The home where Mom can be a homemaker and a mother and not have to work is an increasingly rare find. A child that spends seven hours a day in school then three more hours in after-school care or in a latchkey home winds up spending the majority of their waking hours in a day away from their parents. Then, when everyone finally does converge at home sometime after 6 pm, there is dinner, homework, baths and bed for the children leaving very little, if any, time for family interaction. In a household where both parents are present and this is an option, I think that a child gains an even higher advantage at home and in school when Mom doesn’t have to work. In this situation, Mom is there to help them do homework when their children get home from school, is there to talk about their day, and can help them relax with unstructured play time at home instead of in a daycare setting. A stay-at-home Mom can also volunteer at school, go on field trips, take care of the household and have the time and energy to make dinner at home, thus creating time for family moments together. These are advantages not only for the children but for the entire household. And, there is a real economic advantage to having Mom able to take care of the home. Those households spend less on eating out, impromptu grocery store stops, commuting expenses for Mom, and so forth.
I understand that there are many households where Mom has to work because she is single mother, and I applaud the mother who is willing to make that sacrifice for her children. Those Moms have to pull double duty and kids who are raised in these households learn some valuable lessons. In this day and age there are many pressures and demands that almost require both parents to work, but I challenge Mom and Dad to evaluate the need for both of them to be in the workplace. Are both parents working because they have to or are you both working because of your consumption of things and maintenance of your lifestyle? What can you as parents give up for the sake of having Mom always home? How does that value compare to the amount of additional income that Mom actually brings into the household? Can you give up vacations, or change them to something less expensive? Can you downsize your cars or home? Can you stretch your food budget and eat in more often? Can you do more consignment sales and stay out of the malls? If you can’t eliminate Mom’s income, can she back down to part-time work and be home when the children get home? I can promise you that all of these “cuts” won’t be noticed at all by your children, so please don’t be afraid that you are somehow short-changing your children.
Mom might want to work – that’s OK too. Some Moms get a great deal of self-worth in their ability to contribute financially to the household, and some just get intrinsic reward in having a vocation. There are work-at-home opportunities, part-time work, eBay businesses and other possibilities that give Mom the flexibility to do both. With the internet and a home computer, you have the makings of a factory to perform any number of businesses with no additional investment. A Mom who wants to work needs to be fulfilled in this manner, so explore ways to make that happen.
Mom and Dad, I encourage you to spend some time together and discuss what you can do to make this a reality. Having Mom at home for your children is an investment in your child’s future and in the overall health of your household.