Then and Now – why it is not just in my head.

I am an educated 38-year-old woman. My husband and I travelled all over the world for nearly a decade before returning to Canada to start a small business. We are competent, caring, hard-working Canadians. In 2005 we started our family with a healthy incredible baby boy, then added to it with the arrival of another incredible little man in 2008. We were excited to relive some of the magic of our childhoods and share the love and sense of family that our parents gave to us.  The reality of how difficult it is to support a growing family on a single income hit us hard and we found ourselves wondering why we couldn’t make it work.

Raised in the 70s and 80s it seems I got in on the last generation of stay at home moms.  My dad was the sole breadwinner for our family and my mom cared for our home and us kids.  She had a career as a flight attendant but gave it up to stay at home and in so doing she was able to save the family lots of money and provide an environment in which thrived.  When I found out I was pregnant my husband and I determined that I would stay home and he would work.  Despite owning a very small townhouse and running a thriving pub we found it hard to do more than just make ends meet.  This financial stalemate carried on and on and caused us to both grow concerned that we were doing something wrong.  Why couldn’t we enjoy the same level of success our parents saw when they were our age and had young kids?  What is the problem?

Take a look at this diagram created by Dr. Paul Kershaw, associate professor at the University of British Columbia….now take a look again.  What does this mean to the average young family? How does it make you feel?

No wonder it seems so much harder!

No wonder it seems so much harder!

OHHHHHHHHHHH SO IT’S NOT THAT WE ARE HOPELESS LOSERS!  It’s not that we’re lazy bums who spend too much and work too little.  What an incredible and powerful and forgiving revelation this was to me and I have determined to share this message with as many people as possible so that things can change.

How have we adapted to this change in family economy?  We’ve become dual income families, we live at home with our own parents much longer than ever before, we have much more debt than ever before and our children are now increasingly spending their first 5 years in daycare.  What changes in social policy have been made to reflect this massive shift – NONE!

As politically uninvolved citizens we just struggle, pay our taxes and quietly lament how difficult it is to have young children.  It hasn’t always been this hard.  It can change.  We need a NEW DEAL FOR FAMILIES!


3 thoughts on “Then and Now – why it is not just in my head.

  1. Great article. Also concerning is that when our parents bought their houses they could look at it as an investment. The market was going up, up, up. Now, it is a potential risk. That $505,000 house in that diagram probably isn’t worth that much.

  2. We left BC in the end. After saving for 15 years, we could never amass a down payment that kept pace with real estate inflation in Vancouver where we worked. In our late 30s we decided to just have kids & moved to a small affordable town near family where we could afford to buy a home, & have one of us stay home if there is no reasonable daycare/job combo.. The other commutes to BC to work until either of us finds something here.

    • I hope that Dr. Paul Kershaw’s research has provided you with some level of comfort. When we work so hard and can’t seem to build a life for our family it feels like we’ve done something wrong. In understanding that there have been massive social changes that have shifted against our favour it makes me feel less like I’m making mistakes and more like I’m doing the best I can in an unfavorable time. All the best to you.

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