If Jackie Pointer, 36, can get up in the wee hours, she does some laundry and other housework. By 10 am, the house is usually clean and she has already prepared breakfast for her husband, 32, and two children. She then sees him off to his trucking job and preps the day’s homeschooling lesson. After a few hours, she picks up or prepares lunch for the kids and by 4 pm, she starts dinner so it will be hot and ready for her husband’s return at 7 that evening. Before bed, she gets all of his work things ready—lays out his clothing, packs his lunch box and generally makes sure he’s good to go—for the next day. Then she turns on her daughter’s favorite princess movie and watches with her until the 8-year-old drifts off to sleep. After tucking her in, checking on her 18-year-old son, Pointer then finally goes to sleep herself.
“People often joke that my husband doesn’t ever have to lift a finger and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Pointer told ESSENCE.
She’s been a full-time stay-at-mom and housewife for nearly a decade after moving to Northwest Indiana from Chicago with her husband. The decision came after finding that her son had a hard time adjusting to the new school system. The ccouple concluded it was best for Pointer to quit her job and take care of home.
Pointer is a unicorn of sorts.
She joins the marginal 18% of U.S. parents who chose family care over a career. Of that small group, only 7% are Black women. Data from Pew Research shows most “traditional” stay-at-home mothers, (with a working husband) are commonly Asian, White or Latinx.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average cost of living in Indiana will run you around $38,097 per year, even after factoring in inflation. As pointed out by SoFi, a digital financial services company, this is significantly below the rest of the nation, the 11th lowest in fact according to MERIC’s third quarter of 2021 Cost of Living Index.
“My husband makes a really good living so I’m not really concerned about him being the only provider,” Pointer. “We’re well taken care of.”
Conversely, another stay-at-home-mother living in New York City—the most expensive metro area in the country—shared that she constantly thinks about money, and often wonders if she made the right decision quitting her job right before giving birth to her 17-month-old daughter.
Chassidi Miner, 34, knew since her early 20s she wanted to completely focus on parenting when she finally had her first child. Ever ambitious though, Miner said that making the pivot from a full-time worker as a procurement analyst with New York and a part-time clothing entrepreneur was nerve-wracking.
“I’ve always had strong work ethic,” Miner share with ESSENCE. “Ever since I was young I’d never had an issue earning my own money so taking the leap into the stay-at-home lifestyle was super scary. Nothing is promised. I’m thinking about that daily. I’m thinking about it right now.”
Although the decision was tough and can sometimes seem to breed uncertainty, Miner said it was the correct one.
“Being at home with my daughter full-time is the only way I would feel comfortable raising her, honestly,” Miner said. “I know for some women, especially Black, they think this type of life isn’t possible or even something they deserve but that 100% not true.”
Pointer shares this sentiment.
“This choice I was able to make is a very new one because as a kid growing up, my mom definitely worked so I didn’t see many women that were able to stay home if they wanted. But I think for me and just my family, it’s about us building a stronger family unit. We’re shaping their world in a positive way, giving them the love and attention that they need to be successful in life.”
She continued: “And even with my husband and taking care of him and his needs before he goes to work or when he gets home, I really take a lot of pride in that, and I love it. It’s definitely a luxury and I wish more Black women had that.”