When should a mom leave her job and stay home with her baby?

Moms make the decision to work or stay at home for a variety of reasons. In what situation should a mom leave her job and stay at home with the baby? When money isn't an issue? At a certain age of the baby?

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40  Answers

1 0

Why isn't the question "when should a parent leave their job?" As far as I am aware there is one thing and one thing only that a father can't do for their children - breastfeed. So being able to stay home while nursing your baby is certainly easier on you, them, your breasts, everything. My husband and I have been lucky enough to swap times home with our babies and I think parents benefit from that time as much as the babies do. Of course a child will benefit from having one on one attention from a loving parent if possible. But children also benefit from the love and care of parents who work full time. Many of us have memories of the love and care provided by a nanny, or a grandparent and still have a bond with our parents that can't be rivaled. I think we need to quit putting so much pressure on mothers to be the all and everything to everyone - career, wife, mother, sibling, daughter - we wonder why we're so exhausted all the time! The answer is simple - do what works for you in your partnership taking into account the needs of your child. That answer will be as individual as your life, your relationship, and your child - as it should be. Its just too bad that society doesn't offer more part-time solutions for the many part-time roles we (mothers AND fathers) lead.

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Amen!

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Great message

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Yeah!

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Yeah that's very good comment. It's really the parents' responsibility to look after their children. Yet I think it's better if mom stay home and rear your child from birth to about 3 or 4 years old if money isn't the issue. It's better if you get to train your child the discipline that you wanted and you could look after him grow. Delicate as they are, they need the most care that we mothers are capable of giving. After which, when the baby goes to child cares already, you would be pretty bored...

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Amen! I totally agree!

2 4

I was stay at home for the first year, my other half was the stay at home parent for year two.... and was an awesome stay at home dad! I am proud of him!

2,457 9

I agree! I was quite unfulfilled as a stay-at-home mother. I stayed at home simply because I was unable to get a job, not through any altruistic notions of being a "better" mother. When I finally got work, my oldest son said he was never more proud of me. My kids were a whole lot happier once I was working.

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Good point on the "parents" thing, not just moms! I totally agree with you that it's a family decision and what works for your family is not necessarily going to work for other families.

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100% said

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Whenever posssible you'll never get those years back and they are over to soon.

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So...if you work, you miss ALL the time your kids are growing up? Boy, if I truly worked and slept all 168 hours of the week, I'd go nuts!

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i worked full time for awhile with 4 kids and it got to a point where i was miserable and found that i couldnt juggle the cooking, cleaning, homework time and baths and be a wife and work a full time job. There comes a time when u realize that money doesnt buy happiness and i was at work one day and went to eat chinese on my lunch break and my fortune cookie when i opened it said" family needs to be your # 1 priority". That was my wakeup call as dumb as it sounds! I dont regret my decision. We have to do without some things bc were down to 1 income but my knowing whos raising my kids is far worth more than any paycheck.

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i think you rite ,and you get yust to that live ,no extra ,but the kids gif you that extra .simpel thinks its what they like .wen they get older it wil be some thing else. you lurn to make think you selfs ,like cake and pai and there close.But wen you do like you work you good take a cleaning lady and a baby sitter fore wen they come home .to prepear you diner . stay at home to days a week and the weekends .ore one day a week and the weekends .

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If you are able to stay home now, you probably have a spouse/partner. Where in all your list of work did this person show up? Did this person do *any* of the domestic work? No wonder you burned out and decided to stay home. My heart goes out to you. Even when you stay home, your partner should still pitch in at home -- otherwise you are still in the same situation as before, where you're on duty 24/7, doing everything -- only now you don't get a paycheck. Time to share the workload.

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I agree with Lara. I was a high school teacher. The workload during the school year was overwhelming. I got no help at home, so did what was necessary to keep from going crazy. I quit my job. Stayed home for 10 years, and then substitute taught for 15 years. My pension is next to nothing, but I would do it all over again, because the time I spent with my boys is priceless. Also, when my husband and I bought a house, we made sure that we could make payments with just one income. Keep yourself out of debt, and it is much easier to live on one income.

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I cannot believe that someone would actually say a working mom does not love her child. Seriously? I am glad you were able to stay home; I'd love to do the same as would a lot of my girlfriends, but I actually am the breadwinner in my family. If not for my salary, we would not be able to have a roof over our heads or pay the utilities, etc. And, no, we do not have a huge house or new cars in the garage. Crazy as it seems, some women have good jobs for which they went to college to obtain. And, along with the good job comes a good salary and benefits for my husband and two kids. Quit being so stereotypical and understand that what worked/works for you may not be the grand solution for all. Do you not think some working moms feel guilty already for not being able to be home to raise their kids? Do we really need a forum of women adding salt to a wound? Most of you have said you wouldn't bring any money home after daycare, gas, etc., so I guess the decision was easy. Good for you. But circumstances are different in different situations. So how about showing some tolerance, perhaps even a touch of empathy, and quit portraying working moms as money-hungry, materialistic, child-avoiding monsters. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I managed to breastfed both of my babies even as a working momma by pumping when necessary; I do a lot for my family and sacrifice for their good and don't deserve to be judged as an unfit mother. I have never for a second doubted their love for me or our family. God is central in our home as well. Ever heard of "judge not lest you be judged?"
I've never gotten involved in this forum until now, and I'm sad to see how some moms treat one another. Why, oh why do women insist on being so judgmental? Why not lift a fellow momma up? Only we know how tough a job it really is!

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I totally agree with you and it sounds like you are being a great mom by making the best decision for your family! Having been both a stay at home mom and a working mom myself I know that both are difficult in different ways and both are amazing in different ways. Your children are benefiting from your choice to work - maybe not in the same way that they would benefit if you were with them 24/7 but in different ways that are also very valuable. Let's encourage each other instead of judging each other!

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You're absolutely right that not all Moms can (or want to) stay home with their kids. If the Mother is the sole breadwinner, then it can also be a consideration for the Father to stay home with the kids too, if he so chooses. This is an opinion forum where people answer the question and give their opinion on whether or not Moms (or even Dads, really) should stay home with their kids. If everyone's opinions were the same, then the question wouldn't have been asked. I don't think that anyone in here was saying that you are an unfit Mother by deciding to work. (unless I missed the posts that alluded to that). We're just all here to share our viewpoints. I think that if working full time works for you and your Family, then you're doing what works for you. I have a college degree also and made a good bit of Money before I had children, but I chose to stay home with my kids full time. Have I had to make compromises? sure. But, that was the path I chose to take. There are many different ways to raise a child and people should always do what they feel comfortable with.

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Great comment. As a working mom to a newborn I agree with you. I too am still able to pump at work and provide that nourishment to my baby. I cherish the time in the morning, at night and on the weekends with her. I am also blessed to be able to have the daycare at my job so I can visit at lunch. It can be done. :-)

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Oh yes, it was clearly implied that those of us mothers that work are less than perfect moms. I would would've loved to stay at home with my children...I still would. Unfortunately, we need both incomes to make ends meet. And no...we do not go out to eat...we've been to two movies in the past 8 years, our house is small, our cars are 6 and 10 years old, my husband and I work opposite shifts. But, I nursed each child, one for 19 months and I then stopped only when my second pregnancy stopped my production, and my son until he was two. The three of us, four when my husband is home, sit down to EVERY meal together...we have family time, share time, game nights, "sit together time" where we just spend down time with one another. We share chores appropriate for their ages, go to Church together, pray every night together, and start and end every day with hugs and kisses. Our children go to a Christian child-care center where they learn, play, developed excellent socialization skills, and according to our elementary school...enter school with higher scores than their classmates, and I have seen the proof. I come home and cook meals from scratch...my children eat everything from artichokes to zucchini, and rarely processed or prepared food. The children come before housework, so my house is not as perfect as yours may be, my clothing is probably more wrinkled because there's not enough hours in the day to iron and I haven't weeded my veggies or flowers in a couple weeks. We working moms work harder than you can ever understand to make a home for our families...some out of need and some out of desire. But don't you dare say we are putting anything else ahead of the needs of our children. You have no idea and no place to pass judgement on those of us who want or need to work. Horrible testament to some of your self proclaimed Christian values.

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I'm glad you said it. It also seems presumptuous to me that every mother believes that their 24 hr care is what's best for their kids...I'm not saying it's not a good thing, but kids are nurtured by all sorts of things other than their primary parents. Do you think that in the past, mothers with kids spent 24 hours a day nurturing them? No...they were too busy working, milking, canning, gardening, cleaning, cooking etc...they had their kids go and play with other kids, outside! Or their kids were helping them with work, babysitting their other kids, or even working to help support the family. It's pretty regressive to think that being a stay at home mom is unconditionally the best thing fort all children, and it's also completely unrealistic. If you're in danger of not being able to support your family, I'm sure a kid with a roof over their head is much better off than with a homeless parent that watches them every day.

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Jen - there was a comment by a lady who said something to the effect of "a mother who truly loves her children and is not a single mom would never chose to work and let strangers raise them" (I'm paraphrasing as her post is no longer visible). She went on to say something like real moms "make it work" no matter what so that they can be home, and that children of working mothers are basically dregs of society because the mom was too busy making money so she could "have" and "go" and "do". I found it very offensive to imply that I (and many other working moms) do not love my children because I work and don't spend 24/7 with them. I agree that a forum is great for sharing opinions, but I do believe we can do so in a respectful way. I didn't see any working moms chastising stay-at-home moms with the stereotypical "you're just home eating bon-bons and watching Oprah and spending hubby's money", but several ladies indicated that working moms are either trying to escape their kids or just make money for more stuff, vacations, cars, a huge house, etc. I am willing to respect someone's opinion as long as they can present it in a way that is deserving of respect. I am glad you had the opportunity to choose to stay at home; however, it has never been a simple choice for me. I am a Christian, and yet I have found some Christian ladies are very judgmental on this point (not implying you; this is an observation of mine based on personal experiences). It seems some assume every woman has a choice, and if they do work, well that working momma must not be a very Godly woman or love her kids as much as she loves her career. So frustrating! Anyway, thanks for commenting....yes, there are many acceptable paths....I hope all mommas on this string feel a certain level of peace with their decisions. Also, thanks to the other working mommas who commented....being a working momma is not easy. And, Serena, good points - my Dad can attest to the fact that he was never just home playing with his Mom and siblings. Just as you noted above :-)

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I never got to see that comment. I guess it got pushed out, or maybe even deleted. That is horrible that someone would say, or even *think* that about working Women. I have many friends who work full time, go to school part or full time and still are wonderful Mothers. I agree that every Mom should have the choice (and in some cases they do not because of financial needs). Being a SAHM is no walk in the park, and I'm sure that working full time and then coming home to the kids has it's own set of challenges. Heck... just BEING a Mom (whether you work outside the home or not) is a tough job in itself. :) It's a shame that this question opened up such a debate.

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You couldn't be more right. I actually get more quality time with my daughter as a working mother than some people I know who stay at home with their children. Why? Because I know my time is limited and I MAKE special time for us. I chose to go back to work and I think I'm a better person for it. She is with a nanny who loves her like a grandparent during the day, and gets special one on one time with mommy and daddy in the evenings and on weekends.

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I totally agree with Andrea, some women can stay at home and then their are those whom have to work and provide along with their spouse. This does not make you a bad parent because you are trying to make a better life and future for your child. Then their are single mothers whom do not have a choose but to work, and I applaud each and everyone of them. I grew up in a single parent home and my mother worked very hard but she also expressed love toward me and my other three sisters. She gave us more love than we could have asked for and it made us better women and stronger. I thank her for working and I think that working moms are just as good as a stay at home moms.

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I agree with you. I browsed a few of the comments and it seems that some seem a bit judgmental. I am a working mom also. I'm married with two children ages 2 1/2 and 10 months. I would agree that what works for one family may not work for another. In my house, I'm the bread winner also. My husband has a bachelor's degree, but was laid off earlier this year. I was working on my Ed.D. when I got pregnant with our first child. I haven't finished my doctorate, but I have a Master's Degree and make a nice salary each year. I think there's nothing wrong with a mom working to help take care of her family. I think being a Mom period is Hard Work. Whether you work full-time outside the home or not, mommies are still mommies---cooking dinner, making MD appts, choosing clothes, combing/washing hair, brushing teeth---we do a lot--even if you're lucky (like me) and have a great husband by your side helping you out along the way. I think inadvertently women become competitive at everything they (we) do---and even though this website is designed for us to help each other--often times people leave comments not realizing the judgments they make and how they affect other readers. If I could, I would want to be home with my children full-time (the grass is always greener on the other side...lol), but switching roles right now is the best thing that works for my family right now---and I'll it as long as necessary because in the end, as long as my kids are loved by me and my husband and are well taken care of and well adjusted---nothing else matters. So Kudos to ALL moms doing whatever they need to do to raise productive citizens with compassionate hearts :)

5 0

I would like to add a comment and say that I have been a working mom since my daughter was six weeks old and we are expecting another one in about six months. I am planning to go back to work soon after that child is born. I did have feelings of wanting to be home with my daughter when she was an infant, however, our financial situation never allowed us the luxury. I still breastfed her for seven months of her life by pumping while at work and nursing early morning, evening/night. I will likely do the same with this new one on the way. Bottom line is I actually felt a bit guilty at first, but ironically I landed my first real career oriented job when my daughter was an infant and don't regret having the experience that has allowed me to further my career and in turn become a better financial provider for our family. I make more money than my husband and we need my income in order to pay our bills (not simply to have have luxury items but in order to just get by). I get upset when people cast judgement that I should be home with our small children or that I am somehow spread too thin because I have small children and I choose to work. In my case, I have a strong network of daycare, family and friends where we help one another when childcare is needed. I also cherish the time I am able to spend with my family on weekends and evenings/vacations - it actually makes me a better mother in some regard because we spend quality time that is memorable and I make that effort more than I likely would if I were home full time. Frankly, I find that being with kids non-stop can burn me out faster than being at work. Not everyone is cut out out to be or should be condemned to be a stay at home parent and I do believe my kids benefit greatly from having a mother who works, provides financially and sets an example of having work-life balance success. Our family is fine with me being a working mom, not just because we have to be but because I enjoy it and feel whole by having my time outside of the home. I don't feel guilty about that!

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whenever Possible. I mean the first moment you can survive. Give your child the gift of a mom who nurtures 24 hours a day, consistency in discipline and strength in spiritual training. Children's needs have not changed in the last fifty years. Society has.

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Actually, we have more contact with our kids than a lot of mothers in the past had. Before, when childcare was more affordable, parents routinely put their children in the care of nursemaids, nannies, and did not spend nearly as much time with them as we feel is necessary today. Expecting a mother to be the sole care-giver 24 hours a day is a pretty tough thing for every mother to aspire to....the saying "it takes a village" means just that.

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I'd rather give mine the gift of 2 parents fully involved in their lives.

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My wife and i decided when we had the first child it was important for her to stay home.
We had to make some changes. It wasn't easy, but it is worth it.
Now Our first is 3 and second is 6 months.
I think its more about the children than the Money.

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Very interesting responses- but personally I'm not raising my daughter to be a housewife. I'm raising her to be independent and to be able to stand on her own two feet. I'm teaching these skill by example. For too many women the choice to stay at home leads to poverty. I wonder how many SAHM would work if they made 100k+ a year?Depending on a man for survival doesn't always have a happy ending. I've been married for 10 years and my parents have been married for 40. My husband has a very good job- but so do I. I choose to work. My parents both worked also-and both spent quality time with me. Working, however does mean when I'm home- I'm home. We are reading, teaching the kids language, music, art, and just loving them. They are with me after work at 5pm until morning and on every weekend and every holiday. We eat supper together every night, and my daughter looves helping me cook. Any time I'm not working, I'm with my kids. We take wonderful family vacations together- my children are happy and so am I.

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Very good comment, I earn a lot of money and am proud of my achievements - my SAHM friends didn't have good jobs, or hated working.

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I left an incredibly well paid position to stay at home, we are not in poverty by any means but chose to give up some luxury things. What is this good example stuff? My children will have a great example I have a 4 year degree, graduated top of my class and early and still choose to be at home because I can. When my children are out of highschool I will get my masters and still have 20years to work before i hit retirement age. I am not raising housewives either. Believe me I am independant and can stand on my own 2 feet. The beauty of my marriage is that this is not an issue, my husband does not somehow own me now. Please be more sensative when commenting.

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4 0

I have a BS and Masters degrees in Elementary Education, my husband is a 1st Class Corpsman in the Navy. Together we earned close to $100K. I chose to give up my career in teaching until my daughter goes to Kindergarten (currently she is 3). It wasnt something I planned as I was working and going to college. I always assumed I would be a working mom like my mom. My daughter was born 14 weeks early and was giving a 25% chance of survival. There was no way I could mentally, spiritually, physically or emotionally give to my students what they needed when my baby was in NICU. I left my job at the point. After 65 days in NICU she was released, but only weighed 4lbs 9 0z and her Ped. advised us if possible to keep her out of daycare. Because of circumstances my decision was kind of made for me. I believe being here with her everyday giving her one on one is best for her growth in all areas. It has been difficult leaving a career that I worked hard to obtain behind, but it has been rewarding. To all of the moms out there SAHM or working outside of the home my hats go off to you. God has called us to do the most important job we will ever have and however you do it if you feel good about it that is the most important thing.

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well, there is one thing no one mentions-- the Bible. What does it have to say about all this? Do we even know?

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Whenever her heart tells her to. I too have worked full time corporate world and been able to stay at home with my children ages 19, 13, 6 and 9 mos. I purposely had my children so far apart so I could enjoy each one them individually and give them the one on one attention each one of them needs for all the milestones in their lives. The older 3 have memories of me working and staying at home with each of them. While I worked they enjoyed eating out more because i could afford it and didn't have the time or energy to cook for them. While i stayed at home they enjoyed a home cooked meal everynight and hardly ever got take out because I couldn't afford it. I've learned how to become more creative and frugal being a stay at home mom which in turn I've been able to teach my children how to sew, cook, do yardwork, spot bargains and only buy on sale. Things I took for granted or didn't have the time to do while working. While working my children have learned how important dedication and hardwork pay off such as promotions, vacations, nice cars, and little luxuries people also take for granted like cable and air conditioning. Either way a mom can choose to make the most of what they have and teach their children from both. Bottom line is; my children know I work hard at home or at a workplace for them. You'll know as a mother when it's time to do either, and I thank God I have a husband that is willing to work one or two jobs if necessary for our childrens needs. Single moms don't have the luxury of getting to choose when they want to stay home. Their decision to work is out of necessity. Just know you're in this mom's thoughts and prayers daily.

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I think this is the best response I have read so far! I grew up with a mom that worked full-time and I never felt unloved or that she was ever too busy for us. I personally love both working and staying home with my one year old son! I stayed home for six months then went back to work and I have seen how much he has grown and advanced while he was in daycare. I also agree that being raised by a working mom taught me alot more than if she had been home full time. I learned to really appreciate the individual time spent together and also the value of hard work. Thank you for even mentioning that because I think too many people, NOT just women, forget that.

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Bravo! I loved your response also...I've been on both ends, the working career mom and currently stay- at-home mom (for about 5-6 yrs now) and my children have seen me in both scenarios (except for my little girl). They have experienced the difference in our lives as a result and appreciate what they had and what they have now. Both are very fullfilling and rewarding but in different ways. As Felisha said, you can teach your children about hard work (ethics) outside of the home and the benefits of that or teach them how to be good stewards and about frugality and developing certain talents when there's only one income (which you certainly can teach if you're working also, just comes up a lot more when there's less money). Now , when I read articles on this subject or comments it seems that single parents are left out in this ... They obviously can't stay home. They need more support and not be made to feel guilty for not staying home. I've known some single parents that have done an incredible job at raising their children (more so than some two-parent households I know) and sending them to private schools and consequently university. Keep up the great work whatever your choice, all for the best of the children!

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lovely comment. My mum went from stay at home till I was 8 years, Then she worked 60+ hours a week till I left home at 19, because my father became disabled and had to come home. I missed my mum so much and cried because we didn't know our dad as he had been living in NY for 16years and we couldn't afford to see him more than maybe once a year. (I live in Ireland) But when we got the hang of it, it was good in a different way. We had money, My mum was earning really great money, we got digital TV, A new car every year, We visited several different countries. But best of all, we became friends. Mum wasn't there all the time, so we would chat for hours when we got together, She would work 16hour night shifts and then sleep all day. So when the weekend came, we would catch up, and end up talking about things that we never would have if we were together all day. And on holidays we got to know each other even more. She was made redundant 3 years ago and has done so well, she doesn't want to be at home now that we have all flew the coop, so she is studying law at 55 and getting distinctions in every subject, she has been studying for 3 years now and we talk on the phone every day and see eachother a couple of times a week. I really think my mother working was the best thing that ever happened to us and our friendship! x

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Um...may I say...PIRATED...That's almost exactly my view, only stated much more eloquently than I ever could.

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I will just say you're rude, to even suggest I would say something exactly like you since I wrote this almost a year ago and I don't even see your response in here now or before. It's a suggestive blog, not a thesis, my writing comes from the heart, not from the viewing of others, so do keep an eye out for my novel when its published, I'm pretty sure I didn't pirate that either.

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Personally, I chose to stay home with both of my children from the time they were born. I didn't start working again until they were both in school full time. Even now I only work part time (10am-3pm) so that I'm home when they get off the bus, to help them with homework and take them to sports practice, etc. You don't get those years back and the time I spend with my children is very precious. :)

Honestly, I know MANY people who work full time (both parents) because they "need to". I guess it's all in where your priorities lie, because these same people are the ones who have large, expensive homes, brand new cars, etc. To me, being there for my kids is much more important than any of those material things. Living with kids when you only have 1 income certainly isn't always easy. But, the compromises we sometimes make to make it work are always worth having that priceless time with my kids. :)

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I totally agree with you...

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I did exactly the same thing. Stayed home and raised my children (was mother, teacher, doctor, etc, etc.). Believe me, it is a full-time job! When the youngest was settled in school I went back to work part-time. When he went to high school, I went back to work full-time. Now the 4 older children have left home, and the 2 youngest are still at home, I am able to enjoy working without the need to be everything to everyone. Those stay-at-home years with my babies were the happiest and most satisfying years of my life, and the successful well-balanced adults I have produced are the proof.

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:) I completely agree with you, Jenny. Being a full time stay at home Mom is the best and most rewarding job I've ever had and I wouldn't trade it for the world. :)

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My husband doesn't earn enough to pay our bills and buy food. I work in IT which is well paid, so I partly work out of necessity, but we have treats as well. Women fought for so long to be educated and 'free' so if you have spent years before you had kids working hard and cementing a career then surely this benefits everyone in the family.

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Exactly what I am doing now! We don't have new cars and expensive vacations, but we make ends meet. I have a college degree, but choose to stay home with my daughter (have son on the way too). I work one day a week where she stays with my mom, which helps income and gives me a "break". I love being the one to see all of her firsts and being her "teacher" too (I have an elementary and early childhood degree), and my husband and I are committed to this arrangement, and we are making it work financially. My mom was a stay at home mom to 4, and we all agree that we were never went without and were so lucky to have our mom home with us!

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I love being a stay at home mom. My daughter is my #1 priority, and I am an example of someone who will do anything possible to stay at home. I have a teaching degree I'm not using. Instead I'm cleaning houses one day a week while my mom watches her. It's worth it to spend all of the time with her and not to leave her 50+ hours a week, and my mom enjoys their day together!

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I am really upset by the answers on here. I am a mum to a gorgeous 2.5 year old boy and an aunt/guardian to a beautiful 4.5 year old girl. I am also a teacher. My niece was left with me full-time at the age of 2 months and I was not granted maternity leave as it was not acknowledged. We juggled her care until she turned 1 and then she was put into daycare full time. We carefully chose a daycare that suited her and us and she thrived in the environment. When my son was born, I had just been granted my permanency and was granted paid maternity leave, plus the option of 2 years off without pay. I then got the optionto stay home with my kids and was blessed to have a hard-working husband to allow me to stay home for 2 years. I had to return to work this year and have found it very hard. But my niece is in kindy 3 days a week and day care 2 days and my son is in day care 5 days a week and they both enjoy it. The day care is actually a learning centre run by early education teachers and my kids are thriving. We have quality time together every day and our weekends are super special.
I wish dearly that I could have stayed home for longer with my children, and feel guilty going back to work sometimes, but that is our situation - without both of us working, we could not continue to pay our mortgage. Day care is a valid choice for working families and the right one can be beneficial to your children.
People should not judge others because they have to return to work. In this economy, 2 incomes are needed more and more to keep a family financially secure. I am, in no way, saying that money is everything - I am a teacher and we are not on the high income list! We are not financially rich, but we are rich in every other way because we love each other and support each other. My husband and I both have an incredibly strong bond with our kids and we both work fulltime. My kids are confident in social situations, play extremely well with other kids, have fantastic manners and morals, and speak incredibly well.
Working does NOT take away from my skills as a mother - I cook for my kids, I read to them every day, I play with them inside and outside, we go on walks, we go on outings, we explore topics of interests to them, my husband takes them to school and daycare and I pick them up. They do not sit in front of a television all day and vegetate - they have active imaginations, bright and curious minds, and everyone comments on how great they are. It is the time spent with the kids that counts. How dare anyone judge me or other working mums! I love my kids with all my heart!

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well said :) you do what you have to :)

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I find most of these answers extremely offensive. I have been both a stay at home mom and a working mom at different periods of my children's lives. I can honestly say I've seen the benefits to both. I think this is a very personal decision, and not one that anyone else can make for your family. The fact that so many have posted that the way they do it is the right way seems very narrow minded and sad. I hope this decision would be one that families make based on what God is calling them to do and not based on some forum of moms who have never walked in eachother's shoes.

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I didn't feel like there were many answers that implied their way was the "right" way, just the way that worked for them. My issue was that the question is framed in such a way that really only allows for one answer! If you think so harshly of "some forum of moms" which you are a part of, way are you a part of it? I've been both as well, and see benefits to both and can say that when I am away, I wish I were home, but that I like the classes and work I do as well and don't want to go without them. Getting an education and working is also something I do for my child, for their future. It's definitely a struggle to keep them in balance.

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Wow. Heard you loud and clear. You've made me really think about why I'm even on Circle of Moms...

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Well after this thread I am definitely done with Circle of Moms. I am glad that I am not the only one here who believes that there can be more than one way to raise a healthy & happy child!

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Everybody is different. I've been fortunate to stay at home with my daughter for the past two years while her father is the primary breadwinner. However, at this point, I'd rather work. It's hard to be able to adequately stimulate my child 24/7, and I honestly feel she would benefit from being in a structured daycare with other kids. I also don't like not having my own money. I find that every job I've ever had has been easier than staying home with a toddler day in and day out. If you are the sort of mother that loves being at home with your kids, and believe that everyone benefits from such an arrangement, that's fantastic. However, not all of us are wired to be stay at home moms, and sometimes it's better for all parties involved when a mother can have a job/career, and the child has a good caring environment to foster independence, and learning skills.

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This is true. I never thought if it like that, but even this morning, my sister was telling me (She is a student), that her and her partner have decided that whoever is making the most money will stay at home. But her partner really wants to be the one to stay at home with the kids. He has decided not to return to college and keep working in a hardware store until she is finished and has her business and mgt degree and can start supporting them. She would never want to stay at home! She has said one or two children, but not if she has to stay at home! Now that her BF has agreed that he will stay at home, and love it, she has said she might stretch to three lil ones! But he believes that he will have a better relationship staying at home! very 21st century x

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Totally agree! My son is 2 1/2 and toddlers are such hard work to be with 24/7. He thrives in day care and gets bored when stiuck at home. I dont think I could give him 100% attention if I was a stay at home mum because I owuld have housework, cooking, errands etc that have to be done during the day. He is a happier child because he gets to to to "school" and be with his friends and learns a lot, and I am a better parent because I get the stimulation from working, have enough money to not worry about feeding and clothing him and cherish every minute I am home with him. Being a single Mum meant I had to go back to work full tim when he was 6 months old but I would have done it at some point even if I wasn't single. Admittedly when he a a bit older but would still make the same decision.

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The choice to work or stay at home does not a mother make. My full thoughts are under Andrew Smith's post. Bravo to you stay at home mom who have given up expensive clothes, fancy dinners...etc. I envy your ability to stay with your children. But don't you dare claim to be better parents because you stay at home. We are out here in the workforce making an honest living, because we need to. We need jobs with medical benefits, we need to pay bills and taxes. Some of us have had spouses suffering unemployment and wracked up credit cards suffering through the lean years or whose credit was shot because of irresponsible ex spouses. Some of us are paying their college loans, sometimes more than one. And heaven forbid, there are some women who, gasp, actually enjoy having a family and a career. I see nothing wrong with that whatsoever, but if I were able to afford it, I would most definitely love to be home more with my children. My children may disagree because at their daycare they get to play at the park, go to the pool, share, eat, play and learn with their friends in a Christian environment having more fun than they probably would than being at home while I would do yard work, house work or shopping. And without having their friends around to play, for there are none their age where we live. I would not choose to put them in daycare for these reasons, I am only saying they are in no way suffering. The quality time we send together is just as good if not better because I am not taking that time for granted. I nursed my children longer than most of you SAHM probably did...made my own baby food, still make wholesome suppers and have two very healthy, thank the Lord, children who even love to eat their peas. Oh, and let's not forget, we are not just supporting our families but others out there too. Yes, the ones that are chosing to stay at home and collect welfare and food stamps. So for those of you that do, I seriously hope you are not among the moms on here judging that you are a better mom than the those of us that work. So great for those of you that can. But again, it's not whether you stay home or work that makes you a good mother. It is your mothering abilities that make you a good mother.

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I honestly don't think that any of the SAHMs were saying that they are better Moms because they stay at home. People are just offering their opinions on here as answers to the question. There are certainly people out there who do need to have both parents working. I think everyone understands that. Anyone may believe that their way is best... because it is the best for *them*. You appear to be somewhat offended by some of the comments that some of the SAHMs evidently made. However, you made some very accusatory, and offending comments yourself... such as "the ones that are chosing to stay at home and collect welfare and food stamps". MANY of us who choose (yes, I said choose) to be SAHMs are college educated and left good jobs when we made the choice to stay home and care for our children. It IS a very personal choice and I agree that no one should be chastised either way for their decision to work or stay at home. Just as you wish that SAHMs would not judge you for choosing to work, you shouldn't turn around and just those of us who do stay at home. As you said in your own post... "it's not whether you stay home or work that makes you a good mother. It is your mothering abilities that make you a good mother."

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I disagree. Re-read the posts. There is a poster that believes we should read the book about how we are screwing up our kids, a plethora of comments about taking stock over where our priorities lie, comments how we are missing out on the most crucial and formative years and even one that we should reconsider having children if we are looking for financial independence. If that is not implying that working moms are doing a worse job at raising their children, I don't know what is. As for my comments....what did I accuse anyone of? Not of the act of collecting or using food stamps itself....no, for I did no such thing. You, however APPEAR to link my statement to one of your own about being college educated and leaving good jobs to choose to become SAHM's. I make no such comparison and do not equate the need to utilize government financial support with education levels. So how exactly am I judging you or other SAHM's? I am stating simply how funding comes out of my paycheck so hopefully if there is a mother on here that is collecting, that she is not one of those making the comments of the like that I have referenced above. There is no confusing or misinterpreting those comments...they make perfectly clear that they believe we are "putting money before the needs of children". I am envious of anyone that can stay home with their children, even of those who can afford to work part time. So how can you accuse be of being judgmental of you and others when I would love to be in your shoes? I am just po'd that there are people out there that can make such ignorant claims about me and other working mothers as some I have read here. And I make no apologies about that.

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I did see some of the comments that you are referring to, although I will admit I had not noticed the comments about working Moms screwing up their kids. I certainly don't agree with that comment. As far as some of your comments being judgmental of SAHMs, perhaps it was not your intent, but some of the things you said in your original post can certainly be taken that way. I can respect how hard of a job you have as a working Mother, who works full time and then comes home to your children, and I do not fault you for making that choice. However, I think that sometimes Moms that work full time don't completely appreciate (or understand) the job that SAHMs do on a daily basis. You made the comment in your original post that said you wished you could stay home with your children, but your children "may disagree because at their daycare they get to play at the park, go to the pool, share, eat, play and learn with their friends in a Christian environment having more fun than they probably would than being at home while I would do yard work, house work or shopping." I find this funny and very incorrect (at least as far as my Mothering is concerned), because when I am home with my children, we go to the pool, go bowling, out to lunch, have playdates with friends, go to the movies and do other activities. My kids are my #1 priority and if housework sometimes falls by the wayside or gets done a little later than anticipated, then so be it. You only live once and I always try my best to make the most of each moment I have with my children. Again, I am in NO way implying that working full time is not OK, so please do not say that I am accusing you of doing something wrong. I completely agree with you that no one should judge another Mom... whether they choose to work outside the home or not.

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Then you should consider yourself very fortunate. My salary provides the pool passes, the children's clothing, shoes, school supplies, birthday parties, presents, friends birthday's presents, Christmas presents and any extra nicities, not including some of the household bills. If I did not work, sure....I could take them to the fee park while they watch over the fence at their friends playing in the pool. We could walk around the mall and look at the things they can't have. Bowling and other cost activities would be likened to a summer vacation day trip lucky to do maybe once or twice. And their as for playing with their friends....yeah, no, because they are all in daycare, y care or summer activity camps that we would not have the extra money for. So I am really glad you find my answer humorous. I find yours condescending and quite ignorant for a supposedly college educated woman. I am also quite done with you now.

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I have heard countless times that working moms do not understand how hard it is to be a SAHM. Based on your response, I'm sorry, but I fail to see what is so challenging. You indicated you spend the day having playdates, going to the pool or bowling, etc. Housework is something that may or may not be done. Do you also take naps when they nap? I know some SAHMs that do and have their husband help with household chores on the weekends b/c the SAHMs just didn't have time to get it done during the week. I've known SAHMs who couldn't wait for hubby to get home so they could pass-off the kids while I want as much time with them as I can before bed. I've known SAHMs who wouldn't serve in preschool Sunday mornings b/c it was "their" time. Did I serve? Yes, b/c my kids were in Sunday School and I felt I should give my time. I coupon, clean my own house, pay the bills, organize birthday parties and other get-togethers, write thank you notes, play co-ed softball, etc. And, yes, I do lots of things with my kids - we go to the pool, local library, amusement park, local festivals, the park, and to visit family/friends, etc. My husband and I split a lot of the chores and take turns with bath/bedtime story. I don't find it funny that a working mom who would like to stay at home would actually plan to do some yard/house work, shopping, etc. while at home with her children. Why wouldn't a SAHM do these things? Kids don't need to be catered to/entertained 24/7. I'm not sure who is being served by putting children in the #1 spot (above God and spouse). I'm not trying to be disrespectful, just voicing my opinions. Each job has it's own set of challenges, but in my opinion, a working momma's job is more challenging. Doesn't make us better mommas, maybe just more tired.

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Amen Andrea....this said as this tired mom just got back from helping out for the last day of the week at vacation bible school at a church we don't even belong to. And this working mom doesn't even get to share the duties at night because my husband works second shift. It kind of works for us though because he gets individualized time with them in the morning and I get mine at night, But I have heard the same things said in front of the children by some SAHM who are wonderful mothers but don't realize that a simple statement like, "It's your turn now, I've dealt with them all day", makes the child feel like a burden and a duty, And they cry for ME time...when does the working mom get it? Most of my friends don't...and we don't even ask for it. If it comes my way, I may very well jump on it, but my duty is a wife and a mother first, Funny though, because of our schedules, most of my friends are working single moms, and I always feel guilty because I may bemoan my Monday through Friday hardships, but these friends of mine have completely uninvolved and uninterested fathers 7 days a week. And these mothers ROCK their roles and I know personally 7 fabulous children who flourish with a full time working mom, no fathers and are in outside childcare. Any mom that does the best by and for her children should be commended. Some moms' jobs are harder and some easier. Like you, I find it funny that some SAHM complain how hard it is to be a SAHM. I wonder, do they think just because we are working moms that somehow the shopping, the cleaning, the laundry, the homework, the breakfast making, lunch packing, dinner coordinating, doctor and dentist scheduling, the music lesson and dance rehearsal and sports practice transfers, Cub Scout Mom, recital mom and not to mention the things we have to do for ourselves and our spouses are all done by some magic fairy that comes in and does all this during our 40 hour work week?

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Haha! I agree with you, Jen, about chores falling by the wayside. Sometimes I purposely spend the entire day out of the house with the kids at the park, the mall play area, their cousin's house, etc. just so we don't make our own house a mess! Those who stay at home most likely do their chores during the same hours as those who work: after the kids are in bed or not at all! :D

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Thank you, Jaclyn. It's very obvious... both on here and often in every day life that some Moms who work Full time and then come home to their kids cannot comprehend or appreciate what full time SAHM's do. I have run into countless Moms who think that what we do must be "a piece of cake". Oddly (whether they are financially able to or not) many of those Moms either couldn't or wouldn't do what we do on a daily basis. To Andrea... There are many demands of being a full time SAHM. Just as there are challenges for Moms who work Full time and then come home and have time with their Children. Different challenges and experiences, but challenges, non the less. Being a SAHM certainly isn't all roses and playdates. I talked about doing all of those things with my children because Melissa had brought up the fact that her kids get to do all those things at Daycare. Melissa... Although you claim to be "done with me", I just wanted to comment... yes, I do feel very fortunate to have had the years I had with my children as a Full Time SAHM. As I said before (but you seemed to ignore that part), I do not have a problem with Moms that either choose to or need to work full time. I'm not sure how you read into my posts to think that I was implying it was wrong. I also AGREED with you that people who say Moms that work Full time outside the Home are bad Moms is wrong! So, again, I'm not sure why you attacked me about it. Regardless, I wish you the best of luck and I know many hard working Moms out there who are working Full time, going to School, etc and also are great Mothers to their kids. I was not at all trying to be condescending... but simply giving my viewpoint on things. People often get defensive over their choices when they feel like they are being attacked.

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ROFLMAO....appreciate it? HA! We do it too, in addition to another job. It must be really hard when they are in school too, right? Wow, unbelievable! And you don't view that as condescending? No, of course you wouldn't

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Wow. Perhaps I misunderstood... I thought you worked full time. If I'm correct, then you can't possibly be a full time Stay at home Mom. You are a Mom, yes. However you do not have the role of a Full Time SAHM, since you have a full time job during the day. This is the whole point of why you have been continuing to argue with me. I'm not sure if it's jealousy or whether it's the guilt you feel (your own words) about not being able to stay home with your kids, since you would like to (again... your own words). I actually work part time while the kids are in school, so it's not like I sit at home all day twiddling my thumbs or getting manicures. But I set my schedule so that I am home before they get off the bus. No... I don't view anything that I have said as condescending. If you do, I apologize because non of it was meant to be. I've gotten defensive perhaps, because you have continued to attack me when all I did was AGREE with you about the fact that being a Mother has more to do with whether or not you work Full time outside the home. I can appreciate how hard it must be to work full time and then come home and care for kids. In fact I have a deep respect for all the Women I know who do what you do. Would I want to do it, probably not... but if I had to (as in your case) I would. You do what works for you, as a Family. I wish I had not responded to your post to begin with, since it's obvious that you are very defensive of your decision to work. I meant no harm, just wanted to give my point of view. Although I sometimes enjoy a good debate, this has become a lot more than that, so I will let it end here. I wish you the best and I'm sure that you (as are many of the other Moms on here) are a wonderful Mother to your Children.

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I think the working mother is extremely defensive, and I'm not quite sure why she feels so attacked. Again, I'm a SAHM who can't wait to get back to work, as my earlier post indicated. I think being a SAHM is the hardest job I've ever had, and although I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to spend the first 2 years with my beautiful daughter, I'm ready to go back to work..and I know my daughter will enjoy daycare, then school. I also found when I had a temporary job a few months ago, that I was much more relaxed when I came home to spend time with her, and I was able to be more present for her than when I had spent all day long with her. That is me. That is not all the other mothers out there. I am confused by why the working mother feels so attacked. I don't think anyone has indicated that she is not a good mother for working...if anything, she is extremely responsible to be holding down a job, taking care of a husband who works nights, and even supporting other family members while being a caring mother to her children. So why the anger? Every individual's experience is proportionate to their family's needs, as well as their own...some people are happier at home, while other mothers fare better working outside the home. Just because somebody stays at home all day with their kids, does not mean they are a great parent! I can attest to that, as again, I think I'll be a better parent once I go back to work....the day in, day out routine as a SAHM is not for me anymore. The other factors that go into each mother's decision are paramount...for example, the parents with special needs children who feel more comfortable being able to stay at home, or even the moms who have figured out that child care costs don't warrant working when their salaries are going to be consumed by paying for daycare. Financial responsibilities factor into this decision as much as personal preferences and attitudes toward child rearing....and for one group to self righteously rise up against another is counter-productive. Supporting your family is absolutely justifiable, and eschewing a job in order to stay at home to raise your children by yourself is beneficial in other ways. The bottom line to me is that mothers, regardless of their choices, all want what is best for their families, and do whatever they can to live up to the expectations they set for themselves individually, and not based on what other people think they should, or should not do. There is no cookie cutter mold for a mother, nor a formula for what is the BEST decision for families. The ways of doing things and choices are, and should be, as diverse as the people that make up our communities, and if we all bond together and respect each other's decisions, we will be the better for it.

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The choices to stay at home or work are as diverse as the mothers who are faced with the decision. The basic thing is that all mothers want what is best for their families, but we have to keep in mind that everybody has different priorities. Personally, being a SAHM has been a great way to bond with my daughter, but after 2 years, as I stated before, I'm ready to go back to work. I would never cast aspersions on someone who chose to work anymore than I would disparage those mothers who stay home as long as possible to provide 24/7 care for their kids. I found that when I had a temporary job a few months ago, I was more present for my daughter during the hours I spent with her at home, and I actually had more energy than I do being here all the time. Just because a mom is always with their kids, does not necessarily indicate that they are a better parent than a mother who has other responsibilities. I also don't think that what I would choose is either better or worse than someone who chooses to go another route. What I don't understand is why everyone can't respect and honor differences, rather than self righteously insisting to have the formula for the "best" way to parent, especially when so many other factors are present. If a mother has a special needs kids, who can blame her for not trusting others to care for it, and making sacrifices to be able to be present? If another mother has a lot of expenses that can't be met without working a job or even two, she should be congratulated just as much as a mom who spends every waking hour with her babies. If I don't like going to the playground every day, what's wrong with me having a sitter pick my child up to go out? If you go to the playground every day, are you a better mommy? I don't think so. We all love our children, more than anything else, and we all want them to have healthy, fulfilling lives, and whatever we can to endure their happiness, education, and safety is as varied as all the children and mothers in the world. Mutual respect is key....instead of pitting one against the other. I honestly think that the responses to this question haven't been very informative, because it seems like most people are convinced that their way is the best way, and that is not how we can all come to a rational conclusion. Inviting people to share their experiences without fearing that they are being judged or condemned would be a more sensible way to navigate such a sensitive topic, and I for one, want to extend my congratulations to all parents out there for assuming the most difficult and rewarding job of all, which is being a parent in the first place.

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excellent comments Serena! I think everyone should make the decision that is best for them and their Family. :)

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Have any of you seen the latest Circle of Moms infographic? My blood was boiling over some of the comments - mostly from SAHMs. Some want to change the term from "working mom" to "work for pay mom". SAHM is, to them, a title that implies no work is being done. Not too long ago, the term was "house wife" or "homemaker" but that was not acceptable b/c it implied no education. Maybe I don't like being called an"working mom". Why can't I just be a wife and mom who happens to work outside the home? In addition, there were the typical comments about daycare children being the deviants of society. One woman even said "a lot" of daycare children spend their lives in jail. Really???? And comments about working mom's "outsourcing" of their children for others to raise, choosing an overindulgent lifestyle, etc. One SAHM commented that as part of her SAHM job, she's on call 24/7 and a working person would normally be paid to be on call all the time. So, working moms sleep at the office and never get up with their kids at night???I don't normally pay attention to COM, and I think it best to unsubscribe as I've never read so many judgemental, lacking in any intellectual merit comments. So, I'd just like to know why being a SAHM is the hardest job there is. My only experience was maternity leave with my 2 kids, but I found it easy compared to my "work for pay job". The house was clean, dinner made, shopping done, and I did devote time to my kids, too. But I didn't spend every waking minute entertaining or holding/rocking them. They need time to self-soothe and entertain themselves. I'm not saying SAHMs spend their days twiddling their thumbs or eating bon-bons; I just want to know why you consider it to be so hard (I'm being sincere - I just want to know your thoughts). And, please stop assuming a working mom just can't do the job of a SAHM. I find that to be an unfair assumption. Every family is different and everyone should make the decision that works best for them and know they will not be attacked based on another's bias towards the "right" decision.

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I didn't read any of the comments that you referred to, but I agree that it's terrible for for people to be so judgmental.... of "working Moms" OR of SAHMs. I am a SAHM, but I have nothing against Moms who choose to work outside the home. Being a Mom is a 24/7 job for ANY Mom, regardless of whether you work outside the home. There are challenges and demands for "working Moms" and for "SAHMS". Those challenges and demands are simply different. I think maybe sometimes full time SAHMs get defensive of their decision because sometimes they can be looked down upon, because they don't have a "job" (for income). I personally, don't take offense to it, because I own my decision of staying home with my kids and it was a decision that my Husband and I decided together before we even had children. It's always a very personal decision and one that often cannot be made easily. Whether both parents want to work or need to work, due to financial reasons, that should not be indicative of whether they are good parents. There's a lot more to being a good Mom (or parent) than whether or not you choose to work outside the home. As far as the "difficulty" of being a full time SAHM vs. being a working Mom, a lot of that is in perception. It's all relative to how you look at things, what type of job (outside the home) you have, how many kids you have, the kids' ages, if your kids have health issues, etc. I don't think that either choice is necessarily any "easier" than the other. It's simply a matter of choice. I think that it is terrible that this COM question started such a heated debate. Sometimes I think that people get defensive of their decision and/or think that their decision is the "right" one. I know that being a SAHM was the right decision for me and my children, but that doesn't mean that being a SAHM is the right decision for everyone.

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thankyou i also love having the best of both worlds me and my partner always have one of each other to care for our daughter and because of that we both have the oppotunity to study work and be there for our daughter who s two we are only 21 we had our daughter when we were 19 we are slowly building our dreams in being successful in our careers and being thier for our daughter im not here to jugde stay at mums at all but what me and my partner do works for our child and we make sure that at least one of us are with of our child for dinner ... most times were both thier and we dont stick our daughter into care for 5 days a week shes there one day for 4 hours and its for her social interaction .....thats my rant :)

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I'd say as soon as you want to so long as you can afford to as the two go hand in hand

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The economy is too bad and it's too hard to re enter the workforce. When money isn't an issue you never know if something will happen and you have been out of work for five years and have to return back. I say don't risk it. Daycare is really helping with my daughters social skills and I love it.

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I think it depends on what you do such as healthcare.

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A mother should leave her job and stay home with the little one when money isn't an issue and if she wants to be a stay at home mother. Personally, I would love to be a stay at home mom, but due to financial issues, I'm forced to work 40+ hours a week to support my daughter and myself. Does this mean I don't love my daughter? No. This means I don't have the financial stability that SAHM's do. My mother went to school and worked full time and my relationship with her now is amazing. She's my best friend. I don't resent her for not staying home, because she wasn't the stay at home type. That doesn't mean that she didn't love me, it meant that she loved working as well as being with us and she was ensuring our financial stability later in life. I am satisfied with working full time because that means that I don't have to rely on anyone else to take care of us both. I love the feeling of knowing that I work hard to buy my daughter what she needs.

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As a mother who returned to work when my daughter was 8 months old, I would say stay home as long as you can . . . until they're in school, that is if you can afford it. If you can't afford it, there's no choice. I truly believe that children separate themselves from their parents when they're ready, you read the signs. Forcing the issue is hard on them, because they're meant to be with mom and dad when they're that young.

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Maybe a dumb decision, but I didn't waste time or money on college because I know I wanted to stay home with my children, and if I did go to college ( to be a nurse most likely) all that time and money would be wasted until my kids were school age and i would return to work. then I would probably have to up grade ect. So I figure I can always go to school when they are in school and get it then. Money is an issue right now. But I have no regrets. We are getting by, some months really suck, but both my husband and I feel that staying home with our kids is the most important. Plus I really wouldn't bring anything home once I paid for day care, formula for my baby, and diapers for all three kids (we use cloth, most day cares wouldn't accept that) I do my own day care, and I just think of all the things parents are missing out on when their kids spend more time with me then with them.
So my answer is when you have the baby! My job is my babies and I'm proud and ok with that! I would be happy being a stay at home mother forever, I really don't ever want to go back to work.

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Well you're fortunate that you are able to do what you would like to do. Not all women even have that option. And it seems to me that these posts assume that all women have husbands who help support their decisions to make their "babies their jobs." What about single moms?

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I am very fortunate to have my husband! and being a single parent is a whole different ball game. I've never been in the situation, and pray I will never have to be. I guess my really point is I just feel that our society seems to think that we HAVE to a job outside of the home, as if something is wrong with a women who doesn't want to be a stay at home mother. I get looked down on because all I am is a stay at home mother, and I don't have a higher eduction, or a job to go back to "after mat leave" What is wrong with wanted to be a house wife and mother?

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I studied at community college then transferred to a four-year college for a year only to realize that my major was not what I wanted to do. So I felt obligated as a modern woman to return the next year and try to find a new major. After trying a few things and talking it over with my then fiancé we decided that I would be able to do what I always knew that I was mention to do when the time came--be a SAHM. It was the best decision we ever made! I helped out by working part time retail between my oldest's 1st birthday and the birth of our 2nd son. I was able to stay home for 18 months after his birth. I was then extremely blessed to be hired as the secretary at our church which as given me a renewed sence of self and sanity that is sometimes missing from the life of a SAHM while still offering a great deal of flexibility and time to spend with my kids. Although we could afford to havemestay home after our 3rd is born I plan on returning after 8 weeks, especially since I will be able to take baby with me. All this being said, not every lives my charmed life. Not all parents have the choice to stay at home or return to work. For those who do they need to make the choice that is right for them. The working parent will miss out on many of life's little moments, but being a SAHM or a SAHDad can be a very lonely and stressful career choice, which could actually detract from your relationship with your kids if it is not right for you. Nobody should do one or the other just because it is what society tells them they should do.

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When she wants to!

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If the family can actually afford for mom to do so, AND mom wants to. She shouldn't stay home if she feels pressured to do so; that can have a negative impact on the kids, the marriage, etc...

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You have a point here. My mom decided to stay home when I was born because it made more sense financially at the time. But once the kids were all at school she got really depressed and bitter about her decision. I totally believe that happy mom = happy child. Children are more flexible than we give them credit for, and daycares (mine at least) do a fabulous job at helping you raise your kids too. On some points I think they actually do a better job than I do in terms of teaching them to share, wait your turn, team work, positively disciplining them, etc.

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when ever you want but don't feel obligated either way.

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I am a stay at home mom, I didn't want someone else raising my child and sharing their values with him, I wanted to be the one in the early years to guide teach and laugh with him, I don't regret one moment, I took a part time nanny Job where the little girl comes to my home and have loved it, my son has a friend a few days a week, we have a little extra money and I don't give up anything with him. I know that this is not possible for all parents especially single moms, but it is a gift that has no time limit if it is.
I have so many memories that would not be a part of me if I had worked rather then staying home.

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FIt was never my intention to be a stay@home mom. I was accustomed to 2 working parents & that was out of pure necessity. The journey toward my final decision to be one happened several months after my child's diagnosis of autism. Mind you, 1st instinct was, "I need more money to afford for his extra special needs." I believed this was the solution to our new problem. But, as a christian, the God I serve works mysteriously backwards; giving gets you more, love your enemies, and the like. So I prayed & did some calculating only to discover it cost me more and benefitted me less to work. Bottom line: my child needed me more than I needed my job. The rest was easy...and a great history is in the making...our family history. No regrets after 4 1/2 yrs. & counting.

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I think if a mother is foutunate enough to stay at home to do it! It is very rewarding and you get to watch your little ones grow up. My husband and I just barely make ends meet but we sat down several times going over our bills and realized that it would equal out the same....I am happy what I do and my husband is as well!

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I wish I can stay at home and look after my son.... :( BUT I don't have a CHOICE....:(....
For REAL IF I have a CHOICE.....I will look and take care of my CHILD from 0 month old til' they reach 13 yr-old.

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Society makes it hard to do that.

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Some balance is good for both the sanity of the mom and the well being of the family. However, if money is NOT an issue, then I think a mom (or a parent) should stay home when the children have special needs. Having already raised a teenager I think it's important to be around for your teen. They may not want it, but they need it. I don't mean helicopter over them, but keep your wits about knowing what's going on and to do that it often requires quiet co-existence.

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the decision for each mom is different and personal. Circumstances are a big part--does she have a good job she loves, has her job ended, can she and her husband break even on bills if she is home, does she know beyond a doubt she is meant to work in her career? To me it is a decision of the heart. If you want to be home you find a way to make it work. I didn't want to leave my baby (except a little part-time here and there and only when I found day care I trusted. I felt it was just EASIER for all of us which was especially true when my husband began travelling so much. I also didn't want to miss anything. You can't get that time back.

Personally, I wanted my children to have the best and their own parent as advocate was best.

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If you can afford it and want to be home with them, start from day one. If you can spend less and budget better, you will always feel it was worth it. Or try working part time...that can help a lot if you need to work a little bit. We are fortunate to have choices to work or not work these days, but as soon as my son was born, I did not want to work outside the home any longer. But I worked as part time as I could get away with and keep my license active and was home most of the time. No regrets at all. The main thing is that we as women support each other in their decisions.

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I wouldn't say when money isn't an issue. I mainly stay at home because money is the issue; day care is overpriced (I realize they need to get paid). $1,200 a month for one child is way too much.

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As soon as she can afford it, if the father cannot stay home. I stayed home for the first 6 years and loved it.

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I think when she is ready to do so. If you are not ready then you will not be happy some women are never ready and that's fine as they are prob great with the kids after work but would crack up if they were with them all day. Everyone is different. If you are thinking of it my advice would be take three weeks off work and try it without loosing your kids childminders place then see how you get on - it may be worse or better than you thought

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If you have your own business it is easier to do both ie work and care for baby. But you cant do it alone. Either a maid or your hubby needs to help when you are at work. That usually translates to working half day and looking after baby the rest of the time.

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Every situation is unique and there are those parents that MUST work, but if you are able to, especially up until age 4-5, I totally recommend it. I am a stay at home Mom, turned entrepreneur and I am so thankful to be the one caring for my most precious gifts! Of course, sometimes I feel like not being around adults that much, I miss it, but everything is a give and take. I was an early childhood teacher, so it did not make sense financially to go back, now that my youngest will be 3 in January, I am considering going back to work part time either this fall or the next. I like having an online baby gifts business b/c I have the luxury of working from home and making my own hours with not much overhead. GOOD LUCK everyone!

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I have 3 kids (2, 4 and 7 years). I have stayed home full-time since my first one was born. Being a mother IS a full-time job. Raising your children to become responsible, respectful adults is the job of the parents (not child care). No one will love your child more than YOU. No one will care and nurture like a parent. I agree with most of the e-mails, you should stay home to raise your children. Once they are in elementary school (from 8-3PM), you can work... but make sure your job is flexible so you can pick up your children from school at 3PM and be home with them to play with them, make dinner, give baths, read stories etc. You will never get those precious years back but MOST importantly, YOUR CHILDREN will never get those years back. Children need parents, they always have.... society made us think the other people could raise OUR children for us... but, as we can see with the many issues that young people/ adults have theses days that the day care idea is not a great one. Does not benefit anyone.

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Really, if you ARE a working mom, aren't you just working to pay off the child care person? I assume that most of the income you make has to pay for someone to care for your little ones. Cut out the things you don't need in life (cable tv, subscriptions, fancy meals all the time, brand new car, etc). Priorities your priorities and make it work. I think almost everyone can stay home with their children (if they are married and the husband is working a full time job). Or switch off, let the dad stay home part time and then the mom... make the jobs flexible so the child is always at home with one parent or the other. I recommend everyone read "Dr. Laura (10 stupid things we do to mess up our children" to anyone thinking of going back to work after having a baby.

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I am not against baby sitters! I think the parent's do need a "Date Night" once a week or at least twice a month.... to have some personal time as a couple. You can't forget that you are a couple and that your partner needs you too (not just the baby). Husbands need care and attention as well, to have a healthy happy relationship :)

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i agree! As a couple, there should be quality time together to keep the love alive!

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I think you are not being very open minded. People must pay bills and have insurance for their family. Sometimes both parents have to work. Also, some parents work to save up for emergencies, college funds etc. Each family should do what they find best for their family. Just because I don't get home until 4:30 doesn't mean I don't spend quality time with my son or teach and nurture him. Neither does the fact seven weeks of the year I have to be gone during the week for my job. Fortunately, that occurs during the summer where he benefits from spending time with OTHER family members (as well as his father). Day care benefited my son greatly when he was a toddler. Also, I have worked at two different daycare centers and found that yes kids can benefit from time outside the home and that as long as the caregivers care it doesn't hurt the child in any way. Just remember there are many ways to parent and care for children. Whatever works for one family may not work for another. I am glad you get to stay home and enjoy all that time with your kids! :) Best of Luck to all

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Dr. Laura is an idiot. And, Marta, your comments are very ignorant. I don't even know where to start with some of the nonsense you were spewing. Even if a mother works and a child is in daycare, the working mother STILL RAISES THEIR OWN CHILD! The fact that you even think otherwise is ridiculous! Personally, I've been a SAHM and working mom. I liked being a SAHM more. It was so much easier than being a working mom. As a working mom, I still did ALL of the things with my children that I did as a SAHM and still did all of the same household chores/duties. Except, I had to throw in a job. You know what was missed out on? Sleep for me. Absolutely nothing was missed out with my children. So please, drop your nonsense about the "issues" that daycare causes. It is utter bs and you have absolutely nothing factual to back up your ridiculous theory.

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When the reasons to leave out weigh the reasons to stay. I am a stay at home Mom and I tell you it's the BEST time of your life!!! Sure it can be hard at times because I see kids all day but I don't have to worry about if my kids are sick I have to call off work or getting someone to watch them etc. I see their firsts no one else!! So many other reasons but I am sure if you are asking this you are seriously thinking about it. DO NOT let money or things be reason for working because your children are more important than things. That's what I hear all of the time. I mean really how much stuff do people need these days? Kids need food, clothes and most of all love and they don't cost that much. And LOVE it free!!

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Preteen and teen years, believe me!

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When in its the right decision for her/him. Its a very personal decision and I dont think there is a right or wrong answer. Everyone situation is very different.

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everyone and every situation is different so that's hard to say. however i do think if you can that it is very important to be home with your kids...

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I'm in that situation now. I have a 4 month old baby, & for us it made more sense for me to stay home. I don't have the potential to earn enough money to make working worthwhile. By the time I paid for childcare, formula, & disposable diapers, I'd eat up all of my income plus some. Around here childcare is $250 per week or more, & that alone is more than I made. Plus, I breastfeed (which saves $$$ on formula) &we both benefit from bf. I also cloth diaper part time right now until I can build up my diaper stash, & both of these things make it easier to stay home. Of course, I really want to stay home with our baby anyway. We have had to cut back on things like going out to eat, movies, & we're getting rid of one of our cars to be a 1 car household, but it's worth it to us. Honestly, I think we would've had to get rid of car even if I went back to work.

It all comes down to what Mom & Dad wants really. There's no right or wrong answer here.

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$250/ week? Where do you live? Where we live it's still high, but $150/ week is the highest I've seen it where I live in Virginia. Also the 150 is for infants, the older my son gets the cheaper it will be. I pay 140 now. I really only afford to pay daycare, and buy groceries. I just keep in mind that every little bit helps. I found a job with great bosses who understand when my son is sick that it is important for me to be there getting him well. I know that once my son Max is in Kindergarden I will no longer have to pay for childcare. I will have been at my job almost 5 years, so I will be making more money than I am now. So this job might not be doing much for me now, but I think it's a good way to work on my future. Your right there is no right or wrong answer. Everybodies situation is different. :)

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In Vancouver, Canada, childcare is on AVERAGE $250/week but for an under 3 year old is closer to $1200/month. I love working part-time though, it keeps me a happy & sane mother which both my children and husband benefit from greatly. I really enjoy my job and make enough to cover childcare and it is still worthwhile. I have to say that I was shocked to read "A mother that really loves her children and is not a single mother will never work and leave her children with strangers" Really? NEVER? It is interesting how one person has just happily made a blanket statement writing off the love of all the mothers in the world (who are not single mothers) that work... and I like how mothers that work are leaving their kids with "strangers" and not care providers that they built a trusting relationship with. I was a nanny once for a few years and honestly cared about the two little ones I took care of just as much as I care about my own two boys now. If you take the time to find quality care it can be a great experience for your children as well.

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Where I live if you can get childcare for $250 a week, you're exploiting someone else (if that's full time). I get 20hrs a week for that much, and I do not work. When I go back to work, I can expect on paying at least $500 a week to someone, a little less for a good daycare.

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I live in upstate NY and infant care is between 210-250$ a week. The price gets lower with age. That is for daycare a nanny would cost much more. With a 4 month old and a 2 year old there is no way for me to go back to work full-time right now.

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It is surprising to see all the stereotypes about working mothers and that I choose luxury over spending time with my kids. Personally I work full time because I have a great job, enjoy going to work, and want to provide the best for my kids in terms of education. My kids are doing great, they are independent and have a great daycare. Both situations have positives and negatives, I am just surprised how judgmental people can be. I don't think being a parent means you have to give up all your interests and goals in life. You need to find balance to ensure you are happy as well. I will never feel guilty about working!

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First time i trusted an online job add and managed to make 90$ in 5 hours... E­x­i­t­3­5­.­ℂ­o­m

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