Staying Home? Kudos For A Vanishing Breed!


Are there any housewives left? I know it’s a vanishing breed, but I wonder if they’ve already slipped into extinction unnoticed. And with the next generation’s devotion to all things free-range, is there any way we could include children in that? I mean, once we get the cows and pigs and chickens uncaged, could we do the same for children? Because while we’re busy working to provide a higher quality of life for animals that we ultimately intend to eat, our kids are cooped up in before-care, daycare and after-care. Now that summer is coming, we’re scrambling to figure out what to do with them once school is out.

Let me make myself clear: I’m not blaming the parents here. Society has devolved to the point where double incomes are necessary.

Or are they? How many of us have actually taken the time (or, excuse me, I mean made the time), to assess how much we make versus how much childcare costs? And it’s not just childcare. It’s the wardrobe, the travel time, the gas to get there, the upkeep on the car, parking fees, lunches out, hair and makeup, manicures and pedicures, and everything else we need to make ourselves presentable enough to earn a buck. Once you add up all that stuff, keeping a job gets pretty expensive.

That’s not to say that a parent who opts to stay at home with the kids needs to dress in burlap and sand down their toenails with a rock. You don’t want people calling the cops because they’ve seen you on the street and are afraid for their lives. Decent clothes and personal grooming items will always be justifiable expenses. You just have to remember you’re home now, not in Hollywood.

And there will be some additional expenses. Stay-at-home children continue to eat lunch and require the occasional outing, so a car is still necessary. (There used to be buses, but let’s not get ridiculous.) An occasional toy will need to be purchased. The sandbox will need new sand.

But it can be done. And it’s fun spending time with the little guys.

How to figure out what you spend each month? It’s online, just like everything else. Your bank statement and credit card bills tell you exactly where your money went. Just figure it out.

Of course, a good argument for keeping your day job is “saving for retirement.” Housewifery is notorious for its lousy retirement plan. So I’m not saying you should stay home and watch Sesame Street forever. Once your child successfully makes it to adulthood, they are not going to want you on their couch, dribbling Cheerios onto the cat.

I’m just saying, if it’s at all possible, why not see if somebody can stay at home with the kids this summer? Some people even work from home! It’s an uncaged life.

And I ought to know.