Recently on my Facebook page, a heated discussion came up among work-from-home moms on whether or not childcare was a wise investment. I wasn’t surprised to see a wide range of opinions on this topic.
On one side, there’s the “Stop the Latch-Key Kid Camp” of working moms, whose feelings on the issue can best be summed up by Chrissy, who posted this comment on my Facebook page:
“I don’t think $80,000 in day care is an investment in anything but a life void of children, and of their mom being there for them… and to be honest, kids don’t want a day care provider… they want their mother.”
Another commentor, Jill wrote, “Money is not everything but it can tempt you to make poor choices like spending too much time building your biz instead of putting your priority first of being a wife… Could it be then we will not have the time and patience to raise our children or have enough energy at the end of our day to take care of our husbands? Yes, we’ve come a long way but is it the right way?”
On the other side is the “Sitters for Sanity Camp” of moms. These women embrace the idea of having someone else help care for their child. As Naomi posted, “I agree with getting childcare because lo and behold, we all can’t live in a perfect little world and multitask efficiently like Betty Crocker moms… I’m not saying it’s not possible, but for my own sanity and being able to be 100% there when [my daughter] is at home, it’s more feasible for me.”
As women, wives, and mothers, we’ve often struggled to balance our careers with the demands of nurturing our families. And, with telecommuting becoming more popular, and more women starting their own businesses from home, this decision is becoming even more relevant, and obviously more conflicted.
What I see at the heart of this debate is that as women, we are all called to answer one key question: What is YOUR personal definition of being a nurturing and positive mother, wife—or any feminine force—in your environment?
Having another caretaker help raise your child (or opting not to) is—as with most parenting choices—a highly personal decision. It is up to you to decide what is best for YOU, your family, and your life.
And, what’s so wonderful about the times that we live in are that we have more choices now than ever before.
I recently shared in my blog that nearly 4 in 10 working wives currently outearn their husbands. This is an increase of over 50% from 20 years prior. And the trend is predicted to keep growing!
What this means is that women have the freedom to invest their earnings however they choose—whether it’s putting money in your child’s college fund, hiring a full-time nanny or a part-time sitter, or finally deciding to hire an assistant and grow your team, so you have more time to spend with your family. Today, these are ALL ways we can provide for our children—financially, physically, and emotionally.
As Crystal posted, “I am a single Mother of 3 and run my business from home. I am here for my kids when they need me and able to provide for them like I never could with just a JOB. So, when building business the right way…YOU can have both…time with kids (most important) and time building my business… The answer is make more money by delegating a lot of it out so that your business runs smoothly.”
Let ME say for the record that I don’t think that there is a right or wrong answer here.
I can only comment from my point-of-view as an entrepreneur mentor to many moms. And from what I’ve seen, the most successful women business owners are the ones that carve out uninterrupted dedicated time to work on their business. It’s even BETTER when they ALSO have uninterrupted, dedicated time with their children. These women find, without a sitter, it’s hard to be dedicated in either direction. So, to them, investing in childcare allows them to be a present, energetic mom—and an engaged entrepreneur.
Either way, it’s about QUALITY TIME—not just quantity.
So should you invest in childcare or not? It really comes down to what works for YOU.
At the end of the day, we need to stop the “mommy wars”, and stop thinking that a blanket solution is right for everyone. Instead, let’s all celebrate the freedom and choices we all have, and honor each other’s personal wows.
Thoughts? Please share your comments below!
© 2012 Ali International, LLC
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