to start his. It's a great man who will put his wife's and family's needs first! From what I know about your situation, that's what your husband is planning to do as soon as he can. Again...hang in there and God bless your family!!!

12:23 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

P.S. I was wrong...that blog family has 4--not 5--children:op I read through some of the wife's other posts this morning, and was really impressed with both her honesty and her spirit. She's not afraid to share when she's having a hard time...and yet she seems to be so thankful for all of God's blessings. So often I'm simply thinking about what I don't have rather than thanking God for what I do!

12:33 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Kimi Harris said...

I am a young stay at home wife and have found that it has been unnecessary for me to work for the money, or the "fulfillment" of a job. : ) I think that we can to often listen to the world in telling us what we need to do to be "important", "useful to society" and "fulfilled. Thanks for the post! Good points.

10:17 PM, April 11, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Hi Kimi! Thanks for reading and commenting!:o)

1:39 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Kathryn said...

I could have written Becky Miller's comment. Same situation at our house. Shawn has two more years of college so I work (and complain.) We also live on one income, so we will be used to the concept when he starts working again.
Another Kathryn (not the one from the first comment)

10:22 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Amy said...

I love your list in this post. My mother once saw a show on television where women who were working in order to (they believed) keep groceries on the table, went through all their expenses for the first time to see how much money they were actually making. In several cases the answer was...nothing. In one woman's case she was actually *losing* money by going to work. There were a lot of tears, because these ladies *wanted* to be at home but hadn't thought they could afford it.

10:19 AM, April 23, 2006  

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