Working Mom

When it comes it getting out of debt earning more income and being a working mom can be very tempting. But before you make that leap, or it you already have consider the cost of being a working mother.

I read an article about the actual cost of children and that the stated $200,000-$250,000 per child is highly inflated. Partly because it and included the cost of a 4 year degree which many parents do not pay for.

This got me thinking about analyzing other costs as well. Specifically the related costs of being a working mother.

Putting aside the various social arguments for why mothers should or should not work let’s take a look at the numbers.

When I was researching this topic I found surprising little information on the cost of being a working mother. I did see many websites out there about how to handle the stress of being a working mom.

So I compiled the average costs across America. To see if this recent trend (past 30 years) of moms going to work is worth it.

First of all I found that average income for adults, not counting part timers, was $43,000-$45,000 Gross from Men and $33,000-$35,000 Gross for Women. Given that there are more educated women than men in this country I cannot say why this is still the case and that is not the purpose of this article but based on 2007 taxes this is the reality.

So let’s say a working mother earns $34,000/year, after taxes that is about $2400/mo. I handle numbers on a monthly level better than an annual level

Now costs – according to costhelper.com the average cost of daycare is $611/mo per child. Although there were lows down to $350/mo and highs up to $1000/mo. If you are an average family is 2 children your cost of full-time daycare is $1222/mo. Half of your income as a working mom.

Also according to statistics and personal interviews working mom’s tend to eat out more. Both for Lunch personally and for family dinners. Simply for convenience. Let’s say you buy lunch at $5 3x a week and eat out as a family for dinner 2x a week. at $20 a pop.

Clothing, generally there are extra costs for “work clothes.” The IRS says the average person will spend $85/mo on clothing. So for extra we will say $40/mo on a suit or shoes you may need.

You will be traveling more. If you live 15 miles from work you will travel 30 miles/day 5x a week. Gas has recently come down in price so you spend $300/mo. on gas.

All these expenses add up to a grand total of $1931. You really make $479/mo. for a full-time job. And that is a good estimate I have seen people estimate where it actually costs to have a mom at work.

This in no way accounts for the emotional issues this will have on a family. Does the mother enjoy have adult interaction? Or does the mother feel concerned with leaving the 3-year-old with a babysitter? Does the child need that mom time? Or is the child well adjusted in daycare?

Now I am aware that many of you have different expenses and incomes. My point is simply to look at the actual cost of working. Also if you find that working away from home is actually costing you money but you are not willing to give in to being a stay at home mom. Look at your options.

For example (If you haven’t been able to tell from my slant) I cannot stand the idea of leaving my children with a babysitter on a daily basis. However I do need “adult time” and I need use my talents and intellect in an adult way. Luckily my husband has a flexible schedule and does a great job getting the kids motivated to organized in cleaning the house. This gives me time to work on this website or pursue other skills. Not on a fulltime basis but often enough.

If you need more ideas on how you and/or your spouse can stay home more and still bring in an income check out "The 4-hour Work Week," by Timothy Ferris.

Being a working mom is not a necessity as modern media would have us believe. There are options out there. Consider the needs of your family and a true cost of employment before you send your little ones away!

"A man in debt is so far a slave,"
Ralph Waldo Emerson.


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