Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Conversation on How the IRS Pigeonholes Mothers

HOW THE IRS HURTS MOTHERS, is the actual title of this. While the author's motivation is for women to stay or get back into the workforce, I think this is an important issue because many women don't have the range of choices that they ideally could.
For most mothers, the idea of working beyond the home front is an "all or nothing" idea. Between the cost of childcare and the meager wages available in part time positions, college educated women either have to decide to get a "good" job which means high pay and an absurd work schedule or not work. And really, its incredibly discriminatory that childcare costs aren't a business expense. I found these things out the "hard" way when I became self-employed.
I have an amazing working husband and I am the childcare provider. But, my long term financial security entirely rests on him. That's fine for us because I trust him (and God :)) 100%. But that's an awfully precarious situation for society as a whole with a 50% divorce rate!
Ideally (in my perspective), a parent should have the largest burden of raising children but, if college educated, still have some outlet for staying "credible" in their field. There aren't many professions where this is possible. I have friends who are registered nurses and can be per diem at a hospital and only work occasionally. And I know a few pharmacists who can work very part-time, but there aren't too many lines of work in which that's possible. At least where the pay being brought in makes it worthwhile to juggle the duality of work and family.
I'd really love to hear from moms in every generation on this. Is your current lifestyle/work situation dictated by the economics of childcare costs and absurd (salaried) work schedules?


  1. Yes this is us!! I am blessed to have a situation where I am still able to work about 10 hours a week in my field while my youngest is in preschool. If I did not have some extra credentials my employer would easily have given my duties to full time staff. The one thing I've discovered is when first working full time for an organization, they are much more willing to consider lesser schedules if you need to cut back for the benefit of the family. If I had just walked in from the street they would have never entertained my idea. I'm certainly not advancing in my career but I'm remaining current. My paycheck reflects my minimal hours but the time with my kids is priceless. When I did work full time it was very discouraging how little "take home pay" I really ended up bringing home after all that work and sacrifice on all our parts with childcare costs added in. There is no perfect answer but for now this works best for our family.

  2. I had just read the same thing in Working Mother while sitting at the doctor this week...that its easiest for women/moms to transition to part-time within the company they're already working for rather than finding a new company. It seems common sense after some experience in the work force, but it may not be to young women planning their life, or picking majors. There just are not many existing opportunities to work part-time, or a less than full-time schedule that makes family life more manageable. I plan on writing a post on how I "created" my own position rather than looking for one in the work force, but in may ways women like yourself who work full-time and then transition in the same organization to part-time have also "created" your own!
    Thanks for taking part in the conversation Tricia! Maybe I can get you to share some about your experience in the social work field, the nature of your full-time position and the scope of your current position in a future post!?