Women who raise a family as well as work in a job outside the home are called Working Mothers. This gets the dander up of the ladies who raise children and do not work an outside job as well. After all, taking the responsibility to care for a household is just as much work, if not more, than going to a job and getting paid for it.
Technically, my father was the breadwinner in the family while mom stayed at home, washed the dishes, cleaned the house, did the laundry, made our lunches and babysat those who were too young to venture out to school. Somehow, they made enough to live on while sending their five kids to private school and the accompanying tuition costs. They didn’t buy their own place until my father was 45 but it was paid for and still under my mother’s control.
My parents got married on a Sunday in July of 1949. He was 26, she was a month shy of her 18th birthday. Had to get her father’s written approval. At the time, my father was working for a meat packing company. He invited his boss who never showed up. There was a good, but lousy reason. The business closed down that weekend and his employer was too embarassed to tell Dad that “you no longer have a job, oh and by the way, congratulations.”
To make ends meet, he drove a cab for a few months until Ma laid down the law that he had to get a real job. She also continued for a short time in her job as an assistant librarian.
My oldest sister Lynn showed up two years into the marriage. In another post, I called her Helen. She read the story and said to use her real name. She likes publicity. Anyway, her addition to the family put an abrupt end to Ma working for good.
That is not to say that Ma did not report income on my parents’ joint tax return. Dad worked as an insurance salesman for about forty years. Thirty-five of the years was with the same company. As time went along, the company recognized that some of their rules about what you can sell was stifling their better salespeople. So, they looked the other way when Dad found that another company offered a better product at a more reasonable premium. Since he could not sell the competing product as a direct salesperson, he got the bright idea of having Ma study up for an insurance broker’s license.
She had no interest in selling. She allowed Dad to use her name as the broker for any such deal. Dad was able to make a lot more sales using this ruse, although it was not unethical. He just had to make sure that he sold enough of his own employer’s policies to keep the bosses happy.
Ironically, of my three sisters, two have been stay-at-home moms. One of them, though, has earned money doing adult education lectures, but always at night when there is someone else around to supervise. That’s what grandparents or uncles are for, right?
The third sister works as a substitute teacher because the recent bad economy has put an end to her husband’s business. He is working again but they need the two incomes and the kids are out of the house.
Today, it seems as if a family cannot afford to sustain itself unless both parents are out making a living. This fact causes a lot of negative effects on the raising of children. A new expression “latchkey kid” is in the dictionary. The kid comes home from school around 4pm and no one else is home. During the summer, if the kid is not in a day camp, who is supervising him? Is this good? Or am I biased because when I am growing up kids don’t need a key and expect to greeted when they knock on the door?
In too many instances both the husband and wife work and delay the start of a family for quite a while until they feel they can afford to have children. How does that affect the future?