Saturday, May 03, 2014

Batch of links - On the SAHM

- I enjoyed this video which went viral last week, about the reactions of 24 candidates applying for the world’s toughest job.

- According to last year’s survey on, a stay-at-home mom works an average of 94 hours a week (whereas a mom working full-time outside the home spends about 58 hours a week on household chores and childcare, in addition to her 40-hour workweek). If they were paid according to the skills they use (CEO, psychologist, janitor, laundry operator, cook, van driver, day care teacher, etc.), this would give them an annual salary of $113,568! (You can see the hourly breakdown on this infographic.) I also recommend reading the comments on this post on Apartment Therapy. It’s interesting to note that women often still spend more time than men taking care of the house and children even if they also work more hours outside the home than their partner!

- What does a SAHM do all day? Well, our society idolizes being busy, but we’ve confused it with being important. Read this. And then, this is a fairly accurate portrayal of what I do all day.

- Most people assume that stay-at-home moms stay home because they can afford to do so. While this is true for the SAHMs I know personally (myself included), it turns out it is not true for the majority. Most moms who stay home do so because they could not afford to go back to work (their paycheck could not cover childcare costs, for example). The more educated a mother is and the better her job prospects are, the more likely she is to go back to work after her kids are born. (Which should cheer up this chick.) According to that NBC article, ideally, roughly 30% of moms would like to work full time, 50% would like to work part time, and 20% would prefer not to work, if money were not an issue. This doesn’t even take into consideration how the IRS hurts working mothers!

- Some people even recommend that stay-at-home moms get post-nuptial agreements, based on how much they have to sacrifice career-wise to stay at home. It’s not just about a few years’ worth of lost income, it’s the loss of momentum and the difficulty of reintegrating the workforce later on.

- Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the Canadian documentary The Motherload. It’s about how today’s mothers have higher expectations about both motherhood and careers, but they can’t have it all at the same time, so they feel overwhelmed trying to balance it all. (Did you know that mothers who work full time outside the home actually spend MORE time with their kids than stay-at-home moms did in the 1970s?) This echoes Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. Perhaps part of the problem is that we raise our children by teaching them that they can do anything, instead of talking to them about the realities of downscaling, working from home, compromising and making choices for their family.

[UPDATED: - Finally, I want to share this excellent article, Why Mom’s time is different from Dad’s time. For whatever reasons, mothers and fathers (or perhaps I should say primary caregivers and others?) experience time differently, with mothers multitasking more often, which leads to a greater sense of urgency and more stress. Meanwhile, fathers sometimes assume that the mother is creating work for herself or mismanaging her time. Just to be clear, this article (and my sharing it) isn’t an assignation of blame, just an observation of facts. That, and I found it really interesting. UPDATED]

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