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The Institute of Family Studies (IFS) posted some interesting research this morning about who in our society becomes a stay-at-home-mother. Of note, it’s mostly the rich and the poor, and it’s related to the cost of childcare:
Rich women can afford not to work, and poor women make less than they would pay for childcare. It’s the families in the middle who feel the crunch of astronomically high childcare costs, forced to work full-time in order to justify how much they’re spending on childcare.
Anecdotally, I’ve had a number of friends with advanced degrees who, despite wanting to work part-time or take some time off, remain in the workforce full-time in order to justify the time and expense of their degrees, and continue paying off loans.
Only one-third of mothers want to work full-time, and yet, many more do, thanks to the economic factors at play:
Again, anecdotally, this jives with my experience for the last five years being a stay-at-home mother. I chose to stay home for both economic and ideological reasons, but for most of my fellow stay-at-home friends, the choice was largely made because of money.
Taking all of this into account, it’s a shame we still frame the stay-at-home vs. working mother “mommy war” as purely ideological, when it is, statistically, anything but.