Life with Coco and Gigi... and Jack-Jack too!

Life as a Mom, A Homesteader, A Blogger and A Wife.

Stay at home or go to work?

This is picking up on a topic that I started to delve into last week. I had more to say but in a highly unlikely turn of events I lost my train of thought (I know, who would have thought that could ever happen).

In the not too distant past I watched some talk show (It might have been that Oprah Michelle eluded to or maybe it was something like the View, not sure... not huge fans of either show lately) about the debate whether Moms should stay at home or work out of the house. The thing that surprised me the most about this program was the righteous indignation of the women on BOTH SIDES of the argument. The working Moms were criticizing the stay at home Moms (SAHMs) of lacking purpose and the stay at home Moms were calling the working Moms abandoners of their children.

As a work at home Mom (WAHM) I know that I am having my cake and eating too. I know how truly lucky I am that I get to work while being with my kids every day. The question for me is twofold. One, why in the hell do people feel that they have the right to sit in judgement of others? And two, (a hugely different topic) do Moms (or Dads) belong at home with their kids?

Lets look at number one quickly since I think most of us will agree. I find that people who are so belligerent about a topic like this are so for a reason. Maybe they wish they could be home or go to work? Maybe it's jealousy that spurs their anger. Maybe they are just too dumb to remember the lesson of "if you don't have anything nice to say". A topic like whether or not a Mom is wrong for staying home or going to work is really a decision that every family has to make for itself.

On to issue number two. I realize I just said that this is a topic each family should have the right to make but I thought it might be worth talking about since it is something that has stuck in my head for the past couple years (since I saw the show). Do the majority of working Moms work out of the home because they have to or because they want to? One of the arguments that gets made against dual-working parents is why have children if "you are letting daycare raise your child". This is not my personal opinion, but I have heard it said time and time again. My opinion is that most Moms who work do it because they have to. Most of the women I know would much prefer that they or their spouse could be there in a day-to-day basis. So it seems that it comes down mostly to finances. If you cannot afford to get by on one income (and who can) then you don't have a lot of choice. Am I wrong in assuming that most Moms would want to be home? I know there are some women who are very career focused and choose to work but are they the exception?

I am going to end all this by saying giving my personal opinion for my family and for others. For us, it was very easy. We were willing to make whatever sacrifices needed to be made for one of us to be home every day. For other families I think that while having one parent home full time with the kids is ideal that is not always what works best for every family. I do know it sure isn't my place to judge.

I do really want to get a sense of what other people think on this one. I am surrounded by a lot of Moms who either stay at home or very much wish they could so I tend to get a more one-sided view of this issue.

6 comments:

Our Family 11:42 AM  

I love my situation. I work at the gym 3 days a week and I am able to be home with Emma the other days. She goes to child care 2 days a week and is home with Bill on Saturday mornings while I work. I think she gets the both of 3 worlds. She gets alone time with Daddy one day, mommy 3 full days, and gets to interact with other children 2 days a week. She has learned so much from day care and the other children there and on the days that we are home together we get to go on adventures and have our time. I say if you can go to work outside the home part time and stay home part time - do it. I think child care can be a great thing for children and there is nothing wrong with them going there. Emma's vocabulary, social skills, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills have grown leaps and bounds b/c of the wide variety of environments that she is in.

You are so correct when you say that it is each families choice. Do what you need and want to do :).

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

Alot of gray area here. I contend that there should be a parent at home with the kids while they're young--whether it is mom or dad or they share that detail is not so important. Daycare certainly has its place, and when used as a social tool for older infants and toddlers, it can be a blessing, but having your infant or toddler in daycare full time is not the best, or even a good, choice.

I say this because study after study indicates that infants and toddlers in daycare suffer from both physical and mental problems due to full time day care. These problems include feelings of abandonment, increased hostility, attachment disorder, eating disorders, weight issues (both under and over), defense mechanisms at very young ages, ear infections and hearing loss, skin problems, etc etc.

Go ahead and read all of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Studies of Early Child Care among others. You'll find plenty of statistical info in there. Anecdotally, all the children I have encountered who were in day care full time have problems--health, weight, speech, behavior, sleep, etc.

Many studies say that children in smaller daycares with a higher care taker to child ratio experience fewer of these issues, however, there are also fewer checks and balances so more opportunity for neglect and abuse. Just poke into the Meghan's Law website (if you live in CA) for a special informational treat on the amount of sexual predators in your neighborhood!

So why should we care you ask? Why be so judgey and stuff? Aside from the intrinsic maternal instinct that I have to keep kids loved and cuddled...because how my neighbor raises her child affects my child, my neighborhood, my life, and so on. We are not isolated beings and we have a societal obligation to one another. If it can be shown again and again that full time daycare is a poor choice, then should not the better choice be made for everyone's benefit? My kid's gonna have to sit next to your misbehavin kid in class, so it's my business. And this is not even addressing the medicare/medicaid costs. And I await the study linking full time day care to an increase in criminal activity.

There are many families who need to use daycare because they have no other choice. They cannot lose that salary. While I think it would behoove people to conduct better family planning to avoid this scenario, certainly I can understand the predicament. I can also acknowledge, as do several studies, that often times kids in full time daycare do not have the highest quality home life, so hard to say how much of each plays a part. But there are many many families who choose daycare over a SAH parent, even though they could tighten their belts and work it out. I know plenty of them. They are good people but misguided and their kids suffer. If I have to hear one more ear tubes sob story I'm gonna explode. Remove your baby form the germ factory--geebus! Or how the gem where you hear how "great" daycare is for their 12 week old!?!?! Cause you know how social those 12 week olds are!

I too can be a work at home mom. I don't work too many hours but enough to keep me in the game. I don't consider myself lucky though as I worked hard and for a long time to create this life. I made that choice.

This is a very long comment--sorry about that--but this is one of my pet topics. I have 22 first cousins. Five of them (in several families) were in daycare. Guess which of my cousins now have financial, legal, and psychological troubles? Guess which cousin was molested and where it happened? Could be circumstantial, but I doubt it.

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

Oh yea, above comment by Anon C.

Mich 4:01 PM  

Oh phewie! I'm the minority here. I had my daughter in daycare at 6 weeks old!

I can't say I totally agree with the negative daycare statistics. When we looked for daycares we were shocked by how many awful ones there were - and by how many people actually send their children there. So sad! I can imagine there would be plenty of negative statistics stemming from those places. Those I can agree with.

However, we have 2-3 really good daycares in our town. They can do so much more for my children than I can, honestly. I don't have a degree in childhood education, I don't speak fluent spanish nor do I have the means to introduce my children to exotic foods on a daily basis. Obviously, these places are almost impossible to get your children into and they cost an arm and a leg.

Now that I've been laid off I've had time to reflect and consider what is really important. Before this, life was passing me by so quickly I truly didn't have time to really deeply consider the consequences of daycare (that sounds terrible). I just found the best daycare I could for her. I consider my daughter to be well-rounded and just fine (maybe that's b/c I'm her mother). I think she'll escape her 3 years of daycare mostly unscathed. With this new reflection and a new baby I'm fairly certain I'll stay home for the next couple years. We'll take a hit financially, but nothing that we shouldn't be able to recover from in the long run.

Over the past few weeks I have been studying, reading books and preparing for my time at home with my kids. I'm determined to give them more than the hoity-toity daycare in town. I can't say that a lot of stay-at-home parents give their children that much consideration, unfortunately. I don't know that everyone is built to be a stay-at-home parent. At this point, I truly believe that some children are better off in daycare or that their parents are better parents when they're working.

Regardless, I'm excited to join the other side and stay home with my kids. I'm going to be the best SAHM that I can be!!

I like the idea of giving children the best of all 3 worlds. That's not always an option though. If you're a great SAHM then that's what you should do. If you're not good at staying home then do your children a favor and put them in good hands.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

"If you're a great SAHM then that's what you should do. If you're not good at staying home then do your children a favor and put them in good hands."

Well I think we can all agree on that statement! No one wants an abusive parent raising a kid.

I would argue though that before two, what babies and toddlers need the most is the ongoing love and support of their parent...way more than any art projects or language programs or the like. It is the strength of the parent/child relationship that has been shown to determine self worth and confidence as children age, which as we know determines success and happiness, and that relationship begins, where else, but home.

Those other things are great for older kids, but the little ones just need their folks. So you could sit around for a year and do nothing but hug and coo to your infant and they will flourish. Now your three year old might get bored!

~ Anon C

MrsSpock 9:30 PM  

I feel very fortunate that I was able to stay home with my son for 7 months- that is much longer than the average woman gets. We tightened our belts as much as possible. I was actually home for an entire year because my fibromyalgia made it impossible to work as a nurse once I hit my 3rd trimester. We live frugally, but I had no choice but to go back to work in December. Unfortunately, the only nursing positions that don't require physical labor are case management ones- and no part-time positions exist. If my body could handle it, I would only be working 1-2 days a week. I feel lucky to have found one that will let me work from home starting next year. Until then, my son is in FT day care, and I hate it. He has constant ear infections now.

My husband and I would both prefer that I stay home or only work part-time. I hope to pull my son out of day care next year and have someone care for him in my home while I work (I can't do my work and watch him at the same time).

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Over 8 years we have struggled through 3 IUI's, 6 rounds of IVF, several RE's, hundreds of appointments and the loss of three little angels. Now we find ourselves the proud parents of two perfect little girls and a wonderful little boy!!

Both of our girls struggle with some disabilities but that won't keep us down. Each day has it's own brand of insanity but we love it. Most days I am more monkey wrangler than mother but I do the best I can. Todays goal - getting to tomorrow.

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