At the Office or In the Kitchen ?

iPhone Original/3G/4/5

My oldest is at the big 7 and he’s not sure how he feels about getting hugs and kisses anymore.  Let’s be honest….he is the least affectionate of all my kids so I’m not really sure he ever really dug getting hugs and kisses.  It’s not his love language…his language is “words of praise.”  Any-hoo, I was having one of my sentimental moments today (which happens several times daily) thinking about some of the funny words my oldest used to dream up when he was a year old.

Our youngest just started walking so I’m constantly reflecting about the older ones and what they were like when they were 1.   I looked at this giant 7 year old and told him I loved him and he asked, “Why?”  Befuddled, I went with instinct and told him,”It’s my job.”  And he responded,”But, why?”  And I thought about this for a millisecond and said, “In case you forget.”

There are plenty of times out there in the world when we’ve been stomped on, failed miserably or been rejected by others.  We may not feel very loved.  And that’s when it helps to know that there is someone out there who loves you…someone who values you on this planet.  Mom (and Dad, of course).

But, it’s those moments in the kitchen when you tell your little guy you love him for no other reason but it’s your job to remind him he’s loved that have the deepest imprint.  He’ll tuck that in his heart and take it with him to his first date, first party, first job.  If you’re in the cubicle at work, perhaps you can call him from your cellphone but it’s not the same as looking into those baby blues and telling him….the visual imprinting on his heart and mind just isn’t the same.

The picture of mom’ s loving face isn’t the same as the cellphone call…just keeping it real.

photo by: Yutaka Tsutano

Stay-At-Home Moms are Not Keynesians

Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25 bomber is assembled in the engine department of North American [Aviation, Inc.]'s Inglewood, Calif., plant  (LOC)

Patrick Fagan, former Heritage Foundation scholar who is now with The Family Research Council writes about a little known fact about GDP titled “The Family GDP: How Marriage and Fertility Drive the Economy” which can be found in the Spring 2010 issue of The Family in America.  That little known fact has to do with the unpaid human capital that stay-at-home moms contribute to the economy.  If you didn’t know it already, “Moms are the Engine of the Economy.”  If you need to be convinced, Mr. Fagan’s article could help you down the road to conversion.  The link to the journal is here and you can read part of his article on The Ruth Institute blog here.

Brandon Dutcher, VP of Policy at The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs wrote an op-ed in The Oklahoman referencing Fagan’s article.  Quoting Dutcher in his op-ed who is quoting Fagan:

“The married homemaker who focuses her attention on the children, hearth and home has rarely been acknowledged for the economic force that she is,” Fagan says. “Paraphrasing Teddy Roosevelt, who rebutted those who claimed she is a parasite, the married mother at home is the economy.”

How so? “First, she raises the future labor force; second, her at-home labor saves the family money; and third, by tending to details on the home front, she both allows and motivates her husband to be fully committed to his occupation, job or profession.”

Fagan says the Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker once suggested to him that “the married mother at home exerts a more far-reaching impact on the economy than the married father in the workplace” (emphasis mine). After all, “the mother contributes to both the present and future economy, but especially the future through the more highly productive children she raises.”

Fagan also states that mothers contribute the necessary next generation of human capital to the economy.  In my humble opinion, this is the gift that keeps on giving.  The high quality human capital that stay-at-home moms contribute creates a stable and durable economy.  Stay-at-home moms are in it for the long-run.  Mom’s efforts pay dividends in the future if she raises high-quality kids and this effort is duplicated throughout generations.  However, if we teach our daughters to be workers instead of mothers, we increase the number of Keynesians.  And thus, we have women who want to raise up government instead of children.

Working Women and Competition for Daycare

Sunshine Day Care

I’ve been wanting to set up a blog for quite awhile and finally got around to it. So, I have a couple of articles that have been piling up that I want to write about. They are a couple months old but the content isn’t time-sensitive. The first article I’m writing about is from the 6/9/2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal by Sue Shellenbarger.

With more women than ever in the workforce, many of the country’s roughly 1,000 nationally accredited child-care centers are full to capacity.

So, do we need more day care centers ? Fewer children ? Or more moms to stay home with their children ? It gets worse:

Jessica (for privacy I didn’t add last name) put her baby-to-be on a child care wait list last August, as soon as she got the results of her home pregnancy test. The child care center director got the good news even before the baby’s grandparents. Now, one year later, Jessica’s baby has been promised a coveted slot in August in the infant care room at Primrose School in (for privacy) Somewhere, Colorado.

Granted the point of the article is to offer a glimpse into how difficult it is to find open slots for childcare, especially at the best child care centers.  The author’s does not debate whether one should perhaps give some thought about staying home with her child instead of forking out $1,500 to $2,000 a month for someone else to care for her precious baby. That’s my job.

I lived in Washington, D.C. when our first child was born and was faced with the same considerations that all working women who become pregnant face:

a) How will I afford daycare ? Why do I want to sacrifice to make a monthly payment, equivalent to a mortgage payment in some areas, to a daycare center to care for a child whose best nurturer is me ?
b) How can I deal with the emotional turmoil of parting from my baby ? Biologically, your child isn’t supposed to be taken from you at 6 weeks. (6 weeks is the usual length of maternity leave and when infants are accepted into daycare).
c) What’s the point of having children if I won’t be there to answer the silly and not-so-silly questions they have throughout the day, to impart lessons of right and wrong, see their first step, smile, etc.

When pregnant with my first, I constantly weighed the pros and cons of working. I had just finished my doctorate in economics and was kind of excited about working in my field and even more excited about earning money. I had worked the first couple years of Ph.D. but the last couple of years, I had a fellowship which paid for classes and little else. So, having some real money was an exciting concept. But, through the tears and being pulled in the career direction and then the mommy direction, I eventually ended up knowing that I would “mostly” be a stay-at-home mom.

Needless to say, everything wasn’t sorted out when our first was born. We really needed my income given our student loan debt and the foregone income sacrificed to pursue graduate studies. I kept interviewing and turning down job offers for the first two years of our first son’s life. When I’d get a job offer, it was like being sawed in half as we desperately needed the money as we were going into debt to have me stay home. However, my husband and I always ended up plowing ahead. It came down to not being able to live with myself for turning our beloved little person over to strangers. We didn’t have any family around and, even if we did, our parents wouldn’t be interested in caring for the kids.

My husband and I met in Ph.D. so it wasn’t like we could have made the decision for me to be home before we had taken on undergraduate or graduate studies. It was very messy and took some time for us to back out of the Two Income Trap (and we’re still doing it). We never wavered on the one thing that was most important to us: for me to be at home to teach the kids. All our choices aligned with this commitment and financially we were slowly able to make that happen.

As I ramble on through this blog, I will share how we did this.

See the entire link for the WSJ article here.  Note that you might have to be a WSJ subscriber to access it.