Does Planning for Stay-At-Home Motherhood Begin… In College?

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I recently read the book, 7 Myths of Working Mothers by Suzanne Venker, and I thought it was a thought-provoking read. She contends that most careers are just not accommodating to mothers who really want to spend time with their children.

But the idea that struck me most is the reason why many women — who want to be stay-at-home-mothers — end up working is because they didn’t plan for motherhood. Women who know they want to stay at home with their children need to be encouraged to actually plan for motherhood soon after college.

This made me think about my own choices, and those of many of my friends. A lot of times we have children that we have not particularly planned for or, at least, didn’t plan wisely for. So if we want to stay home, we either struggle financially or end up working outside the home.

I think it’s a good idea for young women with homemaking ambitions to think about and actively plan for the time they will be out of the workforce or working from home with young children.  Nothing is guaranteed, of course.  But imagine if a young woman spent the first five years or so post college working and saving and investing money precisely for the time when she will be a stay-at-home mother?

A woman could also focus on growing a home business that, in the future, could support her family while she stays home with the children. What better time to devote the endless hours needed to get a side business going than when you are single and/or childless? 

I only have one friend who followed Suzanne Venker’s advice.  She married right after college and worked for about five or six years in a successful job while actively saving money towards her future life as a stay-at-home mom. That is not the norm.

I often think about the time before I had children, and all the free time I had that I wish I’d devoted to developing a home business.  Of course, it’s never too late to do anything, but a woman’s single years allow her the most freedom to do what she wants.

Women who are single and/or childless, and desire to be stay-at-home mothers, should be encouraged to use this time now, while they have it, to pursue whatever dreams they have, and save and invest their money for the future.  It seems like common sense, but quite a few women don’t actually do this.  They’re living in the now, which is easy to do.

This advice also applies to women who want to stay in the work force and pursue careers after having children.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a nest egg already in place, and a life that is set up to support any decision she makes regarding work and kids. Planning can make all the difference between having the choice to do what you want to do versus doing what you have to do.

Here are 3 points from Venker’s book that are worth considering;

 1.  Choose a career that works well with motherhood
This includes careers that offer flexible schedules, options to work from home, don’t require a lot of traveling, and don’t require working long, demanding hours.

2. Plan to live near your parents or siblings.
Venker asserts that many women find that they do not want to raise a family with no family of their own nearby.  Having family support helps mothers combat feelings of isolation, provides respite so they can refresh and recharge, and provides overall support in undertaking the huge responsibility of motherhood.

3. Be responsible with your finances before motherhood
Financial mistakes made prior to having children can determine whether you will be able to stay home with your children or not.  Women should save and invest money, decline buying a house that requires two incomes, refuse to acquire a lot of debt, and possibly delay motherhood until finances are truly in order.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Did you plan for motherhood? Why or why not? Do you wish you had? Share your experiences!