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Old 07-09-2013, 03:56 PM   #1
brookmey
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SAHM and going to college

If your high school age daughter is not leaning towards any kind of career path because she wants to be a SAHM, would you still encourage her to go to college?

This subject came up with my SIL yesterday. Both of us are college-educated and a SAHM. We both had our first child at 30 and quit working then. So, we each had about 7 years with a career until kids came along. My SIL said that she feels like she wasted $50,000+ by going to college when all she ever wanted to do was be a SAHM. She said if one of her daughters says she wants to stay home with her kids, then my SIL will not encourage college. Instead, she will suggest her DD join the Peace Corp or do mission work or simply travel the world in the years before having kids. I was pretty shocked to hear that, but in a way I can see her point. It is a lot of money to spend on a degree you don't plan on using. My mom doesn't let me forget that I wasted my money and theirs by not working after my kids were born.

But what if the DD never marries, for some reason, or doesn't have kids? What if the marriage falls apart or the husband dies suddenly and the DD finds herself a single mom? Wouldn't it be important to have a degree to help the now single mom find a job that can support her and her kids?

Aside from the possible life experiences college brings and the growth and independence, my SIL sees no value in her daughters going to college if their plan is to stay at home. She believes volunteering or traveling the world will offer everything that college does, minus the degree,if they choose to be a SAHM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:02 PM   #2
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I saw my mom struggle when my dad become disabled at 46. She got married at 19, had never worked and never went to college. She had to work low paying jobs with horrible hours just to keep health insurance for herself. It was hard to see.

While I never finished college, I have worked all of my adult life and could support myself if I needed to. I have encouraged my DD to have a skill so she can always support herself if she needs to.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:09 PM   #3
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You can never have too much education. Life is what happens while we are busy making plans. she might want to be a sahm but we don't always end up where we think. You can have too much debt. I would encourage all kids now a days to pursue a degree, BUT an affordable one with a manageable amount of student loans. If she ends up single, widowed, infertile, Or a million other things she might need to be able to work
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:12 PM   #4
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I would never encourage such a thing. An education is never a waste. And as others have said, you can't predict that you WILL be a SAHM. Kids also grow up.

I also don't think that you can take an 18 year olds word for it that "this is what I want to be" today. That can change 100 times.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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If it were up to me I would make it mandatory that everyone have at least a two year general education college experience. I can't imagine going through life without a basic college level education, whether it had anything to do with my career or way of earning a living.

Since it's not up to me I would insist that my daughters get a college education even if they were planning to marry and have children without working to earn their own livings. I have seen too many instances - both in my own family and in my circle of family and friends - to be willing to let my daughters out into the world with a means of supporting themselves if need be.

I also think women who choose to be SAHM without ever going into the work force are cheating themselves out of rich life experiences, but that's for another thread >
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I also don't think that you can take an 18 year olds word for it that "this is what I want to be" today. That can change 100 times.
Just playing devil's advocate for a second: I'm 18 and am going to be a junior in college this fall-- I darn well better have some idea of what I want to be! Not that I couldn't change my major, but at this point it would mean being in school longer than 4 years.

Anyway, I think it would be incredibly irresponsible of her to let her daughter not get an education and plan on being a SAHM. You (general you) always need to be able to support yourself if it ever came down to it.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #7
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I would encourage education. I am 13 courses from my bachelor's. But I have been out of school since 1998, working part-time and raising our kids.

Now that they are older, I wish I had finished the degree. Am considering going back to school, but not sure I am ready to study and do the work. And with 4 kids very close to college, not sure I want to spend the college $$ on me. It's a real dilemma and midlife crisis for me at this time.

Also, dh could possibly face a job change in the next year. It would be nice to have 2 full time incomes in case his goes away.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinderella94 View Post
Just playing devil's advocate for a second: I'm 18 and am going to be a junior in college this fall-- I darn well better have some idea of what I want to be! Not that I couldn't change my major, but at this point it would mean being in school longer than 4 years.
And I wouldn't be shocked if at 24 years old, you decided to do something completely different. I know there are many 18 year olds who are fortunate enough to "know" what they want to do and they have an early passion. More often, though, I've watched college grads truly grow up in their mid-20s and go on a completely different course.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #9
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And I wouldn't be shocked if at 24 years old, you decided to do something completely different. I know there are many 18 year olds who are fortunate enough to "know" what they want to do and they have an early passion. More often, though, I've watched college grads truly grow up in their mid-20s and go on a completely different course.
That's definitely true; it's always a possibility.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #10
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Most high school seniors have a far better idea of what they DON'T want to do than what they actually Do want.

That said, I agree: education is never wasted.

In the current economy, a college degree opens doors that would otherwise be closed.

My kids are going to college.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:24 PM   #11
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I am a SAHM who went to college. I would never encourage my child (boy or girl) to skip college if their dream was to stay home with their kids. I learned so much about life, who I was (and wasn't) and how to live/work with others during my college years. I was also an RA and learned to be strong and confident. All of these things have helped me to be a better parent. I wouldn't have skipped those years for anything and want my kids to have the same opportunity. If they then choose to be a SAHM or SAHD then that's their choice.

As others have said, education is never a waste. There may be a time when working outside the home becomes wanted/necessary and a college degree will help. Even if that never happens, the college experience will help shape the adult and parent they become.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinderella94 View Post
Just playing devil's advocate for a second: I'm 18 and am going to be a junior in college this fall-- I darn well better have some idea of what I want to be!
I know so many adults who have changed careers in their 30s and 40s. My own daughter is 21 and has just figured out what she wants to do with her life. She spent two years working toward a degree that ended up being unsatisfying to her. She has now changed direction and is so much happier. Those first two years were far from a waste, however. They helped shape the person she has become and offered lots of life lessons.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brookmey View Post
If your high school age daughter is not leaning towards any kind of career path because she wants to be a SAHM, would you still encourage her to go to college?
Yes, because if she chooses to be dependent upon her future husband he darn well better be college educated, and where else will she find a good one?

Look, I don't believe in getting one's Mrs. degree or anything, but a college campus is really just a giant genetic experiment where smart people go to meet other smart people so that they can get married and breed smart children.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #14
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I may not be using my degree right now, staying at home, but I have one if I need it. Also, if I hadn't gone to college I wouldn't have spent a year studying in the UK and I wouldn't have met my husband. I could never argue it wasn't worth it for me.

One thing I might point out is that going to college could drastically increase the chances of meeting a man who could support a family on his income alone, allowing her to be a SAHM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I know so many adults who have changed careers in their 30s and 40s. My own daughter is 21 and has just figured out what she wants to do with her life. She spent two years working toward a degree that ended up being unsatisfying to her. She has now changed direction and is so much happier. Those first two years were far from a waste, however. They helped shape the person she has become and offered lots of life lessons.
Absolutely. That's why I was also saying that I agree, it would be irresponsible not to get the education.
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