Full Time Mommy or: Why It’s OK to be a Stay-At-Home Parent in the 21st Century

Stephanie - posted on 02/26/2015 ( 15 moms have responded )

14

0

6

Hi Moms! I wrote my first blog ever this week, about defending my decision to be a stay-at-home mom in this day and age when SAHM-ing has a stigma attached to it. If you're interested, I'd love for you to check it out! www.theoffendedmommy.com

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jill - posted on 02/26/2015

87

5

0

Great blog post!! I chose to stay home too...but, for 20 years, I am a homeschooler as well. I also have a ton of professional expertise, education and experience, but you couldn't pay me to go back to a traditional job, even though my kids are 13 1/2 and 15.

My reasons are as follows:

Hundreds and hundreds of scientific studies since the 70's (check out Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed” and Salvatore Maddi’s “Resilience at Work”) have shown the two main factors that lead to health, happiness, self-motivation and success in adulthood are ensuring children learn how to be stress hardy and resilient.

The three main factors that lead to children growing up to be stress hardy and resilient are:

1) exposure to controlled and constructive early stressors, as opposed to trauma (divorce, addictions, etc.) often experienced in high-stress households in modern times - you can't do it all for them, they have to try and fail, and try and fail again all through childhood.

2) having access to a dedicated, constant and strong support person (read: mom or dad) to help them learn to deal with the stressors productively, and

3) having a strong internal sense of purpose giving them a good reason to put up with stressors - leads to self-motivation.

These are the proven things that allow children to grow up to be adults who thrive and flourish, rather than just survive. That is why I stay at home.

15 Comments

View replies by

Brittney - posted on 03/02/2015

59

0

11

There is definitely a big difference in the education system. The US education system is pretty poor. My 8 year old niece was given an assignment. She had to write a 500 word essay and was given 3 days to do it. When I was 8 we weren't even reading chapter books. Your school system sounds much better. They have none of that stuff here.

Jill - posted on 03/02/2015

87

5

0

That explains it, the Aussie school system is an excellent one by international standards. You should count yourself very fortunate. The data about the 220/880/1100 hours was gathered by a gentleman who is considered to be the grandfather of the homeschooling movement in the USA. He is the one who launched a movement to sue all 50 state education authorities in the USA to give parents the right to homeschool if they wanted. I believe he won most, if not all, of his court cases.

Also, I don't underestimate the value that teens place on social interaction, I just think the need for this interaction is highly problematic and a major contributor to the peer orientation issues that arrive once children reach the teen years. My favorite book of late is by Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a child psychologist and Dr. Gabor Mate, a medical doctor and addictions specialist. It's called "Hold Onto Your Kids, Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers." It makes a strong case for keeping attachment parenting practices in place in families much longer than we, as a society, have done in the past 50 years or so. Teens may want to be with their peers, but it is usually not what they need. It follows the same line of thinking that children may want to eat lots of sugar, but it is not what they need. Cheers!

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2015

3,562

36

3907

I think you underestimate the value that the children place on this social interaction at school. I actually wasn't saying that homeschooled children don't have the opportunity to interact with others. I teach teenagers, and I can tell you that they sincerely value their social interaction, and it is often a huge reason that they choose to come to school. Let me just add that homeschooling is very rare here.

Also, Brittney, if a 3rd grade child is having difficulties like that, there is a teacher not doing their job. I don't know where you live, but clearly you are disillusioned with your particular education system. Where I live, children are not expected to read when they enter kindergarten at age 5 - that is a ridiculous notion. If you live in a school district that expects 2 and 3 year olds to read and write, then I can understand why you are disillusioned.

I think a big part of the issue is that people seem to think they send their children to school for 6 hours a day so they shouldn't have to do any teaching at home, but that's not the case. As parents, we still need to read with our children. We still need to use opportunities as teaching moments. School does not let parents "off the hook". Research shows that children need to be reading at home regularly to become proficient readers, so of COURSE you are not just learning to read at school.

When I discuss the holistic approach, we take the approach that a child can't be educated if their wellbeing is at risk. We focus on wellbeing as well as the actual curriculum. Our students spend time in pastoral care groups doing different activities that may range from understanding cyberbullying to building self-esteem to pathways planning. We have an enrichment program, where we, as teachers, offer an activity we are passionate about (as an example, I am doing cooking) and the students select one of these to undertake for an hour each week. We have a school nurse who has an open door policy that any time a student is feeling overwhelmed or needs some space (in particular our students with mental health issues) they can visit her and she helps them through their concerns. It isn't all about academics and test scores at all. I could go on and on about the ways in which we focus on the health and wellbeing of our kids, and how very important this is for a child. But I guess, if a child has a positive home environment, then the child will gain all of this when homeschooled anyway. I am not against homeschooling, I just believe there are some people who homeschool for the wrong reasons.

I have never been inside a school in the US, so I have no idea how it operates there - I am in Australia. But I assure you, the students do more than 220 hours of new instruction in a year - that's an average of 5 hours a week out of the 20+ hours they are actually physically in classes. So I'm not certain where you got your numbers from. If that is how a school in the US operates, then I am sad for the education of the children.

Brittney - posted on 03/02/2015

59

0

11

There are many ways for homeschooled children to interact with others. Probably more chances than kids in a normal school setting. My best friends little sister asked us for help with her homework one day last year. I looked at it and it asked her to find the sum of 1+1. She was in 3rd grade so we were confused as to why she needed help or why they gave her something that simple. Until she said they had to show work. She handed us another paper on core math or something like that. She had to write all 12 steps down for 1+1. They are coming up with new ways to make school more difficult and make kids hate it more it seems like. If a child gets an answer right on a test but they don't do it exactly the way the teacher wanted them to, them they're told they're wrong. To me that is not right. If a child understands something enough to find the answer then why should they be told they're wrong? I never said someone's a bad parent for not homeschooling nor did I imply it. I didn't learn to read in school. My dad taught me. I went to school in Indianapolis. My teacher told me that we are not in school to learn to read. Recently a woman who works with head start told me children are expected to know how to read by the time they enter preschool. They expect 2 and 3 year olds to be reading and writing.

Jill - posted on 03/02/2015

87

5

0

Hi Jodi,

The socialization issue is highly over-rated amongst critics of homeschooling. In the school setting, children and youth are exposed to 20-30 children their own age for approximately 6 hours per day and during lunches, recess and other limited whole school activities, the age range is no more than 5-8 years plus a smattering of teachers, administrators and other community-based professionals who interact with schools. Of course, the PACs or PTAs put on occasional events as well.

Homeschooled children usually interact with a much wider range of ages in a variety of constructive settings. Homeschooling parents tend to involve their children with babies, toddlers, school-aged children (all ages), adults and seniors. And, they do this not just in school settings, but in all aspects of society. These kids are involved with community activities, their extended families, their churches, places of employment, political events, social awareness events, etc. on a regular and consistent basis. Of the homeschooling families I know, these people are almost never home. They are always out in the world educating their children.

Of course, there is a small minority of homeschoolers who don't ensure a diversity of life experiences and maybe these kids are isolated and not properly socialized, but there is also a small group of parents with children in the school system that treat their children in a manner that is counter-productive to their well-being. Examples include the ones who ignore their kids (neglectful parents) and just assume the school will do everything and of course, the ones who allow their children to wreak havoc in school-based settings, like parents of bullies (indulgent parents). Thankfully, these groups are the minority and the bad homeschoolers are also the minority.

I wonder about your comment regarding the holistic approach of schools. I have read a lot lately about the school system in the US and Canada and the vast majority of the recent research states that schools are even more focused on academics, testing and cognitive learning that they have been in the past. Several reports indicate that there are only a few hundred schools in the US that are teaching any king of character-based education and the data gathered from analyses of these programs within schools show the programs are not achieving desired outcomes.

Other data show that the average child will spend approximately 1100 hours at school in one year and of those, only 220 hours are new instruction. The rest, about 880 hours, are spent on non-learning activities such as changing classes, lunchtime, recess, assemblies, marking tests, fire drills, behavior management of other kids, announcements, etc.

I am a big fan of play-based learning and you only have to look at the education model of Finland to see its value, but I fail to see how all these babysitting type activities help with real socialization.

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2015

3,562

36

3907

That's your choice. I'm a teacher. It's not always possible for people to homeschool their children. That doesn't make them any less a parent, and it doesn't mean their kids end up any less educated or more disadvantaged. Some (not all) homeschooled children end up disadvantaged if you consider the holistic approach to schooling a child (that it isn't just about academics but the whole child, including their social wellbeing).

Brittney - posted on 03/02/2015

59

0

11

Our kids are going to be homeschooled. After seeing the kind of stuff they give the children to do in school now, I wouldn't put my kids through that. I was homeschooled once I turned 15 and I did much better with that than sitting at a desk for nearly 8 hours a day.

Jodi - posted on 03/02/2015

3,562

36

3907

I don't think it is quite as important once the children are in school, especially when they are older. You can still come home from work and invest your time in your children after a day at work (and they've had a day at school).

Brittney - posted on 03/01/2015

59

0

11

I was just wondering. My own dad was the stay at home parent. Partly because of a heart condition. I vaguely remember him having an office job when I was very young and my mom working too, but I think she worked part time. At some point he was full stay at home and she was the one that worked. Then they somehow both were able to be stay at home parents. And I remember crying because I wanted both of them home with me and my siblings lol. So IMO it is good to have at least one stay at home parent :) my fiance and I are trying to get it so we can both work part time and be home with the kids most of the time.

Jill - posted on 03/01/2015

87

5

0

Hi Brittney,

Good point!

It applies to SAHDs/WAHDs too, although they still represent a significant minority. From a stress management perspective, it takes one solid influence and gender is irrelevant. I said "mom" because this site is called Circle of Moms. Also, I was speaking about myself personally and I am a SAHM/WAHM. Cheers!

Brittney - posted on 02/28/2015

59

0

11

What about stay at home dads? It seems people tend to forget that they're parents too and they want to spend time with the kids just as much as the mom does.

Jill - posted on 02/27/2015

87

5

0

Hi Jodi,

Absolutely agree, although I think it is much harder. It seems working moms (dads) play the one step forward, two steps back game a lot more often, as opposed to continuous forward momentum. I know that was the case when I was working. Lots more damage control to do instead of focusing on the long term goal continuously. Each family is different, but when mom is fighting her own stressors, it is harder to deal with her children's stressors as effectively and as promptly. Of course, not all families feel they can afford to make this decision and not all moms feel comfortable with the extended isolation and career interruption, I know it is a challenge for me, financially and emotionally, but I was just sharing the science.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms