I’m often asked this question and it’s not as simple to answer as it might seem. The reasons I’m asked are valid; I don’t get paid well, two bedroom places in my area run $800-1000 per month, I don’t particularly enjoy what I do and I use food stamps and state health care. So, this fictitious better job would be mostly in terms of pay.
Since my son was born, I’ve worked as a nanny for several families. My “education” and much of my experience has been working with children. For me, it’s an easy job to get. It’s semi challenging to find families who are amenable to me bringing my son with, but it can be done. There aren’t very many other jobs where this is the case. Especially things that I’m good at, would enjoy or are qualified for.
My son is with me all the time and always has been. His father isn’t part of his life so caring for B and working must go hand in hand. As someone who followed the principles of attachment parenting, these pieces fit well. I didn’t want to hand over B’s daily care to anyone else. No one is more qualified for that than I.
Now that he’s older and of school age, in order to legally homeschool, I need to be with him and I still want to. There’s no job or amount of pay increase that would compare to getting to see daily growth, learning and sharing silly moments. He gets to spend his days largely as he pleases and I’m happy to be able to do that for him.
The work I do should be worth more than it is. I don’t decide that, Many of the most important jobs aren’t properly valued. If they were, I’d be able to cover all of my grocery costs and provide insurance for my son. There are plenty of people who feel strongly, one way or the other, about government assistance. I utilize it to take better care of my son. Not out of laziness or so that I can sit home all day. I don’t feel that makes me a bad person at all.
Here’s the most important thing. B doesn’t know we’re poor. That’s a financial state and he doesn’t see it because he has everything he needs. He sees kids who live in big fancy houses and have more than they need. He also sees how little those same kids get to be with their parents and/or how little they mean to their parents. B will never be that kind of poor.