Being a stay-at-home mom is an incredible blessing. Not everyone is financially able to do so, and it is a great gift to the entire family.
Generations ago, there was little question that a woman would continue to stay home and run the household when her children entered school. Now, however, moms who choose to do so find themselves judged by society – and sometimes other moms.
Continuing to be a stay-at-home mom when the kids return to school can present many opportunities to benefit yourself – and continue to benefit your family. While it is not for everyone, there are ways to make it work if you decide it is the best option to suit your family’s needs.
ABC News reported on one mom’s decision to stay home after her youngest child entered school:
Once the girls were in school full-time, I found myself wondering what I should really be doing all day long. I plan meals, run errands, bring lunch to my husband when he can’t get away. So what? How did I get to the point where what I do seems so unimportant?
I briefly thought about returning to the workforce, however, I was quickly hit with the realization that the band played on and whatever I could bring to anyone’s table was just irrelevant. How can that be an example to anyone?
Raising my kids is the most important thing I could ever do.
After some serious soul searching, I realized that what I am doing is so much more. I am there to hold my babies when they are sick or there to hold them just because. I get to spend the time with my children so many other parents long for with their own. Still, with all the time I am given, I find myself wondering where it all goes, and why so fast.
Being present is important, but so is being an example. I have shown my girls how to be kind and empathetic towards others. I have shown them how to keep a home, not just a house. I have even shown them how to make a chicken dinner on their own. Now, as they grow older, I want to show them what being proud of yourself looks like, and selfishly, a little part of me wants them to be proud of their mom.
This mom’s struggle is not unique. Like many women, they feel they are expected to return to the workforce and help provide financially for their family, or they wonder how they will fill their day without the kids home.
But providing for the family is so much more than just finances. Many moms who have decided to continue to stay at home find they are able to provide a better life for their family than if they worked outside the home.
They are there to get their kids off to school and greet them when they return home. They may have more energy to help with homework and be involved in their extracurricular activities.
This is not to say that working moms aren’t able to do these things, but those of us who must balance working full-time and keeping the home and family running smoothly will often tell you it is overwhelming, and we can be stretched too thin.
While the financial implications of only having one income are likely the greatest factor, many women who continue to stay home find they can make it work because they have much more time to plan, organize, and budget – or to find creative ways to stretch a dollar.
They may be able to put more time into bargain shopping, researching good deals, and budget meal prep. There are no before-and-after school childcare expenses or finding a last-minute sitter on a snow day. When the kids are sick or on school vacation, the knowledge that mom is home to spend time with them is priceless.
And many women choose to volunteer at their child’s school, at church, or elsewhere, pick up a new hobby, or even work part-time from home. In this digital age, there are opportunities everywhere to earn some extra income while the kids are in school.
The sad truth is, however, many women who choose to stay at home while their kids are in school are facing judgement from others. An outsider may wonder, “What on earth do you do all day?”
There is so much that goes into taking care of a home and family, and plenty to do when the kids are away for a few short hours. Women are traditionally the family caretakers, and no one can take our place. Only those of us who do it all really understand how much goes into it.
The balancing act of career and family is a difficult one for any woman. Some women eagerly return to their careers when the kids go back to school because it is what fulfills them. Some can only afford to take a brief maternity leave and have to put the kids in daycare. Others take the opportunity to make a new beginning for themselves by starting a business they’ve been dreaming of and can now put more time into.
These are all very personal decisions that only you and your family can make. There is no right or wrong answer when you are doing the best you can to provide the best life possible for your family.
But remember that the most important job you have is to be a mom, and if you make the decision to continue to stay at home, no one should make you feel guilty or pressured that you are not doing your share if you don’t return to work — far from it.
(h/t Mommy Underground)