Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is your worth?

I'm frustrated tonight about something said between me and my ex-husband this afternoon. We were talking about modifying child support and working and the fact that, whether you are employed or not, your income is "imputed" by the courts. He mentioned that at my age, my income would be imputed at something like $2400 a month! Which means, you are not actually MAKING that income, but the courts say that a person your age SHOULD be able to make it. Well, that's all well and good, but when you've been looking for a job for almost a year, that "theory" really is just that - a theory. And in the real world, I'd be lucky to make that much a month working full time. It's just not happening..........and that's not the only thing that's frustrating!

What is it worth to sacrifice all of your career goals and aspirations, your discretionary time, your ability to live a more comfortable life with an extra income to raise your own children? My ex stated he "would have been fine" with me working full time. He pointed out there was child care (I pointed out expensive - he said "not really" - has he ever even researched  that? No, because he didn't have to. I did that.) I pointed out that I'm the one who takes the kids to the doctor, dentist, volunteer in the schools, take them everywhere they need to be, I'm the one who's HERE to handle all the millions of "little" things that he never sees. If he (and dads in general) ever knew how many fires moms put out that they never knew about, they'd be amazed. How do they think the laundry gets done, the food gets made, the guests are prepared for, the animals are taken care of, the appointments are made, the schoolwork is done, the teachers are talked to, the problems are solved?  That and so many other things. The ironic thing is we agreed I would stay home to raise the kids. After the oldest was born, I was planning to go back to work - four weeks after her birth. But that was BEFORE I knew how hard it was to have a baby.And how expensive daycare was. So, I delayed it. And we discussed it. And decided I would stay home. I am not sorry for that decision and never will be.

I know I will NEVER do work as important as raising my kids. I've been there for them every step of the way and that's something you just don't get a second chance on. There is only ONE time to "be there" for your kids and then they're gone. And it happens fast, believe me. I am perfectly happy to delay returning to work until they're grown. I probably won't be able to, but I would be happy with that. I have always "needed" to work in the sense that we needed a second income. (And, by the way, I've always made some sort of supplemental income while raising my kids). So, we sacrificed. And we lived frugally. And we didn't get to take our kids to Disney World to swim with the dolphins. But they've had someone who was always there to put their well-being first. And I'm not martyr. I love being a mom! Sure, it drives me nuts sometimes. But I'd never trade it. Still, it makes me angry that it's such a "worthless" job in society's eyes. Especially once you get divorced and that "mom" job becomes even more important. And then you've got the courts telling you you're "worth" a certain amount of money as long as you work outside the home. But you're worth squat if you're raising decent human beings. I just wish being a full time mom was valued more, both by ex-husbands and courts. It's sad that making money is more valued than raising kids. But it's ok to leave them to their own devices and see how they turn out. Because, hey, we're willing to spend money on programs for "at risk" kids or to rehabilitate a criminal or to support a pregnant teen on welfare. But raising your own kids? Being there for them to help them navigate life's ups and downs? Nah, that's not worth much. What a shame!

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