As some of you may have heard, Hilary Rosen, a Democratic adviser, was in the news earlier this year with her comments concerning Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney. She said that Mrs. Romney “had never worked a day in her life.”
These comments generated many opinions – both in agreement and disagreement. One such debate that came from these comments centered around how Americans view women who stay home to raise children. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, most Americans knew about this comment. The strategist apologized for what she said, but Americans believe that these days, most women don’t have a choice between working and staying home to raise children. Only 16% in this poll believe most American families can choose to have one parent work while the other stays home.
According to this poll, a majority of the respondents feel that most women do not have the option of staying home to raise their child(ren) because their family depends on their paycheck to make it. In fact, when asked, “Do you think most families with children in the United States today can afford to have only one parent who works while the other stays home?”, a whopping 74% of respondents answered “No.” 11% answered “Not Sure.” That means that only 16% of those polled believe that it is possible for a family to live off of one income. Even when a family is able to have one parent remain home to raise the kiddos, opinion differs on whether this is a wise choice. Nearly as many respondents say they are more likely to respect a woman who decides to stay home and raise a family as say they are to respect one who decides to continue working after having children.
As the husband to a wife that stayed home for seven years to raise our girls I found this survey to be very interesting. I find surveys to be informative but you cannot always care about what others think when it comes to making certain decisions – especially ones that concern what is right for your family. When we decided to have Tracy stay home, I did hear opinions from others that did not agree with our decision. Sometimes you have to have thick skin and not really care what others think and make the best choice for you and your family. Yes, we sacrificed a lot of money to have Tracy stay home (around $240,000) for seven years and, from a financial standpoint, this may not have made sense to some. However, Tracy and I both discussed the pros and cons of this and came to the realization that having her stay home and raise Ava and Ella was the best choice for our family. It may not have been optimal for others but we didn’t care or worry about what they did – we did what was right for US.
Even though we sacrificed a great deal of money for Tracy to stay home, we would do it all over if we had to make that decision again. I know almost everyone agrees that time flies but, I really did not feel this completely until we had children. I can’t believe that Ava will be in third grade next year and Ella will be in Kindergarten. I am so happy that Tracy was able to stay home all of those years and build a valuable bond with both of them. Yes, if she had worked instead of staying home, our bank account would be a lot larger; however, I feel that the time Tracy was able to spend with both of them is something that you cannot put a price tag on.