Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » A GREAT LETTER

    Filed at 7:46 pm under by dcobranchi

    Homeschooling Dad Andrew Campbell responded to my plea for help via email. I re-print it here by permission.

    I’m not a lady (don’t forget us homeschooling dads!), but I can answer your question from where I sit.

    I have certainly set aside work-for-pay–which is what I assume the source meant by “career.” When my wife got pregnant, we looked at our finances, our temperaments, and our goals, and decided that she would begin telecommuting to her high-tech job, and I would close my writing and editing business to provide full-time child care. (We read _Your Money or Your Life_ and discovered that we would be *losing* money by having me continue to work.) We’ve known we wouldhomeschool from the beginning, so it was clear being a stay-at-home dad was a long-term commitment for me. As our daughter gets older, I may well be able to get back into occasional freelance magazine writing, or I may move in other directions. In the meantime, I do have a little royalty income, but that amounts to pocket money for me.

    What I have absolutely not sacrificed is freedom, and I think it’s rather odd that the source you quoted–particularly someone within the homeschooling world– would associate career and “freedoms” so closely. I can’t imagine what freedoms are contingent on defining oneself by what one does for pay. What’s even odder is that the rest of the article discusses the ways in which homeschooling families have *more* freedom than their g-school counterparts: in individual instructional methods, in curriculum, and in scheduling (e.g., travel).

    Our family certainly has far more freedom than we would have if both parents were working and we sent our daughter to school. Our schedule is very flexible,
    we save money (meaning that we have more for things that matter to us, mostly travel and charitable giving), and most important, we are free to direct our child’s education and social development according to our own values. I can’t imagine sacrificing *that* freedom for any amount of money.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking question and the great blog!

    Best wishes,
    Andrew Campbell
    Sunderland, MA

    3 Responses to “A GREAT LETTER”

    Comment by
    August 11th, 2003
    at 8:34 pm

    Working mom here.

    Working outside the home is a sacrifice for me; among other things, a sacrifice of the experience of buying groceries with a credit card. :O

    If I had been able to stay at home and us maintain some kind of roof over our heads, I probably would have. But we thought about all this when we decided to have a child and we knew I would have to work. I love my husband very much but I certainly didn’t marry him for his money. It appears to me that life is a series of trade-offs (as my polymer science professor used to say) and that there are pro’s and con’s to just about any decision you make. So you review your options, make the best decision you can, maximize the pro’s and minimize the con’s, and don’t look back. I’ve enjoyed my career (such as it is) and I don’t really feel apologetic about that. (I know you’re aren’t asking me to, but some working women do feel guilty about enjoying their jobs, and I think that’s sad.) We’ve got a great kid; I don’t think anybody could point to any flaw or defect in her due to her having been in daycare.

    What puzzles me is the mention of stay-at-home parents sacrificing freedom. Where the heck is my freedom?

    Comment by
    August 12th, 2003
    at 10:40 am

    Hey, Sunderland is only 15 minutes away from my house. That fellow should take me up on my smoothie offer and meet the Lymans. :>)

    Comment by
    August 12th, 2003
    at 6:20 pm

    I have never really ever felt like I was giving up anything to be home w/ my kids if anything I felt lucky to be able to do so. But today I feel like I’m being punished for it.

    W/ my oldest leaving for college across the US this month, I went into our local credit union & asked if I could apply for a credit card for $500 limit in my name & have my son be a co-user.

    I thought w/ him being so far away that having a credit card as a back up for emergencies like having to book airline tickets to come home or get a hotel room if he got stuck on a layover for the holidays would be easier than trying to wire him money ASAP.

    Even though we(my husband & I) have several joint accounts totaling well more than $500 through this bank, & I have accounts there in my name only, We’ve also paid off 2 car loans early & NEVER carry a CREDIT CARD BALANCE !!!! I was told that I couldn’t get a credit card in my name because I didn’t have an income.

    I was JUST a stay-at-home MOM!!!!!!

    They didn’t want my info, but if I brought in my husband’s pay stub & his info they would issue a card to my husband & my son. NO PROBLEM!!!!

    Ouch what a slap in the face!!!! Please explain why to me that while I’m a cosigner on our tax forms w/ the IRS ( meaning that if proper taxes on our household income aren’t paid I’m liable)I’m not good for the making at least the minimun payment on a possibly $500 credit card. Heck I could find that in the wash or maybe under the couch vaccuuming or with a metal dectector at the beach/park with my daughter.

    This bank is tied to a large employer in this state. My husband won’t be where he is today in that job if I hadn’t moved w/ him for the company, kept his house & kids while he travels for the company, encouraged & supported him through the corporate baloney w/ this company.
    All choices we thought we made for the good of our family.

    But in the so called woman’s age any woman who wants & choses to be in a more traditional role of wife & mother is still treated as nothing. AND at this bank it was the WOMEN THERE THAT RUN THE PLACE THAT TOLD ME I WAS JUST A HOUSEWIFE.
    talk about snobbery.

    I guess I’ll have to wait till my son gets to college & is bombarded with free credit card offers w/ his limited income & student loans & then maybe he can vouch for me for a credit card.

    My husband has now jokingly offered to pay me a salary for homeschooling my daughter but he did fully admit that he couldn’t afford to pay me what I’m worth in dollars & I wouldn’t want him to do that. We’ve never had a yours/mine relationship.

    Fortunately our lives with each other are based on more than money & we know it. However, it’s a shame that the outside world doesn’t get it sometimes.

    I guess that saying is true “NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED.”