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Aethelwine's avatar

Is stay at home parenting for you?

Asked by Aethelwine (42961points) January 8th, 2009 from iPhone

How do you feel about a parent that stays home to take care of the household? Do you feel that they do not have any goals or ambitions or do you respect what they do? I have been a stay at home mom for ten years now and enjoy it tremendously, but at times I just don’t feel appreciated. Not because of my husband, because of the fact that there are so few of us anymore. We feel our children benefit from this and it shows in their good grades and good behavior. I know some people don’t have the option, but if you did, would you stay at home? How do you feel about the people that do?

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45 Answers

Grisson's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with staying at home with the children, either for a woman or a man. I know several successful stay-at-home Dad’s as well.

My question for you is: What will you do when it’s empty nest time?

augustlan's avatar

I’ve been a stay at home mom for about 13 years. At times I felt stifled, and a bit crazy, too. Overall it has been worth it! It has been both the best and the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I was a stay at home for several years when they were young, because it didn’t make financial sense—after child care and work related expenses, I was working for $25 a week. I’ve been in and out of the workforce several times after I started back, and always enjoyed having the time to devote to what was my first priority. My neighborhood had very few stay at home parents, so it was rather lonely.

nocountry2's avatar

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom these past 8 months or so, because my husband got a new extremely consuming job that required every ounce of his attention. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to me to stay at home and take care of every thing else: the house, the chores, the bills, the food, my step-daughter (8), the animals, etc., especially because I don’t exactly know what I want to do with my life yet.

I HATE it.

I feel useless, I’m embarrassed to say I stay at home, and I feel like I’m frittering my life away. I think I’m starting to go crazy, and it’s affecting my relationship. My parents would probably be rolling over in their grave, complaining that they didn’t raise me to be independent and get a good education just so I could stay home and clean and make pot roast. I don’t feel very appreciated and I feel like I’ve enabled my family to not care for themselves as much anymore. Now that things have settled down with my husband’s job I can start looking again, but I still don’t know what I want to do. Though I am very motivated to not be the house slave anymore.

With that said though…I don’t regret it. I still think it was the best choice for my family’s needs, and at least now I know what I DON’T want to do for the rest of my life.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Grisson: probably find at least a part time job or get back in to photography and see where that could take me. My mother has been a housewife for 38 years now. She paints, reads and dances. She’s happy with this but her step-daughter can’t believe she has “no ambitions”. This is why I asked this question.

asmonet's avatar

You could say that creating, maintaining and helping a family and household flourish is their goal.

And they can be plenty ambitious in that role.

Aethelwine's avatar

Beautiful answer asmonet. Thank you.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@nocountry2, are you volunteering at your daughter’s school or with an organization that you believe in? I’ve found that really rewarding and used that experience to keep my resume current.

Grisson's avatar

@jonsblond: Photography, awesome! That would be a fun thing to do. When I get tired of software, I’ve often thought I would like to take up photography again, and perhaps sell notecards on the internet.

asmonet's avatar

@nocountry2: Honestly, I bet they wouldn’t roll over. I’m sure they’re resting at peace knowing they raised a daughter who was selfless and giving enough to sacrifice her own time and energy for the sake of her family’s well-being. And I’m sure you have some great memories with your step-daughter you wouldn’t have made otherwise. :)

Judi's avatar

Both my daughters are stay at home moms. The do get starved for adult conversations sometimes, but they know they are blessed to be able to do it.

krose1223's avatar

I would love to be able to stay at home with my son and I actually have the highest respect for stay at home moms! I know it’s hard work. It’s not easy to clean, watch the kids, do the laundry, cook dinner, play with the kids… and so on and on and on and on. You have to be an expert multi tasker and have the patience of an angel! Don’t feel bad at all because there are many people who could not handle the stress. I think it is healthy to take a break from it all and have some “jonsblond time”.

Darwin's avatar

I became a stay-at-home mom when my husband, who had retired on disability, was no longer able to drive, and so couldn’t care for the kids as well. He could no longer get them to school or appointments, nor could he go grocery shopping.

I figured that at first it would be delightful not to have to answer to a boss any longer, and it was. However, I also figured I would need something to do. Thus I researched the subject before leaving my job and came up with becoming an Internet book seller. While not horribly challenging, it has its moments, and it also shows my kids that staying home doesn’t mean sitting on one’s rear all day watching TV.

I have also used my flexible time now that the kids are older to get involved in acting in theater and independent movies and in singing, things I had always wanted to do when I was much younger but was too shy to attempt (there is something to be said for qualifying for character roles instead of sexpots or ingenues).

My mother lived in the era when moms often stayed home, and she, while fully occupied with house and kids at the time, never lost her ambition either. She had become an engineer because she was good in math but actually had wanted to get an art degree. However, the Art Department had been drafted as being nonessential.

She had wanted to be a textile designer working with colors, weaves and patterns, and instead she became a textile designer working on the fine points of the chemical structures of nylon and rayon. As a stay-at-home mom she kept her interest in art alive and, once we all left home, set up a studio with several other painters and began to show her work and sell it.

Another woman I know waited until the kids were in college, then went back to college herself (she already had a BA and an MA) to get a Masters in Psychology. Although her husband joked about having four “kids” in college, she completed her degree and became a psychologist for the school district, earning more than he does.

And finally, my aunt was a college-graduate stay-at-home mom whose husband was a lawyer, then she was a stay-at-home wife who went to all the business social events and did a huge amount of networking as the wife of the senior partner, and then, once her husband retired from law practice and took up fishing, she went to law school, set up an office, and practiced as a lawyer for ten years.

So being a stay-at-home mom (unless you take on raising the grandkids as my neighbor has done) is actually just a phase of one’s life. One should be preparing for the next phase during it, just as a high school student prepares to go to college, or a new college graduate decides where to look for jobs.

mzgator's avatar

I am honored to have been able to be a stay at home mom for over fifteen years. I honestly love taking care of my family. My husband is a work a holic. He likes that I take care of everything for him.

I have many hobbies and interests that I will have more time for when my daughter is in college.

I am not ashamed of what I do. It was a decision made by my husband and me. I feel fortunate that I have been able to do this.

bythebay's avatar

I left a very lucrative career when my first born was almost a year old. Initially, I had gone back to work and we had a live-in nanny. This was both a blessing and a curse. She doted on our child, but I struggled with the reality that I was missing so much time with my son. I called home a thousand times a day and then hung and cried when she told me something cute the baby had done.

My husband and I sat down and did some number crunching, and realized I could stay home. Since we made the decision together I’ve never felt bad about the choice. When our second child was born it was blessing to be home with my baby and my 2 year old. I’ve definitely had those days when I’ve felt crazed and stifled, but without a doubt, this is the hardest job I’ve ever had and also the one I have taken the most care with.

I realized many of my personal ambitions before I made this choice. Now, my ambitions are to raise healthy, well adjusted, intelligent and responsible children. So far, so good. My home is not spotless, and I’m not spending the day creating the perfect meatloaf recipe either. BUT, I’m here in the morning to chat over a hot breakfast with my kids, I’m able to volunteer at school and other places, I drive my kids (and many of their friends) to sports & activities, and my kids and husband appreciate the things I do for them. My kids still clean their own rooms and help out all over this house, and my husband still has chores of his own. When we sit down for dinner we all feel relaxed and content. If you can get content out of a 14 year old boy and a 12 year old girl, something is working well.

I have kept my hand in the workforce by consulting from home on occasion. I sit on the board for several organizations that keep my brain in gear and keep me sharp. When my children fly away from this nest I will no doubt find a challenging opportunity to fill my time. I feel blessed to have had this chance, many do not. I am beyond grateful for the time I get with my kids, they are incredible people and I enjoy their company (most of the time!). Recently I considered going back to work. When I asked my kids what they thought their response sealed the deal for me. They said; “We’ll only be home for a few more years and we would miss you if you left now.” “We want you to be happy, so you make the choice”. So, I’m still home and I can wait because in fact, there’s nothing I’d rather do that’s more important than this. It works for me, it works for us. I realize every family has a different dynamic and I respect that.

girlofscience's avatar

My mom stopped working the week before I was born and went back to work the month I went away to college! She was a stay-at-home Mom for 18 years and loved it. Whenever she filled out forms that asked about employment and had the options “employed,” “unemployed,” “housewife,” or “other,” she checked off “other” and wrote “Full-Time Stay-at-Home Mom” on the line.

Aethelwine's avatar

The key to the loneliness factor is school, school, school! Go on every field trip, parent meeting and play days. If your child is a toddler, have them take a class like dancing or soccer. I met many wonderful parents this way and gives you that “chance” to speak with another adult.

Darwin's avatar

You can also become the Brownie Leader, the Girl Scout Leader, the Cub Scout Leader, and a member of the leadership team for Explorers, as I did. That gets you in contact with other adults, both parents and folks at the council, and it keeps you learning new things (so you can teach them to the kids). If you like camping it’s a blast – I loved my time at Philmont (the National Boy Scout Training camp in New Mexico) and have many friends from those activities.

My mom never became the leader but she led every art badge that GSUSA offered.

Jack79's avatar

I’d love to be able to do that. In fact I sort of did, because I only worked 25h/week when my daughter was born and her mother sort of didn’t care much so I took care of her full time (plus the housework and all) and just left her (asleep) with her mum while I worked. Sometimes I even took her to work with me. It was similar recently, though this time I hired a babysitter while I was working. The good thing about my job is that even though it’s hard, I make good money per hour. I also work a lot at home (translations, editing, correcting) so that works fine. As some of you know I am no longer with my daughter for a different reason, but I’ve tried it for a total of 2 years and it worked great for both of us :)

(I’ve also always enjoyed cooking and cleaning and stuff, which is odd if you consider I had a career as a rock singer for a few years)

cdwccrn's avatar

For me, parttime work has provided the best of both worlds. My kids required minimal childcare time, I had a profession that was meaningful(nursing) and my life felt balanced.

Darwin's avatar

@Jack79Why wouldn’t a rock singer like decent food and a clean house? It is so much easier to sing when you’ve had decent grub and it is almost impossible to find your guitar pick if you live in a pig-sty.

St.George's avatar

I wish I could stay home, but we can’t afford it. When I did stay home, because I was looking for a job, it was difficult for me to enjoy the time because I was so preoccupied with not having enough money to eat, pay rent, etc.

Jack79's avatar

good point Darwin, though most people assumed I’d be too drunk/stoned/busy to care. In fact I spent most of my time at home either practising or simply relaxing and only went out for the gigs, during which I of course only drank water. Ok also tea sometimes

Darwin's avatar

Jack – my brother has been in a band for over 30 years. He is always at home except when playing, traveling to gigs, on tour, rehearsing, or buying another guitar. He still drinks beer, not water, but he is more of a guitarist than a lead singer.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I don’t know if I personally could be a stay at home parent, but respect that others do and that it can be a hard, yet important job. I think as long as it’s a shared decision between the parents and that the parent who stays home gets some “me” time as well as time to pursue other things they need to feel whole, then it’s fine.

gimmedat's avatar

Stay-at-home parenting isn’t for my husband or me, it is for our children. We made the decision that one parent will always be home, and we’ve worked it thus far. I am proud of this accomplishment.

Blondesjon's avatar

I can attest to the kids turning out great and it’s not just because my awsome wife, jonsblond, stays at home with them. It also has alot to do with her being an awsome mom. Love you baby! :)

90s_kid's avatar

Most definitely. When I grow up, I want to home school my kids, at least for a year.
And, whenever I meet home schooled kids at school for the first year, they are wicked smart! I think it is smart.

Nimis's avatar

@90s_kid That’s a different question, kid.

As for home parenting…
My mom was a stay-at-home mom.
My mom kicks ass is a bad ass.
Therefore, stay-at-home moms kick ass are bad asses.
Slightly flawed logic, but I’m sticking to it.

scamp's avatar

I have the utmost respect for stay at home Moms. They have nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of, and at least a hundred reasons to be proud of what they do.

I think that back in the 70’s, women’s libbers had some great ideas, but didn’t know how it would change family life. Now women get equal pay, but the economy is such that both parents have to work to make enough to pay all the bills. It’s really unfortunate that we have to count on strangers to raise our children now, and we aren’t able to instill our own morals and values because we are in the workplace and not the home.

So to those few of you who do stay at home and raise your children, I applaud you. You have one of the most difficult but richly rewarding jobs on the planet. SAHMs Rock!!

Allie's avatar

I would love to be a stay at home mom one day. Hopefully after I’ve traveled and done more of what I want to do. But one day in the future, when I have kids, I would like nothing more than to stay home and raise them.

galileogirl's avatar

I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home for my daughter’s firs 5 years and only went back to work after a divorce. It was physically and creatively quite challenging when you are thorough. Cooking completely from scratch, keeping a very tidy house, hands-on child rearing are more fulfilling than a lot of jobs.

Contrary to conventual wisdom, the feminist movement was not about a failed concept, that women wanted to have everything and ended up losing too much. It was about women having a right to make choices and that has been a great success, take it from someone who was there.

scamp's avatar

@galileogirl I think you may have misunderstood my post. I was there as well. And I agree that the movement was successful, but not without cost. Up until then most mothers were at home raising the children and molding them into the people they would be as adults.

Once America’s mothers hit the workforce, who raised the children? It was then that we first heard the term latchkey kid, and found kids at home after school by themselves because Mom and Dad were both working. I didn’t say the feminist movement was a failed concept, just that there were unexpected problems arising from the fallout.

By the way, my boobs are saggy because I also burnt my bra!! That wasn’t the best idea, you have to admit! ha ha!

galileogirl's avatar

I was a latchkey kid. My mother had six kids and after #3 she went went back to work within 2 mos. The first 3 were born 7/47–8/49.

I don’t kid myself, gravity had a lot to do with it but even there we have a choice…calling Dr 90210<<<

90s_kid's avatar

Oh yeah. I read the description, I just had teacher in my mind because I just looked at some questions about teaching :S.

cookieman's avatar

Two (plus) years ago, when my wife was laid off (she was a Dean of Students), she thought it would be a good idea to stay home for a year, get my daughter ramped up for Kindergarten and study for the bar exam (she finished law school in 2004 but never wanted to be a practicing attorney). We had plenty of savings and I made very good money, so I agreed.

She LOVED staying home with my daughter. Says she wouldn’t trade that time for the world.

If our finances had stayed up (she never passed the bar and I took a huge pay cut to avoid layoff), she would still love it. Now, as was mentioned above, she spends most of her time stressed about money and bills.

If/when she gets a new job, I would like to take a stab at staying home (if we can afford it).

Judi's avatar

@scamp @galileogirl ;
Even before that a few years back, before the beginning of the industrial age, mom AND dad were home and most made a living via home based businesses. The Blacksmith raised his son to be a blacksmith from an early age as well as the farmer and the carpenter. It has been an historically quick transition from 2 parents raising children to stay at home mom raising children to Nickelodeon raising children. I’m not saying that we should go back in time, I’m just saying that the concept of mom staying home while dad goes off to work was a very short lived one from an historical perspective.

scamp's avatar

@Judi that may be true, but even then it was primarily the Mom who looked after the kids until they were old enough to go into the fields or the blacksmith shop to work with their Dad. Native American women minded the children while the men hunted or went to war. Dad may have been at home, but it was really Mom who raised the kids. I don’t see moms staying at home while the men worked as a short lived practice at all.

But I do want to add that this thread is about stay at home parents, not just Moms. there are plenty of dads who do a great job staying at home with the kids. That is something fairly new as compared to historical events we already discussed, but they seem to take it all in stride and do a great job all the same.

nebule's avatar

I never really wanted children specifically, however, having got pregnant and being a single mum more or less from the point of conception i decided that i would be a stay at home mum and grin and bear it and do whatever it took to bring up a happy and thoroughly loved human being.

In all reality this is the the most surprising thing on earth…how love for your children can change you completely. I have learnt to love being a mum, it stretches me in ways that i couldn’t imagine and tests my patience all the time… but i also feel so blessed that i am the boss of my life and my son’s life, i get to choose what we do each day and feel free and liberated in motherhood. And when it comes to the crunch i don’t think any amount of money (i.e. choosing to work instead)can replace the time and attention you spend on your children’s lives.

It wasn’t something i planned…but this serves to confirm to me that “God”, “the source”, “Life” can have better things planned for you than in your own wildest dreams???

Judi's avatar

@lynneblundell ;
Are you in the UK? How do they handle single parents there? )financially.) I know you get way more “paid family leave” but if you choose to stay home longer does the state still help (beyond medical?)

nebule's avatar

After the statutory nine months leave…you can stay at home and the goverment provide you with income support, which amounts to around £50 a week depending obviously on your circumstances. You can also get Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and any money that the father either chooses to pay or is required to by law (10 % of his earnings…) or if we are being politically correct the “non resident parent”.

Living as a single parent is tight and difficult. But the government currently doesn’t expect you to go back to work until the child is seven years old, and in my circumstances this is a godsend because i currently also have debts frozen until i work…so i need to go back into a pretty well paid job to make it worth my while to work…

Overall i am very fortunate as i have family that have helped me get set up in a home. Most single mothers i imagine are either livign at home with their parents (statistically the majority of single parents are teenagers) or living on a council estate or on a waiting list for housing. These conditions make life very difficult as stated and incredibly stressful at a time when having a newborn child should be a deliriously happy time.

Having said all that i do think the governement do a great deal to help poor families/ parents in this country, we are blessed to live in such a place where i can provide a roof over my childs head, food in his belly, warmth, water and love. I know there are a lot of people better off financially than me..but i also know there are a lot more worse off.

Judi's avatar

@lynneblundell ;
It ‘s amazing. Who knows where you would be if you were in the US, but you would be feeling pressure to leave your child in childcare and get a job, that’s for sure. And having your debts frozen? Wow!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

A friend posted this video on his Facebook site, and I thought of this question. The Mom Song

augustlan's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock That was great! Thanks for sharing it with us.

scamp's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock I got that from a friend in my e-mail. it hilarious and oh so true!!

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