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Are Obama's Stay-At-Home Mom Comments Right on the Money?

Posted by on Nov. 4, 2014 at 10:13 AM
  • 30 Replies

Obama's 'Controversial' Stay-At-Home Mom Comments Are Right on the Money (VIDEO)

stay at home mom
America, we have a problem. President Barack Obama was giving a speech in Rhode Island recently when he let slip that stay-at-home moms end up earning lower wages when they return to the workplace because of the decision to stay home with the kids. Anyone seeing the problem here? Anyone?

The conservatives are saying it's that the commander in chief has no respect for mothers because, holy moley, he said something negative about women staying home with their kids. Which is a load of hogwash. No, really. Just take a gander at what the president actually said:

Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.

An attack on stay-at-home-moms?

More from The Stir: 8 Reasons Being a Working Mom Is Good for Your Kid

Nope. A commentary on the fact that women are penalized for being mothers? Absolutely.

Here's a fast fact for you: only one third of American adults say it's best for kids if mom doesn't work outside the home at all. The rest of them say a mom should be able to work -- whether it's part-time or full-time. And when Working Mother surveyed stay-at-home moms, they found more than half would prefer to be working.

So why are women staying at home full-time? Eighty-five percent of married moms who are staying at home say it's because of childcare concerns (including costs), and 64 percent of cohabitating moms said the same. And no wonder when childcare costs the average family MORE than the cost of food! What's more, in a Pew survey, some 6 percent of moms were at home not because they wanted to be but because they were unemployed.

Simply put: staying home is NOT a choice for many moms. And yet, staying home does cost a mom -- literally. 

While becoming a father was recently shown to up your earning potential by some 40 percent in a City University of New York study, the same study showed a 49 percent wage gap between the sexes. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that time out of the work world will not only reduce the amount you're paying into the social security system (and will eventually, hopefully, recoup) but also reduces the time spent climbing the ladder ... and the salary chain.

What's more, being a mother means having a harder time FINDING a job. A study at Cornell University found that mothers are rated significantly less competent and committed than child-free folks, receive about $11,000 less in starting salary offers, and make about 5 percent less per child. Oh, and less than half of moms get callback interviews as compared to folks who don't have kids.

Still think Obama is just being a meanie who is attacking mothers?

The fact is, moms should be able to choose between staying at home or working. Absolutely.

They shouldn't, however, be forced into staying at home because of outrageous childcare costs or be discriminated against if they do choose to stay at home.

Check out the president's speech:

Do you work or stay at home? Why did you choose what you're currently doing?

Image via ©

by on Nov. 4, 2014 at 10:13 AM
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by on Nov. 4, 2014 at 10:19 AM
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I'm a SAHM and love it. 

The president is correct. I'm not planning on entering the workforce any time soon as I homeschool, but mothers typically do have a harder time re-entering the workforce after being out of it for any length of time...and they do tend to make less than men. I'm no fan of the President, but I can see that he did not insinuate that being a SAHM is a horrible decision. 

I became a SAHM when we adopted our dd Lilly from China. She needed someone at home with her to foster that bond and to help her catch up to her peers. I've been home for almost 8 years and have no regrets at all. 


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

by Gold Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 10:39 AM
2 moms liked this
Some conservatives are obviously morons.
by on Nov. 4, 2014 at 11:41 AM
1 mom liked this

I am a conservative SAHM and I agree, it's one of many sacrifices mothers make for their children, and I for one am happy to do it.  I am still all for better child care for kids, but dont think you can get much better than mom.

by Silver Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 11:51 AM

He is correct.  Also working moms tend to value time away from work more and get it.  Men are not expected to take time off and work longer hours.  Also If a woman takes time off for children it diminishes the seniority and possibility's of promotion.   One of the disparity in gender incomes can be traced to 2 factors women choosing lower paying employment  and hours worked.

by Silver Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 12:04 PM
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I believe his words are taken out of context.

He is not talking about moms that chose to be SAHMS like myself.

He means the moms that want and need jobs.

The president wants all moms to be able to find jobs at equal pay.Moms do not want to stay at home and collect government or unemployment.

President Obama is for women not against women.He put more women in the white house than any other president.He signed into affect the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act for women into law.He made sure all people including women have access to health insurance.

No longer do women have to pay extra for being a woman.


Michelle Obama is a SAHM.She takes care of her family while her husband works as the president!

by KK on Nov. 4, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Oh imagine that, out of context statements for the purpose of making women feel like they are cheating their families for staying home.  

If one were to look at the sentence in the context it was presented we could see that was never the intention.  

by KK on Nov. 4, 2014 at 12:31 PM

What President Obama actually said, however, did not pertain to the worth of stay-at-home moms versus that of working parents. Explaining his recent experiences in discussing the challenges that mothers in the workforce face, President Obama said:

I kept on hearing about my mom struggling to put herself through school, or my grandmother hitting that glass ceiling. And I thought about Michelle, and I told some stories about when Michelle and I were younger and getting starting, and we were struggling to balance two careers while raising a family. And my job forced me to travel a lot, which made it harder on Michelle, and we would feel some of the guilt that so many people feel — we're working, we're thinking about the kids, we're wondering whether we're bad parents, we're wondering whether we were doing what we need to do on the job. And as the catch-22 of working parents, we wanted to spend time with our kids, but we also wanted to make sure that we gave them the opportunities that our hard work was providing. 

And then, of course, I think about my daughters. And the idea that my daughters wouldn't have the same opportunities as somebody's sons — well, that's unacceptable. That's not acceptable.

President Obama then addressed the advances women have made in education and in graduating college and continued by explaining females are disproportionately affected by a lack of protective policy pertaining to sick leave and paid family leave:

But here's the challenge — that's all good news — the challenge is, our economy and some of the laws and rules governing our workplaces haven't caught up with that reality. A lot of workplaces haven't caught up with that reality. So while many women are working hard to support themselves and their families, they're still facing unfair choices, outdated workplace policies. That holds them back, but it also holds all of us back. We have to do better, because women deserve better. And, by the way, when women do well, everybody does well.

So women deserve a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship. And Rhode Island has got the right idea. You're one of just three states where paid family leave is the law of the land. (Applause.) More states should choose to follow your lead.

The quoted bit came soon thereafter. President Obama made a case for paid leave and for the economic gains to be had if daycare and preschool were affordable to all mothers. He said:

THE PRESIDENT: Without paid leave, when a baby arrives or an aging parent needs help, workers have to make painful decisions about whether they can afford to be there when their families need them most. Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth to their child. I mean, there are a lot of companies that still don't provide maternity leave. Of course, dads should be there, too. So let's make this happen for women and for men, and make our economy stronger. (Applause.) We've got to broaden our laws for family leave.

Moms and dads deserve a great place to drop their kids off every day that doesn't cost them an arm and a leg. We need better childcare, daycare, early childhood education policies. (Applause.) In many states, sending your child to daycare costs more than sending them to a public university. 


THE PRESIDENT: True. (Laughter.) And too often, parents have no choice but to put their kids in cheaper daycare that maybe doesn't have the kinds of programming that makes a big difference in a child's development. And sometimes there may just not be any slots, or the best programs may be too far away. And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that's not a choice we want Americans to make.

It's clear from the context of President Obama's full remarks on 31 October 2014 his view wasn't one that "slammed" stay-at-home moms and stated "we" don't want anyone to choose to be a stay-at-home mom; rather, the choice to which he referred was for women to fairly have the option of deciding whether to remain in the workforce or to stay at home with their children, without (in the latter case) having to lose their place on the employment ladder and thus be relegated to earning lower wages for the rest of their working lives. In short, President Obama did not "slam" stay-at-home moms; he instead argued current policies affecting mothers are unfair and should be changed to allow, among other things, expanded maternity leave and affordable daycare and preschool options to ensure women have more choice in deciding how to balance their economic and family lives. 

by on Nov. 4, 2014 at 12:33 PM

 I was a SAHM when my older kids were young.  I went back to school when my second was in school full time.  I graduated and started a career at the age of 31 when my older children were 8 and 11.  I had another child when I was 32 and continued to work full time.  I make more than the national average and being a SAHM earlier did not harm me financially.  Our daycare costs are a small percentage of our household income and isn't more than our food costs. 

As for Obama, I don't see his comments as an attack on SAHMs. Statistically, what he says is correct. There are many reasons why that takes place.  I think the choices a SAHM (or SAHD for that matter) makes determines whether staying at home will impact their future earnings.  I do not believe it to be a predetermined, set in stone, result. 


by AllieCat on Nov. 4, 2014 at 12:45 PM

He is right.

I was a SAHM for years.  It was best for the family at that time.

Upon divorce, harder than hell to find work in my old field, regardless of how I kept current, took refresher courses and the like.

I do not regret being there for and with my children during that time. I do however, regret the overall decision I made to leave my career. 

by Platinum Member on Nov. 4, 2014 at 2:15 PM

ANYONE who leaves the workforce for a period of time faces earning less when they return. Man or Woman.

People MAKE the choice to have children and raise a family. They make a CHOICE on if they will stay home or if they will work.

Personally, I don't need the governemnt stepping in and trying to fix anything or deciding what my choices should be.  Because when they say they are going to fix something? It usually ends up costing me...

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