Stay at Home and Stay Smart

The New York Times featured an article this past month titled Why US Women are Leaving Jobs Behind. It was an interesting article. Typically, I am not a fan of these kinds of articles because they end up being more editorial showing the authors bias than actually helpful. But this article seemed to discuss the issue in a fair way illustrating the differences between governmental policy in the US and in Europe that try to provide support for the family and for business.

In Europe the trend is for 1 year maternity leave and massive family benefits. In the US the trend is for companies to provide for more flexible work schedules but not as many required benefits for parents.

There are a couple of notes that are very exciting about this article.

  • Women actually do have more choice these days in regards to how they decide to live their lives and raise their children.
  • There is more flexibility in the workforce for women even though there are still huge challenges with lower incomes because of that flexibility

    But the most important aspect of this discussion is
  • Education matters

    This is the key for women today regardless of whether you decide to stay home with your kids until they are in school or until they move away from home.

    The research in this article clearly points to the benefits of higher education for women. Going back to school for technical skills can be a great way to start but eventually earning your BA / BS is the key indicator for success.
The good news about this is that education is more flexible than ever. We can stay at home and raise our own children and still pursue that four year degree. The online options for classes are becoming greater and more accessible than ever and the quality of online education is getting better all the time.  There are also some very flexible options from community colleges and even four year colleges that will allow you to take classes in the evening. Sure your four year program may stretch to 8 years but you can do it. And according to this article it is important. 

The cost? The cost can be challenging for families but being able to stretch out your program can help taking a fewer classes making it possible to pay as you go instead of taking on student loans.

The perils of student loans

Student loans are easier to obtain than ever and they are very enticing. You can get a student loan to cover the cost of tuition, books and a little bit more making it easier to attend class - and then you can defer your repayment until you have a job. Great! (NOT great). Going with this option can seem awesome but you may end up with a student loan burden that is twice (or more) what the original tuition was. OUCH. It's painful. 

The good news is that it is easier to identify the small print these days because you can manage your student loans online. But definitely be aware of the fine print and the percentage rate that the loan will be charged.

Stay at Home and Stay Smart

Everyone has a different situation and faces a different set of challenges. But you can never get those years back with your kids. If you have the opportunity to stay home with your kids it is a great thing for them but it is also a very good thing for you too. 

The research in this NYT article show an optimistic future for women who want to take charge of their own lives. Showing your kids that education is important is a good thing for them to see. If you have been a mom for even two seconds you know that kids oftentimes don't hear a word your saying but they do watch your every move. Showing them that you value education is a great way to help them stay inspired in school even when they have a stupidhead teacher that gave them too much homework over the weekend.

Take charge of your own life!

Go out and learn something new even if it is not going to lead to a degree. If you have not earned your degree yet this is a great year to get back to it. One credit at a time.

Read the entire NYT article HERE


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