These are my random musings. Hopefully they will be witty, insightful, and frequently updated.
A conversation on my way to work
Published on October 21, 2008 By singrdave In Parenting

I passed two people on my walk from the parking lot this morning who were discussing their kids. This is the extent of the conversation I heard:

 

"My kids are still little and at home."

"Yeah, my kids are grown up and out of the house.  In fact, I sent both my daughters to four years of college and all they're doing is raising kids at home."

 

I can't let that kind of blinkard stupidity go unchallenged.  I turned around and told the man (after apologizing for eavesdropping), "I guarantee your daughters work four times as hard as they would in the workforce."

-------------------------------------------

But what's your take?  Are stay-at-home moms throwing away their hard collegiate work by staying home? Are they also wasting the money it took to get them there?  Should a dad be regretful or bitter that his daughters decided to stay out of the rat race?  Is he getting a good return on his investment?

 

Is this dad right or wrong?  Justified in his outrage or blinded by his priorities?


Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 21, 2008

I am a stay-at-home mom.  I personally think that whatever leads you to raising a family isn't a waste.  If nothing else, college gives you more life experiences and a better sense of who you are.  I think that a college degree also lasts as a woman's option to get a job if need or want be at any point.

I often wonder how many women of my mom's generation stayed in an unhappy marriage simply because they felt trapped.  What else could they do after having no college education and raising kids for a couple of decades?  Or how many men left/leave their wives because they feel they have so many more life experiences than their wife and therefore can't relate with each other?

I also think that college education prepares a person to parent in ways nothing else can.  But that is just my opinion and I biased one at that since I got a degree that I have never technically used.  I got married 1 month after graduation, spent our first couple of years of marriage helping get my husband's software company going and have been mommy full time for the past almost 12yrs now.

on Oct 21, 2008

I don't see a college education wasted on motherhood.  Raising children is more than just babysitting.  It involves education (even if you don't homeschool), discipline, entertainment and many other factors that can use that college education as a stimulus/inspiration.  The more (and varied) experiences that the mom has, the better she does.\

I have the utmost respect for women that choose to stay home and raise their children.  It's not an easy task.  Anything goes wrong (or the children decided to act like CHILDREN for 5 minutes and not little adults 100% of the time) and the mom's the one that's blamed. 

Watching my wife, I sometimes wonder how she does it and still remain halfway sane!   

on Oct 21, 2008

I resent the "all they are doing".  For those fortunate enough to afford it, a stay at home parent (a friend - male is the one who is staying home) is vastly preferred to both parents working.  They have not wasted their education.  I am sure many use it in their chosen vocation, and once the children are grown, they can then pursue a career outside the house.

on Oct 21, 2008

I think in some ways maybe it could be considered overkill (especially depending on the degree).  If I had it to do all over again, I am not sure I would have gotten my degree when I did (now I wouldn't regret having earned it BEFORE I had children...I just don't like the time it took away from my family). 

I do think it's important for women to have skills, education, plans, credit score, etc. to fall back on in case of an emergency if they are not working outside the home.

There is a good chance that I will be working outside the home when my children are older (at least in some capacity), and having a college degree is certainly not going to hurt me in that regard. 

I also agree with Jill's point that there are certain skills/experiences/knowledge that comes from earning a college education that are beneficial in the home.  I also think it sets a good example for the children...education is important.

I dunno.  Since when is it a bad thing to have an education, regardless of what you spend your days doing.  I mean, is it a waste to have a degree in a different field from the one you work and earn your pay in?

I would also argue that that dad should be grateful some apathetic, lazy, minimum wage worker isn't raising his precious grandkids.

on Oct 21, 2008

To me there is no such thing as a  wasted education, whether you are a mom or anyone else.

on Oct 21, 2008

I'm biased.  I'm a college drop out.  I did it for love and don't regret it but I need to state it.  My wife has a degree and has never really used it.  She had four kids instead.

College didn't give her any more experiences than *not* going gave me.  They were different experiences though and that has value.  Were they worth the money it cost her?  Was her education cost better than my "free" experience?  I don't think so.

Now that the kids are getting older and in school more she's thinking about going back to work full time.  But her studies are so out of date as to be near worthless except on a resume to get in the door.  Almost everything will be re-learned through on-the-job training.

My older daughters are in university now.  They are paying their own way with an allowance from my wife and I.  We are not taking out student loans for them.  They can work, get their own loans (second one has avoided that as yet through hard work and scholarships), and take fewer classes over a longer period of time.  that way, they know what they are getting and if a husband and kids come up before they graduate they are less in the hole.

on Oct 21, 2008

 

I have to say that my wife’s college education is a huge plus and extremely beneficial everyday of her stay at home mommy-hood.  Nothing prepares you any better for dealing with three (nearly) two year olds than having to deal with a bunch of whiney liberally biased professors. 

On top of that she was architecture major so she is going to be crazy good at building popsicle stick houses.

She has talked about finishing her education after the kids get a little older. But, neither of us agrees that she should pursue the final couple of semesters to a general studies degree while the children have the option of staying home. 

My opinion on the general topic is that we are all given a path to follow. It's what makes you happy that counts. For some women being a stay at home mom is as fulfilling as a career in big business. There's no doubt in my mind that those moms make a dramatic impact on the world we all live in.

Wasted? Nope.

 

on Oct 21, 2008

For some women being a stay at home mom is as fulfilling as a career in big business. There's no doubt in my mind that those moms make a dramatic impact on the world we all live in.

As far as I'm concerned, the more education the mom has, the better she'll be able to cope with raising kids. 

 

What really got me was that this guy really thought he'd wasted his money paying for his girls' college educations.

on Oct 21, 2008

I think in some ways maybe it could be considered overkill (especially depending on the degree). If I had it to do all over again, I am not sure I would have gotten my degree when I did (now I wouldn't regret having earned it BEFORE I had children...I just don't like the time it took away from my family). I do think it's important for women to have skills, education, plans, credit score, etc. to fall back on in case of an emergency if they are not working outside the home.

I have a good friend whose wife, a stay-at-home mom, has a MD (or PhD?) in audiology.  She had  incredibly tough pregnancies and wants to cherish all the time possible with her children. She recently went to work part time, supplementing the family income while her husband was "between careers".  Yet she's still raising their three kids while he returns to college at 36 years old.  So it was a darn good thing she's got all this here larnin' -- otherwise they'd be out of luck while her husband retrains.

on Oct 21, 2008

the better she'll be able to cope with raising kids.

Cope - definitely - understand - ??????

on Oct 21, 2008

I've always been a firm believer in the saying;

Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire!

So, is it a waste? Actually, for some it is.

Notice that I didn't isolate that to stay at home moms, this applies to everyone who pursues education. The onus is on the individual to determine how fruitful or pointless their education will be.

When I was in college I saw the whole spectrum as I'm sure others have as well.

There were kids right out of high school who were taking classes simply so they could continue to live at home for free- because mom and dad had told them that if they didn't go to post secondary they would have to get a job and pay their own way. For many of these kids, it was a complete waste because they didn't understand what they were doing and didn't really learn anything from the experience and most importantly they didn't care. They were just happy that they were avoiding the move to adulthood. Yes, they went to class, at least most of the time and usually passed their courses but it was of absolutely zero benefit to them. Some of them, however, woke up part way through and discovered higher learning and hard work and all that feel-good motivational poster stuff, and for them it definitely was not a waste.

There were single moms working two part time jobs, looking after their kids and losing sleep to study in the quiet hours of the night so they could make the grade. They definitely understood why and what they were there for, but the circumstances of their life really made it difficult to succeed and you couldn't help but feel for them.

There were also dads doing the same thing, but I noticed most of the dads were in a relationship whereas a LOT more of the moms were single. Not being biased, just an observation. This changed the dynamic a lot- whereas the single moms had the weight of the world on their shoulders and had to do EVERYTHING, the dads tended to have more pressure/troubles keeping their relationships going and communication problems with their spouses.

Anywho, for both the moms and dads, single or otherwise, it definitely wasn't a waste!

Then there was the "entitled" crowd, as I believe Tova has documented quite well in her postings about her current experience. These are the kids who are generally pretty smart and get good grades without even trying, but are incredibly stuck up and believe that the instructor and classes have been tailored entirely for them. It's quite interesting to see what happens when one of these folks gets a C or D on an exam and the hissyfit they throw, sometimes even dragging their parents into the fray. For some of these wizz-kids, yes, it too is a waste because according to them they already know it all anyway. This is sometimes legitimate but mostly not!

on Oct 21, 2008

Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire!

I would agree - Post Secondary.  I think (at least in the US) that elemantary and secondary are just filling a bucket.

But I like that quote!  Excellent!

on Oct 21, 2008

We have a tendency to think the only purpose of a college education is to get a high paying job.  Really the point of getting a college education should be to be educated.  No, I don't think it's wasted but I do think that educated stay-at-home mom's might want to consider working part time to keep their skills current.  I wish that I would have at least worked a couple of days a week even while my boys were little.  Of course, that's just a generalization because I don't have a college degree.  It's just an observation on the general state of being a stay at home mom.  And while I'm generalizing I will again say that I feel that caring for children is woefully underappreciated in our society.  It is an important job and shouldn't be treated so dismissively. 

on Oct 21, 2008

I think an education is wasted only if the person decides to fry their brain with drugs or alcohol after. I wouldn't say that someone who had a brain injury due to an accident a waste, though.  That's just tragic.  It has to do with intention.

Things that we learn permeate our lives in ways that we don't often expect and sometimes ways that aren't strictly related to schooling.

Some of the comments about the snotty or entitled are definitely true, but in a lot of cases, have a lot do with becoming a mature person.  They need the extra schooling to get the metaphoric kick to the head to smarten up.  Sadly, said kick doesn't usually activate until years later.

One thing that I notice about education is that some people let it put them or their thinking into strict boxes rather than seeking out how their knowledge can inter-relate with so many other things.  That said, i am a HUGE fan of interdisciplinary studies.  I suppose that could be a great Masters of Education thesis topic-- how do we be innovative with our own education?

on Oct 21, 2008

Wasted education? where would they have FOUND husbands (with a good education and the capability to support a family) if NOT in college? It is a glorified match making service.

Sacarsm aside, there is also the plus side that on hard times the mother can go out and work to help supplement the family income. (which means sending the children to daycare, but this IS for tough times), or she can work as well when the children are a bit older.

Reproduction is the ULTIMATE goal of any living being. Not reproducing for something as frivolous as a college degree and a job means you have wasted your entire life.

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