Working vs Stay at Home Moms and the Economy

Updated: Jan 7


Photo by Tobias Bjørkli from Pexels

As moms, we are criticized whether we work or choose to stay home with our children, but how often do we bring the economy into this conversation?


If you haven’t thought about this decision from an economic perspective before, welcome to the club!


But let’s think about it, really. What does it take for a mother to return to work, other than making sure the kids are safe? How could this personal decision affect the economy? And what about stay at home moms?


So many moms have told me that there is no financial upside to returning to work because almost their entire paycheck goes to daycare. Let’s start with daycare, then.


Money that we spend towards a service, like daycare, goes directly towards other people’s salary. So while we obsess over whether our children ever stop crying when we leave them in the morning, amazing things are happening economically. We are actually paying salaries to teachers, assistants, cleaning crew, and many services that support them to get their job done. (Yes, most children stop crying within a minute or two and have a great time all day.)


On the other hand, money that we spend on products, like extra clothes, backpacks, lunch boxes, and so forth goes towards keeping shops open.


Between what we pay for services, which then translates into salaries for others, and what we pay directly for products, we keep small business owners alive, especially if we shop locally, our little paychecks actually go a long way to keeping the local economy alive. Are you starting to see how the gears of economy start turning thanks to your paycheck?


The thing is, when we return to work, it is not only daycare and backpacks that we are spending our money on. We might also be hiring a home cleaner, food service, sending our clothes to the dry cleaner, a babysitter for those extra hours before that deadline.


Not only, but the daycare now needs to keep our children learning and entertained so they need more school supplies, cleaning supplies, and snacks, not to mention hiring before and after school care.


We can’t forget about ourselves either. We need presentable clothes, nice shoes, makeup, hair care, and we need to stay on top of our industry with some professional development.


Stop for a moment and think about how much your paycheck is doing for the economy. If you don’t think it is much, then take a longer moment and think of how many working moms are out there doing the same thing. It is like a busy beehive in our local economy, only it is happening worldwide.


What about stay at home moms?

Stay at home moms do many of the activities listed above also, like sending the kids to daycare, have gym memberships, and spend money on interests.


The majority of stay at home moms support non-profit organizations or volunteer in some capacity. Raising funds and negotiating deals so that others can live a better life and earn a decent living is just as important to the economy as spending our earned money directly to do the same thing.


So, whether moms choose to work or not, they are actively turning the gears of local economy. In addition to all their parenting and personal accomplishments, it is beautiful and heartwarming to see women’s contributions in this light, regardless of their choice.