Saturday, June 01, 2013

Are 37% of American Women Stuck Being the Breadwinners in Their Marriage?

My friend Lisa Graas agrees with Fox News Commentator Megan Kelly that it is a major cultural shift. Over half of these women are, as you would expect, single moms who are not getting enough child support. I have written many times about the scandal of the high rates of single parenthood, so I won't address this here. I want to address the 37%  of breadwinners who are married mothers and are perhaps under pressure from their husbands because they make more money. Lisa Graas quoted the Pew Poll;

From the poll, quoted verbatim:

About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made marriages harder to succeed. At the same time, two-thirds say it has made it easier for families to live comfortably.

 I was in that category as a newlywed, pregnant mother. It is a very difficult situation but I found a solution I want to share.

I remember being well employed as a teacher in 1992 while pregnant with my first child. My dear husband was laid off every winter from his construction job (he was an immigrant who had only a GED and few marketable skills, I had a Master's in Education) As a practicing Catholic, I went to a Mother's Retreat and laid my case before God. Within the next month, my husband was offered a job connecting cable TV while our TV was being connected in our living room. My husband was on layoff from work.  Only God could have arranged that! When I was laid off in June, I was able to stay home with my newborn, after having hospital expenses covered by my job and FIVE baby showers.

My husband still works in the cable field, he is now a supervisor with a college degree and I have worked part time teaching at a local college or out of my home as a daycare provider for the past 20 years. We own three homes (two are income properties which we rent out) and are putting our girls through college. Don't ask me how old our cars are or the last time we took a family vacation. Our home is modestly furnished and I do my own house painting and gardening. We made many sacrifices for me to be a full time mom to our three girls. I homeschooled for a dozen years and have a full time volunteer ministry KIDS(Keep Infants with Down Syndrome) and a book (A Special Mother is Born). I only make enough money to cover travel expenses as I spread the word that life is beautiful when you love someone with special needs.

My point is, give your situation to God and be willing to compromise on your luxuries, and you will find time to be present for your children. Motherhood the most important job you will ever have. Your children won't remember how expensive your furniture is but they will remember the fun you had together, riding bikes, baking, or just doing the everyday things. You will have many years after they leave home to buy yourself things, but I suspect they won't replace the joy you experienced in the presence of your family.

"Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul".
 ~ St. Anthony of Padua
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1 comment:

PattyinCT said...

Thanks for the reminder. I don't know how but God always fills in the gaps between our expenses and our income. We are so blest when we look back on these ten years of marriage, I don't know why we worry so much when looking forward. God is good, and faithful, and constant, and loving, and always there even when we're out on the water feeling like we're drowning. I guess my biggest struggle has been not to focus on money so much as a mom. I feel like its influencing my kids, and I don't know if its for the better. I've seen too many adult children of large families come away from the experience that the only way to raise a family of their own is through full financial security, and to limit their own family size. So sad! But its a mother's role, as heart of the home, to be the constant reminder that a home filled with children is also one filled with joy and much love :)