On the way to work this morning, I was listening to the news on NPR as I usually do. It seems they’re running some features on living in Maine, and the costs of doing so. Yesterday, they had some admitted left wing economist (yes, the NPR reporter said his guest was left of center) say that the average Maine household earned $45k a year, and it it took, on average, $50k to live in this state. I mumbled something at the radio, and went about my day.
Now, this morning, I yelled at the radio. This morning’s economist was talking about the price of health care and day care. He mentioned something about how some people have the “luxury” of having one parent stay at home full time with their children.
Listen, buddy: It’s a choice, not a luxury.
There’s nothing luxurious about working your regular day job, and then going home and working on your home computer, designing web sites for extra scratch. There’s nothing luxurious about spending your Friday and Saturday nights miles away from home and family so you can earn money to take the kids out for a donut on Sunday morning. Sure, my ’95 Ford Taurus wagon has leather seats and air conditioning. And hey, I’m not knocking it. I wouldn’t consider it luxury.
No, instead, my wife and I made a choice. We decided we wanted to raise our kids with one parent at home. In my case, Susan felt lead to be the one to stay home, but it doesn’t have to be a “mommy only” thing. So she stays home. I go to the office. We both work hard–just at different things. Our home is modest; buying a new couch is something that requires some thrifty shopping. Our cars, though not heaps, are both over 10 years old. Our vacations don’t require plane flights to anywhere. Our last meal in a “fancy” restaurant was paid for with $50 worth of gift certificates that I bartered for with web design work.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not claiming poverty–far from it, in fact. But very often, things need to be put in perspective. My family has a full time parent at home. Though we’re not poor, we’re a mighty long way from Obama’s $250k rich, and a mighty long way from McCain’s five mil rich. And yet, we somehow figured out how to be able to keep Mom home with the kids. It’s far from a “luxury.” It’s a choice, a decision. If you really want to do it–if you really believe it’s the right thing to do–you can make it happen.