Friday, March 27, 2015

When Is It Time For A Stay-At-Home Mom To Return To Work?

Dear Tazi:

My Mom has been a stay-at-home Mom since before I was born. She quit her job when she found out she was pregnant with me in order to devote all of her time to being a Mom. I am now 17, an honor roll student, and a careful driver with a spotless first year driving record. I play sports or have study hall after school, so I usually do not get home until after 4:00 PM and I work a part-time job two evenings a week and on weekends. In summary, I am a responsible teenager who is not home during working hours (the school day starts at 7:30 in the morning).

My parents don't know that I know, but Dad has been pressuring Mom to find a paying job ever since I learned to drive. Mom argues that she needs to be home during the day in case I need her, and that she has a very busy schedule cooking and cleaning and sewing around the house and then volunteering at the church on occasion. Dad argues that nobody but her is home during the day, so how can the house get so dirty; that they eat out twice a week (the two nights I am not home for dinner because of work); and that if the church were to pay her for her work he would not mind her not looking for a regular job.

The fighting between my parents is really starting to upset me, because it is starting to take a toll on their relationship. I would like to tell my Mom that I am grateful for all that she has done for me, but that I am pretty capable of doing a lot for myself now. I can drive, I have a job and am responsible with my money, and I buy most of my own clothes - she hasn't sewn anything for me in years! I am also a pretty good cook, and would cook dinner a few nights a week if she would allow it, but she is a complete control freak in the kitchen.

Tazi, do you have any ideas on how to get my Mom to at least look for a job? Even a part-time one? I think it will go a long way towards helping to save my parents' marriage.

Seventeen And Worried

Dear Seventeen And Worried:

While it is commendable that you want to help your parents through their marital spats, the only thing you should be worried about right now is keeping your grades up, finding a date for the prom, and investigating your post-high school opportunities. The issues between your parents may seem simple, but they go much deeper than they appear.

Your mother has not worked outside the home in almost 18 years. What kind of job do you suggest she seek? Her skills and education are probably badly in need of updating, and her resistance to look for work reflects this fact. She is probably scared that she will fail miserably or humiliate herself if she tries to re-enter the workforce after almost two decades out of it. Think about it: The last time your mother worked for a paycheck President Bill Clinton was the President of the U.S., the Internet just starting to go mainstream, grunge music was still all the rage, and boys still wore their pants several inches above their butts with their hats facing forward!

And sadly, people dressed like this!

If you want to help your parents, I suggest you show your letter and my response to them; you could even leave it laying on the dining room table if you don't want to give it to them personally. They each need to consider the other's point of view and reasoning; role-playing/role-reversal can be helpful in accomplishing this, as can the help of a qualified counselor or clergy-person. Since your mother is active with the church, your clergy may already be familiar with the situation; either way, it may do you good to talk to him or her in order to gain some perspective on the whole situation. As much as I hate to say it, this is not your problem to  solve.


P.S. I don't want to speculate, but in absence of other issues, a woman who quits her job as soon as she becomes pregnant may have been unhappy with said job in the first place! Just one more thing to consider.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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