Figuring out how to juggle a full-time job, childcare responsibilities and being a great parent isn’t easy. Every family is unique, and they must decide what works best for them.

But as one mother of four has learned over the years, sometimes people just can’t help but insert their own opinions on others’ parenting choices. Below, you’ll find a TikTok that Sheisapaigeturner recently shared, detailing why she and her husband choose to continue working and pay for childcare, as well as a conversation with The Mom at Law, Candace Alnaji.

This working mother of four is tired of being asked why she doesn’t stay home with her children

Image credits: Sergey Makashin (not the actual photo)

So she shared a video detailing why she chooses to work and pay thousands of dollars a month for childcare

“My husband and I pay $5,000 a month for childcare for our four kids. And the question after that, once somebody finds that out, is always, ‘Well, why do you work?’ And the question is almost always directed at me. And the question is, ‘Do you make enough to warrant that? How do you have any money left over? Doesn’t it make more sense for you to stay home?’”

Image credits: sheisapaigeturner

“In our scenario, where my husband and I are similar earners, our on-the-year earnings are very similar. It does not make sense for one of us to stay at home right now. We are spending an astronomical amount of money on childcare, and I understand that some people can’t fathom it and some people don’t even make this in a year, right. And no, it’s crazy that we’re paying that much money, which I totally understand and I understand the privilege that comes with that.”

Image credits: sheisapaigeturner

“At the same time, the question as to why I work, one – always directed at me is somewhat insulting, but two – negates the next steps in my life. I am not a mother of young kids forever. I’m a mother of young kids for five to 10 years, depending on how widespread your children are. And so for me, in four years from now, my youngest child will be in full-time school. I will still have the cost of school, afterschool programs, kids activities, enrichment, camp, all of that. But I will not have the cost of childcare. There’s an end date to that and I can struggle and kind of grit my way there because we are still kind of, like, really piecing it together on our budget to make that childcare budget work for us. But there is an end date and I know that where I wanna go in my career and the compensation that I’m able to have, it’s there. It’s at my fingertips, right. And me stepping away from work for five to 10 years would throw me back from where I want to go and the life I want to live after my children are out of daycare.”

Image credits: sheisapaigeturner

“So right now, we’re really not taking a lot of family vacations. We’re not traveling far and wide with our children. We’re doing what we can. We’re doing local vacations, right. We also have four kids so flying with four kids is… I don’t even wanna think about it. So there’s that. And four years from now when my youngest is five and my oldest is nine or 10, that’s a different world for us. We have a different life ahead of us. And I’m not just planning for the next four years. I’m planning for the next 20, 30 years of my life and my kids’ life. And I know what’s important to me. And I also know as a woman, the question should not be directed at me as to why I work. The question should be, ‘Does it make sense with your combined incomes that one of you stay home?’ That should be the question – which one of you would stay home, not, ‘Why do you work, Paige?’ So there’s that.”

Image credits: sheisapaigeturner

“But also, I don’t know that anybody has the right to ask me why we’re paying an astronomical amount. The question is, why is daycare so expensive and so inaccessible? The follow-up question to that is, well, there must be value at the end of that, otherwise you likely wouldn’t be doing it. And it’s not just sending them there for fun. So it’s all about context.”

Image credits: sheisapaigeturner

You can hear Paige’s full explanation right here

@sheisapaigeturner The value in my career outweighs the cost of childcare for the next 4 years. My life is long and I am not just planning for today but planning for my and mt familieis future in mind. #costofchildcare #childcarecrisis #daycarechronicles101 #daycarekids #millennialmom #workingmoms #wfhmom #daycaremom ♬ original sound – sheisapaigeturner

“What works for one family might not work for yours and vice versa, so it’s important to extend grace to yourself and to others”

To gain more insight on what it’s like to be a working mother, we reached out to Candace Alnaji to hear her thoughts on the topic. Candace is an attorney, writer, founder of The Mom at Law and mother of three, and she was kind enough to have a chat with Bored Panda about how she balances her career with taking care of her little ones. First, we wanted to know if Candace ever considered giving up her career when she had children. “I always knew that I wanted to continue working. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was how much I would want to be a part of my kids’ daily lives and how much creativity and autonomy that would inspire in my career,” she shared. 

“I transitioned from full-time office mom to work-from-home mom when my oldest child was a baby. He’s eight now, and I also have five-year-old twins,” Candace explained. “I’ve had many phases in my career since having kids, and being a mom has been the greatest motivator in discovering who I am and how I work best.” The Mom at Law also opened up about some of the challenges she has faced being a working mother. “Choosing what to prioritize and when can be challenging. There’s the urge to be forward-thinking while remaining focused on the present,” she noted. “It can feel like you are making decisions for multiple versions of yourself at once, while also making decisions for your children (and their future selves). It’s a mind-bender!”

We also asked Candace about any of the misconceptions or stigmas that affect working mothers. “I started my career as an employment lawyer representing mothers in the workplace who suffered discrimination based on pregnancy,” she told Bored Panda. “Mothers are frequently discriminated against at work because of the misconception that they will somehow be less reliable or less motivated after having children, when in fact almost nothing lights a fire under you like motherhood. Moms deserve better in our society.” And if any mothers out there need to hear some advice from another mom who’s been through it all, Candace says, “It’s normal to need help and it’s important to take stock of what is working and what’s not in your daily life. Successful work-life integration comes from being on the same page with your partner, workplace, and everyone else in your work/family universe.”

“Understand that your work and life goals and desires can change, and that it’s okay to shift along with them without guilt,” Candace continued. “The choices you make for your career and family are very personal. What works for one family might not work for yours and vice versa, so it’s important to extend grace to yourself and to others who may make different choices.” If you’d like to learn more about Candace or hear more wise words from her, be sure to checkout her website The Mom at Law right here!

Image credits: Kelli McClintock (not the actual photo)

Unfortunately, the exorbitant daycare costs in the United States often makes the decision for them

When Paige mentioned that she spends $5,000 per month on childcare, it’s possible that your jaw dropped, but unfortunately, one reason why some parents in the US choose to stay home with their kids is because they simply can’t afford the exorbitant prices of daycare. In the United States, the median annual price of childcare for infants is about $17,171 in cities. The price decreases slightly as children get older, but even for preschool-aged kids living in cities, their parents can easily spend over $12,000 a year on daycare. When you have 4 children like Paige, there’s no question that parents can spend $5,000 per month to ensure that their kids are safe and sound.

According to Wisevoter, the average household income in the United States is $71,538, meaning that there’s usually not thousands of dollars lying around to go straight to childcare. It’s possible that nearly all of Paige’s or her husband’s income is going directly to daycare costs, and it’s unfortunate that some parents are forced to leave their jobs due to being unable to pay these exorbitant fees. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you compare the US to Sweden, for example, American parents tend to spend about 32% of their average wages on childcare costs, while Swedish parents spend only 5% of their total wages on ensuring their kids are looked after.

Image credits: Kostiantyn Li (not the actual photo)

Moms also tend to face harsher scrutiny than fathers when choosing to keep their jobs

As Paige also mentioned, it can be damaging to a mom or dad’s career if they decide to take a few years off to spend time with their little ones. While the average American mom takes off about 2 years after having children, that time can severely impact her work life when she returns. Over a third of working moms report struggling to be hired following a break in their careers, and 61% say that it was challenging to reenter the workforce. Over half of these working moms also say they worry about being judged for asking for more flexible hours to accommodate their families. Many even hide the fact that they’re parents at work to prevent roadblocks being placed in front of their careers. Of course, fathers are susceptible to similar struggles as well, but as Paige pointed out in her video, moms tend to face much harsher scrutiny when not staying at home with their kids. 

At the end of the day, it’s every parent’s choice whether or not they want to return to the workforce while their children are young, and they should never feel judged for whatever decision they choose to make. Instead of questioning why this mother spends so much on childcare, perhaps we need to be asking why it is so inaccessible in the first place? We would love to hear your thoughts on this video in the comments below, pandas. Have you ever had to make the choice between going back to work or staying with your young children? Feel free to share, and then if you’re interested in checking out another article discussing the challenges that working moms often face, look no further than right here.    

Image credits: Xavier Mouton Photographie (not the actual photo)

Some viewers supported Paige’s choice to continue working, noting how important our careers can be

On the other hand, some moms disagreed, sharing that they couldn’t bear being away from their little ones all day