62 answers

Do You Work Because You "Have" to or Because You "Want" To?

I work PT (2 days per week). Mostly because I want to. To cover my personal bills and expenses, and "extras" etc.
I think if I wanted to, I could not work at all and we would be fine. (Good thing b/c there are some shake ups happening at work right now!)
I have a relative that watches my child 2 days per week during the summer. During the school year, we don't need child care because I get him to school and my husband is home before the bus.
We're very financially responsible people, so we don't work to pay minimums on credit cards, we save for what we buy and generally have the money to make a purchase. We live on less than we make, in other words.

I know there are a lot of working moms who work because they 'have" to. To those of you, my question is: are you working for the roof over your head, your food and your utilities? Or are you working for car payments, too much house, etc.?
In other words--if you fell you "have" to work, is it really to survive, or is it more to "thrive"? I'm curious.

I think most moms, if they were willing to scale back lifestyle, could stay home til the kids are in school. That's a big IF--about the lifestyle.

BTW, I think we can be great moms whether we work or stay at home. What do you think?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Great (honest) answers!
KIKI hit the nail on the head when she brought up the "wants" vs. "needs" for a lot of the "working moms" out there.

Featured Answers

Well, those of us without a husband/partner work because we have to. I also enjoy working. I work as a professional and get respect and reward from the work I do. I never intended not to fully support myself and any children I had. I clearly remember deciding this in 3rd grade.

9 moms found this helpful

For me it's a mix of both - the money I make helps us keep a very comfortable lifestyle (swim lessons, gym memberships, mini-vacations,etc) and while we could make it on a single income I do not think I'd like the way we'd have to live - it would be very spartan. That said - I am also well educated (have MA degree) and believe it would be a waste to throw away my education so I can stay home with the kids. I don't get a lot of personal satisfaction from being home all day with my kids - it never was stimulating enough and i was easily bored - so I found a job that is the best of both worlds. I work f/t doing something i love but I am able to work from home - so if my kids need me I am available to get them (one in 2nd grade, another almost 3) on short notice. I love the way things are now...never wanted to be SAHM...so I think it's a perfect solution for me and my family.

5 moms found this helpful

HAVE to. Unfortunately. I "like" my job. But it's not my dream job. My dream job pays next to nothing.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Well, those of us without a husband/partner work because we have to. I also enjoy working. I work as a professional and get respect and reward from the work I do. I never intended not to fully support myself and any children I had. I clearly remember deciding this in 3rd grade.

9 moms found this helpful

I work because I want to.
We don't need my income.

I am not fulfilled staying at home with my kids. I need other outlets for personal fulfillment and accomplishment. I don't have the patience to stay home with them all day - I'm just not wired like that.

I'm a better mom when I can focus my efforts elsewhere. Then I come home and have 4 solid hours with them every day to play, make dinner, read stories, etc...

That makes ME the best mom that I can be.

9 moms found this helpful

It's complicated.
But the short answer is, in my case I do "have to" work at least PT. (I currently work FT and am seriously considering PT and looking into some options).
I also feel that, considering how happy I am with my job, and the fact that I have on site daycare and a commute that is less than 10 minutes, and never have to work late, travel etc. - it is worth it to continue to work, since it allows us to "thrive" financially.
With that said, i would be more than happy to quit and totally "scrape by" until my kids are in school, IF there were an option to resume my position later. There is not. I would have to start all over and there is a 99% likelihood it would be at a job that does not provide anything close to the benefits I have here. So for now I remain....conflicted.
One last thing....I wouldn't mind giving up my spending money or whatever, but i would hate to be in a position where I would have to tell my children No, we can't afford for you to be in little league or ever have any fun. I also feel a responsibility to save for their college.

8 moms found this helpful

If I didn't work we wouldn't be living in our home. My kids wouldn't be involved in any activities (swim class, sports, music lessons). We wouldn't be able to go on any type of vacation. We wouldn't have the $ to fly my SD home. We wouldn't have $ to put away for college.
So I guess I work b/c I "want" more than that for my family.

8 moms found this helpful

I work because I have to. The sad reality of southern California is that it's very expensive to live here. Unfortunately, there really is no other option. Downscaling wouldn't help because our current mortgage of our modest house is exactly what we would pay if we were to rent. We could move to Riverside (inland) and find cheaper living arrangements, but our quality of life would diminish significantly w/ the hour and a half commute each way and to me, nothing is worth that. Also, my job provides the medical benefits; my husband's does not and he is also on a commission only job. We do sometimes talk about getting out of here, but our family lives here and our parents aren't getting any younger. We hate to think of taking our daughter away from her grandparents, cousins, etc. I assume you're asking this question because of what went down yesterday on here. I'd just like to say that that particular poster could have really gotten some tremendous advice from working moms about how we make it work had she reached out appropriately instead of alienating working moms with her comments. When I had to go back to work, I queried the moms on here about how they do it and they came through in shining colors w/ tons of tips and suggestions. I appreciated it soooo much!!!

And yes, of course we can be great moms either way; it's all about the effort (and attitude) put into it, just like anything else :)

7 moms found this helpful

My SO was laid off last fall when I was 6 months pregnant and my oldest was 3. He lost his insurance of course so we had to place my daughter on my health insurance with my job. It would have cost us more than $900 a month to add him to my insurance on top of the addition $300 to have my daughter on my insurance. He tried finding insurance on his own but was rejected as "individual" insurance is much harder to qualify for than "group." He was disqualified because I was pregnant.

What is my point? It's a good thing we had a back up plan. Initially we had discussed cutting back on living off his income but now he doesn't even want me to change career fields let alone quit. Things are not going to get cheaper: a roof over your head, medical expenses, gas, quality food, education, etc. People are still loosing their jobs and homes despite all the reforms and market outlook. If you lost your only source of income would you loose your house? How much more can you cut back? Sorry, but I don't want to know that answer. And quite frankly, I want to work so I can buy organic/local food for my daughters, take them on family trips to visit her grandparents once a year, let them take dance/music classes if they want, drive a safe car and still spend lots of quality time not having to worry about finances or health care costs.

7 moms found this helpful

I work because I have to. I am the one with health, prescription and retirement benefits (at least until the governor takes them away) I do not consider health benefits to be a luxury. My hubby was able to change his work schedule to be home with our youngest until he went to school, now he works 6 hour days during the week (and more on weekends) so he can drop off and pick him up at school. When I was a SAHM with my oldest (and his dad was a workaholic) I never felt a need to defend my choice. Sometimes when I read SAHMs bragging about doing what's best for their family I "read" that they are boasting about their husband making more money than our husbands, which is kinda like bragging about your naturally curly hair or shiny blonde highlights, although your hair is more likely to not change, other circumstances could change in this economy and with the US divorce rate. I am inspired to read about moms (working or SAHM) who find time to volunteer in their kid's schools, volunteer around their town etc. I am inspired to read about single moms who pay the bills and attend most of their kids's sports, school etc events and deal with sick days and Dr apts and deadlines. I am inspired to read about those of us who spend each evening ENJOYING bathing, reading, cuddling and praying with our children. I am not inspired to read about moms who married well paid men or men with great benefits. (sorry to military wives -I dont know where you fit in this conversation) IF my career paid well enough for a new car and a vacation home should I change to another career that pays less so no one can accuse me of working to thrive rather than working to survive? If i had been trained as a lawyer should I choose between SAHM or working at a fast food place? I have nothing absolutely nothing against SAHMs I have been and would do it again if I could but when I did I was secure enough not to try to prove my choice was better than other's motives and choices. And can we change SAHM to something else? because moms at home do more than "stay" like DE for domestic engineer? I also think that where you live greatly influences the cost of living and whether you can get by on one income. but many of us feel very tied to our areas and unwilling to relocate to a less expensive place

7 moms found this helpful

I have to work. My husband has a commission only job and some months he just doesnt make enough money for a family of 4 to survive. Not only do we need the second income but my husbands job doesnt offer health insurance and mine does ( my
husband has had cancer 3 times so private insurance isnt an option)
I also dont think I have the patience to be a stay at home mama, I love my kids and I miss them every minute but I just dont think I could stay at home with them.

6 moms found this helpful

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