The role of moms in American culture has received more attention lately after a CNN interview in which Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said that First Lady candidate Ann Romney (mother of five) “never worked a day in her life.” The whirl of controversy that ensued included tweets from both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney reinforcing the hard work that goes into raising children.
With the women’s vote anticipated to be a huge factor in this year’s presidential election, this controversy has spawned a plethora of surveys and discussion regarding moms, work, and money.
[CLICK HERE to view the video, “Rosen comments spark flood of backlash,” at CnnMoney.com, April 12, 2012.]
The Economic Decision to Stay Home
While the number of moms who stay home has dropped in the last few decades, what’s interesting is that the face of this demographic is different than it was in 1979. Today’s average stay-home-mom does not, in fact, look like Ann Romney during her prime mommy years. According to the U.S. Census, today’s stay-at-home mom is more likely to lack a high school degree, have a lower household income than working moms, and 27% are Hispanic.
However, some moms are choosing to stay home because it’s the more economically feasible choice for the household. When you factor in the cost of childcare, commuting and related expenses, more and more women are realizing that, economically, the family comes out better if they stay home.
And then there are others who have lost their jobs due to the economy and haven’t been able to find work since. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 177,000 women left the labor force in March as a result of layoffs, dismissals or voluntary exit, compared to 14,000 men who found work. Interestingly, during the early phase of the recession, women seemed to hang onto their jobs longer than men, prompting many to call the lay-off component of the economy a “mancession.” Since then, however, more women have been laid off and the opportunities in “female-dominated jobs” (namely teaching and retail) have been slower to return.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Real Face of Stay-At-Home Mothers: Those Who Have No Other Financial Option,” at Forbes.com, April 19, 2012.]
[CLICK HERE to read the jobs report, “Employment Situation Summary,” at Bureau of Labor Services, April 6, 2012.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Where have all the women’s jobs gone?” at CnnMoney.com, April 20, 2012.]
The Plight of the Working Mom
Sallie Krawcheck, former CEO of Bank of America, recently offered this advice to working moms:
“I have a set of rules that I always enjoy sharing with women about working in business. The first is to choose your husband carefully. If you’re caught in a meeting and walk through the door late, what you want is a spouse who says, ‘Can I get you a glass of wine?’ versus ‘Where were you?’ with an eye roll.”
Pew Research recently recapped some of its research on working moms, including this interesting statistic: When asked in general how they feel about their time, 40% of working moms said they always feel rushed compared to only 26% of stay-at-home moms. In contrast, only 25% of working dads said they always feel rushed.
[CLICK HERE to read, “Women, Work and Motherhood,” at Pew Research, April 13, 2012.]
Between (1) eye-rolling husbands, (2) rushing to fulfill both household and work responsibilities, and (3) not having the choice to work due to poor job prospects or simply because the family can’t afford it, it’s a tough road for women to establish a financial foothold in both today’s economy and culture.
Please give us a call to help you establish financial strategies and a long-term plan to put some control into your life as a working mom – whether inside the house or out.