I was raised by an at-home mom and, looking back, it was one of the biggest blessings of my childhood. Now, someday when my future husband and I have children, I want to be an at home mom too. Like me, over 80% of women aspire to stay at home with their children. However, is being a stay-at-home mom and raising your children full-time worth the sacrifice of your career?
One of the main reasons mothers do not stay at home full time is that they do not find it to be personally fulfilling. There is evidence of depression and unhappiness in at-home moms. In a 2012 Gallup survey, over 50% of stay-at-home moms (women not earning a paycheck with children under 18 years old) described themselves as thriving compared with 63% of employed moms (women with children the same age who earn a paycheck). Stay-at-home moms were more likely to worry, feel sadness, and experience stress, anger, or depression.
Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, recently gave birth to her first baby boy. Two weeks after delivering him, she returned to work and then put a ban on Yahoo employees working from home. While she installed a nursery next to her office, she does not believe in staying-at-home with her baby and nor does she desire for her employees to work from home in order to spend more time with their children and families. It would seem that Mayer receives greater satisfaction from work than she does from staying at home to raise her child.
While some women believe that they are best utilizing their gifts and talents by working, others feel that they can best use them by staying at home and raising their children full-time. There are various benefits to staying at home full-time. Because of financial obligations, many women feel that they are unable to stay-at-home. In reality, staying at home can be cost-effective, and it can be a great investment. A family is able to save on the cost of childcare, taxes, and commuting and food expenses. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, regardless of quality, children with a higher quantity of non-parental care exhibited increased behavioral problems. It is highly beneficial to children to have individual attention from their parents, which is more feasible if their mothers are staying at home.
In another study, children with stay-at-home-mothers were more likely to partake in organized sports than those with working mothers. Personally, I know that I was able to be involved in a lot more after-school and summer sports clubs than some of my friends with working moms, since my mom had more time to take me to different practices.
Other studies have shown health benefits to children with stay-at-home mothers. Children with stay-at-home moms have been shown to be exposed to fewer germs, therefore, suffering from fewer illnesses. Furthermore, stay-at-home moms have more time to prepare healthier foods and rely less on convenience foods, which is beneficial to the overall well-being of a child.
Millennial stay-at-home mom, Sarah Beecham, finds staying at home with her two young daughters to be highly satisfying. One of the best parts of staying at home with her girls is that she has been able to experience all of their firsts, such as talking, crawling, walking, and sitting. Also, Sarah likes that she “has more control over what her girls are taught and has
more opportunities to teach them about God, prayer, etc.” Sarah loves that she can plan their day however she wants. Additionally, Sarah feels that being a stay-at-home mom allows her to better serve her husband than if she was working full time. “I am always able to have dinner ready at night when [my husband] gets home from work, I have time to read marriage books, etc. I feel like I am a better person staying at home with my kids then I was working full time.”
Sarah says one of the only downfalls to being an at-home mom is finding alone time and time with other adults. To incorporate quality time with adults into her weekly routine, Sarah mall walks three times a week with one of her adult friends, while her oldest daughter is at preschool. Despite some of the stresses that staying at home can bring, Sarah believes that raising her daughters full-time is the best job that she has ever had.
Apart from a stay-at-home mom, like Sarah, there is a spectrum of choices for raising one’s child, such as a nanny, an at-home dad, outside childcare or a part-time working mom or dad. I believe that an at-home mom is best option for a family, because women tend to be more nurturing and care giving than men. In my own family-both immediate and extended, I have found this to be true. The emotional and physiological rewards of staying at-home with your children outweighs any of the costs or sacrifices you must make in the process. For my siblings and me, the benefits of my mom staying at-home with us were tremendous. I believe staying at home to raise your children full-time is worth the sacrifice of your career.