Monday, October 06, 2008

Stay-at-Home Vs. Work Outside the Home

Back in the day when I only had 3 or 4 children, my husband mentioned one day that things sure would be easier financially if I was still working outside the home. Now, my darling husband was only jesting, but I knew that I had to nip the thought in the bud. I didn't want it to fester and grow into an actual desire. So I sat him down, grab a piece of paper and pencil, and let the mathematician in me go at it.

I wrote down the income that I would likely receive (I was in human resource management, so I made pretty good money). Then I started subtracting all of expenses of working outside of the home.

If finances are getting you down and you are thinking of throwing in the towel on homeschooling, so that you can bring more money into your home, please, please do this exercise. Even if it is just a bad homeschooling day, which happens to the best us, and military school is looking quite attractive for your brood. Sit down and write out how much money it costs to have both parents working, then compare it to the non-monetary rewards of being home with your children.

The first expense I figured in was taxes. My income would have put us into a higher tax bracket and so our tax burden would increase. Then I would have had to buy a car that was actually dependable and could get me to work each day. And there would be private school tuition. Sorry, but I'm one of those people who believes our Christianity should permeate every part of our everyday lives, including our school subjects, and "free" public schools don't offer that. The littles would require daycare and the bigs would need after-school care.

Those are all major expenses. But there are a zillion smaller expenses that add up pretty quickly to significant numbers. First is food. If I am working outside the home, I don't have time to make homemade meals, it'll be prepackaged, prefab fare for my family. And no time to pack lunches for Rob, myself, and the kiddies. It would be McDonalds and cafeteria food for the lot of us. And no time to comparison shop, plan menus, or hit the thrift stores so the food budget explodes.

Speaking of comparison shopping, I wouldn't have time to do so for other items such as clothes so the overall budget has to be expanded. Since I would be working in an office, a whole new wardrobe would be called for. My homeschool uniform of sweats and a T-shirt isn't going to cut it. Of course I can't throw my brand new business suits into the washing machine, so dry cleaning is added to the budget. Then there are pantyhose! I'm torture on pantyhose, so that alone would put my expenses over the top. Oh, and of course I'll need a couple of nice jewelry pieces and new shoes to go with my new suits.

Don't forget all those office collections for birthdays, anniversaries, and for employees who are leaving for better jobs (and we're supposed to buy them a present?). And you can't turn your boss down when he wants to sell you Girl Scout cookies for his sweet little girl, lest you want to be passed over at promotion time.

Most importantly, we must consider the cost to our children's souls. Personally, my number one motivation in homeschooling is to get these children of mine to Heaven. They are gifts from God Himself, and I am going to do my best to raise them for His Kingdom. I am not saying that homeschooling is a cure all, but it sure does make things easier in the purity of heart department.

Finally, let us remember the Scripture:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
-- Matthew 6:19-20.

1 comment:

Margaret Mary Myers said...

As someone who works part-time outside the home (while continuing to homeschool a high schooler), I discovered recently that I had slipped into spending so much extra on groceries that, if I had continued this way, we would have been all but eating up my earnings. It was a wake-up call. I'm pulling in the reins, but it's not easy...and I just wanted to say: You are so right.