My Husband Paid Me to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom [psmag.com]

 

By Melissa Petro, Pacific Standard, July 8, 2019.

My progressive husband was against it, but I convinced him of the arrangement. The day we sat down to discuss it, I'd even calculated an hourly rate for my work as a mother. Half of $15 an hour—his part of what it would've cost to put our son in daycare—is a pittance, and if I'd thought he could afford it, I would have asked for more. But at the time, with my hormones raging, tits leaking, and sleep deprivation that left me glassy-eyed, it seemed the right choice for our family.

Looking back, it hardly looks like a choice.

Although it might sound unorthodox to say that my husband paid me to be a stay-at-home mother, the basics of our situation are in no way unique. The United States has one of the highest wage gaps between men and women, the least-generous benefitsfor its citizens, and the lowest public commitment to care-giving of any industrialized nation in the West. As a result, American mothers are often compelled to drop out of the workforce. In 2016 alone, the National Survey of Children's Health found that an estimated two million parents of children aged five and younger had to quit a job, not take a job, or significantly change their job because of problems with child care. While the problem of child care affects both men and women, the fact that women are still the primary caregivers means it disproportionately falls on us moms.

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