Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Two Income Trap

A few weeks ago my pastor mentioned some things about people that he was thankful for.  One of those things were that many couples with children were not falling into the "two income trap".   I have thought a lot about those words since he said them.  If you are not familiar with what the "two income trap" is, it is basically a situation in which both parents work outside of the home.

First let me say that I am referring to a married couple who have children and I am not referring to single moms in any way because most of them have to work to make a living for themselves and their children (hence the "two" income thing).

I am also not saying that working outside the home is evil.

There are reasons for wives and mothers to work outside the home.  Some of those reasons could be:

-Your husband is disabled or away for some reason.
-You cannot put food on your table unless you work.
-Your husband was laid off and cannot find a job.
-You have so much debt that you would have to file bankruptcy if you did not work.

These are just a few reasons.  Believe me when I say this because I am sensitive to this.  You may have to work because your husband does not see the importance of a mother staying at home with her children.  You may feel differently, but you are being submissive to your husband.  In this case all you can do is pray (do not nag).  You could also seek pastoral counsel if you both really disagree.  You could also do all that you can to save money on everyday things (such as food).

Again, I want to reiterate that working outside the home is not evil, but there could be a better way.

Let me also disclose something about myself.  I work outside the home - 2 half days a month.  I work part time from home the rest of the month.  I work during some nap times and after bed and I go to my office when my husband is home so he can watch the kids.  My job is extremely flexible and I am very thankful for it.  As long as it does not take away from my domestic responsibilities and I am not spending a lot of time away from my kids or husband then I will continue to do it. 

What I am asking with this post is that you examine your motives for working outside the home.

Do you feel like you need a bigger home?
Do you feel like you need newer cars?
Is this the only way you can afford vacations and nicer things?
Is this the only way you can fund retirement?
Do you feel more fulfilled when you have a job?

The culture in America definitely does not value a stay-at-home mom as a valid "career".

I am just asking you to examine your motivation for working outside the home.  Anything that takes you away from your husband, your children, your home responsibilities better be very worth it.  Children still need their mothers until they leave their home.  They especially need parental influence as they get older.  There is more pressure on children today than there ever was.  They need you to be home for them.  No matter what they say, it is not about the "quality" of time you spend with your children.  It is about the "quantity".

I have to be very careful to organize my time in order to balance my outside activities.  My husband and I talk frequently about the things I take on because I tend to take on too much (you're shocked, I know).

Pray.  Pray about your decision.  Read your Bible.  Search it out for yourself.

And remember. things that you do at home are important.  Feeding your family nutritious foods is important.  Teaching your children about God, reading the Bible, helping them memorize verses is important.  Making sure your home is organized and clean is important.  Making sure your family has clean clothes to wear is important.  Being hospitable to those around you is important.  Taking good care of your husband and your marriage is important.  These are the best things you can do with your life; things that you will never regret.

You have probably heard it said before, does anyone lay on their death bed and say, "I wish I would have worked more?"

None of us are guaranteed to finish this life well. We all struggle everyday.  Just think about the end of your life and think about how you may have wished you would have spent it.  Are you going to think, "Man, I am so glad that I worked so we could buy that bigger house and have that inground pool back in 2010."?  Or are you going to think, "Man, I am so glad we lived in that smaller house so I could stay home and have so many wonderful years with my children."

Can you do both?  Maybe.  Can you do both well?  No, something will always have to be neglected somewhere.  You cannot give 100% all the time to all things.  You can not have it all - at the same time.

People are important.  Things are not important. 

You are the only wife your husband has.  You are the only mother your children has.  These are the roles that no one else can fill.  These are the roles that should be of the utmost importance.  We have to stop looking at everyone else around us and do our best to be content with what we have.  There are many of thousands of people who wish they could have what you have.  Remember that on your bad days.

 *Photo Credit
 *Photo Credit


  1. I would rather do without then work away from my children to have more. I love homeschooling them because I get to see them mature and grow each day.
    We have older vehicles that are paid off so our only major expense is our mortgage and that isn't even what most people are paying these days.
    God is good and He has provided for us so that I could stay home these past 14 years.

    GReat post.

  2. How did you get a picture of my house?

  3. Up until a few months ago I worked. For a long time I even worked 2 jobs while raising 3 small children and taking care of my bed ridden grandmother in my home. Why did I work? Because I thought it was what was expected of me. It is what ALL the other women in my family did. I thought I was providing for my family. As I got older I realized I wasn't being the best mom I could be, I wasn't the best employee I could be, or wife, or caretaker and really my income was going to the fast food and pizza joints because I was too tired to cook. To replacing things I couldn't find because I was too tired to keep up on my house. I was basically working for the privilege of working. I love your post on this subject I always find them inspirational and helpful. I am glad I am no longer in the two income trap.


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