Thursday, August 26, 2010
The Price of Freedom
I would like to say that somewhere in my lineage the women of my family were part of the Women’s suffrage Movement. It’s a nice thing to believe that my mother’s great-grandmother fought to give me some of the rights I have today. I am not sure if they did or not for two reasons. First, my family immigrated to America around the time or shortly after the suffrage movement, and second from my research it would seem that women involved in the suffrage had a bit of money. Which my family most definitely did not. They fought for right’s that many women take for granted, specifically the right to vote. These strong motivated women paved the way for women to have the right to earn the same wages as the men in their lives. Which ironically, I have yet to witness. Many feminist may not like what I will say but Hey, they gave me the right to free speech as well.
I by no means intend to demean what they have done for women of the past, present and future generations. Their actions leave options for my daughter that she would not have had otherwise. She can get an education, she can vote for the president, or even inspire to be the president of the United States. She can even be a homemaker if that is what she chooses.
Now I get to the part that people may not like. What price as women are we paying for these freedoms? Prior to the 1970’s it was acceptable for women to be housewives. I believe now that the more politically correct term is homemaker. During the 70’s some women began to believe that homemakers were not treating women and men equally, and that women should do whatever job they were able to do no matter what their marital status was. Thus diminishing the work that a homemaker does. As a homemaker myself, I know the extent of work I do. While I do partake in viewing a certain daytime soap, I do not sit around all day watching soap operas. As a homemaker, my first priority is caring for my daughter. Children learn through play, and I am her first teacher. We have structured activities, such as art, gross motor, musical, fine motor and quiet activities. Like in a pre-school setting, there is a balance of free play and adult guided activities. Do I have Lazy days? Sure! Does my daughter suffer from this? Absolutely not!
According to The National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), the average cost of childcare for an infant ranged from $317 to $1123 a month (depending on the state). According to this study Childcare in Missouri averaged around $464, which seems low because I know people who paid way more than that a month. It seems to me that unless you are a well paid executive in a company, the price of child care is about equivalent to the average income. This makes me feel like I would be working for free (which I have done, and am not a fan of). Let’s see how many men would work for free. I am not going to go into statistics about the cost of insurance because we all know too well, how un-affordable it is. So on the average income; it is almost impossible to pay for both childcare and insurance. Can’t get insurance if you do not work (not always then either), and can’t work with no child-care. So it is a vicious cycle for some, who are not as lucky as others.
My husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with my daughter. We decided it was the most beneficial option for her as well as the most economical option for the household. This decision does not come easy. Since I am not actively seeking work, I cannot receive any state funded healthcare; unless I become pregnant. Even in that case I better hope my husband had a bad year financially to fall into the approved income levels. So basically with one income we cannot afford health insurance, but with two we make too much. Seems highly unfair, considering jobs I have had in the past were not required to offer insurance. I can see why it is so hard for some people to get off of government aid. People who do not try to help themselves, but those who do try (and make hardly anything) get their benefits snatched from under them. Why even try then?
I had a conversation with a guy one time who told me that healthcare is earned. Is he crazy? What does my almost three year old need to do to earn insurance? He then said, that if my husband wants me to stay at home, then it is his responsibility to provide healthcare. I tried to explain that my husband works two jobs. His job supplies insurance for him and he pays for our daughter. Insurance for me is almost $700 a month (due to my age), and that is not feasible. With his second job, we now have insurance for all of us, however in this bad economy when he is laid off, he may not make the hours he needs to cover the insurance, and Cobra is crazy expensive. He basically told me that well, get a job or do without. UGH!!! Wait till he has kids!
I guess what I am alluding to is that while women gaining the right to vote, work and other great achievements in the history of women, we lost the freedom to lead the simple lives that many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers cherished so much. We have been forced to let other people raise our children without being scrutinized for our decision. I am a housewife, I am a homemaker, I am a SAHM, I am a WAHM, whatever you call me, I am proud!!