Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Leslie Brody

4/1/2009 (5 years ago)

McClatchy Newspapers (www.mctdirect.com)

The Record (Hackensack N.J.) (MCT) - Many mothers who planned to stay home to raise children say the recession has pushed them to work _ or hunt for work _ much sooner than expected.

Highlights

By Leslie Brody

McClatchy Newspapers (www.mctdirect.com)

4/1/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family


At playgroups, employment firms, nanny agencies, therapists' offices and online discussion forums, married women are saying that a husband's layoff, fear of downsizing or tighter household budgets have forced them to update resumes they thought they had put to rest until their kids went to school.

It's too early to find current data specifically on moms, but numbers on women from the Bureau of Labor Statistics back up anecdotal evidence of the trend. The percentage of women ages 24 to 44 who are in the labor force _ meaning they have jobs or want them _ has grown during the recession, to 75.7 percent last month, up from 75.3 percent in December 2007. Steve Hipple, an economist at the bureau, called that increase small but noteworthy.

"The recent rise in labor force participation among women of child-bearing age supports the notion of the 'added-worker effect,' which means women entering the labor force after the job loss of a husband," Hipple says. Meanwhile, men's jobs have been harder hit by the turmoil; they account for 78 percent of job losses due to their concentrations in ailing industries like construction and manufacturing.

Even in relatively affluent northern New Jersey, women are feeling extra pressure to bring home a paycheck. Consider Annette Simmons in Teaneck, N.J. She had hoped to stay home with nearly 3-year-old Charlie until he turned 5. Now she feels obligated to go back to work full time as a New York City public school teacher.

Simmons had tried earning extra cash by hosting a few Kindermusik classes per week but attendance dropped dramatically as families cut luxuries. Her husband, a self-employed criminal defense lawyer, is urging her to find a job with benefits because the couple pays $1,300 per month for health insurance. Nevertheless, they both worry about putting Charlie in day care for 10 hours a shift. Simmons feels "horribly conflicted" but is sending out resumes.

"I really love being with Charlie," she said. "I want to watch him grow.''

Mothers who need to head back to work repeatedly stress they don't want to sound whiny but that this change of plans can be intensely emotional. Indeed, in January, two Livingston, N.J., moms launched a social networking site, MyWorkButterfly.com, to support mothers trying to reenter the workforce and adjust to its demands. One of the site's founders, Bradi Nathan, said women were so overwhelmed by the prospect of going back to work that the site added a psychotherapist and career coach that members can contact online.

To be sure, some mothers say they feel very lucky they had the luxury of staying home while it lasted. Most moms don't. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that in 2007, 60 percent of married women with children younger than 6 were employed.

When her husband got laid off last June without severance pay, Lainie Gilbert, 43, was forced back to work for the first time since having children. She felt her past job as a geriatric counselor was too draining to handle on top of three children ages 6, 11 and 13, so she applied to Starbucks and Bloomingdales but was overqualified. Then she decided to make use of her skills as a "gym rat" and got certified as a personal trainer. Now she works 40 hours a week in a Little Falls, N.J., studio. She loves it.

"The juggle is very hard but the reward is getting out of the house and doing something productive," she said. "I could not have anticipated how wonderful it would be."

Some entrepreneurial moms hope starting their own businesses will give them the freedom they crave. Stephanie Huang of Woodcliff Lake, whose youngest child is a toddler, is trying to make money through nutrition counseling. Even though her husband is a surgeon, she feels they need a "financial Plan B" due to the recent drop in the value of their house and retirement savings.

"The children are very needy," she said, "but if I were to stay home and watch the recession take its full force, I would feel hopeless and ineffective."

Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, cites one sobering statistic on the challenge of finding jobs: In December 2008, 1.3 million women who were actively searching for work had told surveyors just a month earlier that they weren't working, didn't want work or weren't available for it. That group of new job-seekers was 18 percent bigger than in December 2007.

"That means we're seeing an increase in women entering or reentering the labor force but not finding work," she said.

Tracey Austin, director of Flexible Resources, a Little Falls employment agency, agrees it's a very difficult time for moms who stepped away from careers to compete. "There's a pool of people out there and employers are looking for experience," she said.

That's one reason Patricia Letwink, who used to work in a technology role at a Franklin Lakes, N.J., prescription benefit management company, wants to jump back in. Her kids are almost 3 and 5. At first she had hoped to wait until the youngest hit kindergarten, but now she's afraid of leaving too long a gap in her resume. She knows she'll be vying with people who have fresher skills.

"With the economy taking a downturn, I think it behooves me to get back into the workforce sooner than later," she said. "The kids are more self-sufficient now and I'm ready. It's a perfect storm.''

___

2009, North Jersey Media Group Inc.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

Distracted teenage drivers caught on camera in horrifying accidents Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed about 1,700 takes of footage involving teenage drivers and the moments just before they crash. The videos are horrifying and disturbing, as the common cause of the accidents is distracted driving. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Children's coloring book tackles gender stereotypes with 'Super-Soft Heroes' Watch

Image of Super Soft Heroes shows young boys it's OK to not always be strong.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Linnea Johansson became worried after seeing her usually emotional 3-year-old son do his best not to cry, saying he wouldn't cry because Spiderman doesn't. As a mother bothered by how gender stereotypes are affecting her child and a fan of comic books who believes that ... continue reading


'Kill it, give it away or leave it at home' Woman rants and complains about child's behavior in shocking viral video Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An upsetting video of an older woman ranting, giving disgusting suggestions about a misbehaving child she witnessed at a grocery store has gone viral. Identified as Kathleen Smith from Tomball, Texas, she suggests the mother could have done something so the child ... continue reading


Destined by fate: New Jersey couple discover something incredible in a home video Watch

Image of Married now for eight years, the Spencer's discovered they actually crossed paths in 1988.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jourdan and Ryan Spencer from New Jersey were shocked to see that they crossed each other's path 16 years before they officially met. Watching a home video, taken during Jourdan's family trip to Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, they saw someone familiar appear ... continue reading


A woman's life in numbers: The 'ultimate female life timeline' highlights the ages women experience change in life Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As women grow from little girls to adults, the endure certain life-changing events. From being the girl-turned-woman after menstruation until she is on the age of the peak of female life expectancy, here are the significant ages women can count on being important. ... continue reading


How to find your way back to your spouse: Tips on what to do when conflicts become too much Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Couples should learn to relate with one another, in order to conquer challenges they cannot fully anticipate, according to David B. Hawkins from crosswalk.com. Some people assess that the individual person gets along more with others than their spouse. Hawkins ... continue reading


Woman with two mothers comes out AGAINST gay marriage, and the reason why is not what you think Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heather Barwick is a gay marriage advocate who was raised by two lesbian mothers. However, she recently published an open letter entitled "Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting" in the Federalist. She stated she loves her two mothers and the gay community, but now ... continue reading


Don't just stand there, DO SOMETHING! Viral sexual assault PSA shocks viewers by asking #WhoWillYouHelp Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new campaign, in Ontario, directly asks people who they will help: the perpetrators or the victims. The video shows the way bystanders are being "accomplices" and also guilty of the sexual assault when they opt out from doing something and keep their silence. ... continue reading


Breastfed babies make more money Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The intelligence developed by babies from stable breast-feeding carries on into their adulthood and makes them earn more money, according to research. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Although there are existing studies that establish correlation between ... continue reading


Amazing message from God stops YouTube star from having abortion Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"People remember dates for birthdays, and anniversaries. Well this date is forever burned in my brain. It's a day that I will remember and I remember every single detail of that day," stated Kimberly Henderson, 26-year-old mother and viral YouTube star. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-7
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
8 'He trusted himself to Yahweh, let Yahweh set him ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 15:1-39
1 First thing in the morning, the chief priests, ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 2:6-11
6 Who, being in the form of God, did not count ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 29th, 2015 Image

St. Berthold
March 29: Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter