Should I stay home with our kids?
This is a question that many moms ask and one that my wife asked me after our first daughter was born.
Becoming a stay-at-home-mom is a tough decision. There are a lot of important factors families have to weigh in making this decision.
Today, I thought I’d share our thought process and how it worked out for us in hopes that this might help another family make their decision.
A Couple of Things I’d Like to Address Up Front
Obviously, I’m not a mom so I acknowledge that I’m writing this from the viewpoint of a husband. I hope you’ll be gracious with me given this.
Also, I acknowledge that there are stay-at-home-dads out there, but I believe they are still a lot less common than their female counterparts although no less important. Hopefully, any fathers out there trying to make this decision will be able to adjust this information for their situation.
Finally, I am writing about our experience. I don’t really know what the research says about the pros and cons of staying at home. I just know what I know from living it.
The Stay-At-Home-Mom Factors We Considered
My wife has a teaching degree and had full-time employment when we had our first child. At first, she went back to work, but it wasn’t long before she started thinking about staying home.
As we began to discuss it, I think there were three primary factors that we talked about. We asked ourselves:
1. Would She Enjoy Staying at Home With the Kids?
Personalities differ. I think moms have to be real honest with themselves about this question. Some women like being stay-at-home-moms and some do not. If you don’t, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. Every woman has to look at their strengths and weaknesses and decide for themselves what is best for their family.
For my wife, she believed she would enjoy it. She has always had a heart for kids. That’s one reason she became a teacher. In fact, not staying at home was making her unhappy.
On the other hand, my wife spent several years getting her teaching degree and it pained her to think that she would be stepping away from her career for a very extended period.
Becoming a stay-at-home-mom is definitely a sacrifice and one that should not be entered into lightly. A woman really has to weigh her personality, her social needs, her need for achievement and her desire to stay at home before making this decision.
2. Would Our Daughter(s) Benefit From Her Staying at Home?
Of course, a big part of deciding to be a stay-at-home mom is that many feel it is the best thing for the kids. This was one of the driving factors for us. We felt then and still feel today that having one parent at home was the best option. We think this benefits our kids as follows:
- They get more love. Our kids get a lot of love every day from their mother because she is at home with them. This helps them to feel like they matter which builds their self-worth.
- They have a more stable home life. My wife has the time to create a very comfortable, stable and loving home environment for our family. We believe kids need the sense of security this creates to really flourish in life.
- They get more education. A stay-at-home-mom has more time to be involved with their kids education. My wife has the time to ensure our kids get the best education possible. Of course, since she is a teacher by trade, we get a double-bonus here.
- They get more guidance. We feel that more parental involvement helps our kids to avoid common pitfalls. We think this will be especially beneficial during the teen years.
- They get more consistent discipline. My wife is more in tune with our daughters because she is with them so much and she is able to intervene early when things get a little off track. We believe this has a tremendously positive impact.
These are just a few of the more important ways that we feel our kids benefit from my wife staying at home. Of course, a mother that works may be able to also do at least some of these things, but it is going to take a lot of extra effort. You may be one of those people that could make it work. However, we decided that my wife staying home would be the best thing for our family.
3. Would We Be Able to Make It Financially?
Families often jump past the first two of these three considerations straight to wondering if they could make it financially if one spouse stayed at home. I’d argue that you need to back up and look at the other things first.
Once you think through the first two considerations, then you’ll have in mind the relative importance of staying at home. This gives you a much better basis for making the needed financial decisions.
For us, we were going to take a big cut in pay for my wife to stay home. However, we were willing to make this sacrifice because we knew it would have such a powerful long-term impact on our girls.
This is one of the reasons I feel so strongly that achieving a level of financial freedom is so incredibly important. It gives you options. Because we had been fairly wise with our money, we’ve gotten even better now, we were able to make this choice for the benefit of our family. What a great feeling!
You just have to think through your priorities. You might have to make significant adjustments to your lifestyle to pull this off or you might have to look for ways to make extra income, but trust me, it is worth it. We did it and so can you!
Stay-At-Home-Moms Are Heroes in My Book
Moms that choose to stay home and raise their children are heroes. They make sacrifices for the benefit of their family and my hat is off to them. However, this choice is not for everyone. It is important that you think it through carefully.
I’m so glad that my wife was willing to make this choice. She has stayed home with our kids for about nine years now and it was worked out fabulously! If you are considering this, I hope this information helps you to think through your decision more clearly.
Photo by loomingy1