What is the importance of being a stay-at-home mom?
WhatToGetMy Instructional Article
What is the real importance of being a stay-at-home mom? Is it important at all? These questions are often simplified and not adequately answered. A lot of people only talk about the benefits of the mother staying at home (focus on children, forming a routine, not having work-related stress, etc.) but we think things are a bit more complex. People should also talk about stress related to household work, loneliness and frustration of the stay-at-home moms, hits of family budget, and other important stuff. We’ll try to discuss more to get “a bigger picture”.
Opening the subject will allow us to ask even more questions and not take things for granted. Stick with us, so we can problematize this subject together. Note that we aren’t advocating for any firm stance on this subject. We just want to point out different things and ask a lot of questions. Bottom line is that people have the right to choose what is best for themselves. Parents have the same right. Society has no place to tell people, mostly women, what they should do, so we aren’t going to either.
A few points we’d like to talk about in this article are:
- Is it really important to be a stay at home mom?
- Is there any difference between stay-at-home-moms and stay-at-home-dads
- Benefits for the kids of having a stay-at-home-parent.
- Stay at home mom vs working mom pros and cons.
- How can you afford to be a stay at home parent?
Pros and cons
Table of Contents
Most articles list the pros and cons of stay at home mom, so we can start with that too. However, we’re not going to make a simple list. Instead, we’ll try to state some facts that can be both positive and negative. You can be the judge and form a unique point of view.
When you’re trying to make a choice, you need to see if the pros outweigh the cons. We probably won’t mention everything, so don’t hesitate to make your own list. Add some things and leave out those that don’t apply to your family. Remember that every family is different and you should tailor your list accordingly. Should I be a stay at home mom or work is the question only you have an answer to.
Always in the house
We don’t mean that you would be in jail. However, you need to consider that changes to your location might be very infrequent. That can be a good thing if you feel more comfortable being stuck at home instead of being stuck in an office. Although the feeling of being trapped still remains. You can finish your 8-hour shift and be done for a day but being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job. You will always be there when your kid needs you, yet you’ll have to steal some moments for “me time”.
Never is a bit of an over-statement. You could still have a shower alone when your kids are napping. Other than this, you’ll be with your kids almost the entire day (until they start school). This means that you won’t miss their first steps, first words, and other important stuff. It’s an amazing thing! However, being alone has its perks. You can either establish some personal boundaries from the earliest stages of your kids’ childhood or end up losing your identity.
Work = home
Domestic work, although unpaid, is still hard work. When somebody asks you questions about your profession, feel free to proudly say that you take care of your kids and home. A lot of people might not understand how difficult it is but you need to stand your ground. If you have your partners understanding that’s all that matters.
You can focus 100 percent of your time and energy on your children’s wellbeing because you don’t have regular workplace stress. This also means that you won’t get regular satisfaction from having a “career”. Professional fulfilments, workplace socializing, and of course, having a paycheck is something you might have to give up.
You’re the boss
Kind of. You run the house, take care of the family budget, cook, clean, and keep everything else under control. You represent, at the same time, all of the company’s workers and their CEO. Everything will fall on you if you don’t have firm support from your partner.
Like the best CEOs, you need to learn how to delegate tasks. Don’t bite more than you can chew, so teach your kids and your partner about the importance of household work. Include your family in cooking or cleaning. It really doesn’t matter that your partner doesn’t do laundry “the right way”. It needs to be done, that’s all.
Different social circle
Your social life will change, that’s inevitable. Instead of office parties and business meetings, you might get a girls’ night out with other stay-at-home-moms. You’ll use your free time to plan fun activities with your family. Think about whether you would enjoy this kind of lifestyle or would you miss other forms of socialization.
Some people dread this word while others happily embrace it. Nonetheless, one of the advantages of being a stay at home mom is control over your family’s routine. Most of the time, you’re in charge of your day. Don’t worry about staying at work late for a meeting or doing tasks you didn’t plan.
As we said, some people don’t like having a daily routine. They think it leads to boredom. If you’re that kind of person, you need to take this into account. You can do something different once in a while, but most of the time you’ll have a fixed schedule.
Studies continue to confirm that there’s an increased chance of depression in mothers who stay at home than in those who work full or part-time. This is due to balancing “never-ending” tasks of raising children and running a household while also defending yourself from the accusation that you’re privileged for “not working”.
Anger, sadness, and similar emotion can lead to anxiety, nervous breakdowns, and, not rarely, severe depression. These conditions are overlooked because mothers don’t prioritize their own health. Mothers are often seen as invulnerable. They need to be strong for their kids. They can’t even get the flu, right? It’s important to raise awareness of this problem, so we could try finding a solution. The stigma around mental health prevents us from helping the people in need.
This problem usually happens to the people who didn’t choose to be stay-at-home-parents. They don’t feel in control of their lives. Also, a lot of people aren’t aware of what this choice brings. When they find out, they feel more stressed out. A strong support network and regular health checkups could help in the short term but the problem is structural. This isn’t an individual problem and the whole society needs to change.
Stay-at-home-moms and stay-at-home-dads
We often hear that it’s “natural” for women to stay at home with the kid. The truth is, there isn’t anything natural about that. It’s just a societal rule. There’s no difference between stay-at-home-dads and stay-at-home-moms. Both run errands, prepare food, take care of kids, etc. They are just perceived differently by society, but inside the homes, they do the same things.
Of course, there might be some subtle daily differences but they aren’t substantial. You need to be a loving devoted parent and both genders can accomplish that. The decision about who should stay at home should be based on the specific needs of one family. What works for one family might not be suitable for another.
Benefits for the kids
Your children will be with you the majority of the time, so you’re in control of their upbringing. You won’t feel like the daycare is raising your kids. Although the daycare has the professionals working there, you might be more comfortable with setting the schedule for your kids, determining what they eat, what values they’re taught, etc.
All this time spent with your kids will create a strong bond that can last their entire life. Kids grow up to be successful adults if you give them enough love and emotional support. We should note that working parents can also do that. Everything depends on the level of commitment to your kids.
The most important benefit is the character training your kids are getting from you. Spending a lot of time together allows you to notice all the negative changes they might occur. You can react on time to fix acting out, childhood aggression, and other forms of difficult behavior. Discipline means teaching, not punishment, and the more time you spend with your kids, the easier teaching becomes.
Some say that the benefits of stay-at-home mothers are the increased school performance and academic success of the children. Early years of childhood are crucial for establishing healthy habits. However, this doesn’t have to be in direct correlation with stay-at-home parenting. When you’re at home all the time, you have more control but even if you’re working, you can help your children become successful adults.
Can you afford it?
A quality daycare costs a lot, so families opt for stay-at-home parenting because of financial reasons. A lot of people, however, wonder if they can afford to live only on one income. How to afford being a stay at home mom is not an easy question to tackle. Everything depends on your finances. Saving on daycare costs, car maintenance, wardrobe, lunch out, and other work-related expenses, are big enough reasons that people quit their job.
There are risks though when you transition from two-person income to one paycheck. Writing a budget and sticking to predicted costs can help to one extent. But what happens if the person working loses a job or has a salary cut? The economy isn’t stable and you need to have a strong support network (let’s say from your and your partner’s parents).
We have to note the other part of stay-at-home-mom gamble. You might not want to think about it, but a lot of marriages don’t last 20 years. What will you do if you have to face a job market unprepared? This is a very real and dangerous situation, so try to think ahead. Opening a savings account, having life insurance, and a quality prenuptial agreement are good ways to protect yourself if you choose to become a stay-at-home mom.
Going back to work
Lots of stay-at-home moms decide to go back to work when kids become a bit older. However, that turns out to be very difficult. The employment gap in your resume and discrimination against older job applicants will be obstacles on your way back to work. Unfortunately, you can’t continue your career path at the place where you took a pause. More than half of women that decided to start working again settle for inadequate jobs.
You won’t have the same job as before. Also, your salary will be much less, depending on the time you were out of the workforce. That’s why a lot of people opt for part-time jobs when they’re raising the kids, so they would have more chances to succeed once they’re back in the job market.
After we said all of this, we need to remind you one more time that this is your choice. It’s a contradictory one, that’s for sure. Think about it a lot and don’t make a rash decision. After you decided, defend your ground by any means necessary. Never say you’re just a stay-at-home mom. You’re much more than that. You’re the pillar of your household.
Whether you work or stay at home, you’ll be a good parent. Societal pressure prevents us from winning in any case. Stay at home parents are called “lazy”, even if they are working really hard. Working parents are called “selfish”, even if they’re sacrificing the time with their kids. That’s why you shouldn’t listen to anyone because it doesn’t matter what they say. Don’t feel obligated to justify your choices. You can be carrying a diaper bag or a briefcase, but in the end, it’s the same if you feel good about yourself.
Quitting your job is a very difficult decision, no matter what’s the importance of being a stay-at-home mom people keep talking about. While there are many great reasons for being a stay-at-home parent, it isn’t for anyone. All it matters is that you’re spending quality time with your kids, whether you’re working in the office or at home.
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