In this fast-paced society, parents go to work early in the morning and arrive late in the evening. In a rush, they get the kids ready, drop them at school and spend a considerable amount of time in traffic or in public transportation to go to work. On the other hand, kids spend most of the day at school. After school, their schedule is filled with extracurricular activities until their parents can pick them up.
Parents no longer spend enough quality time with their children. They come home tiered, with not enough strength to give the little ones the attention they require and deserve. Some days parents might even arrive home so late that they do not see their children at all.
At the end of the day, a parent-child relation is resumed to a couple of hours spent together in a rush to get to work and school or later in the day where everyone is so tiered that prevents them to enjoyed that short time together. Those interactions and the circumstances in which they occur may affect both parties in different profound ways.
Children look up to role models. The people around them are the ones that shape their values, who they are and who they will become. Moral foundations are established in childhood and are some of the most important stages in a child’s development.
By letting an infant or a toddler to the care of an institution, to the care of professionals, although competent, they cannot provide the same level of attention to each child. While at home with their parents they are the sole focus, feeling more secure, confident, nurtured and loved. Neglected children tend to become frustrated, unhappy. Social relations are important for kids and it is important that they attend school and participate in extracurricular activities. At this age, children learn mostly by example. By spending so much time away from home they will pick up values from someone else other than their parents. Staying at home with them enables a more controlled and loving environment to learn and grow.
More time to invest in personal growth
With infants and toddlers, personal time is almost inexistent. If the parents go every day to work or stay at home, it does not really matter. Children become the center of their lives, consuming all the parent’s free time. Although rewarding, it can be at the same time extremely exhausting. However, eventually the investment will pay off, because once they go to school parents will have more time from themselves during the day. They can take advantage of this free time to take care of themselves, volunteer, earn a new skill or taking a part time job with working hours overlapping the school time.
Nowadays, thanks to the wonders of the internet it is also possible to find a remote job. Many stay at home parents find additional meaning through an online job. There are endless possibilities: becoming bloggers/content writers, virtual personal assistants or translators. They can even take advantages of their previous careers to pursue a position in marketing, design, software or web development. Staying at home doesn’t have to mean a career ending. It can open several new doors.
Costs and benefits of being a stay at home parent
Paying for professional child care can be financial demanding. Choosing the most trustworthy and competent professionals can be costly. Many parents are faced with the decision of paying a considerable amount of money to provide the best professional care for their children or stay at home and provide that quality care themselves.
However, surviving with only one paycheck is not for everyone. Parents must apply their math skills to determine what is the most financial viable option. Some realize that keep working is more financially demanding that staying at home. Working parents spend a lot in transportation, work clothing, laundry, hair dressing. They eat out more times or pick some take away for dinner because they are just too tired to cook. These habits cost a lot of money and should be taken into consideration.
That said, the financial situation is not the only one that needs consideration. Thinking about the long-term future is also important. It does not have to be that way, but resigning from a job can mean a career ending. Going back to the work force can be difficult after the children carry on with their life’s.
There are also some tax deductions that parents can benefit from when they enroll their children in a professional child care institution. Staying at home is not taxed deductible.
Unfortunately, many couples don’t stay together forever and eventually get divorced. The parents that choose to stay at home and give away their career can have some difficulty managing these situations, because they no longer depend on their ex-partner paycheck and therefore must find alternative ways to start earning a paycheck again.
These are all factors that must be considered before making the life changing decision of becoming a stay at home parent. However, financially speaking it usually is the most viable alternative, not to mention the benefits that provides regarding the children education and moral growth.
Staying at home means that the parents will not miss all their children’s firsts: the first word, the first time they give a step. Witness the thrill felt by children when they discover something different. All those stages can be followed closely and can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. The environment where the younger children grow, learn and evolve is controlled, safe and full of love. But the parents also should think a little bit about themselves. Their own needs, personal and professional goals. Choosing to stay at home cannot be solely based on financial prospects, but also in the personal gains and the children’s wellbeing. The decision made must be one that benefits everyone. Parents always want what is best for their children, but they must also think in the consequences for their long-term future.