We live in a society that is continuing to orient itself around dual income families. Sometimes I fear that this is going to make our single income too little to raise a family with. But when I really pause to think about it I realize that I can't imagine being able to afford my wife joining the workforce.
In The Millionaire Next Door a large proportion of the millionaires that were polled said that their choice of spouse was one of the biggest factors behind their success. While I might not be a millionaire yet, I would like to echo that statement and share a few thoughts as to why I feel that way (I'm going to apologize in advance but my writing skills are not anywhere near good enough to do justice to this topic).
Last week I was talking to someone at work and was shocked to hear that he spends $295 PER WEEK on daycare for their 1 year old son. That's more than I spend on my mortgage! That alone translates to a take home pay after taxes and everything of at least $7.40 per hour per child just to break even on daycare costs. So that means that if my wife started working full time nearly all of my paycheck would be going to daycare for our two young kids.
And that's just looking at it in financial terms, we believe that there are also emotional and educational benefits of being at home with our kid. I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about my kids picking up habits and behaviors that I don't agree with at such a young age. I know that my wife is only going to teach them principles that I agree with.
I know as well as anyone that you could never put a price on the work that is done by a stay-at-home mom. Besides the costs of daycare and being a personal tutor for the kids there is so much work that is done that keeps the house running, and makes my working life manageable. All the things like:
- Laundry - I barely remember how to do it properly.
- Diaper changes - Especially now that we use cloth diapers, it's a lot cheaper but a lot more work.
- Grocery shopping - She has complete control over managing the grocery budget and makes it so that I don't even have to worry about it.
- Cooking - I would have already starved to death or be living on food that would kill me from the inside out without her, and she makes amazing food for so cheap (I'll make sure she shares some secrets sometime).
- Cleaning - Let's just say that I'm no neat-freak and our house wouldn't be nearly as clean without her.
- Miscellaneous errands - She runs so many errands during the day that keeps our administrative life in order. I can't imagine having to take off work for all of the things she has to get done during business hours.
- Emotional support - Life is hard sometimes and it could easily become unmanageable without knowing that I have my biggest fan waiting to pick me up when I get home every day. I can't imagine not having someone so closely tied to my wellbeing and ready to listen while I vent out my frustrations.
- Doing all of the nursing and child care in the middle of the night so that I can be better rested when I go to work.
- Administrative support - My professional life revolves around my wife. She is responsible for at least 90% of my LinkedIn profile. After I lost my first real job she is the one who, pretending to be me, made the contact that got me hired at a better place after being unemployed for only 2 days.
- Family nurse/care provider - I am a terrible sick person to be around and I don't handle pain or discomfort well so I love having someone around who can tend to our ailments.
- And as the King of Siam would say “Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera …”
I know that I have a lot of very difficult financial tenancies and it takes a very special woman to be willing to put up with them. I was so lucky to find someone that is so frugal and who is willing to help me work towards our long term goals.
While our family might not depend on her making an income, I think that it is plain to see that our household would crash and burn in financial ruin without her since there is no way that we could save a fraction of what we do if it wasn't for the work that she does at home. A work that most people overlook and many stay-at-home moms probably never feel appreciated for (I know that is often the case in our home as well).
I am definitely lucky that I was able to find her and eternally grateful that I can truly refer to my wife as my Help Meet.