Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Stay At Home Vulnerability

Staying at home has been the best decision for our family. But, for me personally, it has sometimes been a scary decision. Yesterday I was feeling the fear a little more keenly.

First off, there's the whole abandon-your-career thing. The whole no-longer-earning-any-personal-income thing. This economy is not very forgiving to a one income family either. Also wrapped up in the fears and reservations I have had about this is the whole depend-entirely-on-your-partner-financially thing. I've figured out how to be okay with that. I understand how smart it is for my family that I stay home.

But .....

A friend/acquaintance I know through the kid's school is also a stay-at-home Mom and I learned yesterday that her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Scary. I ache for her situation and I can't help feeling a spike in my own vulnerability as I witness their crisis.

She has three girls under the age of 8 and how will she handle her husband's illness and/or death? How will their bills get paid? How will she support her family in the long term? This is the stuff of my own nightmares and I'm so sorry my friend is facing this. Every stay-at-home Mom's hell. Anyone's hell for that matter.

What would I do? How would I support an ailing partner, continue to raise children and take on full responsibility for arranging finances? In my personal case, it is not so simple as to "go get a job". Primarily, I can't legally work in the US. Secondarily, I've been out of the job market for several years now and I certainly couldn't expect to walk back in and earn any substantial dollars. Going to work daycare or retail,while creating child care costs just doesn't make sense.

Obviously, I am blessed and I don't have to face such a situation, but I do need to consider it. I just hope and pray that my fellow stay-at-home Mom can find her way through this dark time.


Amanda said...

OK, so I check your blog frequently and mean to comment all the time, but I never seem to actually have the time! :P

Anyway. I think one of the things about doing all this so young is that I can just blithely ignore all the "depending upon your partner" stuff. I went pretty much straight from being dependent on my parents to being dependent on Jason. I've never been financially independent.

But your friend....that's so sad. :( I can't imagine going through that. You're right - it's every SAHM's version of hell. And it does make you think. One of the reasons I've been taking the opportunities presented to me is partially for this reason - the "I need to be able to support myself and the kids reasonably if the worst ever happens" thought.

Catherine said...

I think if you choose to commit for life to someone you have to consider what your life may be like when/if that person is no longer there. But, imagining it and living it is a whole other thing.
Knowing how strong you are, I'm positive that you could do it if you had to. Ideally, I want to build my own financial strength alongside Craig - now that will be ideal.