Rising costs force Dutch mom back to work


Western Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Photo AFP, Denis Lovrovic

The high inflation leads to expensive groceries, a high energy bill and rising mortgages. All these costs do not make the lives of families with stay-at-home moms any easier. Some of them have to go back to work to make ends meet.

Dutch mom Janneke Jelies is one of the moms who had to take on a job outside the home again. Her family with nine kids has seen exploding expenses. Swimming lessons have become twice as expensive, and groceries also cost a lot of money. “We have nine mouths to feed”, she tells the Dutch daily Nederlands Dagblad.

To be able to pay for all the bills, Jelies started working as a cleaner for ten hours a week. "This is a job I can do at moments that work for me. Besides, it is a chore that has to happen every week, but it does not matter when. It is not a busy job that requires me to be away from home often."


Yet, she regrets having to work, Jelies admits to the Nederlands Dagblad. She says to find it essential that children have a home. "That gives a warm feeling. You give the children a real home when you are there for them. They need someone to talk to when they come home."

Secretly, she feels guilty about going to work, even though she acknowledges that that is her feeling. "I don't think the children notice that I am gone once in a while. But I would rather just be there for them. Now I have to ask my older girls to babysit." If working is no longer required to cover expenses, Jelies would immediately quit her job. At the same time, she does not see that happen very soon. "It looks like life is getting more expensive."


Henrieke Schouten, a mom of five children, has been working since October. Finances stressed her family out, the Nederlands Dagblad writes.

Last summer, Schouten and her husband concluded that they would end up in financial deficits this year. Therefore, she decided to go back to her job as a psycho-social caregiver. She had been working periods since she became a mom, but this time was different, she tells the Nederlands Dagblad. Earlier, she worked because she could manage it next to her calling as a mother. This time, she had to because her family's financial situation required it.


Work was not the first attempt to make ends meet, says Schouten. Before that, she and her husband had tried to save money on nice outings or charity donations. But that was not the way to go, they concluded. "We decided that we did not want to save on that. It stressed out our family."

Even though she thought she would dislike working, Schouten soon discovered that she actually liked having a job again. It felt like a new calling, she says. "God guided my way."

Stay-at-home moms

Marjet Winsemius from the Dutch Association for Working Parents believes that parents should be able to choose whether they want to stay home for the kids or whether they want to go to work. At the same time, she notices that the rising living costs force more and more mothers to go to work. There used to be the notion that women were only good mothers if they stayed home for their children. However, Winsemius notices that the idea disappears. "Because the bread has become more expensive. It is problematic that families cannot make ends meet from one salary."

Yet, there are still mothers who stay at home for principal reasons. Gerdien Lassche, from the Dutch Reformed Parent Association, hears from parents that they do not want to work but must find a job. "Young parents tell me that they cannot afford to buy a house if both do not work."

For some people, this is a hard decision, Lassche says to the Nederlands Dagblad. "Some Christians find it very important that there is always someone at home for the children. They do not set that principle aside for a bit of money. If they do, the necessity must be very high."



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