Stay At Home Mom

Hi Everyone,

I am a new user to this website. I just found this website when I was online searching for information on being a good homemaker. I have read some of the topics on this website and I am very happy to have found this website. Here is my concern. I am leaning towards being a stay-at-home mom. My problem is that I feel that I have to have a young baby to be worthy of staying at home. I have a son and he is going to be 13 years old this year. I want to stay at home because my family is my #1 priority. Not a job, career or money. But whenever I hear anyone talk about being a stay at home mom, the next thing I hear is that they have small children. Are there any parents out there, who came to the realization that they wanted to stay at home for their family but did not have small kids?. I feel like if someone ask me what do I do and I tell them that I am a homemaker but I do not have small kids at home, they will say to me that you don't have a child at home during the day, so why are you not working until he comes home. I know this is long, but I fight with this in my thinking. Please help.

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Comments

Wendy M's picture

Yes, it's amazing the pressure that I've felt as well staying home with my teens. Sometimes I struggle with it, but whenever I'm needed I'm so happy to be there for me kids. Seems like most of the mom's that do stay home have husbands that are doctors. Just today, my 15 year old called me twice with issues that he wanted to talk about. He is so stressed this year with homework...etc, I'm glad I can try and be there for him and make sure he is being accountable for things. If I worked, I wouldn't have the energy to do this. Being a stay at home mom is the most rewarding job God could have given to me.

Musetta's picture

My only child started first grade this year...I swear I will SCREAM if one more person asks when I'm going back to work...or if I'm going to have another baby...or better YET...asks me "What exactly do you DO all day?"

Guest's picture

I left a job that was perfect for me to be home with my son when he was in the 4th grade. I did find a very part time job (10 hrs wk) at the school he attended. He had began asking to be home schooled in the 3rd grade. In Jr. HIgh, we decided to give home school at try. It was well worth it. We are very close. We take schooling very seriously and I not only track what is available through our home school program, but I print our the state standards and keep tabs on what the public schools are teaching, and literature, etc. He will be going into the 10th grade, and is very cooperative. School is everyday...He doesn't have homework, but we do work everyday (most of the time). It isn't a chore, but it does take dedication. We begin our school day at 8:15 and have a routine. He is in scouts, music, rides crosscountry bikes, attends ayouth group weekly and participates in activitis with them.

At times, I become frustrated, because I live, eat, breath almost every moment at home and being outgoing it is challenging. Many of the home schooled parents are from younger families, but there are many parents of teens. I find, for the most part, most, not all home schooled kids are refreshing and are taking college courses...they are serious about school and could care less about the social aspects of public schools.

It is worth the time with your teen.

Zillah's picture

Hi Uranni, Welcome to TNH.

I'm not in your situation as far as age of children, but I think that teenagers need loads of support, and if that is how your heart is telling you to give it, go for it. The way that teenagers are parented can have such a massive impact on their future lives, and having a happy mother is part of that. If you feel fulfilled by being at home and you can manage to do it, I'm sure your son will benefit.

Zillah

jennye's picture

I do have small children at home, and initially, I had thought I would stay home til the last one got in school then go back to work myself. But the last two or three years, I have decided that I will probably stay home during the teen years as well. My kids will probably be so busy with sports and afterschool activities (and me running around to those activities) that the time when they are at school will not be totally down time, but time for me to do the housework, etc, so I can spend the rest of the time with them.

Besides, most of the time, a regular job isn't quite the same hours as the kids. There are some nights and weekends when you may get called in. There is usually time in the morning or afternoon when you aren't there but the kids (and friends) may be. And THAT is the time when they can get into trouble (uh, I'm speaking as someone that DID get in trouble all the time! LOL! I consider myself an expert in the subject. I like to say that my kids won't be able to get away with anything because I've been there, done that. teehee!).

lgunnoe's picture

Our daughters were 7 and 3 when I came home full time. MANY people I knew (including some at church, other at-home moms, etc.) were puzzled by the timing. Frankly, it was not their concern...it was OUR family; OUR choice! To be perfectly honest...it wasn't the kiddos that clinched the deal for us...it was the marriage! With both of us working AND doing everything that we felt was a priority for the girls and my committment to service in my church and community AND my husband's travel...what was missing was the relationship time that we wanted together. "Family" encompases so much more than just "kids" (IMHO) and ALL of it is worthy of being a priority!

There are SO many benefits to being the "available" mom when it comes to teens. You will get to know your son's friends just by being "around," and you have the potential to be the house where they hang out That is SO cool! Our older daughter and her friends are usually here on Friday nights playing games, watching videos etc. We LOVE being "that" house!

There is also research that suggests a coorelation betwen having a parent at home after school with reduced involvement with drugs, alchohol, and other risky behaviors...I believe there is also a coorelation with better grades and reduced discipline issues at school. (Give me a bit and I'll see if I can find links to the research!)

I say: Good for you! Go for it!
Lenora

PS. In favor of fair and full disclosure: our girls are now 16.5 and 12 and I am teaching part-time this year after finishing a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education.

Shaun's picture

I think with this as many other touch subjects it is best just to smile and say, "Oh, I have plenty to keep me busy!" A couple of answers like that should get polite people to drop it.

Impolite people -- who cares? (Well, of course, we all do, since it's usually friends and family being impolite!!) Then you have something like, "Oh we can get into that some other time" ready to say, and some other time will never come, unless you really want it too.

My mom came home to be an at-home mom when I was 12 (only child, mom had been a single parent for many years). I don't think she had a clear idea of what she wanted to come home for, and she eventually went back to work, first part time, then full time. (She did work in my school for some of that time, though! I'll never forget being sent to sit in the hall during science, only to have my mom come around the corner and find me there!)

I think anyone who has been at home knows that there is plenty to do without kids underfoot just to keep the home clean, peaceful, and running smoothly. You just can't say that to someone who works full time, b/c the implication to them might be, "Oh, so I am not keeping my home clean enough, peaceful enough, or smooth enough?!"

Anyway, I think those middle teen years are a great time to be at home! Kids get very busy, but aren't old enough to drive themselves, and aren't *really* trustworthy enough to have most of the afternoon to themselves either. Kids need a strong home base to grow away from as they get ready to leave, or at least I think so.

If home is where you feel you need to be, then go for it!

Shaun
www.homeschoolblogger.com/shaunms

Jilsyt's picture

There will be those who comment about you, but I think everyone has something they do that bothers other people. You have to trust your feelings, your motherly instinct, and your gut for your family's sake. One thing I've always believed is that when the powers that be give us a responsibility (like motherhood), they will also urge us in the right direction. Just this morning, I was talking to a friend whose sister is a youth minister, and she said the largest problem among the teens they work with is that they sneak home to "available" houses and fool around with each other--resulting too often in teen pregnancy. I used to think I'd run back to work once my children were old enough, but as I get to know the teens in my neighborhood, I want to be one of those moms who is THERE. That's me though, like I said prior, trust yourself.

LTAB_98's picture

Hi!
I am a stay at home mom by choice, of 12 year old autistic son. I left the viper/backstabbing world of utility billing 6 months ago, and I wouldn't change a thing. I now freelance as a mystery shopper and am in the process of developing a beading group, scifi group for children with disabilities and various other projects. Financially, it might not have been a good idea, but my health is not suffering from the antics of horrible co workers and my son likes knowing that mom is home when he gets done at school. He hasn't had an episode since I quit!
So, I say, if you want to stay at home, then do it. Don't let what others think bother you. If you do what you feel is right, then what anyone else thinks shouldn't matter. Do what is best for you and your family. There plenty of things at home to keep you busy, including your kids. I have suddenly developed a need to cook more, now that I am home. I also keep busy with various other groups and my hubbie is great about watching his stepson. So, basically, do what makes you happy. Yes, they need you when they're young, but they need you just as much when they are teenagers, if not more so, to keep them on the straight and narrow!
Best of luck,
Liz
Lombard, IL

cjsmom44's picture

Welcome to you again! When you said, "My problem is that I feel that I have to have a young baby to be worthy of staying at home" Oh boy could I relate to that...I have college age kids! I love being at home...I do run a small crafting soap making venture, and work 6 hours in a local library, but other than that I am HOME...and I love it...I also struggle with "society's" pressure of what one "should" be doing with their time...or career...I have also struggled with the blank stare that I get from people when I say I am home or a homemaker...or the loud gasp when they say "YOUR STILL AT HOME WHY? ARENT YOU SICK OF IT, DONT YOU GET BORED?" OMG their is so much to do...I am the vacation-entertainment manager, housekeeper, home interior designer, cook, financial budget and "college finanical aid wizard", small business entrepeneur (I earn vacation money), pyschiatric counselor (those late night, "my boyfried broke up with me phone calls), household manager, and overseer of the thousand misc. things that no one else has time for...and I am sure I left a thousand other things out as well..Although I struggle with my choice from time to time for the reasons mentioned above, I also have become more sure of myself, and have learned so much about who I am and what I need in my life by making the choice that I did, by staying home...it fits for me and it fits for my family and in the end, that is what really matters...I am learning day by day to stand up to to the judgements of others...which was a lesson that was important for me to learn....but you are right...it is very hard...when you have older children, to face others when in today's society,when it does not seem to be the norm to stay at home when children get older....hang in there, and go with what your heart is telling you and only wonderful blessings will follow!
Susan MOM of Cindy and Joey, Soapmaker and Librarian

Amy P's picture

I feel like you are talking about ME a year ago. I became a homemaker when my son was 11. I had worked since he was a baby, but finally was in the financial situation to choose whether to work or not. I didn't have to think twice about what I wanted to do, but I kept getting caught up on what everyone else thought I should do. Even though no one criticized me openly, society in general is no longer supportive of stay at home Mom's. HOWEVER....My son's grades in school have improved, he is able to be involved in more activities, and his relationship with me is much more open since I have more time to listen and he knows I am always here for him. The quality-of-life improvement for the family is something I would never even consider exchanging for 60 thousand $ a year again. We may not move into a bigger house anytime soon and we may not take a family vacation 3 times a year, but it is SO worth it! I have been repainting and repairing the house as well as cooking just about every meal, every day at home. My son is a picky eater no more! I enjoy my new status as house chef. Both my son and my husband appreciate what I do for them and my husband is so tickled with all the changes being made to the house. He keeps exclaiming how much I am SAVING us by being at home and how I am increasing the value of our home which we plan to sell in about 6 years. I do go through some periods when I feel guilty for not bringing any income into the home, but I talk openly about it with my husband and we go over the what if's(what if I were working again). Every single time we conclude that my role at home is priceless and we shouldn't change a thing. I encourage you to just do it! You can have an amazing impact right now on changing the course of your family's future!

Kerri's picture

I too thought I'd probably go back to work once the kids were both in school. I didn't. I've gone back now because we started our own business, but our eldest is due to start high school this September and I really want to be in a position to be at home more by then, because I know she'll need me. I too like being the house where all the kids come to, as frustrating as that gets.

so amen to all of the above. These women talk a lot of good sense, and it's nice to see everyone, even here where everyone is in support of SAH parenting, coming out so strongly in support of parenting teens full-time. They really do need us more - in a totally different way than when they were toddlers or babies but no less valid. They need to know you care, that you're always there if they want to talk to you, that their welfare is one of your highest priorities (not "sorry, hang on while I take this call" as I've been doing tonight!).

as for worthy?? Good grief! Even if you had no kids, why shouldn't you stay home if you want to and can afford to. Your home and your husband need attention to. I not having time to get to all the little admin duties that any family creates. I don't have time to figure out a nice little holiday for Easter so we won't get one. I don't have much time to plan out the strategy for selling our current house and finding the next one (I'll have to find it somehow). ome life is so much more than children, whatever their age. You don't have to be 'worthy'! Sounds like somebody's been doing a number on you if you're worried about being worthy. If you want it and can afford it, and your husband is happy with it too then go for it, and thumb your nose at the critics, whoever they might be.

Kerri.

Guest's picture

I have 3 children. All of them are school age. I have one teenager and 2 preteens and I feel like they need me home more now than when they were little, to make sure they stay out of trouble. Plus even though they go to school during the day they are home sick and have Dr and Dentist appointments. You just don't need to worry about what other people think or say, just do what feels right to you. Most of them don't know what they are doing either!

Cherie Palmer's picture

i know it was quite a while ago when you submitted the comment that i read. but i just had to write and tell you how much i appreciated all that you wrote. i am the mother of 3, ages 15, 13, and 9. i still own my own business but recently put myself on hiatus to reassess our life as a family (also to move into our new home). as the new year approaches, i am trying to decide what to do as far as my business is concerned. i have been searching the internet for like minded moms, but there are few who will promote staying at home once your kids are all in school, much less teens. i love my work, but i also love being at home and homemaking. how are things with you and your family now? any new insights or helpful tips? :)

Debbie Milelr's picture

I was encouraged reading your post. I want to so bad quit my job and start homeschooling my 12 year old daughter. I have to have some income to make ends meet. My husband has a good job but not to support all our bills. My daughter wants to be homeschooled so bad. What can you tell me about how you supplimented your income after you quit your job? Thank you so much for your advice. Debbie

uranni's picture

Thank you so much Zillah for your response.

Lynn's picture

...mother of six, and a daycare provider, told me once that when they're little they need you. But when they're older they need you MORE. She said if she had had to choose she'd choose staying home with teens.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

uranni's picture

Thank you so much for your response. I am thinking about homeschooling my son that is getting ready to attend high school. I am looking into this online homeschooling program by the name of "The Morningstar Academy" (www.themorningstaracademy.com) Are you familiar with this program? Do you have any advice for me entering into this new chapter for my son and I? I just don't think he is ready for high school mentally with all this is going on in high school. Thank you for any advice you have for me.

Realtor Mom

mom in oregon's picture

:) [quote=Musetta]My only child started first grade this year...I swear I will SCREAM if one more person asks when I'm going back to work...or if I'm going to have another baby...or better YET...asks me "What exactly do you DO all day?"[/quote]

mom in oregon's picture

I agree...so often my two teenagers call, or come home needing a lot of my time and energy after school to deal with social pressure, even pressures from teachers who mean well...and I can't imagine having energy or time if I even worked part time right now. Their problems are so intense and serious for them, and us, when they are in the middle of them. I feel it is a calling for me to be home...and I am so relieved when I start my day at 3:30, I actually gear up for them to come home from school, taking my quiet time, exercise and organizing things at home time, so I can be more present when they are here. Thanks for your sharing!

Sharon Bryce's picture

Do you get lonely?

may's picture

[quote=cjsmom44]Welcome to you again! When you said, "My problem is that I feel that I have to have a young baby to be worthy of staying at home" Oh boy could I relate to that...I have college age kids! I love being at home...I do run a small crafting soap making venture, and work 6 hours in a local library, but other than that I am HOME...and I love it...I also struggle with "society's" pressure of what one "should" be doing with their time...or career...I have also struggled with the blank stare that I get from people when I say I am home or a homemaker...or the loud gasp when they say "YOUR STILL AT HOME WHY? ARENT YOU SICK OF IT, DONT YOU GET BORED?" OMG their is so much to do...I am the vacation-entertainment manager, housekeeper, home interior designer, cook, financial budget and "college finanical aid wizard", small business entrepeneur (I earn vacation money), pyschiatric counselor (those late night, "my boyfried broke up with me phone calls), household manager, and overseer of the thousand misc. things that no one else has time for...and I am sure I left a thousand other things out as well..Although I struggle with my choice from time to time for the reasons mentioned above, I also have become more sure of myself, and have learned so much about who I am and what I need in my life by making the choice that I did, by staying home...it fits for me and it fits for my family and in the end, that is what really matters...I am learning day by day to stand up to to the judgements of others...which was a lesson that was important for me to learn....but you are right...it is very hard...when you have older children, to face others when in today's society,when it does not seem to be the norm to stay at home when children get older....hang in there, and go with what your heart is telling you and only wonderful blessings will follow!
Susan MOM of Cindy and Joey, Soapmaker and Librarian[/quote]

may's picture

[quote=Guest]I have 3 children. All of them are school age. I have one teenager and 2 preteens and I feel like they need me home more now than when they were little, to make sure they stay out of trouble. Plus even though they go to school during the day they are home sick and have Dr and Dentist appointments. You just don't need to worry about what other people think or say, just do what feels right to you. Most of them don't know what they are doing either![/quote]

I truly believe that children of all ages benefit from nurturing at all ages. Nothing can take the place of being there - physically, etc. - as they develop into adults. I believe, as parents, that this is the most precious responsibility that God could intrust to us. Please consider, too, the amazing impact being a homemaker can have on your marriage. It isn't always easy to make this work, but I am confident that we will have no regrets when we all look back on their childhood.

AME's picture

Hi.
You all sound so wise and just the kind of moms that would be fun to have over for a cup of tea. Anyway, I am looking for some advice and ideas. I have been asked to be a presenter for Career Night at my children's school.The career I represent is stay-at-home mom. They have held this event for 5 years and it is a very classy, professional affair (doctors, congressmen, professional dancers, chefs etc.). I would love to represent this lovely option as a career choice to our young people but I am finding it difficult to not sound judgemental to all of the mothers who are working. The job entails top-notch child care, time management, scheduling, multi tasking and prioritizing. A successful full time mom must also insist on respect and harmony for her children and from her children. Oh yeah, you also have to clean everyday, stay on a very strict budget that you set for the family, shop and cook healthy food. Any ideas. I definintely want to hand out cookies. Can't help myself.

Disneymomof4's picture

I sometimes feel i shouldnt be home now that all the kids are in school,18,16.5,14 & 12. I feel embarassed, when most people around me have 2 incomes. I make some extra money with Ebay, and i watch every penney, i;ve taught my kids to do the same.

Crazyquilt's picture

I know exactly where you are coming from. I've been a SAHM for 23 years. My oldest is of course, 23. My middle child is 20, and my youngest is 14. You and I need to decide not to feel embarrassed. Home is where lives begin, and continue to be nurtured. My older son told me not too long ago, that he was looking for a girl that wants to be a homemaker. That tells me right there that my "job" is not just a "job". The foundation that continues to be laid still speaks loudly to our older ones. When I find time in my busy days, I work on a quilt for each child. There will be some squares that tell of our faith. No one else can pass that on to my future generation.

may's picture

[quote=Disneymomof4]I sometimes feel i shouldnt be home now that all the kids are in school,18,16.5,14 & 12. I feel embarassed, when most people around me have 2 incomes. I make some extra money with Ebay, and i watch every penney, i;ve taught my kids to do the same.[/quote]

I truly believe that children of all ages benefit from nurturing at all ages. Nothing can take the place of being there - physically, etc. - as they develop into adults. I believe, as parents, that this is the most precious responsibility that God could intrust to us. Please consider, too, the amazing impact being a homemaker can have on your marriage. It isn't always easy to make this work, but I am confident that we will have no regrets when we all look back on their childhood.

wishful's picture

Wow! Perfect timing for me to find these comments~ I stayed at home with my two children until my youngest was in 5th grade. While they were at school, I did a lot of volunteer work so I figured that I should get paid instead of working for free. I taught at a private school for two years and then my husband lost his job, so we decided to purchase a franchise. That was two years ago and I have been running the business since. My kids are now 17 and 14 and I wish that I had never gone back to work. Speaking from experience, I think that the teens need you at home! Even though I tried to be home when my son was out of school, there were many days that he was a latch key kid. Unsupervised teen = trouble. My son is currently in an outpatient drug treatment program and I desperately want to sell my business to stay at home again. I can't help but feel that if I had been home this wouldn't have happened. So my best advice to you is not to worry about what other working parents think...so many people think that it is so cool that I am the president/owner of a successful business; I would much rather be the stay-at-home mom!

Jean's picture

Thanks to all for sharing your stories and awesome advice :D
Now I don't feel so alone.

I am also a "Stay at Home Mom" to 5 kids (8, 10, 12, 14, 16) .... and feel blessed, that I can.
There are to many Mom's who would give anything to be able to stay at home
with their kids.
But there are plenty who I personally know who could stay home
but don't want to. **Would love to hear all of your input on that subject.

I struggled with that thought and had tons of deep discussions with
my friends on that issue, just wanting to understand why they didn't
WANT TO stay home. My Adrenalin went haywire, thinking all kinds of
none cents...lol

We all can sit here and judge and I'm sure we will all find very good arguments on any
situation. But after really thinking about it ( took a wile for me to grasp )...I truly now
believe.... Every Family has other priorities and different strength, now if a Mom/Dad can stay home
( maybe even tried it for a wile) but decides not to, it's OK. Better for her/him to be happy and be a good Mom/Dad that way then to struggle and maybe even resent her kids.
So many GREAT Moms/Dads who work and still manage their Families wonderfuly :)

But my opinion will always be,... a Stay at Home Mom or Dad ( even if they work from home) can provide so much more comfort to their Children then one who works away from home.
Yes it might work and plenty do a fabulous job at both but what do the kids feel. How many school events, parent teacher conferences, field trip chaperon opportunities and just being there after a HARD disappointing day or event did that Mom or Dad miss.
We can always find an outstanding care provider but no one or anything can make up for a dedicated loving Parent, to be there for their children, if it's a happy occasion or bad one. They need us to comfort them or share their excitement.

Of course this is the best choice for me in my opinion and my kids but maybe not to others who wouldn't enjoy or be any good at these things. That's why it's best to really think and plan before having kids but for most that choice is taken when the child is already here and have to do the best for what works for them.

This subject will always be touchy and we all have to respect others choices.

Now there are plenty of Parents who shouldn't be parents in the first place, for whatever reason but that's another subject. I'm talking about dedicated loving parents, who want and do the best for their Families.

And we all have to remember, No one or Anything is perfect.
Just do your best and learn from your mistakes.
That's the best we all can do, working or not.

Remember, this is just MY opinion

You all have a Fabulous Day !!
Good Luck to All, WE ALL NEED IT ;)

Jean P

jmeg's picture

I have 3 kids, 15, 9 and 7. I have always worked when they were younger because my mom watched them for free. My mom has now moved farther away and I am concerned about leaving my 15 year old home alone after school to watch the 9 and 7 year old. Would it be a mistake to quit my job and be there for them as they get older or should I continue working. We can afford for me to stay home if we cut out unneccessary spending. We will definitly have to watch every penny and that scares me because we are not accustomed to that lifestyle right now. I dont love my job but i is not horrible and I can very easily go every day without complaint.

Melaine's picture

I recently became a stay-at-home mom, with two children ages 16 and 12. There were several factors that went into making the decision to stay home, but the bottom line was that I had a very strong sense of needing to be at home for my kids. The window of opportunity that we have with our kids, to influence and guide them, to laugh with them and listen to them, is really so very short.

Don't get me wrong- I had no regrets about working outside the home for the last few years, either. Life was far more hectic, but we did fine. I simply realized that I had to listen to that still, small voice inside me letting me know it was time for a change. This was the right thing to do, at the right time, for our family.

It's a huge adjustment! I often feel a little sad and aimless, and miss the camaraderie of my coworkers. But it's a small sacrifice compared to being there when my kids get off the bus and catching the first few comments about their day. I like taking care of the "family business"- running errands, budgeting, cooking healthier meals- without the added stress of work deadlines. Less money...but more quality of life. At least that's true for our family,right now. God bless ALL moms, staying at home or not. It's a tough job either way, and we need to support each other.

Chris M's picture

I just discovered this discussion, and am so glad. I have three kids, ages 16, 12 and 8 and after being a working mom outside of Boston for 16 years (all professional part-time jobs), I'm at home (since June '09). My last job was at a youth mentoring non-profit agency, and all the research on kids points to the critical importance of a caring adult being there during adolescence when drugs, alcohol, sex and other risky behaviors are prevalent. Academic pressure during high school and middle school years also requires some parents to oversee homework more closely, and extracurricular activities requires transportation. I can totally relate to Melanie's comments about feeling a little sad and aimless during the day, and missing the camaraderie of coworkers. A big part of that is not having a social network in place around me at home -- I was always so busy balancing the demands of work and family that I didn't have time to develop and maintain friendships within the local community. Fortunately, I worked in PR/communications, so doing freelance or consulting work is always an option, but I still don't feel like I have enough time in the day to add that on -- especially when my youngest doesn't have to be at school until 9 a.m., and the older kids are home by 2:30 p.m. I think I need to start tracking my time to see where it's all going!

Rhu's picture

On 6th Oct I will become a stay a home mom for my two daughters 10 and 8. I brought them up until they went to school and have worked full time for 2 years. Like so many of you I have been struggling with this concept and the views of others for some time. Yes i will have less money but we can manage..... I am really looking forward to looking after my family better and having much more time for my girls, home cooking, gardening and looking after the animals we seem to be collecting!
CAn i say that it's so refreshing to find other women who are going thru this! Though it will be hard at times I guess with regard to lonliness as there is no one else that i know of in this situation in my area... For those times, do any of you have advice?
Rhu

TLR's picture

I stayed home with my four daughters until my youngest entered pre-K. I became a teacher at the pre-K center and my youngest was in my class half day, then went to another teacher for the rest of the day. I worked in public school for five years. This year, after a lot of praying and my husband's support, I returned home to doing home daycare. I have 5 little ones I watch (we need the income since my husband is also a teacher). I am so happy that God allowed me to come back home. I was so stressed all the time and exhausted at the end of the day when I was teaching. Now, I am able to get housework/laundry/phone calls, etc. done while the little ones are napping. Then, when they go home at four o'clock, (they are teacher's kids), I am completely devoted to my own four children and husband. Financially, it is difficult, but not impossible. I feel like I can be a better mom. I like cleaning my girls' rooms while they are at school and providing a nice, clean, comforting place to come home to. I also like making homemade treats for them when they get home from a hard day at school. I also make time for a quiet time with God during the day. I am much more balanced and hope that I am a better mom as a result. My girls are older...14, 12, 11, 9. But like other comments that have been posted, I realize I am needed more now than ever...someone has to be rested at the end of the day to maintain order in the home. I regret going back to work when I did (i feel my youngest was cheated out of some mommy time). But I NEVER regret the decision to be at home, focusing on my relationship with God and my precious family.

Guest's picture

I make more than my husband - about 30-40% more (I don't commit it to memory as it has seemed to make him uncomfortable - its enough to know the exact numbers at tax time). I also have better benefits. My benefits gave us in vitro fertilization coverage that allowed me to have my son.
I am finding it impossible to keep the house clean and tidy while working full time and spending 2.5 hours a day commuting. In fact, it was impossible even before I had a child. My husband is a packrat, boarderline hoarder and does not help with the house keeping or yard work nad we have two large dogs. Oh, I forgot, he cooks a couple of times a week. He had a bad injury in '02 that prevents him from standing for long periods of time.
Anyway, I just stayed at home for 2 days with my son while he was sick and then over the weekend. NOw I just really wish I could stay home at least part time. My career isn't what I had hoped for anyway, and I never finished my PhD (ABD). My husband hates his job (and working in general), but refuses to stay at home, though I have offered it as an option, though I don' think that would help wiht the running of the household!!! LOL!
Well, I just want to say that while we generally say that people have to find what is right for them, some people don't really ever feel like they *chose* their path, but that it was chosen for them by circumstances or by other people. I have chronic h ealth concerns that are made worse by stress and I think getting ou tof the rat race would help in this area. My tinnitus was all but gone over the weekend and cmae back sunday night.
I just have to return to the thought that I am lucky to have a son at all and be grateful for the time I do have with him.

Guest's picture

Wow, this thread has been going on for a long time. I really needed to hear all of your viewpoints. I am a full time kindergarten teacher in a public school. I have two daughters 15 and 7. My husband works full time as a retail manager. He is gone a lot and commutes 45 minutes to his job. When we had our first daughter, I already had my teaching degree, but we moved around a lot when she was little, so I mostly stayed home with her. Once we got settled down, I got my teaching job - which is what I always wanted to do. My thing was, I really wanted to be a stay at home mom, but felt I needed to get my degree, to prove that I could (It was not a priority in my family to go to college), so as she got older I felt pressured to go to work, so that my education wasn't a waste. And my thought was, if I'm going to work and be a mom...the best job I could have is teaching because I could be off when my kids are off and still have an income. But when my second child was born, that's when it all fell in. The stress became incredible. Anyone who thinks that teaching is only a few months and then summers off, needs to come hang out at my school. I get up at 5:30 and don't get home most nights before 6:00. I often bring work home and work in my classroom during the summer. Over the last 7 years, my health has suffered, I started having panic attacks, and other problems due to stress. I so badly want to go back to my original dream of being home and 'being there' both mentally and physically. My husband is a big dreamer for our retirement and he sees my extra income as a bonus towards his dreams. He is an excellent provider, but right now, we can't move to a cheaper place (we have 10 acres and his parents and brother's family live on it too.) He doesn't want me to quit and thinks we are just fine. But I've also seen how it affects my kids. He does not see that. We have 'everything' (too much actually), but I am miserable most of the time. Also, I can tell you as a teacher...KIDS DO BETTER IN SCHOOL WHEN THERE IS A PARENT AT HOME!! I can give plenty of examples of students I've had over the last 12 years. I also have none of my family here and friends? who has time to make friends when you work full time AND you're a full time mom. I have friends at work, but no close relationships. So I have had very little help with my kids when I needed it. Had to put my baby in daycare.

I think it's different for everyone and everyone has to figure out what is best for their family. I wish I had not worried about what others thought of me (whether I used my degree or not) and stayed home. My daughters, even though they are school aged, still need me and suffer even though they are with me all the time, because I'm too tired to deal with them, or have to do laundry, cook, run errands etc. I really work two full time jobs and it is exhausting. I've made myself sick of worrying about my relationship with God because we don't go to church on Sundays because we are too tired I have fears of commiting myself to any other activities. So to all of you moms who stay at home...good for your! You're awesome in my book...it is never a bad decision. A young teacher I work with who has a baby just told me this week she really wanted to stay home but they couldn't afford it right now. I told her to go for it because you will never get these years back and there will be time to work later, if you want.

Sorry to sound so whiny, but I am praying about my decision to stay home even though my kids are older. Thanks for all your input!

Guest's picture

My boys are 15 and 13 and I have yet to "go back to work". There is nothing more important to me than being there for my kids and helping them become people who will make the world a better place. When my older son was thirteen he actually thanked me (without any prompting, just out of the blue) for being home. He said that so many of his friends parents are too busy to be there for them, when they are sick, want to talk, sports etc. It has been hard, certainly, but I have no plans to leave the homefront empty just because they are older. Bigger kids= bigger problems. My kids talk to me, they share what they are doing with me and they bring their friends home to hang out.

I had someone tell me that I do have a full time job, it just has odd hours, from 6-8 am and 3-10 pm.

m.austin's picture

Thank you so much for sharing your story I recently became a stay at home mom to 5 kids. One of them is grown and gone but I still have the 19,17,15 and 13 at home. This was a really tough decision for both of us as we are a blended family and we are not married, a lot of people questioned our decision not to marry and live off of a single income. Hearing what everyone around us has had to say about our choice has made me question myself but when I look at my kids I know in my heart I am doing what I feel is best for them at this time in their lives. I just found this site, I had no clue other people felt the way I did about my family. Thank you again

Melanie

jennye's picture

Wow, it's been three years since I commented on this thread. And so since it's come up again, I'd thought I'd post my thoughts on this matter as it stands today.

I've currently gone back to work part time. I'm subbing at my kids school, so I'm actually seeing them more than if I were just staying at home. Throughout the day I will see each one of my 4 children at least once (if not the entire day if I'm subbing for one of their teachers).

I am having a hard time finding the balance between keeping up with the housework (and the farm work, and the ranching). And since the rest acutally makes money, the housework falls behind. I try to take advantage of days when I don't get called in to catch up. However, there have only been two such school days when I didn't work, and one of those was spent taking care of business in town.

So getting the best of both worlds right now. Life is always changing, you gotta go where you are needed sometimes.

TLR's picture

In response to "Lost Dream of Staying Home" by guest, I'd like to say...be sure to read the post above by TLR (my post). It's been a long time since I've been on this site, but after reading your post, I had to respond. I totally understand how tired teaching makes you. My health greatly suffered when I taught pre-k. I was so stressed trying to balance all of my duties and I never had enough energy to go around. Teaching little ones takes a lot out of you. Mostly mentally. I was actually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue my first year of teaching! Now that I am home, I have lost 30 pounds (since I am no longer stressed, I am concentrating on eating healthier--sugar cravings are gone)and I have normal energy. Anyway, don't worry about "wasting" your degree. A college degree is never wasted. The things you learned can never be replaced. Early childhood and elementary education will help you in your role as a parent as well. There are other options. If you are already working as a teacher, bring your classroom home....you could teach pre-k kids out of your own home or possibly younger. You can also tutor on the side. Keep your certificate up and you can always go back to teaching later. I plan on going to workshops, etc. to stay up to date on education issues until I go back in to the classroom (if I do) one day. The most important thing is to take care of yourself and your family. Pray about it. Pray that God will change your husband's opinion if it is His will for you to stay home. God bless you in your struggle.

Erin I.'s picture

You should never be ashamed or critical of yourself for being a mom and wanting to stay home no matter what your children's ages are, even if they are in college! I have been a stay at home mom for 12 years, decided to work part time for 3 1/2 years and now today is my first day back at home as a stay at home mom, my girls are 15 & 11 and my heart just told me it was time to be MOM again full time. My kids are my priority, you only get one chance to raise them, you can always get a job, but you only get one go around with your kids, enjoy them!

San D's picture

:) I am so glad I came across this website at this time of night (10:16). It feels really good to hear allof your stories. I have two beautiful daughters age 14 and 11 and I have been a SAHM for 14 years. I have never once regretted it and am very proud f it. Do I question it? Only when I run into an old friend who is very successful in something. But then I get over it. I love my life. Are we always broke, almost always, but we try to live our lives without debt and we manage. I am so proud of these girls. And i think i have had a lot to do with it.

Good luck to all of you and God Bless You and your beautiful families.

Christi 's picture

My oldest graduated high school last night...Now, more than ever I see how important it is to shut out the world and raise your kids. This truly is a temporary thing. I have two more ages 10 and 12. My husband and I disagree somewhat on the stay at home thing. I work part time for our church. Instead of debating just the children's welfare, (it is hard to convince working moms that their kids are suffering and you wouldn't want to hurt their feelings anyway), but what about you? It is so fulfilling for me to know that I will be the one they call when they are sick or need something. I am the one waiting on them in the pick up line. I am present and providing a solid support for them night and day while they are developing and growing. It is very easy to get caught up in the "world" and what they are doing. It is easy to think it is okay to abandon parental responsibilities for our own desires. Please don't think I am judging because I have done it at times too. If you can be at home or at least work part-time you should. Take pride in being a home, finance, child, vacation, holiday, family gathering, cooking, nutrition, expert!!!! De-stress your home during the day so you can be ready for your 3-10pm shift and your 6-8am shift in the mornings! I once heard a quote, "I want my children to grow up with a self-worth that comes from having once been cherished." Amen! There will be no question in my kids minds that I have cherished every moment and nothing is more important.

may's picture

[quote=Christi ]My oldest graduated high school last night...Now, more than ever I see how important it is to shut out the world and raise your kids. This truly is a temporary thing. I have two more ages 10 and 12. My husband and I disagree somewhat on the stay at home thing. I work part time for our church. Instead of debating just the children's welfare, (it is hard to convince working moms that their kids are suffering and you wouldn't want to hurt their feelings anyway), but what about you? It is so fulfilling for me to know that I will be the one they call when they are sick or need something. I am the one waiting on them in the pick up line. I am present and providing a solid support for them night and day while they are developing and growing. It is very easy to get caught up in the "world" and what they are doing. It is easy to think it is okay to abandon parental responsibilities for our own desires. Please don't think I am judging because I have done it at times too. If you can be at home or at least work part-time you should. Take pride in being a home, finance, child, vacation, holiday, family gathering, cooking, nutrition, expert!!!! De-stress your home during the day so you can be ready for your 3-10pm shift and your 6-8am shift in the mornings! I once heard a quote, "I want my children to grow up with a self-worth that comes from having once been cherished." Amen! There will be no question in my kids minds that I have cherished every moment and nothing is more important.[/quote]

thank you - very well stated.

Emilie's picture

I found this site by searching for "stay at home mother of teenagers". So glad I did...I finally got to be a SAHM, now that our children are 16, 13, and 13. Only wish we could've afforded to do it earlier. Follow your heart and your family's needs. Our children need us, no matter how young, or old they are.

joybmbox's picture

I am also thinking about joining you ladies. My kids are 18 and 12 but it just gets too hectic to juggle work and family life. I just checked our budget and I believe we can make ends meet. I was at home for 3.5 years doing part-time at home work (which used to be my full-time in-office work that turned into a part-time WAH arrangement, miracle by God). That stint ended 2 years ago and got a chance to get another full time job in the same company. Now 2 years into the full-time job I am still having this desire to stay at home because life is simpler for me, my husband, and my kids. I'm just trying to find the right time to quit - I am badly needed at the office but I am not exactly happy being there anymore partly due to office woes and partly due to this burning desire to stay at home which I cannot shake off. My husband has given me a go signal.

Old mom's picture

I need some advice......I'm trying to decide if I should quit my job or not, I want to be at home more than anything, my daughter is 16 and had a really rough couple of years, I also have two boys 18 and 20 I have a new man in my life he works hard, I have a great job with benefits, but feel like I am missing something, we live paycheck to paycheck and struggle with debt, by me staying at work we get ahead by me quitting I become happy and feel selfish for those reasons, I have worked hard everysince my babies were little, I missed it all, I now want to be available, I don't drive we don't own a house, we have one car, we have no savings, we are lower income, but I so just want to be here!!! I feel like there are some moms who may understand, I am 37 and feel like this is my time, I jsut want to clean my house cook and take care of the people in my life.

joybmbox's picture

Warning - my comment below only makes sense if you are a Christian (professed and believes that Jesus is your Lord and Saviour, and a bible reader)... Your intention is very noble in wanting to take care of your husband and kids. However, sometimes the reality of the situation (i.e. debt) leaves you with no choice. I was in the same boat a few years back... but with much prayer (there at every altar call) and obedience to the Lord's will, by God's grace we were able to turn our life around. We battled debt by having a budget, which included 10% tithe (on gross) given to the Lord's work. I am the CFO and my husband is CEO. We were partners and we acted as one in dealing with our money problems. Yes, even in debt, we still tithed. And that did it. But before you do this, make sure you understand God's word and His promises and seek advise from a Christian you trust. Now the only thing that's stopping me from quitting my job is I want a graceful exit, need to finish project before I quit. My husband is fully capable of providing for me and my kids (he's not their biological dad).

joybmbox's picture

Follow-up to "Dream come true...soon! 07/21/2010"

I just handed in my resignation letter today - I still need to show up in the office to hand-over my responsibilities. I finally did it!!! I know I still have to go through the grieving process of losing my career but I feel like a heavy yoke has just been lifted off my shoulders. Praise God.

Taben's picture

I have teenagers and I love being home with them. I work from home part time and make 1/8 of what I would if I were to work in my field, full time, outside of the home. But, their lives are SO busy (homework, sports, music practice, social gatherings, church activities, etc.) and so stressful due to the same. If I were not at home, they would not come home to what I try to make a peaceful home with someone here to greet and help them. Also, teens need to talk on their terms. When the flood gates open, I am here to listen. Thankfully, my husband fully agrees that my being home is a priority until the last one leaves for college.

Since when did parenting become LESS important when kids get to be school ages? Frankly, I find they need me more and in different ways every year.

Taben

disneymomof4's picture

Guest's picture

I am the mother of two teens and have stayed home with them up until three months ago because of outside pressure. But I have come to find out that being home with them now is even more critical than when they were little so I am considering leaving my job to be back at home with them. They need me more now than ever and I found that I am not able to manage the household efficiently anymore and this causes a lot of stress for all of us. It seems that our whole "system" has been thrown off kilter by me going back to work and my husband and I are seeing even less of each other and family time suffered a great deal. I say if finances allow for it, go for it no matter what anyone says! ;)

Guest's picture

I am a stay at home mom with three kids (twin 7 month old and a 6 year old)and we are military. I have only been a SAHM for the past year and a half and there are days that I feel like I should be at work because I have a BA and a my masters. But I know that my kids need me more and that if I went to work I would just be paying for daycare and my gas. If you really want to be a SAHM or already are one I suggest you read Dr. Laura Schlessinger "In Praise of a Stay at Home Moms". It touched me to hear some of the stories in it and I knew that I was doing the right thing by staying home with them.

~Proud SAHM~

lmvent's picture

Hello Ladies,
I see that this thread has been going on for a long time. I found it during a search. It provides me a little comfort in knowing that I am not the only one struggling with the decision to stay home or go back to work.
Here is my problem:
I recently took a leave of absence to take care of a sick family member. While that member's health has improved greatly, I realize that there is still a lot of things that need my attention at home. I have a 15, 13 and 11 year old. My stress level and my health has been considerably better since I've been home simply because of a highly stressful job. My kids are not home by themselves for hours.
My husband has basically told me that whatever I decide he will support me. I handle the finances and know that things will be extremely tight if I resign. I don't like my job, let's be honest. But I have been working there for quite sometime and there is not a true option to only work part time.
I want to be home for my family. I feel like this is the only time that I will have this opportunity to really make a difference in my kids lives. After high school comes college and then you barely see your kids right?
I guess I'm scared of making such a huge decision and making the wrong one.
Any Advice?
Sincerely,
Confused and hesitant!

shazza's picture

So...I have stayed home for all of my 4 children's preschool years and got the most amazing job when my son attended kindergarten that allowed me to work around his schedule. Two years later I am now working full time hours (just shy of) and am wondering if I need to cut back. I NEVER wanted to work more than 15 - 20 hours a week at a job, but this job just expanded to where I am today - working a lot! I will NEVER get a job like this again - it is idea for me, and I worry about never finding something like this again. I have 4 kids ranging in ages from 8 - 15. I am feeling pretty ragged at the end of the week, and weekends are simply a catch up to prepare for the onslaught of the next week. I am considering cutting back to 15 hours a week so that I can keep my job (I REALLY like social interaction and would die without it), so I get that fix when I work. Anyway....any suggestions? Should I quit completely or cut back? So far I've had some of my friends telling me to stay home, while others look sideways at you and you just know they're thinking "are you out of your mind! You worked SO hard for this job, WHY would you just let it go?". Not sure what to do...

lmvent's picture

Your situation is slightly similiar to mine where I just resigned from a demanding full time job to be home with my three kids. It's nice not to have to play catch up with the housework and actually enjoy cooking again. I was tired of being too tired to enjoy the little things. When I was working it was always a chore to figure out the quickest thing for dinner. I'm starting to take some time for myself and as I have a couple of teenagers...I am here to handle any questions or concerns they may have.
Only you can figure out what works for you and your family. Sit down, list all the pros and cons, discuss it with your other half if you have one.
You know how quickly kids grow up...we will never get this time with them back.
Hope this helps! Good Luck.

Taben's picture

To mvent: In your case, since you cannot work time and really do not like your job, I would consider quitting. You said that it would be REALLY tight, but doable. I would make the cuts and come home. If possible, have the kids take the bus to school, with that and you not driving to and from work you will save on gas and wear and tear on the care. Pack lunches, go to rec. rather than travel sports, summer will be home more with fewer trips and camps. Those cost cutting things will help. I do not think you will regret it.

To shazza: Since you have the option to go part time and love your job, why not go part time? You could work, for instance, 9am-2pm 4 days per week and get in 20 hours...and STILL be there when they leave for school and come home...plus one day off for laundry, cleaning, paying bills, etc. You'd get the social interaction you crave, keep the job you love, and still be available to your family.

I am telling you ladies...I have NOT regrets about being home during these teen years. None. Turn around, and they will be grown and gone.

Taben

shazza's picture

Thanks for comments Imvent and Taben
I THINK I've come to a solution - to work 10 hours a week (1 1/2 days) so that I can keep my foot in the door if things get less busy at home (and I just KNOW all you with adult children are probably laughing right now). My hubby wants me to stay home 100%, but I really do feel that I would lack that social interaction that my work allows. I truly LOVE my job - just do, its just too much of a good thing right now.

I have picked up a book called "Margin" that is a real eye opener to me. It is about living simply, being "anti-cultural" in terms of our wants and "needs" and leaving margin in ALL areas of your life. This author is a medical doctor and he has cut his hours in half, and his wife still stays at home. Funny - he said they never pay more than $4000 for a car (yes, I choked at that!), and once when he was working at the hospital he got a ticket on his car which said "this parking space is reserved for the physician" Obviously his car doesn't look like the typical MD's car!

Anyway, I'd highly recommend reading it if you're looking for slowing down, simplifying your life and gaining more time for you. I am NOT there yet, but am taking steps to put this in place. My family is simply too important for me to leave them on an incessant basis with my weary depleted attitude and energy level at the end of the day. I sure hope I find what I'm looking for at the end of the road on this journey of de-cluttering every area of my life!!

Vallie's picture

When my son was born I decided to stay home full time. My parents were elderly and in poor health so they could not look after him while I went back to work. My son was a very difficult baby so I didn't trust strangers to look after him as I sometimes lost my patience with him! Well, fast forward 21 years and another baby and here I am still at home. My advice to young mothers is to not stay at home with your children full time. If you make that decision you will never be able to get back into the workforce. Unfortunately this is the dirty little secret that career full time mothers don't tell you. You will become redundant and your ability to earn income will become non-existent. I am unable to create a resume even though I possess a university degree. Employers do not consider your years at home worthy of serious consideration. I have a son who has had many challenges (Learning Disability, ADHD etc.) so I guess it was good that I was here to help him but I have seen so many other mothers that have worked full time, have had a better standard of living (i.e. more money, bigger house, more vacations, cottages, better post-secondary education options for their children) whose children have turned out great in spite of their parents working full time. I hate to be so negative but there is two sides to every story. Women need to understand the long term consequences. I regret it but I wish I was like the others who have not.

Louise

shazza's picture

Louise -
When you say that those moms who had a full time job had a better standard of living (ie more money, bigger house, more vacations, cottages, better post-secondary education options for their children) and that their children turned out great in spite of their parents working full time, what are you basing this on? What standards make their standard of living "better"? Does "living better" consist of material wealth and "stuff"? I think a lot of what our society has missed out on is the slower lifestyle that being content and living simply gives. There is a richness in living simply. Everything you own takes up your time to care for it - like it or not, it is simply the case. A cottage is great....only you've got to go and cut the grass on those weekends you'd rather not. 4 bathrooms are nicer than 2, but double the work etc. If you look at people in 3rd world countries they are often content, happy and joyful with the little that they have. They do not worry about whether or not their possessions will be stolen or broken because they own little. In North America our mindset is bigger and better, and many of us are now realizing that that a lot of that is a big lie. Is bigger really better? Nope! Things can be better on less - nuts, they've even made a saying about it "more is less, less is more" - gotta be some reason... Also, I don't think that everyone can handle a hectic schedule, that there are those that NEED a slower pace, a more relaxed atmosphere from day to day. On the flip side there are those who thrive on a hectic schedule - both are a choice. I am looking forward to NOT "having it all". Honestly Louise, if you go to a career counsellor I'm sure you'd find the perfect job. You aren't washed up just because you stayed home to care for your little boy. I think THAT is the lie that women are told so that they keep at it at work. Look at some statistics on children whose mothers work full time - esp. those boys! Try reading the book "Home By Choice" - it has helped me in my decision to stay home with my children when they were preschoolers and I think will be drawing me back again home once more now that they are in school full time. Calculate the costs of two working - it often isn't worth it. Contentment is something that we in North America don't know much of - I am hoping to capture some of it again as I pull away from my career and put my energies into making a home for my family, which really to many is the better life anyway.

Jimmy's picture

Day 2 for me at stay ahome dad for a almost 6 month old Boy

amiga's picture

I'm in a new and unique situation where I work for a few days and then take a 3 or 4 months off and work again for a week or so. The job just fell in my lap after more than 10 years of not working. (I have a college degree and a currents license in my field that I keep up).
I'm also the mother of 5 children, 7 - 16 yrs. old. I worked part time until my oldest two were 4 and 1.5 and then stayed home full time until last month. It was invigorating, exciting, fulfilling experience to work again and the extra money was helpful. There was a price though. I left before my kids got up and every day and missed seeing them. I was also worried that some one might call from school feeling sick (January cold and flu season). I was more tired at night, not as positive when helping them with homework and practicing music. A couple of times I just didn't do it. When I work again this spring I know that I'll be missing helping out with and attending a couple of school programs. This is disappointing to me and to the kids. I didn't eat or cook and healthy those two weeks as I usually do either.
The CHOICE to stay at home is a luxury and a privilege. It is not luxurious to be a SAHM though! There is much work, community volunteering and good to be done. Inb am a better neighbor, daughter, sister, wife, friend, gardener, cook, cleaner, budgeter, reader, exerciser when I stay home and maximize the hours I have away from the children.
I also treasure the time the kids have off of school. Half days and days off are celebrated instead of dreaded or causing stress.
I feel lucky and blessed to be working at home most of the time and in the work place for a bit. I'd definitely choose to stay home full time over working half time.
"The best day at work doesn't compare to a regular day at home!"

Vallie's picture

Let's face it, staying home full time does not reward you financially. Most people that have posted on this site have either worked for a time before eventually staying home or have found a part-time job (giving them the best of both worlds!!) I would really love to hear from someone who has stayed home from day one and continues to do so like myself after 21 years!! Those that have an idealized view of staying home must realize that continuing to work part-time is very smart as it keeps you from becoming redundant so that when you need to get a job you can. s

may's picture

[quote=Vallie]Let's face it, staying home full time does not reward you financially. Most people that have posted on this site have either worked for a time before eventually staying home or have found a part-time job (giving them the best of both worlds!!) I would really love to hear from someone who has stayed home from day one and continues to do so like myself after 21 years!! Those that have an idealized view of staying home must realize that continuing to work part-time is very smart as it keeps you from becoming redundant so that when you need to get a job you can. s[/quote]

I have been home over 20 years - a housewife before children. I have a college degree and helped to provide for this lifestyle we now enjoy - before marriage. Being home is what is best for my marriage and our children - not to mention our aging parents. I do get the occasional "work" comment, and sometimes it does sting...then I remind myself of all the blessings I have witnessed by committing and sometimes sacrificing to being here for my family. I will never be rewarded financially, but I feel compensated in ways - I believe my husband and children will look back on this time, as I will, and know that we have all been blessed. ****I do NOT homeschool either - we are rare.....
I don't worry about a "job" someday - this is the best opportunity I could have ever been offered!

Jillian's picture

Face it? No financial rewards? I have a feeling that you are very bitter over something that has occurred, or perhaps you lost a piece of yourself along the way. I personally have been home since our first child was born (true, it's not 21 years yet--thank heaven! Time is flying fast as it is!). However, I did a lot of research prior to staying home. First of all, many studies have shown (I can't find the actual studies, but if you read the book "The Millionaire Mind," "The Millionaire Next Door," and "Millionaire Women Next Door" you'll have the exact studies and references) that when there is one person who manages the home well and one bread-winner, and they work as a co-operative team, the whole family benefits. First, there are less expenses for the whole family when what the family already owns is managed well. When things are managed well, and one person is able to thrive in the work force, their salaries tend to be much higher than those whose spouses work (not always, but we're talking averages and percentages here, there will always be outliers).

I think the problem is when the person who stays home doesn't realize what a responsibility it is, besides to love and care for the children. There are resources to manage, whether that be money, the garden, taking care of the home, or errands to run. When my husband was in graduate school, many of his colleagues asked him how he was able to balance having a family and finishing his PhD at the same time. He pointed out to them that though we were bringing in very little money at the time, I worked hard to make sure he didn't have to worry about anything but his dissertation, and he in return did his very best while at school. He has since graduated and was able to finish far before his colleagues, which allowed us to have less debt than those that took longer. The little things (like laundry, cooking, cleaning and such) add up in terms of time, and it is very difficult to take care of a home and work on an advanced degree (or try to get that amazing promotion / position!). Before we had children, both of us were academics, and our home was in shambles because we rarely had time to actually be in it. Now the messes are school books and train sets--which are totally acceptable in comparison to a week's worth of dirty dishes.

Another wonderful resource is the book is "Radical Homemakers" by Shannon Hayes. She (among other wonderful insights) points out that the decline in health among people is the increase in use of convenience and fast food, even a good restaurant isn't good for you...but those who lack the time to slow cook a meal are feeding their families these things regularly. Financially, when it comes to taking care of their health, I believe my preventative maintenance is saving us much more than having to pay for heart disease, diabetes, and more.

And lets not forget of the cost to our planet when convenience is used. More disposable items created, thrown away. Compost piles untended (or even not created). Then there is taking the time to wash and recycle, rather than put in the trash. Taking the time to search through used items to find usable and wonderful things that would otherwise further clutter a landfill. Gardening to provide healthy, organic produce for your family also takes TIME. Time that someone who isn't managing a home doesn't have. And all of these things go beyond just raising children. For someone to be truly self-sufficient, these practices must continue even after children are grown and gone.

shazza's picture

I agree with Jillian, although I do think there is a break even point at which going to work DOES benefit you financially. If you have a full time person keeping up the home and making home cooked meals as opposed to freezer meals or going out, and searching for decent deals on needed items then I DO think that staying home could be financially rewarding, but one has to make a good wage in order to do so.

There will ALWAYS be those opposed to working outside the home, and those for it. I am somewhere in between, although because I know how young children can become attached to their main caregiver was opposed to have others raise my children in the preschool years.

Everyone is given the same 24 hours each day and no matter HOW we claim to be able to "do both", the truth is we can't. When I work full time, my house suffers and I am MUCH more willing to drop cash on items full price because it is a time saver instead of shopping around and looking for sales. Convenience over money is often the compromise of two working outside the home.

I just heard a story yesterday of a couple who have been married for 27 years and she is filing for divorce because after they both starting working full time, she found out that her hubby felt like she should still do all the laundry, cooking, cleaning etc. I think the guys should pull up their boot straps, but I wonder if she had stayed home if their divorce would have ever been a thought. I know my hubby LOVES it when I keep things clean and tidy, but its near impossible when I work full time.

Decisions, decisions....everyone has to make their own decision and there truly isn't a "one size fits all" when it comes to working outside the home. I just hope I make the right decision.

Vallie's picture

To all my american friends. You may or may not realize that the Canadian tax system actively penalizes stay at home parents. We do not have the status "married filing joint". As a result a couple where the income is earned primarily by one spouse pays significantly more tax than a couple who have equal incomes. The Canadian government discourages a stay at home parent arrangement!!!

Guest's picture

Hi Vallie,
I've been home for 17 years. Prior to that I had a career in advertising for 12 years. I never thought i would be a stay at home mom until my son was born. I couldn't get on that train to NYC and be an hour and a half away! Plus my job was very stressful and the hours were erratic. Decided to stay home and then had my daughter. I loved the infant and toddler years, but these teen years?! Plus I had kids a little older, so now I'm having my mid-life crisis while their hormones are raging!!! When the kids were young I loved that they could play in the yard all day, be on the swing, play in the sand box. We went on little adventures, did arts and crafts. I volunteered at the school, did a little substitute teaching, taught an art class at night for adults, took a few art classes. I always thought when the time was right I'd get back on that train and have my career back!!!!! Well, that didn't happen. It was so easy in the past! What happened!? I can just imagine the laughter when they see the gap on my resume! I was told by an advertising staffing agency that nobody cares about the subbing and volunteering I did! They want to see my adv. related activities!!!!!!!!!!! Plus, they must calculate my age and think it's a joke. I am glad I was able to stay home, but I think about the loss of income and loss of self. There are days when I feel like a caged bird! I guess I feel bad about things like "Take you child to work day"! My daughter is a smart, creative person and I feel like a failure when her friends go to their mom's office. I feel like she doesn't really know who I am! Both kids ask what I do all day and why I don't have a job!!!!! What??!!!!! They've had 3 meals cooked everyday since they were born, fresh laundry (ironed too!), taxi service, cheerleader, etc.! They'll be at college soon and where will I be? So I understand what you are saying completely. What about us?! I've been doing some artwork that I'll try to sell. We'll see where that goes. But it is a slap in the face when you can't even get an interview. I still have a brain! And, it's tough being judged by others and often asked by other adults "What DO you do all day?!"

Vallie's picture

I understand every thing you are feeling. Usually the people who ask me what I do all day are in jobs where they are not exactly solving world hunger if you know what I mean. I think everyone looks at me like a museum piece or some kind of weird 1950's throw back. Many young mothers come up to me in the neighbourhood while they are on mat leave and when I tell them that I have been home for 20 years they have a dreamy, Norman Rockwell type look on their face and will say "Oh, I wish I could stay home full time!" It is at this point that the embittered old post-menopausal broad that I am starts telling them the down side of completely leaving the work force. I don't think I would feel as redundant as I do if everyone else didn't have such a problem with it. Why do I have to justify what I do? The beauty of staying home is not having to fill out time sheets and be involved in humiliating employee assessments. Deep down I would have a very hard time taking orders from someone. My oldest son is finishing his fourth year of university but has lived at home so that tells you something about how good it has it here!! Don't you think they need you more as they get older in many ways (even if they would never, ever admit it?) Strangely, I have no trouble filling my days. The only problem is this job doesn't give you any tangible rewards. Sometimes when someone asks me what I do all day I would love to say some sarcastic reply like: Well, when I get through eating my box of chocolates, I crack open a bottle of wine, watch the soap operas then pass out on the couch. If I said this they wouldn't catch the sarcasm and would likely think, "Ah ha, I knew it! It was great hearing from a fellow veteran.

Guest's picture

:grin:
I have to say I laughed so hard when you wrote about the other moms responding with that "dreamy, Norman Rockwell look". Really, I hear that too. Well, I react in 2 ways, depending on my mood: 1-Don't quit your job! or at least do freelance or part time and keep in touch with everyone in the business. OR 2-You could stay home if you compromised a bit. Not saying, but thinking-do they really need a second home or those over the top vacations a FEW times a year!!! and all the other material things they think will fulfill them?! I mean I like nice vacations, restaurants, a show once in a while don't get me wrong but that's all some of these people talk about. Always one upping one another. They don't know what's going on in the world, or read a book.Boring....
As far as the teens needing us more, ABSOLUTELY! They need to be watched more and they also like that I'm here when they get home. The hard part is they think they're full fledged adults, but pay for nothing yet!
And, I think you should reply with the wine and chocolates remark and see what they say!!!! I had a few women over recently for coffee and one brought a bottle of champagne, i said "What the hell, everyone thinks we're sitting around eating bon bons, and watching soap operas anyway!" That doesn't happen very often for sure, but it was a nice change of pace!
It's nice to hear from someone in the same boat!

ElizabethB's picture

;) I have done both, stay at home and worked in management to working part time. I recently left my management job of five years to be a stay at home WIFE. My kids are grown but my husband still needs me (thank God). I believe that being able to be a SAHW or SAHM is the new status symbol replacing the BMW! We are debt free and can afford for me to stay home and our quality of life has improved-better meals, more time together and an awesome garden this year!!!
Don't let the haters get you down-enjoy it all.
No one at the end of life ever says-"oh I wish I'd put in more hours at the office" it's always "I wish I'd spent more time with my family."

Proud SAHW, mother of three adult children, RN

lmvent's picture

Hi everyone,
I haven't been home as long as some on here but long enough to gather the comments and questions from people in my life who think they mean well.
It's interesting that the last post mentioned eating "bon bons" because that is what I tell my family all the time that people think I sit home all day eating them. The constant feeling of being judged, the implication that if you are a stay at home Mom you must be accomplishing something huge like building a castle or world peace can be very trying on your nerves. I have some family that call me all day long to ask for favors because they know that I am "home". My kids have gotten used to be staying home and my husband is a happy camper.
My motto is who cares? As Moms we put enough stress on ourselves: over the way we parent, over the dinner we did or did not make etc. We do not need to absorb the comments or the jealousy from outside. As long as your happy (i am), then do your thing girl!

Guest's picture

Hi, my name is Alexa Aguilar and I am writing a piece for the TODAY show's Moms blog about moms who leave their jobs to stay at home with teenagers. If you can share a little with me about your experiences, please e-mail me at alexamaguilar@hotmail.com with a contact number and the best way to reach you.
Thanks!

Guest's picture

Wow, what can I say? I stumbled on this website and have found this a great read. I am in Australia and the sentiments you have all given are no different here. My daughter is 8 and my husband & I chose for me to stay home. What I find interesting is those who say "Oh, I have to work as we can't afford for me to stay home" comments. This may be true for some I suppose but what I struggle with is that for us it was all about choice. I was in a high paying job and could have easily gone back to work after having Miss G but we decided at the time that we would rather sacrifice a more flashy lifestyle and all the "want" items for a more balanced homelife. The truth ended up being that we actually have a more simple lifestyle with minimal debt and a loving family unit. We do go on holidays and my daughter doesn't feel like she is different from her other friends. She still gets spoiled from time to time just like other children. We don't lather her in expensive gifts or clothes and I don't feel she is missing out. She understands the importance of saving for things she wants and the big ticket items are left for special occasions when the time/age is right. Sure I have days or parts of days where I get bored but again how I choose to handle it depends on the day. Somedays I do surf the internet for a period of time & other days I call a friend for coffee or I go off and tackle something I have been procrastinating about.
Unfortunately I find we women are our own worst enemies. For some reason we have a need to compare, compete and belittle our fellow women friends to justify what we are or are not doing. I am the first to admit staying at home isn't for everyone. I know many friends who really couldn't do it or have tried and decided it's not for them. And that's OK. I just wish that would be the end of it but for many, the idea of commenting on someones lifestyle is too good an opportunity to pass up. I don't know if this will ever change, here's hoping! :)

MT1970's picture

Fellow moms, I stumbled across this page and read only a few of the comments. Before anyone takes the "risk" of not working for several years or a decade or two then you really need to run the numbers. Please read a book called The Feminine Mistake. This book explains the financial risk women take by leaving work for many years. It is not easy. It is hard. But I do believe the benefits outweigh the risks. You can be there for your children and secure your financial future too. Your partner should also think in these terms and should also be there for the children and also be deriving money to pay bills and save for the future.
Just, before you leap, please look. Please make sure the financial risks are worth it to you and your children.

may's picture

oh, it is so worth it. parenting is a privilege not to be taken lightly. We have been entrusted with these special souls for only a short while. the "sacrifices" families make to stay home were once the reality for many - of course, there are exceptions. It is appropriate to live in a modest home, drive your car/mini-van til it dies, clip coupons, skip expensive trips to make local, inexpensive lifelong memories, cook at home, etc. If we are to break the cycle of those who believe they are entitled to the finest things on earth, we should set the example. My family isn't deprived. I am always available to them and their friends and it matters - I have an active life - just no paycheck. If someone makes you feel awkward about staying at home being the one who raises your own children, take note of what they drive, maybe their manicured nails and professional haircut, the way they spend and do not wonder why they "have to work" - understand that they clearly wouldn't have it any other way (of course, there are exceptions.....) When my children are grown, I am confident they will not regret all that we did to afford us the opportunity to have a full time parent at home. I am also confident that the One that entrusted these children will be pleased - that matters more than any amount of $ or financial security.

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