Working Mom’s Worksheet

Mothers today are told they “can’t afford not to work” or that they “won’t be fulfilled” if they aren’t employed outside the home. This is true for some, but not all moms. Particularly with preschoolers, it seldom makes sense for moms to be employed outside the home.

As for being fulfilled, women in general are programmed to find motherhood to be a fulfilling calling in and of itself. You won’t make as money in the long run, but hopefully you are mature enough to realize that money isn’t everything.

Financially, do a little calculation. Look at your weekly wage, and figure out how much of it goes in taxes. Now figure how much you pay for the following expenses:

  • Daycare
  • Work Meals (lunches out?)
  • Eating out with the family (no time to cook or too stressful)
  • Work clothing
  • Gas back and forth to work
  • Paying others to do things you don’t have time for: laundry, housecleaning, etc.

Add those up. Now think about savings. Of course, these are way harder to calculate because they vary, but say you are saving the family $20 a week in doing things yourself.

  • Finding good sales on food / coupons
  • Find good sales on clothing (used clothing/trading with friends, etc.)
  • Price shopping/better decisions on appliances, computers, etc.
  • Fixing things yourself (you can find how on Youtube)
  • Mending clothes instead of new ones

Take the first number, subtract the second, subtract the third, and divide by 40. That is your real take home pay per hour. Many women find it costs MORE to work outside the home, especially after daycare, and taking in a child or two is far easier on the budget. You don’t have to take a day off to wait for a repairman, or with a sick kid, and it you can even be sick yourself! (Once in a while.)

So say you make $10 an hour, $400 for a forty hour week. Taxes could easily be $100. Day care $150? (national average for a two year old)  You can cook food from scratch at about 1/3 of eating out and 1/2 of packaged foods.

Or you can stay home, take in ONE child and provide day care for them, your child has a playmate, and you are coming out ahead!

Of course each situation is different. But the idea that women today HAVE to work to make ends meet is ludicrous. They are working because they feel pressured by society, they want a lifestyle they really can’t afford, and they haven’t sat down to put together a budget.