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.

Article 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

Finding Your Best Friend 1,000 Miles Away

Image of Michael and Lauren were married this March.

By Catholic Match

I never really thought it could work, Lauren said, recalling her first encounter with Michael on CatholicMatch. He was so far away a thousand miles honestly didn't think we'd ever be more than friends. Michael and Lauren had free profiles on CatholicMatch, and after an ... continue reading


From Living Large to Putting God in Charge

Image of

By Catholic Match

The year was 1990 and Bob was, in his own words, living large. The then 29-year-old had graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee several years earlier and spent over a year on the pro golf tour. He went to build a thriving CPA firm and thought himself to be in ... continue reading


Devil at work! Infidelity experts says adultery is good for marriage - if you don't get caught Watch

Image of Since launching in Canada on Valentine's Day in 2002, the adultery Web site has attracted more than 24 million members in 37 countries. South Korea joined last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ashley Madison is a controversial Web site that enables married men and women to have xtramarital affair. Based in Canada, Noel Biderman is forthright about the right of the married to have affairs -- providing they don't get caught. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


The Path to Happiness for a Young Widow

Image of Bruce and Lauren are now happily married!

By Catholic Match

It's been said the hand of God works by way of coincidences, keeping Him invisible as He illuminates our path. That's how it worked for Bruce and Lauren, and how they get their first sense that something special was afoot. Lauren, 54-years-old, was recently widowed ... continue reading


A Marriage Built on a Firm Rock

Image of Ed and Francis both had great success thanks to CatholicMatch!

By Catholic Match

Frances already had an immensely positive experience with marriage when she came to CatholicMatch. A widow, she had great memories of her years with her late husband and if another marriage was to happen it would have to be on a firm foundation. I had a wonderful ... continue reading


Easy homemade play dough recipes, for the whole family to enjoy.

Image of Home made Play Doh is so much fun.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Every child loves to play with play dough and making your own play dough with your child can be fun. Here are three easy recipes for great homemade play dough. Kids are amazed when they learn how easy it is to make play dough wit this activity. The dough can be ... continue reading


Have a Great Family Easter Egg Hunt. Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or puzzle pieces, or all sorts of things!

Image of Children love Easter Egg Hunts. Lets make it special this year.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Have an Family Easter Egg Hunts this year and fill the eggs with more than just candy. Here are 31 ideas to fill them with, and have fun! LOS ANGELES, CA - Need a fun idea to spruce up your Easter Egg Hunt? Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or ... continue reading


Former 'house of horrors' abortion clinic to become emergency food, support center for poor families Watch

Image of The Philadelphia clinic was described as a chaotic

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is such a thing as a second chance. The notorious Delaware clinic in which abortionist Kermit Gosnell performed late-term abortions and executed children after birth will see a second life as an emergency food and support center for poor families. Lutheran ... continue reading


Hey dads! Pope Francis has an awesome message for you! Watch

Image of Pope Francis follows the example of St. Joseph, and blesses a child. Our clergy are father figures too.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On the feast day of St. Joseph, Pope Francis spoke directly to dads, encouraging them to follow the example of St. Joseph and remain close to their children. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Yesterday was the feast day of St. Joseph and Pope Francis used the ... continue reading


Church must reconcile divorce and remarriage, German cardinal says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Church needs to find a middle ground that does not destroy or abandon doctrine in regards to divorce and civil remarriages, Cardinal Walter Kasper says. The church must offer a "renewed" interpretation of Church teaching in order to help those whose ... 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, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... 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